This afternoon, I answered a call from the Producer of Dr Phil regarding Stephaney “still wanting to go on the show.” I quickly conference called my twin sister who like me, is “out on Dr Phil!”
Why? Keep reading ya all and find out how all the other guests got hoodwinked by trying to find help for a family member with Dr Phil.
Dr Phil REQUIRES family members to attend filming. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
A few months ago, I was one of the folks that believed Dr Phil “helped people.” But, “helping” isn’t what it appears to be when the person you are trying to help isn’t the focus of the show.
What do I mean by that? Well, for starters, the person wanting help doesn’t go to the show alone. No, that would be too simple. Take everyone involved and get some dirt on them too. That’s the “focus” of Dr Phil.
Their family is required to go with them. Their family is screened and interviewed, asked questions and finally put in a position of airing their secrets to the Production Team.
What type of secrets? Well, if you have been raped or physically assaulted, get ready to go over the details regardless of how old you were at the time of the assault or abuse. They want DETAILS.
Dr Phil wants to know everything about not only the person needing help but also, their family and, it’s at his discretion what background information about other family members is used on his show.
Thirty four years ago, my twin sister was raped after leaving IHOP in Fort Worth, Texas. For thirty four years, my sister had never told her daughter that she didn’t know her father. Thanks to Dr Phil, Cindy was forced to tell her daughter what had happened.
Sounds interesting right? I will get to the details in just a moment to better describe how and why both of Cindy’s daughters didn’t have them in their lives. Both of the fathers are horrible people.
Cindy was with me last week traveling back from TDCJ Hodge Unit. What were we doing at a Prison? My job. Monday through Friday, I’m at Texas Prisons officiating TDCJ Weddings.
I also deliver items or ship items for Texas Twins Treasures or meet new Clients for Texas Twins Events or The Pawning Planners.
My “schedule” is an important element in this story. Why? Because if I wasn’t so busy, we would have already filmed for Dr Phil and subsequently made a mistake by doing so.
For weeks, my schedule and the film schedule for the show made it impossible for me to fly off to California.
Last Wednesday in Rusk, Texas, Cindy had been waiting for me at a nearby McDonalds while I drove to the Unit. You cannot take a cell phone into a Prison.
I was without my cell phone and therefore, unavailable to take Dr Phil’s Production Team phone calls. Since I had left my phone on the passenger seat while inside Hodge Unit, it had overheated and turned itself off.
My phone overheating was a real problem and my Bride was following me to do a photo shoot after leaving the Unit. I pulled over and had her Google the nearest McDonald’s and meet my sister.
We actually took photos right next to McDonalds because there was a caboose that made an interesting backdrop.
Cindy waits for me at thrift stores, cafes and other places while I go into Units. There are no visitors at a Prison Wedding.
Often, Cindy looks around for places to take photos if I ride to the Unit with a Client. Here are the Unit photos taken with my Bride and below them, the photos taken by me with loaned items I bring to Prison Weddings as a courtesy to Clients.
Photo 3 actually has the McDonalds building visible on the left behind my Bride. My phone was still too hot to turn itself back on. Upon returning to pick my sister up and do Bridal photos before heading to Tennessee Colony to another Unit, we were on back roads with a weak cell signal when another call came in regarding flying to LA on September 28th through October 2nd to film the show and what we assumed was to get help for my niece.
Assumptions can put you in an uncomfortable position. What you think is going to happen and what actually will are two different things. Throughout my life, I’ve found that many people have a failure to communicate in a way that’s understood by the other party. It was never understood by me that seeking help for my niece would literally open a can of worms but, that’s exactly what happened with Dr Phil’s Producers.
For all this time of taking calls, uploading videos and answering emails from Dr Phil’s Production Team, my sister and I believed that Dr Phil would help my niece. We wouldn’t have been involved with this time consuming and painful process had we known otherwise.
Cindy and I didn’t believe that tearing an already fragile family apart by opening a closet full of skeletons would be part of “the show.” Who would? Had we been available a month ago, we would’ve surely found out the hard way on national television by being asked about things that we are uncomfortable discussing.
