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(Original Air Date: 02/29/11) What’s a woman to do when her spouse is constantly standing over her shoulder and nitpicking everything she does? Michelle says her husband, Jim, has controlled her for the 15 years that they’ve been together, and she’s fed up with his faultfinding. She says he tells her what to wear, how much she should eat and even uses a GPS to track her whereabouts! Jim admits that his behavior is out of control and fears that he could be pushing his wife out the door. Why is he so critical of Michelle, and can Dr. Phil get the judgmental hubby to change his ways? Then, Sally says her husband, John, is so controlling that she spends most of her days picking up dust bunnies from the floor and only speaking when he allows her to. John says cleanliness is next to godliness and believes control is a matter of perception. See what causes him to go toe to toe with Dr. Phil! Will the couple get the help they’re seeking? It’s an explosive It’s an explosive Dr. Phil you don’t want to miss!

Find out what happened on the show.
Comments
Replied By: katmint on Feb 8, 2014, 8:42PM
I have just watched this episode and this was so blindingly obvious to me.  The way his wife had to talk to him and ultimately remove him to calm him down from overload/meltdown was the main clue as I have that on a daily basis with my 16 year old with autism and sensory issues.  His anxiety levels were huge, his movement and speech were classic.  He overfocuses, takes charge of a conversation and can only relate experiences to himself.  He cannot observe the basic social rules and norms.  I don't need to tell anyone, much less Dr. Phil that order and routine are paramount to autistic people and comorbid conditions are common (eg. OCD), and this was evident too, although I concede some of that could be down to a military background and his upbringing.  I felt when I saw her rearrange the fruit and he explained about shaking the rug that this was more than the usual domineering or abusive husband who does so to control his own fears.  His wife was not afraid of him, that was clear, she managed to talk him down like you would a child - which I am not knocking her down for, it's necessary at times like that, but if she were with a different type of control she'd be terrified to tell him what to do.  This is my first post, I felt so strongly about this that I joined up!  I had already felt he had these issues before I read the below posts and am relieved to see I'm not alone.


For the poster who asked the difference between PTSD and Asperger's, it's like chalk and cheese.  Asperger's is now a fairly obsolete diagnosis thanks to DSM-V which has removed it and encorporated it into autism.  It was already an Autism Spectrum Disorder but it is now part and parcel of autism proper in diagnostic terms (and I'm not arguing for or against that to anyone here who is not fond of the change).  Autism is a spectrum disorder that effects people in how they function socially and interact and perceive the world around them.  When people here the word autism they usually think of very severe, even non verbal cases, or perhaps Rain Man or tales of autistic "savants" who are geniuses.  In fact the reason it is called a spectrum disorder is that each aspect or 'symptom' affects each person with autism to varying degrees.  Autistic people can be very high functioning, with the usual range of intelligence and managing to muddle through life with people just thinking they're "odd", "eccentric" or "annoying".  Asperger's was the (for lack of better word) form of autism that was often wrongly used to describe high functioning cases - "Oh he's too intelligent to be autistic, he must have Asperger's" - and this is part of why the diagnosis is no longer in the DSM.  If Asperger's remained a separate condition, even then it would have nothing to do with intelligence.  The only difference diagnostically was that if someone did not have a history of delayed speech they were given an Asperger's diagnosis, if they had a history of speech delay, even if rectified with no remaining speech issues, they would get an autism diagnosis - both conditions had people with all levels of intelligence.  


Saying that, even some doctors would give a high functioning autistic child the Asperger's label just because they weren't "as" impaired as their preconception of autism and were not so impaired that they seemed "autistic enough".  The encorporation of Asperger's into autism has risked many high functioning kids getting misdiagnosed now the Asperger's diagnosis is gone, as many doctors will expect higher impairment to give them the diagnosis of autism despite it being the same - confusing I know!   So, all in all, a very different issue to PTSD.  I'm quite surprised that isn't covered in degree level Psychology over there, it was quite well covered in mine here in our Child Development modules (not in any way belittling yours, just wondering what you got in its place that I missed out on lol)!
 
Replied By: futurehopenow on Feb 4, 2012, 6:45AM - In reply to lawdogg
I don't know about where you live, but here in Iowa or Illinois there is no such thing as other people "having someone committed." They dont' do that anymore. The person has to sign themselves in for help voluntarily.  I know, stupid right? There are MANY I would have had committed a long time ago!
 
Replied By: futurehopenow on Feb 4, 2012, 5:57AM - In reply to suec254
Hi. I read your comment about Aspbergers Syndrome.  I was thinking John had symptoms of PTSD. You really think Aspbergers? Can you please tell me the difference between the two disorders...equally irritating to the one on the receiving end, but let me know what you know about all this please, because I'm a Psych major and very interested.



