The Web     
Powered by
powered by Yahoo!
Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Dr. Phil McGraw

Aired May 14, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Dr. Phil, the new king of daytime talk. Keeping it real for a full primetime hour. Whatever issues we've got, we'll cover with Dr. Phil, here for the hour with your phone calls. He's next on LARRY KING LIVE.
It's always a great pleasure to welcome him to these shores. Boy, is he exciting. It's always great to see Dr. Phil, McGraw, the Emmy-nominated host of daytime talk show "Dr. Phil." It's had great success in its first season. His No. 1 "New York Times" best-selling book, "Self Matters" and "The Self Matters Companion" are both available on paperback, and both will be on "The New York Times" list next week. By the way, he's also the author of "Self Matters: Creating Your Life From the Inside Out," and that was the No. 1 best- selling book in nonfiction hardcover throughout the year of 2002.

How do you feel about the Emmy nominations.


KING: You got to know you were going to get them.

MCGRAW: Well, you know, I'm proud of it, I really am, because I think we've done -- I think we've done some quality television this year. You probably don't remember this, but starting out is a different challenge.

KING: It is, but I will tell you...

MCGRAW: They just had sketch artist when you started.


MCGRAW: They didn't actually have cameras or anything.

KING: That's it, tick off the host!

MCGRAW: That's it!

KING: Start right away.

MCGRAW: I'm in trouble now!

KING: I will tell you, doing your show, it was the best first- year show I ever saw, and it was a pleasure to be on it.

MCGRAW: Well, thanks.

KING: It was a load of fun. You handled it great. But you were -- were you ever nervous?

MCGRAW: No, I haven't been. I really haven't been nervous. But Maybe it's just ignorance.


MCGRAW: I don't think it's courage as much as it's ignorance because I forget about the camera. I forget about the audience, and I deal with whoever is there at the time, whoever's in front of me.

KING: And the main thing is, are you having fun?

MCGRAW: I am having a ball.

KING: If you're not, it ain't worth it.

MCGRAW: No, it's not. And you know, you and I talked about that a lot, and you gave me some good advice about, you know, how to keep the balance and not be caught up and absorbed by it. And really, it has been a terrific amount of fun. But you know, is fun, I guess, no matter...

KING: Better than failure.

MCGRAW: Yes, whatever you're doing. And we have enjoyed a great degree of receptivity and success by the public.

KING: How has Oprah regarded your success?

MCGRAW: Oh, my gosh! She is -- she's like a proud mom, of course. You know, everything that I've learned -- because I'd never done television before I started doing Oprah. And as I've said, if you're going to start, start at the top. You know, you start on the Oprah...

KING: Why not?

MCGRAW: ... show. And I've often said I'm the only graduate from Oprah University. And you know, what a teacher. I mean, she really taught me some core values about what it takes to really succeed in doing what I'm doing. And I embraced those values and really aspire to live to them.

KING: Was one of the conditions that your show never appear opposite hers?

MCGRAW: We did make an agreement with all of our affiliates. Of course, we sat down and talked about it and said there's no reason we should fracture the audience, where they have to choose between the two. She did that -- she agreed to it because she's gracious. I agreed to it because I'm not a fool. I don't want to go head-to-head with Oprah. So we've made it where she's on at 4:00, I'm on at 3:00. Usually, if she's on at 3:00, I'm on at 4:00. And that way, people don't have to choose.

KING: Has she told you why she's extending two years? MCGRAW: I think that she really is feeling the passion for what she's doing. And I think you can't do the kind of shows that we do -- and I'm presumptuous to put myself in her category, but -- where we're really trying to enrich people's lives, give them something that they can use in their day, a show with a take-away. You know, there's some take-away from it. You watch the show, you leave with a thought, a concept, an idea, an inspiration, something like that.

KING: Something more than you had before the hour.

MCGRAW: And I think she feels compelled to do that because, you know, you have to play to your strengths, and she's the best there ever was. She's the best that ever will be. And I think she feels a need to keep doing that. And I hope she keeps doing it forever.

KING: Aren't there nights or moments when you're alone when you just say, Wow?

MCGRAW: Yes. You know, I guess...

KING: With all that's happened to you.

MCGRAW: She and I were talking about this the other day, and I said something to her that really struck me. I said -- because she asked me, she said, Do you ever just, like, pinch yourself? Do you ever just say, Oh, my gosh, what's happening here? And I told her the thing that I guess impacts me is I don't feel famous. I don't feel like a celebrity because I don't feel like celebrities look, if you know what I mean. I mean, think about it. You watch some movie star going down the red carpet or you watch somebody -- you know, I've seen you where the 10,000 flashbulbs going off at one time and everything.

