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Topic : 02/01 A Difficult Reunion – Part 1

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Created on : Friday, January 26, 2007, 01:59:13 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Dr. Phil follows the continuing story of Erica, who as a little girl survived the unthinkable. At just 2 years old, she witnessed her father, Mark, murder her mother. Her father spent nearly two decades behind bars for this heinous crime. Now that he has been released from prison, Erica will be reunited with him -- the father who murdered her own mother -- for the first time in over 20 years. In the first of two parts, Dr. Phil arranges a powerful reunion that Erica hopes will bring answers, but instead raises many more questions. When Erica's curiosity turns to anger, her emotions are too much for Mark to bear, and he walks right off the Dr. Phil stage! Tell us what you think!

Find out what happened on the show.

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February 3, 2007, 6:26 am CST

02/01 A Difficult Reunion – Part 1

Quote From: tawnysavage

AMEN SISTER

I HAVE TO AGREE WITH YOU A 100%

 
February 3, 2007, 6:46 am CST

what is happening to this show

what is happening to dr. phil's show.  it seems to be becoming more and more about sensationalism and less and less about the very serious and somber issues of personal pain, growth and healing.  the dramatization of the difficult reunion show and many others in the recent past have been very disturbing to me and i think they are lowering the standards of the show.  i am very sorry to see this.

 
February 3, 2007, 7:10 am CST

02/01 A Difficult Reunion – Part 1

Quote From: kitspics

Alot of people do drugs and never kill someone!

 

Alot of people drink and are alcoholics and aren't violent!

 

Plenty of people have been violent and solber!

 

So don't  let this guy get away with blaming it on the drugs!

The inclination to do violence was there regardless of the drugs or alcohol!

 

Ultimatlely he has to face the fact that, drunk, sober or inbetween he is responsible for killing his wife!

 

Because he has a sociopathic tendency he will never take total responsibility for his actions! It helps him to continue his addictions!  He cares about one thing himself!

He is a master manipulator.  And he ought to be he has had it reinforced in a prison setting!

 

The only reason he is even cleaned up from the drugs is so he could be on this program!  Read the written history to these programs!

 

Gauranteed he is already back on the drugs and alcohol!

 

What is sadder, now he will be more inclined to bug his daughters!

 

There is no making up with this man!

 

Forgiving yes for your own sake, forgetting however is NOT a wise thing to do!

 

Both those girls have been traumatized!

 

Personally I wouldn't waste my time with the man!  He is another heartbreak waiting to happen!

 

 

INSANITY - what would possess Dr. Phil to put someone with 60 days clean and sober on a national TV show to confront any of his behavior today or 20 years ago.  I have 9 years clean and sober and there are days I don't even know up from down without help.  Mark's had 20 years of sitting in a box.  We all know there has been no rehabilitation services available to him.  I have meetings, sponsors, friends, children, counseling, all kinds of support and I struggle with "right thoughts".  Prison only makes what was worse horrific.  How cruel to put someone who commited a horrible crime up on stage and set him up against his child who he has no relationship with and expect him to be able to be perfect.  There are plenty of days I have to write a lot to figure out what my part in something is and that's with a lot of support - 60 days is nothing.  He has no program to speak of - certainly not enough to begin a relationship with his daughter on national TV.  What a sad beginning.
 
February 3, 2007, 2:14 pm CST

Forgiveness

"Forgiveness Is A Gift You Give Yourself"

Erica, her sister, and their father have suffered a great loss already. I am not making excuses  or condoning the father's behavior. The truth of the matter is that they can not dwell in the past, it would not change anything and certainly not bring the victim back. They need to look beyond the blames and seek cures not causes. The father paid his debt to society according to the law. I hope he learned a valued lesson. He needs to show remorse and humble himself. If the father forgives himself  for what he did and Erica forgives him only can they move on. They need  to put Toughove into practice. I do not see all of it lost. I truly hope this family  takes the necessary steps into getting a second chance. No, it is not going to be easy but it could happen, and that would be a true miracle. 

 
February 4, 2007, 3:13 am CST

Ya guys are hard on the family there dang.

Love how your all judging Erica on all this it took a hell of alot of courage for her rachael and dennise to come forward and confront Mark.  Forgiveness is not easy and a hard thing to do but its the closure erica and her family needed. Can any of you guys imange what erica and her family went thru growing up with those haunting memories. I am proud of erica for finally confronting her dad going on national tv in front of millions.