~Laura
 
Replied By: suec254 on Oct 12, 2011, 8:09PM - In reply to terridragoo
Yes, it's clear to me and some others on these boards that John has Asperger's Syndrome.  If you are experienced in arguments asperger-style it was so typical.  Note how he deflected the topic, and became more intense as the emotions heated up.  His anxiety levels rose.  What happens in AS is that as the emotions rise their IQ drops somewhat, they can't process both at the same time.  Note how he avoided eye contact with Dr Phil when they were standing.  John actually believes all that stuff about his wife's weight and the housework because he doesn't understand her complaints about her emotional needs.  There was another couple of the show a few years ago, an equally controlling husband who had lists of everything he expected his wife to do.  He was an engineer, and IMO also and AS guy.  More and more men with AS get married and create distress for the wives who are unaware of this problem that has no solution.  When is Dr Phil going to be brave enough to present this topic.  Is it because he can't fix it??
 
Replied By: suec254 on Oct 12, 2011, 7:48PM - In reply to tukigirl
John has exactly the same argument style and high anxiety as my husband who has Asperger's.  I go to a support group and we have a team of specialist psychologists who are experienced and knowledgeable in both the neurological differences in people with AS, and how it impacts negatively on relationships.  I agree with another post that John doesn't belong with people who just have a bossy personality type.  He is controlling because he has anxiety which is part of AS.  He needs to control his external environment because his internal environment is lacking in the rich emotional skills that you and I have.  People with AS dont' even have a good memory for conversations especially if they involve talking about emotions.  Notice how John just kept deflecting the topic onto the housekeeping, or his wife's weight and other side issues.  That's because he actually can't grasp the focus of the topic which is himself and his own behaviours.  he simply does not have the insight to do this.     Many therapists, and other health professionals will not get this if they have not had years of direct experience with AS.  You need to live with it to know how it really works.   John will not change because he can't change.  His brain physiology is different.  I hope his wife reads these boards.  I am in Australia by the way and this show only aired today.
 
Replied By: suec254 on Oct 12, 2011, 7:18PM
There are many of us here who are experienced in recognising full fledged Asperger's Syndrome in action.  John was clearly in meltdown mode with high anxiety levels.  Note that he avoided eye contact.  All the red flags were there.   He did all the things my AS husband does:  no empathy, intense need for control.  Notice how he deflected everything away from the core issue of his own behaviour and his wife's feelings.  This is because neurologically he can't grasp what is going on.  He deflects and blames her weight, her housekeeping and the discussion goes around in typical Asperger circles.  You can be sure that the next day he still won't "get it" and will again repeat all that stuff about housekeeping etc.  He won't get it because he can't, like telling a blind person to see.  Interesing how they talked about how they met, it was friendship and she was attracted to his looks.  This is very typical of AS marriages. I missed the begining, what was his occupation?  If it was engineering, It, etc. that is another AS box to tick.  I can't believe how much John's argument style mirrored that of my husband.  My technique is to do exactly what Dr Phil did when he said "stop, we're not talking about that".   Unless you've lived with it you don't understand how these guy's brains work when you're trying to communcate with them.  Please Dr Phil will you cover this topic in your show.  Asperger guys grow up and get married and create hell for their wives who think they are going mad but don't realise they are dealing with someone who has a very different interior world and brain functioning.
 
Replied By: vtbrowns on Jul 3, 2011, 12:48PM - In reply to sherlife
John??  Is that you??? Get some help, my man. 
 
Replied By: vtbrowns on Jul 3, 2011, 12:47PM - In reply to tukigirl
I also thought John had Aspberger's.  Wow.
 
Replied By: vtbrowns on Jul 3, 2011, 12:46PM
Wow.  John was probably the most outrageous guest I've ever seen on the show.  That was either extreme anxiety because he was in a situation that he could not  control OR he has some form of Autism, such as Aspberger's.  I certainly hope that, off camera, Dr. Phil was able to convince him that he needs medical help.   He was pretty scary.   We need a follow-up, Dr. Phil!
 
Replied By: onward on Jun 26, 2011, 12:41PM - In reply to restraint
Trust me - if you'd ever lived in a verbally abusive relationship you would not for one minute believe that the wife wants people to feel sorry for her.

She wants to be able to breathe.  She wants to be able to relax and know that she's loved.  She wants to walk in the door JUST ONCE without worrying about whether she's going to be yelled at for some mysterious fault.  She would really, really like to wake up one morning without having her stomach in knots, wondering whether this will be a bad day (yelling/screaming/tension) or a good day (not happy, but at least not being yelled at).

It's a merry-go-round that wears you out emotionally and physically.  It's not likely to produce feelings of self pity as you seem to to think; she's so beaten down right now she has no self esteem at all and doesn't feel she's worth pity.
 
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