KING: You don't feel that?

MCGRAW: And I don't feel like that looks. That looks glamorous, and -- but I guess when you're in front of those 10,000 flashbulbs, it's just 10,000 flashbulbs.

KING: But you've become (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I mean, the "Tonight" show, and they have Katie Couric hosting. You come on as a surprise guest. You are now part of the nomenclature. Do you accept that? You have no choice but to.

MCGRAW: Yes. I mean, what's your choice? I mean, you and I don't live three blocks away from each other.

KING: We do. We're neighbors.

MCGRAW: And you know, you're out there looking through your gate to see what's going on. I'm thinking, boy, you have a slow day if you're trying to see what I'm doing!

KING: Has success affected in any way, do you think, your ability to help people?

MCGRAW: Well, I think this. Right or wrong, I think when you're published and when you're broadcast, it lends credibility to you, probably for the wrong reasons. I mean, the fact that you're on television regularly should not lend to your credibility, but I think it probably does in people's minds. And it's changed the way I think, I can tell you for sure.

KING: It has? Like?

MCGRAW: Absolutely. Well, I've realized the power of the television platform. I mean, we're on in almost 200 affiliates domestically and I think over 40 foreign countries. I know that there are millions of people watching every time I do a show, and I need to be a good steward of that. I need to weigh that. I need to weigh very carefully what I say. And I do my homework. I'm very careful to do my homework before I get up there and talk. And if I'm giving my opinion instead of the facts as I have found them, then I label it as such. I mean, I can recall a few shows recently where I've said, OK, this is pure opinion so -- I mean, this is just one man talking. And I distinguish that from, The research mandates this particular approach to something...


MCGRAW: ... I try to be a good steward of it.

KING: If your ego does run wild, that will affect what you think and how you help people.

MCGRAW: Oh, absolutely. I think that -- look, people tune in to me for my content. They sure ain't tuning in to look at me. I mean, they say I got a great face for radio. And I know it's all about the content. And so, as I've said before, it's not unusual, if I'm getting ready to work with a guest, a family, a couple, I might get a notebook with anywhere from 50 to 100 pages of background research. We do cross-sectional histories, longitudinal histories, medical histories, social histories, get all the background so I know what I'm talking about.

KING: Did you ever think of entering radio?

MCGRAW: You know, I really haven't at this point because my plate's full. Like I say, I know it's been a while since you have been through it, but starting your own national, international television show, where you do an hour a day with no script, that's a pretty full-time gig. So I haven't been looking for something extra to do.

KING: You find the time to write, though.

MCGRAW: I do. I think that it organizes and crystallizes my thinking. It gets my strategy. It gets my philosophy. It gets some order to my approach to human functioning.

KING: How do you prevent, Doctor, rewriting the same theme? In other words, you had the hit book "Self Matters." How do you prevent not making every book "Self Matters 7"? MCGRAW: Yes. I think that with me, it's subject matter. And I think "Self Matters" had 90,000 words in it, which, you know, is a 300-page book. I probably wrote 850,000 to 900,000 words along the way, and I had to choose the 85,000, 90,000 that ultimately wound up in the book. So that, for me, is not -- you know, I think there's a lot to say about human functioning. I think there's a lot to say about life. So you choose the part that you're going to convey, and then you save the rest for another day.

KING: And we'll discuss some of those things. We'll also (UNINTELLIGIBLE) include your phone calls. Dr. McGraw's book, the best-seller, the "Self Matters" and "The Self Matters Companion" is now out in paperback and already on "The New York Times" best-seller list. We'll talk about issues, take your calls. We'll be right back.


MCGRAW: I buried my dad eight years ago. And I had, thank God, the good sense to go sit down with him before that happened and get it all said, get it all done. And so when it happened, it happened with a peace of knowing there was nothing left unsaid. You two are in a situation where you are so focused on defending yourselves that you're letting the relationship go straight down the tube.



KING: We know a lot of you want to talk to Dr. Phil, and we will be taking calls in a little while, but let's get into it. What do you think of on-line dating, using the Internet to meet people?

MCGRAW: Well, you know, it depends on what your choices are, but I think that it is a potentially safe way and interesting way to meet people. But I think you've got to be very, very, very careful about it because people can assume any identity they want on the Internet. And we have seen them victimizing children on the Internet. We've seen pedophiles, all different types of people that will assume an identity and do different things to intrude on someone's life. I think you have to take it with a grain of salt and be very cautious.

