Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ask Mrs. Linklater "DR. PHIL" Edition

Fasten your seat belts, this one is the motherlode. 
     Mrs. Linklater is loathe to admit this publicly, but, uh, she likes all things Dr. Phil. Mrs. L likes his show, his kids, his wife, the whole nine yards. Even after he came clean about his alcoholic dad and his early marriage. All good. Except for one thing. That lame mustache. How's it working for you, big guy? Yeah, that's what YOU think. Not working for me. AT ALL. Never has, never will. [Especially after a picture of Dr. Phil's bare-naked face appeared on national television and it was obvious that he looks 100 percent better without it.] 
     Mrs. Linklater thinks he should also shave off what little hair is left on his chrome dome, but she has learned to fight one battle at a time. Or at least wait until she has better ammo. And air support. 
     Despite her prejudice against Dr. Phil's continued pursuit of things hirsute, Mrs. L doesn't think his advice stinks. And she's been trying to find something stupid he said for years. Really and truly. But so far, nothing. 
     Until now. For the first time EVER, Mrs. Linklater has found a chink in the good doctor's armor. You may not be aware, but besides his show, Dr. Phil is a regular contributor to O Magazine, i.e., the world according to Oprah. 
     At the end of each article, Mrs. Linklater discovered that the Philmeister writes something called "The Script of the Month." This is a speech he constructs for the terminally tongue-tied to say to an asshole who is making life a living hell
      That's when Mrs. Linklater realized she'd found Dr. Phil's Achilles' heel. In fact, as she was getting out of bed that morning, she stood up and said -- while smiling like Jack Nicholson that time he stuck his head through the door in The Shining --"Ahaaaaaa! Gotcha!" [Actually, he said "Here's Johnny!" But you get the idea.]
     Ever the polite adversary, Mrs. Linklater lets Dr. Phil go first [as if he had a choice]. In the November, 2009 issue of O, he attempts to help someone "Confronting A Rude Friend." A distressed reader writes:
     "I have a friend who often makes cutting remarks to me. Our husbands and children are friends, so avoiding her would likely just alienate me. For a while I thought she was jealous because I have a successful career and she didn't have a job. But she has worked for the past year, and her treatment toward me has worsened. The arrogant things that come out of her mouth leave me at a loss for words, but then later I fixate on what my reply should have been. I spend sleepless nights obsessing over my inability to tell her off. Please help." 
Here's Dr. Phil's Script of the Month about dealing with bullies:
     I have something to talk to you about, and I want you to hear me out before you respond. For some reason, you have given yourself permission to act rude, crude, and condescending toward me, and I don't know why. 
     What I do know is that I will not accept it from you for one more day. I can't expect you to change if I don't tell you how I feel, so that's what I'm doing now. You may disagree, and that's okay. But you need to understand that you are going to treat me with dignity or you're not going to treat me any way at all.
     I believe that when people show your kind of behavior, it's really based on pain and fear. If that's the case with you, I'm willing to talk to you about the underlying issue or to support you in anyway I can. But I am not willing to allow you to continue to abuse me. If you want to think about what I'm saying and respond when you're comfortable, that is fine with me. If you want to respond now -- without being abusive, then I'm happy to listen. And if you'd just like to declare this the end of our friendship, then so be it. If that's the case, I recognize it will also affect the relationship between our families, and I'm sorry for that. But our relationship as we have known it is over. My hope is that we can define a new one, but that's up to you. I await your response. 
Mrs. Linklater is sure everybody thinks that's got to be one helluva good script because Dr. Phil wrote it. Sorry, tongue-tied breath. First, it's too damned long. Second, it misses the point. Third, it's -- well, you get the idea. See what you think after Mrs. Linklater's has HER way with that freaking bully:
     Here's Mrs. L's first suggestion: WRITE AN EMAIL OR A LETTER. Think about it -- if you get tongue-tied, why are you TALKING to a bully when you're just going to freeze up again? Duh. TALK. LATER. With a letter/email you can put down the words exactly the way you want them. TALK. LATER. With a letter/email, there's no time wasted dealing with blowback. And you can both read what you wrote over and over again because it's all down in black and white.
      Something like this for instance: 
Dear Pusface Annoying Bully,
Our husbands are good friends. Our children are good friends. But I will no longer consider you a friend until the following changes in your unacceptable behavior toward me have been made: 
From now on, listen to yourself. Listen to what you say to me the moment it comes out of your mouth.
I'm tired of your insults, arrogance, and abuse.
I do not want to hear anything negative. 
I do not want to be ridiculed, belittled or made the butt of your jokes.
I do not want to listen to any more snide remarks about my career, my family, my clothes, my car, my house, my education, my cooking -- anything.
If there is nothing nice to say to me or about me, keep your mouth shut.
On the other hand, I do want and need your support and encouragement. I like compliments as much as the next person. 
If you can do this, I can consider friendship with you again. 
But if the cruel and unnecessary comments do not stop, I will not speak to you anymore.
Have a nice day.
Dr. Phil keeps missing the point in his script. He talks about expressing feelings, but then he doesn't. Instead he makes whiny accusations: ". . .you are going to treat me with dignity or you are not going to treat me at all, blah blah blah, rinse and repeat."
     Come on, Dr. Phil, psychology 101 -- YOU messages just make a bully defensive, "Huh? Whaddya mean? I do so treat you with with dignity, just like I treat all the other bitches around here." "No you don't." "Yes I do."
     He also wastes a bunch of time with psychobabble stuff like  "I believe that when people show your kind of behavior, it's really based on pain and fear." Seriously, Dr. Phil, the time for empathy is over. Who gives a crap WHY these people are acting like jerks?  The idea is to stop them once and for all. And the way to do that is to TELL them SPECIFICALLY what they're doing wrong. Most bullies are so emotionally clueless they often don't realize what they've done, until you lay it out one point at a time, the way the lovely Mrs. Linklater does in her far more useful script, which she summarizes this way: 
     "Say one more obnoxious thing to me and you die." 
     So, GAME OVER. This one goes to the charming and intelligent Mrs. Linklater. FINAL SCORE: Mrs. L, 1. Dr. Phil, O. Except for one thing. 
     Mrs. Linklater also realizes that both she and Dr. Phil are just kidding themselves with their attempts to change behavior using a cockamammy script. Because here's how the actual conversation would take place:
     *ring* *ring*
Bully: Hello.
Victim: Hello, Bully.
Bully: Oh, it's my favorite victim. What do you want? I'm too busy for one of your boring conversations.
Victim: I'm not boring. I'd like to talk about how you treat me.
Bully: Oh, please, I treat you like you deserve to be treated, loser.
Victim: I'm not a loser and I don't like being treated like one.
Bully: Loser, loser, loser.
Victim: Dammit, stop calling me names.
Bully: Like that's going to happen anytime soon.
Victim: Please, don't say mean things to me any more.
Bully: You're ugly and your mother dresses you funny.
Victim: Please don't do that.
Bully: Who's going to stop me. You?  Haaaaaa.
Bully: Oh boo hoo, you crybaby. 
Victim: [SOBBING]
Bully: Seriously. You are such a waste of time.

And so it goes. Another day. Another interpersonal triumph. A world without Mrs. Linklater is like a world without those colored sprinkles on your donuts.  


Tiny Elvis said...

I was going to contribute something worthwhile, but I was distracted by sprinkles and donuts at the end.

And I haven't seen this clean shaven Dr. Phil. I'm very curious about this phenom.

Mrs. L said...

Dr. Phil actually showed the picture of his mustache free self on one of his shows. Mrs. Linklater's jaw dropped -- he was goodlooking!!!!