Two months ago, I read an email that gave me hope my niece would find help on Dr Phil. I knew very little about the show as I don’t watch daytime television and prefer to read when not working. Reading relaxes me.
As usual, many of my FB Friends were asking about updates on Stephaney. My FB Friends often know far more about our lives than any other social media format I have.
Why? Because they’ve been my friends for years and nearly half of them are previous Clients that not only know Steph personally but also, my entire family who often work with me on location at Events. ALL of my TDCJ Clients have met my twin sister.
Cindy is my navigator on back roads and also at Bridal or Groom Photo Shoots. I’m night blind and don’t see well in the dark.
Cindy travels with me to give my husband peace of mind that I’m not alone hours from home and if it’s raining or dark, Cindy drives until we get close to a Unit.
We “map out” locations near Units to find a place for Cindy to wait on me every week. I drive thousands of miles every month.
My Clients ARE my friends. I value their opinions and insight and listen to their views on trying to help my niece.I was actually driving to Tennessee Colony from Rusk, Texas when the call from LA came in from Suzanne. Due to no cell towers between Rusk and Tennessee Colony, the call kept dropping. I didn’t call back because I couldn’t due to cell reception.
Arriving in Tennessee Colony, Suzanne called back. She wanted to speak to Stephaney who wasn’t answering her phone. I had to three way call Stephaney and advised her that they needed to speak with her. This conference call resulted in a screaming match from my niece (with Suzanne listening in) regarding Stephaneys outstanding warrants needing to be paid by me to keep Steph out of jail and available to travel.
For seventeen years, forcing my niece to accept the results of HER CHOICES and BAD DECISIONS has been an ongoing battle for not only me but also, my sister.
I hate surprises. I’ve always hated surprises. I am a planner by nature and due to Stephaney’s frequent “surprises” never pleased when the next “sucker punch” arrives regarding my niece. Fees, Fines, and more hardships have been “dumped” on my sister and I for YEARS by my niece. Frankly, we are sick of it. The rest of our family is sick of it too.
Stephaney had not one but TWO OUTSTANDING WARRANTS and a Court Date September 26th. Had I not paid these warrants, Stephaney would be arrested at the hearing and obviously unavailable to film Dr Phil’s Show.
Due to the Warrants, Stephaney would be arrested at her hearing in Parker County on the 26th UNLESS I paid her Warrants.
I called the Producer, Suzanne back and advised her that “I was LESS than PLEASED to be BURDENED with paying $800 in fines for Steph? Haven’t we already done enough in SEVENTEEN YEARS? After all, my twin sister and I have raised Stephaney’s twin daughters WITHOUT child support for fourteen years now.”
Suzanne reiterated that “Dr Phil does not pay fines or fees to keep people out of jail. The burden is on you and Cindy. If you want his help, you will be forced to pay Stephaney’s fines and warrants.
We were also going to be forced to go through our past of being molested by a family member, beaten by ex husbands and Cindy getting raped and raising the child without ever telling her that her father was a rapist. Thanks for nothing Dr Phil.
I was LIT ABOUT THIS. Why? Because four years ago, I paid for Court Ordered Rehab for my niece and told her then it would be the last time I would help her.
At the time, I meant it. For three and a half years, my niece was stable. She was working and finally establishing a relationship with her twin daughters that my twin has had custody of for the last fourteen years.
A year ago, my niece became erratic and unstable which resulted in my sister kicking Stephaney out of her house.
If you had told me two months ago that finding help for Stephaney would have destroyed my family and resulted in me paying fines in order for her to travel to LA rather than sitting in Jail, I wouldn’t have believed it. But, I can’t foresee what’s going to happen. Hindsight is 20/20.
Suzanne called Stephaney herself to let her know that Dr Phil cannot pay fines or warrants to keep guests out of Jail and the burden would be on Cindy and I to “handle” the Warrants in order for Stephaney to go to LA.