KING: We know what the laymen -- what laymen think when they see a horrible story, like in Texas, and the woman kills her children. What does a professional think? When you see that, what do you think?

MCGRAW: Well, you know, first, I have the same human reaction that everyone does, whether it's Andrea Yates or this unfortunate story out of Tyler, Texas. But from a professional standpoint, my first thoughts are these things don't occur in a vacuum. They just don't. You don't have -- it is very seldom that you have someone that they're absolutely OK, and then all of a sudden, they snap, as people say, and then they go back to being OK. These things tend to happen as part of a process. It's part of a psychotic decompensation.

Was this post-partum depression? I don't know. I know there was a 14-month old child, so certainly, the window of post-partum depression is still open at that standpoint. Don't know her medical history. Don't know her psychological history. But I know that this is a highly deranged individual that does something like this. People say, How could a mother do that? A mother can't do that. Only someone that is -- when I say psychotic, I mean someone that has had a break from reality. They just -- they no longer are able to differentiate real from unreal, reasonable from unreasonable, and so they go into a zone that is -- people cannot imagine the power of psychotic delusion and psychotic hallucination.

KING: We're touching a lot of bases here, I realize that. But we've had you on so many times. It's always a great pleasure to see you and -- congratulations on the book, by the way. I congratulated you on the Emmy nomination. Congratulations on the book. Why do people in unfortunate circumstances go on national television to talk about it?

MCGRAW: You know, I think people feel trapped oftentimes. And you know, sometimes you see a tragedy, like we just talked about in Tyler or the Laci Peterson situation. I think that's one kind of person that you'll see family members going on because they feel the need to have a platform, to set a record straight, to react to perhaps misinformation that's going on. And then you see people who aren't in an acute tragedy, but they're experiencing some pain in their life, and I think that's a very different set of circumstances.

KING: What prompts them to go on?

MCGRAW: Well, you know, we see people on my show that are having marital disharmony or they're having a, you know, personal struggle with something. And I think there's a certain part of the population that says, I've got problems, just like everybody else does. I'm not ashamed of that. I have no problem talking about that. I'm not going to stand behind the social mask and pretend that everything is OK when it's not. I just have the willingness and courage to talk about it. And if I can get some help in doing that, then great. And if I can inspire others, then maybe I've used my pain and suffering. I've created some meaning.

MCGRAW: Doesn't "Self Matters" sound so simple? Your self matters to you.

MCGRAW: You would think so. You know, people say that we have become a selfish society, and I just believe it is exactly the opposite. I believe we have become a selfless society. We have become selfless because we are so busy. We are living in the laser lane. We're not even living in the fast lane anymore. We've jumped over to the laser lane. Kids are scheduled every minute of their day. They're going to choir. They're going to dance. They're going to football practice, soccer practice, play dates, all that sort of thing. We're now a 70 percent double-income society.

So you've got two parents that are working outside the home. Then they still got a family to raise. We're so busy reacting to demands that we don't much have time to sit down anymore and say, Wait a minute? Do I really like what I'm doing? Is this really who I am? Is this the person I want to do it with? Am I really using my gifts, skills, talents, skills and abilities, or am I just going through life, and then pretty soon, you look up, and you go, My gosh, it's over with. I don't think we think about that.

KING: Your strong contention is people can change. If they can't, you're not in business, right?

MCGRAW: Absolutely, people can change. I mean, people are changing. They're changing every day. They may think they're not, but we are constantly products of our learning history. And each day that we live in a gray world, we change and become a little grayer. Each day we live in a world of vivid color and excitement and passion, then we become more excited and passionate. It all accumulates on us.

And what I've asked people to do in "Self Matters" and what "The Self Matters Companion" does is put people through the exercises to say, How did you become the person that you've become? I mean, you got to stop and think about that. You, Larry King, have a very distinct personality. It's different from mine. It is different from anybody -- it's different than anybody else I've ever met. You are unique. But you've got to stop and think sometimes, why are you the way you are, when the person next to you is very different in the way they are? And the answer is really much closer than what people think.

You say, Well, what difference does it make? I am who I am. The difference is there are parts of you that you like or don't like, you can change those things if you know what their origin is. And so we work through the origins.

MCGRAW: Do you miss handling patients?

MCGRAW: Not at all.

KING: Not at all?


KING: You like this broader bag better?

MCGRAW: I do. I did not have the patience for patients...


