Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dr. Phil Irks Me

I want to preface this by saying that I don't normally watch Dr. Phil.  When he first came on the air I did like him and I watched him from time to time.  He was generally positive with positive stories.  But, I am unable to watch him anymore because now his shows focus on some pretty intense, negative stuff...stuff I don't need my children to see.

Every now and then if the boys are still napping and I'm folding laundry or working in the living room I might flip on the tv.  And, there is the rare occassion that I'll check to see what Dr. Phil is talking about.  Often I'll flip right by.  But, when I do stop to watch a bit I come away disturbed.
image fround here
Has anyone else noticed that Dr. Phil has become somewhat pompous & self-righteous?  Now, I will say, I think he's gotten as far as he has because he's a straightshooter.  He tells people how it is and doesn't let them hide behind facades.  That is all fine and well.  And, it's probably what many people actually need.

But, I also think there is a line and that he has crossed that line.  You can still listen with compassion and understanding.  You can point out the things a person needs to change while still affirming his/her worth.  I've gotten the sense many times that some of these people are pouring out their hearts desperate for someone to tell them they are loved and worthy of love (and I'm thinking you are one of two things if you choose to air your dirty laundry on tv... desperate for love or desperate for attention.).

And, Dr. Phil frequently looks right beyond that need...ignores it really.  I'm sure he's had his share of crocodile tears on that stage along with co-dependancy, manipulation,etc.  But, I also think there are times when someone's true heart and pain is so obvious.

Specifically, I remember a time that a young, single mother to two children was on the show.  She had made some bad choices in her life and now there were people trying to take her children.  The children's father and grandparents were telling her she was an unfit mother.  Here's the thing (and please understand, I am first and foremost an advocate for the children!  There are many parents out there who should not have custody of their children), this young woman had made some major changes in her life.  She was trying to be the mother she should be.  But, she struggled with the day to day challenges of single motherhood.

Oh, I heard her struggles and I understood!  I've been there.  And, I have a support system!  I have a loving husband, parents, in-laws, friends, MOPS group.  And, here was this young mom with no support system.  She had the desire to be a good mom, but only had people telling her she needed to give up her children.

She tearfully said to Dr. Phil, "I don't know.  Maybe my children would be better off without me."  And, without even a blink he said something to the effect of "Maybe they would.".  And, then I don't even remember what all he said next.  He went off on one of his pseudo-psycho speeches.  But, I remember listening for him to say, "You need support.  You need people to help you.  You can do this, but you can't do it alone."  Nope.  Nothing even close to that came out of his mouth.

I also remember another time that they were talking to parents who yell at their children.  I will admit, some of them were pretty hardened, unwilling to accept any blame.  But, there were some who were a lot like me.  They yelled from time to time, didn't like that they lost control in that way, and felt a lot of shame.  This time is was Dr. Phil's wife, Robin, who got under my skin.  She said (choking back her own crocodile tears?) "I never once raised my voice at either of my two precious boys.".

Really Robin?  Never once?

Anyway, I guess what my whole point is with this little rant is that so many people turn to on-air personalities like Dr. Phil or Oprah for answers.  They look to these fallen, imperfect humans (yes Oprah is human...don't even get me started on Oprah) as someone who can solve their problems in one neat on air segment.

The fact is they can't.  And, so often they actually misguide people or give them only partial truth.  And, that part of people that is seeking to absolve their shame and to feel worth and love is left empty.  There is only one who can guide them and love them in the way they seek.

"  No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, 
but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
Psalm 25: 3-5


  1. I think you already hit the nail on the head ... but the sum of the whole matter is that they don't give out real truth...The Truth. It probably has also been really commercialized - the goal has probably become ratings more than anything else.

    Next, how absurd about the yelling. I understand that not all parents are yellers. We all have our ways of dealing with things, and some of us are more prone to yelling than others. That said, there are other harmful ways of dealing with behaviors that are just as bad as yelling, as quiet as those other methods are.

    The good news, God isn't finished with us yet. At the end of the day, each person on that show needs that same hope.

  2. Wanted to add: when I said "absurd" I meant to Robin, not you. Just wanted to clear that up b/c it sounded funny in my post.

    Have a great day!

  3. Love it! You did hit the nail on the head. There is a Casting Crowns song that mentions believers should "stop asking Oprah what to do" that fits right in with this.

    How sad is it that these people (Dr. Phil, Oprah etc) are the ones leading us in our daily walk instead of Jesus Christ. Perhaps this is why our culture is so fallen?

    Great post and so weird I posted on something kind of like it today. Great minds right? LOL

  4. Amen. Putting our hope in any person will always disappoint. In contrast, God is always the same- perfect.

  5. How funny - I touched on this a little on my last post and plan to discuss it a bit in the next few days.

    It is a shame that so many of the "answers" society seeks come from Dr Phil and Oprah. People look for the "feel good" answers...the ones with no meat and conviction. Whats funny is, Dr Phil puts these people down and exposes their wrong doings to the world, and what ends up happening is his viewers feel good about themselves and think "at least I'm not as bad as them." It's twisted. Instead of edifying one another, it's almost teaching us to look out for ourselves. Make sure you aren't the kind of parent SHE is. Make sure you don't have the problems THAT couple suffers from. It separates people.

    Great post!

  6. Hear, hear. I quit watching him years ago.

    And Robin drives me nuts.


  7. GREAT post! I can't watch any of that stuff anymore. It feels likes it's all about their own agendas, and making a point, and then they're really losing the guests heart.


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