Cindy and I have a lot of time to discuss things driving across Texas. Prior to the Hodge Unit trip, I had found a free medical clinic post on FB. I will get to how this “ties in” to the story first and then explain why Cindy and I ALREADY had reservations regarding Dr Phil second due to the “Warrant Situation AND Expense” being dumped on us by Dr Phil.
Our friend, Angela and my niece, Stephaney both needed dental work. For years, I’ve tried to find a way to get Angela dental work. The free clinic actually opened on the day that I had to be at Hodge Unit.
Since I had to leave my home in the dark, Cindy drove for me on Wednesday and planned to spend the night at Will Rodgers with Angela and Stephaney upon our return from Rusk and Tennessee Colony.
Arriving back home after 6 hours of driving, I packed snacks and drinks for Cindy at my home before she left to pick up Angela.
After screaming at Stephaney on the conference call in Tennessee Colony that Cindy and I “weren’t spending any more money on Stephaney’s mistakes as we were raising her daughters and have been without child support for fourteen years,” Stephaney wasn’t speaking to Cindy or I.
Ironically, since Stephaney showed up at the free health fair and gave Cindy the opportunity to ask what Dr Phil’s Production People had been telling her.
The truth hurts and the truth is that over a seventeen year window, either Cindy or I have spent tens of thousands of dollars to “Save Stephaney” while saving her twin daughters.
You just read that right! Rehab, paying towing fees, posting bonds, paying fines and more while raising Maryssa and Makenna without benefit of child support.
The fact that Dr Phil’s Producer was literally blackmailing us into paying Steph’s Warrants in order for her to “get help with Dr Phil,” made Cindy and I furious.
The free medical and dental clinic was open for 3 days. I was VERY UNCOMFORTABLE about having Angela wait for the dental clinic and had let my niece know about the clinic so she could arrive and get free dental care with Angela.
Cindy and Angela were in folding chairs for nearly 5 hours waiting in the Dental Line when Stephaney walked from my dad’s house to the Dental Line about two miles away and joined Cindy and Angela last Thursday.
For reasons that my twin sister didn’t understand, Stephaney declined free dental care although she had waited seventeen hours with Cindy and Angela.
Stephaney obviously needed dental work so, my sister asked her why after waiting nearly twenty hours Stephaney was declining free dental work?
The answer SHOCKED MY SISTER. “Dr Phil’s Producer told me they would fix my teeth to go on the show. I don’t want some jicky dentist working on me. I want caps and veneers!”
Producers will tell you anything to drag you on this show. They won’t pay $800 for fines but they WILL PAY THOUSANDS to fix someone’s teeth? I knew this was a deliberate lie. Stephaney didn’t but, Cindy and I did.
Needless to say, my sister “alerted” me about this when I brought food and coffee to Will Rogers for Angela, Cindy and Stephaney with my son later that morning.
Ironically, I was with Cindy and Stephaney at Will Rogers when Melena called me regarding a text I had sent her outlining that if they had promised Stephaney dental work, to send it to me in writing. Rather than doing so, Melena called me.
Steph was upset that I told her they weren’t being honest by offering thousands of dollars of dental work without proving they intended to do so and had walked off by the time Melena called me.
Because of this, I put my phone on speaker and chased Stephaney down to prove that Dr Phil wasn’t going to fix Stephaney’s teeth. This was AFTER she declined free dental care because she believed the producers!
What happened next will be even more shocking to those of you who don’t realize that people will tell you anything to suck you into a web of deception. Stay tuned because this story gets better and better.
Melena told Stephaney “only if the Production Team feels you need dental work in order to be on the show will dental work be approved. We cannot guarantee the show will repair your teeth or put that in writing as your Aunt Wendy asked us to do for you.”
That’s right I was fired up AGAIN that Stephaney believed everything she heard and because of her belief, skipped out on an opportunity for free dental work!
I’ve been back and forth to Tennessee Colony several times during the two month window of trying to get help for Stephaney.
Tennessee Colony is actually a “City Of Prisons” and ALL Units schedule Prison Weddings on different days of the week.