MCGRAW: ... to sit down with somebody -- I mean, because think about it. Put yourself in the shoes. I so respect the psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, marriage and family therapists that are out there doing that daily work in the trenches. We need them. I refer people to them every day. The after-care program utilizes them throughout the nation on my show. But it takes a temperament for that. And my idea of sitting down January 1 and having a patient outside my door 9, 10 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, and knowing I'm going to do the same thing Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, come in on April, going to be doing the same thing, come back in October, going to be doing the same thing, drove me crazy. I needed therapy.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Dr. Phil. We'll be including phone calls. By the way, the entire cast of "60 Minutes," Mike Wallace, the whole crew, Morley Safer, will be here tomorrow night. Don't go away.


MCGRAW: Ashley and Heather are sisters who think the other has it easier. Now, take a look at what happened when Ashley took over Heather's house and the care of four children under the age of 7. Moms, you know what's coming up, don't you? Take a look.

ASHLEY: Oh! What are you eating? No, Valerie! Oh, my! Jeff (ph), where's the other battery? No! You can't sit in there! Fire hazard. No! No! No!




DAVE LETTERMAN: We need some words of wisdom from our good friend, Dr. Phil, ladies and gentlemen.

MCGRAW: I couldn't care less!


KING: Did you enjoy doing that show, finally, after he ribbed you so much?

MCGRAW: I did. I mean...

KING: You won it that night, though. You commanded it.

MCGRAW: He's been dogging on me a long time, so I thought it was a pretty good idea to go in and do it.

KING: Good move.

MCGRAW: And I have to tell you, I waited to do it until it felt right to me, and I found Dave to be an absolutely gracious host. He treated me like I was an invited guest in his home. Everybody there was a class act, and I thought it was fun. I thought it was great fun.

KING: That thing we went to break with -- women, playing, children -- what was that?

MCGRAW: Yes. Well, that's a show we've got coming up this week called, "Trading Places," and we just got people to swap places with each other. We had two sisters...

KING: Like Couric and Leno?

MCGRAW: Exactly. And we had two sisters. One worked in fashion design. The other was a stay-at-home mom. And they both thought the other had the cushiest deal in the world, so we traded places with them. And you saw the...

KING: Fashion mom at home?

MCGRAW: That was the fashion mom taking care of four kids. They're eating cat food. Kitten in the dryer. You know from having little ones at home.

KING: I've heard. Yes.

MCGRAW: Yes, you've heard!

KING: Well, you're coming over for dinner. You'll see them.

MCGRAW: I look forward to it.

KING: We're neighbors, folks. All right, by the way, Phil McGraw's book, "Self Matters" and "Self Matters Companion," the No. 1 it seems like years on "The New York Times" list, is back on the "Times" list in paperback.

Let's go to calls. New Iberia, Louisiana. Hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Yes. Go ahead.

CALLER: Yes, sir. I was calling Dr. Phil. I'm a single parent of a 10-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, and their father's not in their life, and I really don't know what to do. I'm always asked the question, Why doesn't he love me? Why doesn't he call me? Why doesn't he do this, do that? I'm tired of answering -- not tired, no. I do what I have to do for my children. In other words, I don't know how to answer these questions. I don't feel like their questions. But on the other hand, he doesn't, you know, approach them or give them any chance to understand it. And I really just don't know what to do anymore.


KING: All right.

MCGRAW: And thank you for the question. And sadly, it is not an unusual situation. So often, we get a parent that just kind of divorces their spouse, and they think that that means the kids, as well, and that's not true.

But here's the thing. You can't control him. The only person you can control is you. And I think that with some limits, honesty is the best policy, even with children that are pretty young. You can sit down and say, Look, I don't really know what your dad is thinking or what he's involved in or what he's up to. But what I can tell you is that I love you and I'm here and I'm going to be here for you. And you have to meet them where they are and be as honest as you can. Thanks for your call.

KING: In other words, all you can do is all you can do, right? MCGRAW: Really, you can't control someone else.

KING: Idaho Falls, Idaho, for Dr. Phil. Hello.

CALLER: Dr. Phil, it's a pleasure to talk to you.

MCGRAW: Good afternoon.

CALLER: Because we live in a world of such vivid colors and ever-changing and we're looking for fast fixes, I wondered what you thought are the main ingredients for a long-lasting, happy marriage.

MCGRAW: Well, that's a broad, but relevant question, so...

KING: Tick some off.

