2013 Shows

In a Dr. Phil exclusive, runaway Pennsylvania mom Brenda Heist, 54, speaks out for the first time since abandoning her family 11 years ago -- leaving them to believe she had been kidnapped or murdered. Why does she say she walked away from her life after dropping off her two young children, then ages 8 and 12, at school? And, where has she been living all these years? Brenda, who is now behind bars on a probation violation, was declared legally dead three years ago -- so, how was she recently found? Plus, hear Brenda’s tearful message to the children she left behind. Did she try to contact them over the years? And, don’t miss the surprise reunion that brings Brenda to tears.

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: msblueii on Oct 13, 2013, 6:49AM - In reply to hsfred
Good feedback, like what you said about the brain shutting down.  Had not thought of that.  Explains a lot of how people do the things they do.  Like they separate themselves from themselves.
Replied By: mjc2009 on Sep 8, 2013, 2:29PM
I believe this woman probably did what she felt was best at the time.  I know the children and the father/husband felt abandoned.   I know the husband was scrutinized and treated like a suspect in her disappearance.  I know they all are conflicted in how to handle meeting her now or not meeting her - whichever they ultimately decide.  I am not saying what she did was completely right but it may have been better for her to leave them with a father she felt could take care of them better than she could herself rather than stay and possibly damage the children emotionally more due to her OWN damaged emotional state which would most likely continue to deteriorate.  One viewer said men do this all the time and we don't see them being vilified and put into the national news over their abandonment but this woman has been treated like the worst parent ever in the media accounts when all she did was simply walk away because she did not know how to cope with the overwhelming stress she was feeling due to her marriage ending and what she saw as the end of her ability to care for her children properly.   I would rather see a parent remove themselves from their children's lives than try to stay and cause more damage if that is the alternative.   I don't think anyone can comprehend what damage you can wreak on a child if you yourself are emotionally unhealthy.
Replied By: sister3 on May 30, 2013, 6:31PM
I felt so bad for this woman, and Dr Phil kept repeating "what kind of person does this?" and "millions of mother's are out there wondering how a mother could do this" . Well there are millions of mom's who have THOUGHT about it!! It is not easy being a mom and when you add to that other problems and your own upbringing, and desperation, who knows what a person will do???? She left, she did not take the Susan Smith, Andrea Yates, etc way out and kill the children. She was desperate and left them with a loving father, whom she believed could and would raise them in a loving home. I am sure there were many times she wanted to call, but it would be very easy to talk yourself out of it as time went by, thinking you would do more harm by doing so. God Bless her, and may people, including her children quit judging her. They have not walked in her shoes.
Replied By: jennifer_lo on May 25, 2013, 5:47AM - In reply to seeturtle
Yes, they both left.  Sorry I didn't make it clear.  I was thinking faster than I could type.  How can parents do that to their children?  I'll not be able to understand in this lifetime.
Replied By: lisa22710 on May 24, 2013, 8:03PM
I watched this episode and cried along with Brenda.  My heart goes out to Her. I have felt like running away Myself at least once in My Life with the exception of I would have taken My Kids with Me. I can understand how desperate She felt. In the past 2 years My Husband went to prison, lost My home to foreclosure, lost My job and My car was repossessed. If I could start all over somewhere new........I'd do it. I will pray for Her not to lose faith/hope, that She gets the help She needs, and that Her kids will forgive Her. Thank God She is alive. Brenda if You have the oppurtunity to see this message.........I understand and My thoughts and prayers are with You.
Replied By: gadfly2 on May 24, 2013, 8:29AM
I watched this woman and wanted to reach out, hold her hand and give her a hug.  Is there no compassion for her situation and is it because of her children?  This is someone who felt desparate and all alone, who chose to run away -- where many in her situation would have chosen suicide.  Not eveyone has the capacity for what is/was expected of her-- complete and total selflessness, under any and all circustances, where nothing and noone comes before the MOTHER"S children.  Motherhood is supposd to produce sainthood and she is merely human. 

Dr. Phil, in your quest for what, 'objectvity?"  children above all? I think you failed to show any compassion for a human being in pain-- very unlike you.  Where was the usual handkerchief that you always pull out for a crying person?  Was it denied in punishment, because of her looks, her palce  in jail? why why why?  Me-- very disappointed
Replied By: gadfly2 on May 24, 2013, 8:19AM - In reply to shaunabh
I am very sorry for your loss.  However, it is blinding you and blocking any compassion or feeling beyond grief leading to such harsh words.
Replied By: nkillen on May 23, 2013, 4:01PM
I am sympathetic with this woman.....I thought at one time that the only option I had was to run. His family had enough money to take my kids away and I thought disappearing was my only option! I cried while I watched this show, sweetheart....I hope your children forgive you because you are stronger than you think!!
Replied By: lipatrici on May 23, 2013, 8:59AM - In reply to KateBauer
But sometime I can relate To her, and sometime is because the person that suppose to love you the most is just no really there for you
Replied By: lillyf4 on May 22, 2013, 4:30AM - In reply to lillyf4
Let me clarify my last reply. Perhaps someone with an imbalance in things like their neurotransmitters, serotonin,norepinephrine dopamine, trimonoamine etc etc could  wake up one day and say "hey serotonin levels, you guys better rise cause I feel off balance today" and poof their levels magically rise and their mood is regulated, then yes, they are being lame if they continue to make poor decisions. What are the chances of that happening ,Tito?

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