The recorded “phone interview” with Melena actually took place in the parking lot of Russell Stover in Corsicana, Texas. Why? We stop there frequently and treat ourselves to caramel apples topped it’s chopped nuts. Cindy and I no longer bite into candy apples and employees cut them into 6 pieces as a courtesy.
There are numerous Russell Stover locations near Texas Prisons including Ferguson Unit. Stopping in for a delicious apple is a treat.
I had actually just pulled in when Melena called for this “interview.” Within minutes, I literally lost my appetite upon hearing where these questions were headed.
This was the view of Russell Stover from my SUV sent to my husband to let him know when I would be home and that Cindy and I were making a pit stop coming back from Coffield Unit.While Cindy listenned to my interview questions first, her heart sank along with my own. This “interview” starts out simple enough with your name, your address, your DOB, your bra size, your shirt size, your shoe size, your height and your weight.
Then, things get tricky. “How many times have you been married? Have you ever been raped or sexually assaulted or both? I’m going to need the details. How many children do you have? Have you ever had a miscarriage? Who is the father? Why did you get a divorce? Why didn’t you press charges?”
I could go on but, you get the point. Nothing is private. Nothing is sacred. My reasons for wanting things “removed from this interview” will be self explanatory in a moment.
My sister and I were sexually abused by a family member. Since this abuse started on our 6th birthday, we were young enough to compartmentalize the trauma of having someone we trusted abuse our trust.
Since it was a family member, I was ADAMANT about not discussing this issue on television. Sitting in a parking lot that was familiar and a happy place for Cindy and I, my sister started crying long before my “interview” concluded.
Cindy knew where this was headed and like me, wondered why in the Hell things that happened to us that haunt us that we had also put behind us were being brought up simply because we were trying to help her daughter?
After my “interview” concluded, Cindy was asked the same questions and I’m going to point one thing out because it bothered me, this “why didn’t you press charges” question infuriated me. In the 60’s and 70’s there weren’t any CPS Investigations regarding abuse. I ought to know. My mom was a heroin addict who regularly forgot where she had left us.
My sister and I were kidnapped at 7 years old and left in a park. The police were called and my twin and I were forced to attempt to identify the man who had taken us. It was a “friend” of our mothers.
The trauma of standing in a plastic chair trying to remember which one of those people had hurt us was so horrific that my sister wet herself standing there. While another family member would continue to abuse us for years with threats of “separating you two and putting you in a foster home where you will be beaten and never see your sister again,” the person who took us and dumped us like trash in Griffin Park was as much of a monster as my grandfather was.
Standing in the police station, I would be unable to speak and could only point at the person who had taken us. The person called to pick us up? My grandfather. Let me put this out there once and for all that I developed a chronic stutter and eventually stopped speaking for years after that police station. YEARS. If someone raised their voice, my sister wet herself.
Our lives were a living Hell because our dad was always at work and our grandmother didn’t believe us and we weren’t the ONLY victims of my grandfather. Upon his death, my sister even made me check to make sure he was dead so she would never have to worry about her daughters being around him ever again. I did.
Having all of that shit brought up and opening wounds that we had closed all those years ago was the cruelest thing I’ve endured since my first divorce when my husband brought my sister in to deposition her for HOURS about what had happened at the hands of our grandfather.
It was the single most unforgivable thing my exhusband had ever done. I was hospitalized 11 times during that marriage and beaten with War and Peace (a very large book) and thrown down the stairs but, nothing he had ever done would compare with dragging my sister through our childhood.
My attorney was an idiot who didn’t limit the questions to the duration of the marriage. I wasn’t allowed in the deposition. As long as I breathe, I will never forgive him for dragging Cindy through the horrors of our childhood. Period.
Production Assistants are usually twenty something and rarely have any life experience. They don’t understand pain. They are immune to empathy and, they trudge on looking for pain. Pain is great for tv ratings.
Cindy and I left home at 15. We had no car. We had no money. We had nowhere to go. We lived at the Women’s Haven. After we left, we lied about our ages and took jobs as waitresses to keep from starving. We couldn’t afford electricity. Cindy was leaving her shift at IHOP while he was still working at Red Lobster.