MCGRAW: Well, first off, I think that we have to make sure that you're marrying Mr. Right and not Mr. Right Now. So often -- I see it -- Larry, I see people sometimes that they get married not moving towards who they want to be with, but they're moving away from where they don't want to be. It's like I hate living as a single person or I hate living with my parents, so they're moving away from that instead of toward the person they're marrying. And that's a very distinct difference. So you got to ask yourself, is this what you really want or are you just trying to escape something you don't want?

But there are a couple of really important things that you have to think about when you're getting married, and there's formula for success. And there are two major elements. No. 1, a long-term relationship is going to be based on a solid underlying friendship. You know this from being married. You've got to be friends with your spouse. You can't just -- it's not all about love, you got to like each other, as well. You've got to -- and what do friends do? Friends talk about things. They laugh. They share.

KING: But friendship sounds opposite of romance.

MCGRAW: Well, but that's just the first part of it. It's got to be based on a solid (UNINTELLIGIBLE) friendship, where you respect each other, you share with each other, you support one another. And then the next element is the quality of a relationship depends on how well it meets the needs of the two people involved, and that means you've got to find out what your partner's needs are. What does your wife need from you as a mate? What's important to her? You've got to discover what those are and then make a strategy to meet those in a consistent way.

And then you've got to figure out what your needs and are teach those to your spouse, so they can meet them. And men have a problem with that because they think need means weakness, and it doesn't mean weakness at all. So you've got to meet each other's needs. And to do that, you got to figure out what they are.

KING: Right back with Dr. Phil on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I made a romantic dinner for Mark. I had the lights off and I had candles set. First he asked why the lights were off. Then he blew out the candles, turned the lights on and proceeded to say he couldn't see his dinner.

MCGRAW: Did you fall out of the dumb tree...


MCGRAW: ... and just hit every branch on the way down? Men are hunters. They -- they have quick eyes. They're looking for something all the time. They're looking for efficiency. They're looking for food. They're looking for comfort. That's why he blew out the candles and turned out the lights. Hunters want to be able to see what they're getting ready to eat here, OK? And that's a priority to you, right? Kill something and eat it!




KING: How many people in -- times in their lives get to control their space? So I control what questions I ask, when I go to a break, when I might not go to a break. In other words, so I feel -- you don't have -- I can't control traffic. I can't control what the babies are doing. But I can control that hour and that must have something to do with it.


MCGRAW: All right. He's a control freak. We've got that down. All right.

KING: Well, why is that? Want to help me?


KING: That was more fun than I've had in a long time just guesting on "Dr. Phil." That was a -- just a super, super hour to do that.

What was that thing with the couple and you saw the scene where he shuts out the light. You're doing dramatic scenes now?

MCGRAW: What was he thinking? That was just him showing us what he'd actually done.

KING: He shot at the studio.

MCGRAW: No. That was at their home. We go to their homes. When we have guests on, we go to the homes with camera crews. Sometimes we put cameras in their homes and leave them there for two or three weeks, with their permission, of course. It's amazing how fast you forget that there's a camera running every time you move.

But it was an interesting column. I was writing -- I write a column for "O" magazine, which I think is the greatest magazine in the world.

KING: I wonder how that came about.

MCGRAW: I don't know.

KING: Yes.

MCGRAW: I just ran into this old gal one time that had a magazine, and -- but I write a column in there and I wrote one that's out this month in "O" magazine. It is on the newsstands tomorrow as a matter of fact, on just what I know about men. I'm just kind of trying to been women's friend at the factory. Here's what these guys are really thinking about.

And so we were talking about what makes men do what they do and not do what they don't do and so she had written in and asked this question and so when I wrote the column for "O" magazine it got so interesting to us, that we just did a whole show on it. In fact, we did two shows on it. One of them's coming up this week.

KING: Sudbury, Ontario with Dr. Phil, hello.

CALLER: Hello, how are you?


CALLER: Hi. My question for Dr. Phil is I'd like to know after someone's been through a lot of tragedy -- like my father drowned about eight years ago and I found him. A year later my little girl was diagnosed with a rare tumor of the eye and I was very good at getting through that, helping my other girl get through all this tragedy. But after now that she's totally better and I can return to work and that I seem to -- I can't get back into life -- like I'm very different than I was before the tragedies. What would you suggest that I do? How do I get back to being the mom I use to be?

MCGRAW: Got you.

KING: Bouncing back.

MCGRAW: Yes, sure. And, you know, first off...

KING: This common?

MCGRAW: It is common. It is common.