 

As for rachael ya were all hard on her she is just protecting erica cause she is not as forgivng heck i wouldn't be either if i seen what she did. She just doesn't want to see erica hurt again. I am glad she has her sister.

 

As for you all praising mark that's the prolbem with people addicted to drugs and alcohol its never their fault the drugs took over their system and turned them into someone they aren't. People need to take respnsibility for their actions yes mark did 20 years to me that is not enough and will never bring their mother back. IF mark can continue to stay off drugs lets hope in this case he has changed and if erica wants her father back that is really no ones business but erica and her family... I wish them best of luck...

 
February 4, 2007, 9:17 am CST

You raise some very good points

Quote From: jewell2378

INSANITY - what would possess Dr. Phil to put someone with 60 days clean and sober on a national TV show to confront any of his behavior today or 20 years ago.  I have 9 years clean and sober and there are days I don't even know up from down without help.  Mark's had 20 years of sitting in a box.  We all know there has been no rehabilitation services available to him.  I have meetings, sponsors, friends, children, counseling, all kinds of support and I struggle with "right thoughts".  Prison only makes what was worse horrific.  How cruel to put someone who commited a horrible crime up on stage and set him up against his child who he has no relationship with and expect him to be able to be perfect.  There are plenty of days I have to write a lot to figure out what my part in something is and that's with a lot of support - 60 days is nothing.  He has no program to speak of - certainly not enough to begin a relationship with his daughter on national TV.  What a sad beginning.

I came away from this show with the impression that the only purpose served was for Erica to meet her father face to face, have some of her questions answered, and for Mark's other daughter Rachel, to have her say. End of story. There were a lot of emotions crammed into a short period of time. Despite this, I felt that Mark tried his best to show some genuine feeling in his declarations of regret and love for his daughter, but obviously, it wasn't going to be enough. Erica, I believe, was not ready at all with enough of the information that she needs to form a solid impression of her Dad, such as having the benefit of more information on drugs, and about the kind of life her father has spent for the last 20 years, in and out of jail, and ultimately, what a life of drugs and prison can do to someone's sense of reasoning and judgement. They were both trying desperately to find some kind of way to connect. I guess we can't expect much beyond what it's like to meet someone for the first time, but with the knowledge that they are your blood relative who murdered your parent.

 

Your observations about what Mark's life has been like to date, coupled with your comments about bringing someone 60 days clean and sober in front of someone that they have no relationship with, are pretty strong and sobering. The only thing I would question is whether or not there has been any programs available to Mark while in prison? It would make sense that there should be, or how does one go about building a foundation for his or her eventual release from prison early for good behaviour?

 

On the one hand I don't blame Mark for his getting up and leaving the stage like he did. I think he believed he was there to meet his daughter and go forward in a positive fashion, not have the events of that day thrown in his face over and over. He knew that Dr. Phil was bating him for the purposes of challenging his recollection of the events of that day and he obviously wasn't willing to be a part of it. It's this sort of bating and repeating of past mistakes again and again with guests after they've agreed that they have a problem, that they are the cause of something, etc., that I've seen Dr. Phil do time and again in the recent past that I personally question. I think it takes a tremendous amount of courage for someone with this kind of history to agree to appear in front of an audience, and the world, and allow their past to be judged and analyzed by others who don't have the benefit of all of the information -- just what is deemed appropriate and relevant to the show. Dr. Phil's tendency to challenge others, again and again, after they've agreed to his analysis of them, makes me question his motives as to whether he is still working with the assumption and belief that 'we all make mistakes' and now it's time to do something about it, or has his perspective changed with his popularity ratings and now operates this way to mix things up for audience reaction and to improve ratings? I felt Rachel's delight in hearing the audience reaction to her show-down with her father, macabre, and pretty telling of her motivation for being there. Pretty sad. Hopefully they will all get the support that they will invariably need to do justice to this healing process.  

 

I admire your candor. Continued strength in your journey!