My sister unlocked the door to our darkened apartment and was pushed in by a stranger who savagely raped her. This stranger also defacated in our bathtub which we didn’t realize until the next day. I was horrified that my sister was brutalized again. What we didn’t know and couldn’t know was that she was pregnant.
Dr Phil’s Producers “squeezed” this information from my sister. By doing so, they opened a deep wound and the fear that Cindy’s daughter would be asked if she knew who her father was drove Cindy into admitting it herself before Dr Phil’s People could first.
Sitting in that parking lot watching my sister cry while admitting that we raised her daughter together and never thought about how she came to be, I hated Dr Phil. I hated what they had put my family through simply because I wanted to help my niece.
Since I don’t watch tv and prefer to read or listen to music, I taught myself to stop stuttering by singing to songs. When I’m upset though, my mind drifts back to the victim that I once was and my speech becomes incoherent. Dr Phil’s Production Team did that. They hurt my sister who has survived so much and has raised her twin granddaughters since birth fourteen years ago that she cried herself to sleep. I was furious at Dr Phil and his producers.
I came home and got on the internet to find out who else was traumatized by seeking help with Dr Phil? The results were shocking! Brian Cuban (Mark Cuban’s brother) nearly went on Dr Phil.
Another lady got death threats after appearing on the show. The things I found were so alarming that I literally kicked myself for ever subjecting my sister and I to all of the questions, all of the digging, all of the pain we had put behind us simply because we wanted to help Stephaney.
Perhaps because the production team knew that I perform Prison Weddings and LBGT Marriages, Dr Phil planned to use that against me on tv? Who knows. I know this, they wouldn’t film the show without me. Did they plan to surprise us by blurring out that Cindy gave birth to a child after being raped? Was all this information solely to embarrass us? I don’t know but I know this- we aren’t going on Dr Phil and after all of these weeks of trying to get help for Stephaney and paying her fines and getting her nails done, I have wasted two months of my life. My sister is beyond devastated and all we wanted was to help Stephaney.
Whenever a call from LA came in the past few months, I was on the road with Cindy headed to a Prison or Client Meeting. I was NEVER sitting around waiting on the phone to ring because we work to pay our bills.
I try to “stack weddings” at each Unit to keep from running back and forth to the same Unit in the same month, it should be noted that I had just been at TDCJ Hodge Unit two weeks prior to last week with another Bride.
“Stacking” works most of the time but not ALL of the time at TDCJ Weddings. Here’s a photo of my other TDCJ Hodge Unit Bride from two weeks ago.Since everyone asks “do you get paid to go on Dr Phil?” The answer is NO. I get paid to work and by missing four days of work, LOSE MONEY. What the show DOES DO is pay airfare and hotel expenses.
What I THOUGHT the show also did was cover counseling for the person needing assistance. My phone to “clarify” this free dental work jazz also addressed “guaranteed counseling.” The answer to this was tricky at best and deceptive at worst. “Dr Phil CANNOT guarantee treatment for participants of the show. It’s at HIS DISCRETION.”
Hmmm, so my family was put through a series of invasive questions, emails, recorded phone calls and required videos that effectively “dug up” one of my nieces being a child of rape. This actually started a huge argument between my niece and my sister (her mother) who has never in 34 years disclosed who her father was. Dr Phil’s Producers “don’t let sleeping dogs lie.” They want all the dirt to use it on air for “all the drama.”
I’ve learned that shows like Dr Phil force you to sign a Non Disparagement Agreement. Why? Because you give them permission to edit and expose yourself to public ridicule. You have no rights with these types of contracts. You give them up to go on tv and try to get help for your family member on Dr Phil.
Dr Phil isn’t a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist. The “Dr” is misleading and after watching a few YouTube videos myself, I’ve learned that kindness isn’t part of the show them. Brian Cuban was right about Dr Phil being similar to Jerry Springer without the boobs and fist fights.
Dr Phil and his Production Team thrive on drama, heartache and sadness. They get great ratings because they use people and their struggles on a show that guarantees very little in exchange for giving up far too much…