And first off, let me give you my condolences for your tragedy. I hate your loss and you've had a tough time with your daughter.

Here's the thing. It is particularly true of moms. You were called to duty real quick with your daughter and what you did was respond to her need as any mother would, but it pushed your grieving process out of the way. You didn't have time to grieve. You didn't have the opportunity and you didn't give yourself permission to grieve because you had something to do. Your daughter was in jeopardy and you rallied to her side.

Now she's better so you -- the silence is deafening and it's like you're right back where you were when you lost your father to the tragic drowning.

Everybody says time heals all wounds. Time heals nothing. It's what you do with the time that makes a difference. Spending a week or a month doing the right thing can be more valuable than 10 years of doing the wrong thing or nothing. You're just beginning your grieving process. Be patient with yourself and allow it to unfold at its own rate.

KING: Bakersfield, California, for Dr. Phil, hello?.

CALLER: Larry, thanks for the great current issue and informational program. I watch it every day.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: Dr. Phil, I admire and respect your funny and personal and professional honesty. You give straight answers and -- oh, thanks for slowing down so Robin can keep up. I was wondering when those long legs of yours were going to slow down a bit.

My question is Do you and Robin ever disagree? I mean, every honest couple does. But do you ever disagree on how the program has gone or something that has been said or something to that effect? Because people who love each are honest and I know you two are. Thank you.

MCGRAW: Thanks for your question. You notice she set up the answer. She said honest couples disagree, do you?

KING: Do you? No, we're dishonest.

MCGRAW: Of course we disagree. We really don't fight. Robin and I don't -- don't fight. But yet we're both very expressive of our thoughts and feelings and she -- she'll tell me straight up what she thinks and what she feels. I can always tell how I'm doing by the number of sentences that start with, "Now, listen, buddy." The more...

KING: She says that?

MCGRAW: The more "Now, listen, buddies," I'm getting the worse I'm doing so I try to keep those to a minimum.

And by the way, she's the one that walks fast. You can't imagine the thousands of e-mails we got of people saying, "Hey, slow down. You're dragging that poor girl off the stage."

KING: How did you get the idea to walk off the stage with her?

MCGRAW: You know, Larry, it wasn't an idea. We did the very first show we ever did, which was last summer. We had to test lights and stuff and we had our first audience and they said, Well, you got to get off stage somehow. They said, "Why don't you just walk down and run away and turn right and go off stage?" I said, "OK. I can do that."

I got to the end of that runway and there sat my wife. It just seemed totally unnatural to me to walk past my wife like I didn't know her, that I would leave and leave her behind and so, just instinctively and I reached out to her hand.

KING: So she has to come -- she has to come to every show.

MCGRAW: She does.

KING: Washington, D.C., hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Hi, Dr. Phil. I'm a big fan of yours and I need some help. I have an overbearing mother-in-law and that's a huge understatement. And I have a second question after you can answer that one.

KING: Oh, well -- we can't -- it's hard to have the second one because we got a lot of calls and we got limited time.

But all right. The overbearing mother-in-law.

MCGRAW: Well, listen. Every time you get married, truly, you don't marry the whole family, but in a sense you certainly take on some relationships.

I believe it is terribly important to set boundaries in your family, in your home and in your marriage. I think you have to set boundaries and if you don't, you've got people coming there intruding and it will forever be a rough ride.

But let me say this and I hope everybody's listening to this. If you've got a problem with an in-law you need to first discuss it with your mate because they're the ones that have the lifelong relationship with that person. If you've got a problem with his mother intruding on your life, you need to talk to him and let him talk to his mother about it. You don't go around him and talk to him. That's his job and you need to explain it and let him deal with it.

KING: Yocosuka, Japan for Dr. Phil, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: I'd like to ask a question from Dr. Phil.

KING: Sure. CALLER: What is the right behavior or attitude that a wife should have towards a husband who doesn't say anything, who does not talk so much when he comes home from office and then, for example, asking him, "What food would you like?" He doesn't say anything.

MCGRAW: All right.

KING: The quiet husband.

MCGRAW: Fair question. As I've said, we've got a -- we've got a show coming up that you need to watch that's talking about...

KING: You're seen in Japan, obviously.

MCGRAW: Right.

KING: Yes.

MCGRAW: What I -- what I know about men. And one of the things I know about men is that men use 1,500 words a day. Women use 5,000 words a day. That's an average of just all couples, all ages and that's a huge difference. I mean, you really do have a difference there. So you've got to recognize that that's just kind of innate to the species. It doesn't make it OK, but there's a point at which you have to stop complaining and start asking. Men need you to put the dots real close together.

