Sue says her husband of 12 years, Andy, is verbally abusive and that she’s so scared of him, she remains submissive — including getting drunk and having sex with him — to keep the peace.
So, why is she worried that Andy will leave her? Andy admits that he can be a bully, loses his temper and calls Sue vile names, but he says the duties of a wife are to have sex, cook and clean — and Sue doesn’t carry her weight around the house. After breaking up numerous times, why do they keep reuniting? And, hear from Sue’s two adult children. What do they say contributes to the chaos in their mom and Andy’s relationship? Is there hope for this couple’s marriage, or should they cut ties?
“I’m So Scared”
“I’m a bad wife because I don’t do what Andy wants me to do,” says Sue. “I don’t feel I’m good enough for him. I don’t feel that I deserve him.” She says that when Andy comes home from work, he wants dinner on the table, and if he wants sex, she gives it to him. “I don’t usually talk back because if I do, I know I’m going to get the wrath of Khan,” she shares. “I can’t do anything right. My tone of voice is wrong. If I say anything, I’m arguing with him. I always feel like I’m going to be in trouble.”
Sue claims Andy has choked her, chased her, broken down doors, taken away phones, locked her in the garage and cursed at her on a regular basis. “Andy is evil,” she says. “Andy can get violent; but since I stay so submissive, I don’t think Andy would get physical with me again, but I, honestly, don’t care. If he’s going to kill me, he’s going to kill me. I feel like I’m already dead, anyway.”
When a Dr. Phil producer asks Sue additional questions, Sue becomes worried about how Andy will react to her answers. “I’m just afraid Andy is going to get mad at me for saying something wrong or doing something wrong,” she says. “I just don’t want him mad at me, because I’m afraid he’s going to leave me … If Andy leaves me, I feel like I will die. Andy is like a part of me. I’ve lost who Sue is, so he tells me who I am.”
Sue says that Andy tells her, “’No one else would ever want you when they find out who you really are.’”
“Which is who?” Dr. Phil asks.
“Dumb, ugly, fat, stupid, unlovable,” Sue says.
“She Just Keeps Pushing My Buttons”
Andy says he’s not the only one to blame in this situation and that Sue could be a better wife. “Sue should respect the fact that I am the man of the house. I provide everything for her,” Andy says. “The duties of a wife are to have sex, and cook, and clean and do her fair share, I mean, if she’s not working. I work between 40 and 60 hours a week. If I tell her to have dinner ready sooner, she should do it. Or, if I ask her to pay a bill, she should try hard to do it.”
Andy admits that he gets upset if Sue doesn’t want to have sex for three or four days. “A lot of times, I won’t say anything, and it will be ongoing, and then when I do say something, I don’t present myself with a very nice tone of voice. I come across as a little mean or intimidating,” he reveals. “When I’m really mad, I lose my temper, throw things and call her names. She just keeps pushing my buttons.”
Sue’s two children from a previous relationship, 25-year-old Blain and 21-year-old Ashley, grew up living with Andy.
“When I was younger, I was often the mediator, so I was always put in the middle of everything,” Blain says. “When I was 16, Andy pushed my mom up against the ‘fridge. I shoved him back, and we got into a shoving match, and we got into each other’s face, and I was scared.”
Blain says he used to blame Andy for most of the fights, but he now says both his mom and Andy are to blame. “I realize that my mom instigates fights, and that’s how they keep arguing. Andy tries to leave and walk away, and my mom will come find him and find more things to argue about,” he shares. “I don’t blame my mom for all the problems in her marriage, but I do believe it takes two to create problems.”
Blain says he moved out seven years ago, because he couldn’t take the fighting. But his 21-year-old sister, Ashley, still lives at home.
“Life is a living hell when I’m at home,” Ashley reveals, fighting back tears. “My mom and Andy always end up fighting. He asks her, ‘Are you dumb? Are you stupid? You’re an idiot.’ When I hear these things, it brings me physical pain.
“I’m very afraid that one day he might snap and hurt her, because he has a lot of anger,” she continues. “My mom gets into deep depression from the way that he treats her. She won’t want to eat. She will barely even talk to you, and sometimes, I just go in there and lay with her.”
Ashley says she won’t move out because she doesn’t want to leave her mom alone with Andy. But, she says, “I hate coming home, because no one should have to call a place like that their home.”
Resurrecting Their Relationship
Dr. Phil tells Andy and Sue how they can change their relationship radically and immediately.
“Anytime you come to a relationship, you either contaminate the relationship, or you contribute to it. Right now, you are both contaminators,” Dr. Phil tells Sue and Andy. “You have to start remembering why you fell in love with and married her to begin with. You’re just having trouble finding the girl you fell in love with, because you’ve beat her back, you’ve beat her down,” he says to Andy. Turning to Sue, he continues, “You don’t own his behavior, but you own yours. You’ve ceased to walk with pride. You’ve ceased to walk with the dignity of the woman who you are, because you are depressed. We need to change all of that.”
Andy and Sue agree to work on themselves to heal their relationship.