 
February 4, 2007, 8:50 pm CST

02/01 A Difficult Reunion – Part 1

Dear Erica,

 

I already felt terrible for you and now, even moreso, after reading your last post. I'm sorry that you feel that those of us who have written on this board are judging you. I know there are some who have stated, far too emphatically, what they think you should or shouldn't do. But I think I can speak for the majority of the posters when I say the following:

 

We can completely understand your need to see and learn about your father and, if possible, connect with him. That's a universal, completely normal and deep, deep need.

 

We can completely understand your need to confront him and ask the hard questions. Who wouldn't?

 

We would love to see you have a fulfilling relationship with him, although we doubt it's possible, based upon HIS shortcomings, not YOURS.

 

Many of us are afraid that a relationship with him would hurt you further and are concerned for your welfare.

 

We hope that you can "forgive" him, so that you can find some sense of peace, although only you can define what "forgiveness" is for you. And it certainly doesn't mean you will "get over it." Some things simply can not be "gotten over" and the murder of a family member is one of those things. To even suggest that you need to "get over it and move on" is shockingly insensitive and irresponsible.

 

We think you are awesome, you, your sister and your aunt. How many people would find the courage to do something so terrifying, all in the interest of healing and forgiveness? You've faced your greatest fear, literally, face to face. Very few human beings have the courage to do that.

 

Please don't feel judged or criticized. I truly believe that the VAST majority of the people who posted, like the millions who watched you, think you are an amazing person and wish you and your family only the very best...happiness....peace....and healing.

 

People, good people, really do feel other people's pain and share their sorrows. You're more loved than you realize.

 

 
February 5, 2007, 7:28 am CST

You make some really good points!

Quote From: jewell2378

INSANITY - what would possess Dr. Phil to put someone with 60 days clean and sober on a national TV show to confront any of his behavior today or 20 years ago.  I have 9 years clean and sober and there are days I don't even know up from down without help.  Mark's had 20 years of sitting in a box.  We all know there has been no rehabilitation services available to him.  I have meetings, sponsors, friends, children, counseling, all kinds of support and I struggle with "right thoughts".  Prison only makes what was worse horrific.  How cruel to put someone who commited a horrible crime up on stage and set him up against his child who he has no relationship with and expect him to be able to be perfect.  There are plenty of days I have to write a lot to figure out what my part in something is and that's with a lot of support - 60 days is nothing.  He has no program to speak of - certainly not enough to begin a relationship with his daughter on national TV.  What a sad beginning.

I admire your candor about your situation and wish you continued strength in your journey Jewel.

 

For the most part, I believe that beyond the meeting between Erica and her Dad and having him answer some of her questions about the past, not much else was possible in such a short period of time. I think it was really awkward for both of them and made that much more difficult by Rachel's insistance on confronting Mark after she basically said that she wanted no part in this process?

 

Your observations regarding what Mark's life has probably been like in the past 20 years, coupled with your comments about putting someone only 60 days clean and sober in front of someone they literally have no relationship with are pretty sobering and things that all parties involved ought to keep in mind in their assessment of whether the reunion was a good or bad thing, successful or a complete waste of time. The only thing I would question is the suggestion that there are no programs available in the prison system for inmates to participate in for the purposes of rehabilitation or how does one go about building a foundation for being considered for early parole?

 

I believe that Mark felt that Dr. Phil was riding him in his attempt to get him to admit to how things played out, and the way he felt inclined to do this, disturbed me. This and Rachel's seeming delight in hearing the audience response to her show-down with Mark. Rather sad.

 

Time and again, I have noticed Dr. Phil's tendency to repeat and address certain aspects of a person's behaviour after they've agreed to his analysis of their situations and particular issues, and I wonder what motivates him to do this? It seems out of character with how he once approached these sorts of situations way back in the beginning. Audience reaction? Reinforcement of the person's acknowledgment of their issues? Ratings? Whatever it is, it seems unnecessary and counter-productive given that the person is there, has admitted to their problem and are willing to submit to whatever is required to move forward.

 

I think it takes a tremendous amount of courage for anyone, particular those in Mark & Erica's position, to agree to present themselves in front of an audience and the world, and allow their story to be broadcast, judged and analyzed, knowing that most will not have the benefit of all of the information, only what's been edited for the show? I think Mark tried his best under some pretty trying circumstances, to conduct himself appropriately and show some genuine regret, a willingness to acknowledge what he did, for Erica's benefit and to leave her with some kind of insurance that he truly cares and wants to do whatever it takes to make things right, in the best way he knew how to in the moment.  