KING: Keep on asking.

MCGRAW: And you have to say specifically. I want you to come home and talk about this.

KING: Talk to me.

MCGRAW: Yes. And I think that's important and I talk about that very specific thing is at the top of this big feature article I have in "O Magazine" this month. So get a copy of "O magazine."

KING: It's sold in Japan.

MCGRAW: It is. I hope it is. If not, call a friend, they'll send you one.

KING: As we go to break, here's Robin McGraw on a show discussing menopause, watch.


MCGRAW: My wife, robin, who I think has handled this better than any woman I've ever seen, and so I asked her when we were doing the show and I said you need to come help me with this. She got together with other women that are going through this and they just had a gapfest. I wasn't there. I didn't want to be there. Take a look.

ROBIN MCGRAW, DR. PHIL'S WIFE: I remember going in for my yearly checkup, she said how are you feel. And I said I guess if I had to say one thing I'm not sleeping well. And the look on her face was just almost devastation. Life's over, you're in menopause.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to be able to talk about it. We need to be able to go somewhere and discuss it. This is so helpful.





MCGRAW: Well, Frazier Crane is that you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most assuredly.

MCGRAW: That's you, all right. So how are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm fine, I'm fine. How's Robin?

MCGRAW: She's great. Can you believe it we're going to 27 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.

MCGRAW: How's Lilith?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we've been divorced now for ten years.

MCGRAW: Congratulations!


KING: That was fun, to star?

MCGRAW: That was fun. I've never, you know, I've never really done...

KING: Acted before.

MCGRAW: Done much act of any sort even when I was a child. It was really impressive to see how those guys take on the characters and do what they do. I wanted to see what it was really like behind the scenes and all. It's a pretty well oiled machine.

KING: Topeka, Kansas, for Dr. Phil, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Mr. King and Dr. Phil, I appreciate both you guys. I have a question. My husband has not had a relationship with his father for basically all of his life and it's devastating in his adult years right now. I need to know what can I do as a wife to support him and help him through this. He has been in contact with his father, but his father constantly denies him that he's his child, and just basically didn't want to have anything to do with him.

Can I get some advice on that? MCGRAW: Sure, and I appreciate your question. It's tragic when parents and kids become estranged like that. And it's kind of like I was saying earlier, you can't control what other people do. Your husband can't control what his father does. You can't control what your husband does with regard to his father. What you can do is support him where he is and what he wants to do. And sometimes and hear this with both ears, sometimes we have to give ourselves what we wish we could get from someone else, and that may be the best advice you can give your husband.

A man would love to hear his father say, son, I'm proud of you. I believe in you and I'm really behind you in what you do in your life. He may never hear those words from his father, but what you can do is teach him that it's, OK, to give that to himself. I mean, there comes a time when you have to sit down and look yourself in the mirror and say, I'm proud of the man you've become. I'm proud of the job you're doing and I respect you for doing it. It's not the same, but it may be the only option he has.

KING: Espanola, Ontario, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Dr. Phil.


CALLER: I have a question for you.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I weigh myself two to three times a day. I feel guilty about eating. And now I'm under a hundred pounds and I still feel very big. I don't allow food to stay in my body and I try and stop and I can't. I don't want anyone to know so I stay by myself.

KING: You throw up your food?

CALLER: Everything.

MCGRAW: So you're bulimic at this point.


MCGRAW: And you believe you're also anorexic and that you have a distorted body image?


MCGRAW: This is a real consternation to people because they'll say this logicly. They will say logically, intellectually, I understand that this is unhealthy, that I'm not fat at a hundred pounds or less, but yet I continue emotionally to feel that way. And a lot of people can't get their mind around how those two things can coexist, but they can coexist. What I would say to you is this, you can't handle this situation by hiding the situation.

The worst thing you can do and part of your disease is living alone, hiding it, withdrawing, that's the worst thing you can possibly do. You need to get professional help for this. You need to go to your church and talk to your pastoral counselor, go to a treatment center. If you don't have the money or you don't have insurance, then go to your community outreach or your community mental health center.

KING: She could die from this?

MCGRAW: Absolutely. This can not only -- this can erode your quality of life, in that you can your (UNINTELLIGIBLE) esophagus, you can have problems with your stomach and it can kill you and often does. This is a serious thing. It is not something to be ashamed of. It is a disease and you need to be your own best friend and reach out for help. You will not fix this by hiding it.