 

Ultimately, hopefully everyone will get the support they need from here on in to do justice to this healing process.

 

 
February 5, 2007, 6:57 pm CST

02/01 A Difficult Reunion – Part 1

Quote From: cda_gal

I came away from this show with the impression that the only purpose served was for Erica to meet her father face to face, have some of her questions answered, and for Mark's other daughter Rachel, to have her say. End of story. There were a lot of emotions crammed into a short period of time. Despite this, I felt that Mark tried his best to show some genuine feeling in his declarations of regret and love for his daughter, but obviously, it wasn't going to be enough. Erica, I believe, was not ready at all with enough of the information that she needs to form a solid impression of her Dad, such as having the benefit of more information on drugs, and about the kind of life her father has spent for the last 20 years, in and out of jail, and ultimately, what a life of drugs and prison can do to someone's sense of reasoning and judgement. They were both trying desperately to find some kind of way to connect. I guess we can't expect much beyond what it's like to meet someone for the first time, but with the knowledge that they are your blood relative who murdered your parent.

 

Your observations about what Mark's life has been like to date, coupled with your comments about bringing someone 60 days clean and sober in front of someone that they have no relationship with, are pretty strong and sobering. The only thing I would question is whether or not there has been any programs available to Mark while in prison? It would make sense that there should be, or how does one go about building a foundation for his or her eventual release from prison early for good behaviour?

 

On the one hand I don't blame Mark for his getting up and leaving the stage like he did. I think he believed he was there to meet his daughter and go forward in a positive fashion, not have the events of that day thrown in his face over and over. He knew that Dr. Phil was bating him for the purposes of challenging his recollection of the events of that day and he obviously wasn't willing to be a part of it. It's this sort of bating and repeating of past mistakes again and again with guests after they've agreed that they have a problem, that they are the cause of something, etc., that I've seen Dr. Phil do time and again in the recent past that I personally question. I think it takes a tremendous amount of courage for someone with this kind of history to agree to appear in front of an audience, and the world, and allow their past to be judged and analyzed by others who don't have the benefit of all of the information -- just what is deemed appropriate and relevant to the show. Dr. Phil's tendency to challenge others, again and again, after they've agreed to his analysis of them, makes me question his motives as to whether he is still working with the assumption and belief that 'we all make mistakes' and now it's time to do something about it, or has his perspective changed with his popularity ratings and now operates this way to mix things up for audience reaction and to improve ratings? I felt Rachel's delight in hearing the audience reaction to her show-down with her father, macabre, and pretty telling of her motivation for being there. Pretty sad. Hopefully they will all get the support that they will invariably need to do justice to this healing process.  

 

I admire your candor. Continued strength in your journey!

I do believe that institutions have some programs available as you mentioned just not to the degree that I believe most addict/alcoholics need.  There are not meetings everyday, there certainly isn't a wide variety of speakers that go inside, no real sponsors to speak of except fellow inmates who haven't had the opportunity to have sponsors from the outside, so inmate to inmate (not a real solid foundation) in general, not a safe place to begin to become vunerable to begin to mature which is critical, no private counseling, no life experiences on a daily basis to add to the foundation.  So that said - I believe prison is not condusive to vunerability which is key to facing our fears which turn to anger in order to get over them.  Prison heightens these basic feelings as well as unworthiness, loneliness, ground zero self image, self esteem, when you are having to try and survive the day literally - you're not able to move forward.  I also believe that a lot of the parole hearings are sad.  I think prisoners have 24/7 to think about how to perfect their behavior - spend endless hours talking with other prisoners, exchanging answers to some given questions and make them believable.  Actors get better with each performance.  That's the part that is sad - some are genuine and some are rehearsed - how do you tell?  What's worse is when they do get out they don't have any better skills than when they went in, homelessness, absolutely impossible to find employment with a record, no $$, no car, without living skills, what do we expect?  If they didn't have the skills and a disease when they went in - how can we expect perfection when they come out?

 

 

Drugs and alcohol are never a good excuse - it's a truth-  that it's a disease - no known cure - but packed with hope that will diligence, meetings, sponsorship, counseling, a lot of writing (self examination), lots of amends, prayers and good friends you can absolutely turn your life around and become the person you had always wished you could be.  Growth for anyone is difficult but for myself personally it is so painful  Having spent so many years denying growth as an older person it takes me double time just to think the "right thought" and sometimes that's with suggestions from a friend.  Even after all this time my brain doesn't always go to the "right thought" by itself.  It is a virtual "riot room" in my head sometimes about what to say or what to do.  Silence is golden but even that skill has taken time to learn.  What seems basic to normies is such a struggle for an alcoholic/adddict.  Our brains are wired completely different.  I don't know if I'll ever catch up to my biological age maturity wise on everything - but life is so full and so wonderful hopefully God will continue to be gentle and on the path.

 
February 6, 2007, 8:04 am CST

Thanks Jewel

Quote From: jewell2378

I do believe that institutions have some programs available as you mentioned just not to the degree that I believe most addict/alcoholics need.  There are not meetings everyday, there certainly isn't a wide variety of speakers that go inside, no real sponsors to speak of except fellow inmates who haven't had the opportunity to have sponsors from the outside, so inmate to inmate (not a real solid foundation) in general, not a safe place to begin to become vunerable to begin to mature which is critical, no private counseling, no life experiences on a daily basis to add to the foundation.  So that said - I believe prison is not condusive to vunerability which is key to facing our fears which turn to anger in order to get over them.  Prison heightens these basic feelings as well as unworthiness, loneliness, ground zero self image, self esteem, when you are having to try and survive the day literally - you're not able to move forward.  I also believe that a lot of the parole hearings are sad.  I think prisoners have 24/7 to think about how to perfect their behavior - spend endless hours talking with other prisoners, exchanging answers to some given questions and make them believable.  Actors get better with each performance.  That's the part that is sad - some are genuine and some are rehearsed - how do you tell?  What's worse is when they do get out they don't have any better skills than when they went in, homelessness, absolutely impossible to find employment with a record, no $$, no car, without living skills, what do we expect?  If they didn't have the skills and a disease when they went in - how can we expect perfection when they come out?

 

 

Drugs and alcohol are never a good excuse - it's a truth-  that it's a disease - no known cure - but packed with hope that will diligence, meetings, sponsorship, counseling, a lot of writing (self examination), lots of amends, prayers and good friends you can absolutely turn your life around and become the person you had always wished you could be.  Growth for anyone is difficult but for myself personally it is so painful  Having spent so many years denying growth as an older person it takes me double time just to think the "right thought" and sometimes that's with suggestions from a friend.  Even after all this time my brain doesn't always go to the "right thought" by itself.  It is a virtual "riot room" in my head sometimes about what to say or what to do.  Silence is golden but even that skill has taken time to learn.  What seems basic to normies is such a struggle for an alcoholic/adddict.  Our brains are wired completely different.  I don't know if I'll ever catch up to my biological age maturity wise on everything - but life is so full and so wonderful hopefully God will continue to be gentle and on the path.

For your insight. Yes, I acknowledge that there must be a lot of struggle that goes on for ex-cons trying to reintegrate into society. Unless we as a society are willing to look to the potential in someone in favour of dwelling so much on the negative morbidity of the crime they committed, then we might as well tell the convicted to go and do themselves in sooner rather than later, as they will slowly die with out positive reinforcement and support or return to a life of crime to support themselves.

 

I have a brother who lives at the other end of the country and is currently struggling with drug addiction. Sometimes I get really frustrated with him as to why he can't break out of his doomed existence and realize the good and valuable person that he is, that he is loved and valued by his family and has a lot of potential. He still deals with a lot of pain from his childhood and this, along with the addiction, keeps him where he is I believe. He prefers to be apart from his family -- Very independant. Which in a way is probably for the best in order to have clarity. He's tried many times to get help and get out of the drugs. He's had some success and is better than he once was. We've all tried to reach him but I think it will only happen for him when he realizes it for himself as he's always been a pretty stubborn individual, much to his detriment. I am grateful that he at least does work lawfully and has the good sense from his upbringing to keep himself in some kind of good shape.

 

I believe it's never too late to change your life around and I am hopeful that my brother will find his way. We all have to be our greatest advocates in order to truly embrace change. I think you are definitely on the right track. All the best to you.

 
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