KING: We'll be bake with our remaining moments with Dr. Phil. His book on paper book now, "Self Matters," and the companion to it, both are on the "New York Times" best-seller list in paper back. His show's been nominated for an Emmy. We'll return after this.


MCGRAW: When she says can we talk what you hear is have you got about an hour for me to chew your butt out.


MCGRAW: Now that's what he hears. How what do you expect him to do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I expect him to talk to me.

MCGRAW: Really, even though what he hears is I'm getting ready to take your inventory and it ain't good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He hears what he wants to hear.

MCGRAW: Didn't you say that most of the time that you talk to him you are chewing him out?




KING: Gainesville, Florida, for Dr. Phil, hello?

CALLER: Hi, Dr. Phil.

MCGRAW: Good evening.

CALLER: Larry.


CALLER: I'm calling about a 50-year-old family member, sister. And she has had some -- she's definitely an alcoholic. She has some mental health issues. She as a result of laying out from work and not earning a paycheck, she's lost her apartment, she's lost her car. It's all been repossessed. Now she's moved into her 80-year-old mother who she spends a great deal of time putting on a guilt trip about her situation.

MCGRAW: OK. What's your question?

CALLER: The question is what can we do to get this girl some help that will make her responsible for her own problems? She's had mental health and alcohol counseling before, but they never seem to work she goes right back to her old ways.

MCGRAW: All right. Got you. Let me say, you're in a tough situation for a couple of reasons. Number one, alcoholism is managed, it's not cured. And you said she's had mental health and alcohol counseling before, like, well, we've tried that, so enough. What do we do next. No, it's not what you do next. It's what you do again.

To the extent that you can influence it you need to constantly be doing what you can to get her in treatment, get her help, get her in Alcoholics Anonymous which is one of the greatest and most effective programs in the world.

Your second problem is -- this is her mother and her family and you don't have legal rights to do anything there. So what you can do is what you can do and that's help her get some therapy.

KING: Baltimore, hello?

CALLER: Good morning, good afternoon.

KING: Good evening.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Phil.

MCGRAW: How are you doing?

CALLER: I have been in a cross-cultural relationship for 21 years. And the best compliment I got from that was it takes courage to be in a cross-cultural relationship. And, Dr. Phil, I just thought that it would be nice if you would share with America some of the pros of being in that type of a relationship and with the world looking more into going in that direction, some of what we can expect in the future.

KING: The pros of it.

MCGRAW: Yes, the pros of it.

I think one of the things that I believe more strongly than anything is that prejudice and stereotype is born from ignorance. And when you can get people to personally experience someone from another culture, someone from another race, someone from another lifestyle, then all of those things begin to evaporate. And I think when we see people that successfully navigate that terrain, it makes a huge difference in the way people judge what's going on. I think it can be a shining example. And absolutely, it can introduce you to a completely different set of experiences in life.

KING: Our last call, the Woodlands, Texas, hello?

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Dr. Phil.

KING: Hi. We only have a minute, dear, go ahead.

CALLER: OK. A friend of mine, her husband passed away very suddenly and I would like to know how to deal with her, what to say to her to help her out.

KING: Comforting the grieved.

MCGRAW: Here's the thing. People don't know what to say. They don't know what to do. It's kind of like do I bring it up because that reminds me her of it or do I not say it which seems insensitive?

I think you need to be candid. I think you need to be honest. One of the biggest problems we have is that people get through the immediate time because of all the adrenaline. You've got family there, you've funeral plans, you've got activities.

And so they'll sometimes get through that just kind of white knuckle. It's the silence afterwards that is absolutely deafening. Be there when everyone else goes home. She will appreciate you for it.

KING: As we appreciate you.

MCGRAW: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Good luck. When you win the Emmy have a nice speech. All right?

MCGRAW: All right.

KING: Credit me and Oprah.

MCGRAW: Absolutely

KING: Say something nice. The Emmys are Friday night, right?

MCGRAW: Friday night. I'm going to do the "Today" show Friday morning and be there for the Emmys Friday night.

KING: Dr. Phil.

I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Sports fans this Wednesday don't forget to head my column "Sports a La King," posted every week on CNN/Sports Illustrated on the Web. The address to get it right is

And "Sports a La King" is interactive. Give it a read, send me your e-mail and we'll write you back in the weekly "Mailbag." Once again the address, Log on tonight. We'll talk sports.

The cast of "60 Minutes" tomorrow night. Arthel Neville has headlines. Aaron Brown has NEWSNIGHT. Good Night.


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.