A horrible, cringey Call of the Day from Dr Laura’s show was shared with me on Twitter. Like jaw-droppingly horrible. Like you want to wash your ears out with a Brillo pad horrible.
I remember hearing about Dr Laura Schlessinger decades ago, but I wasn’t aware she’s still a thing. Really?? People still get assvice from her?
She’s a twit. But not just a harmless, silly twit, but a clever, intentionally mean twit. Why am I using this word? It’s not one I can recall ever using before. It’s unkind and demeaning.
Therapy Through Insults & Interruptions
Here’s why I’m using it on Dr Laura. Because SHE used it 8 times on her Caller of the Day. 8 times in a 5 minute call.
Besides resorting to pejoratives, Dr Laura’s advice around parentage is fantastically misguided. It’s hard to believe that someone who has ever studied best practices in therapy and counseling would resort to shaming, name-calling, interrupting, and belittling — especially around the issue of truth-telling — as she does to caller Torri.
You can listen to these 5 minutes here. Brace yourself.
Caller: My Mom never told me the truth about my Dad
Caller Torri starts with this:
I am unsure of how to continue on in how to have a relationship with my mother. I found out last September that my dad, the man who raised me, is not my biological father. It has become a rift between my mother and I.
I’m not a therapist, but any half-twit knows that if someone comes to you with a problem, you first listen. Then you empathize and get into their space. You make sure the person feels heard and understood.
Not Dr Laura. Instead, she becomes incredulous and combative.
Dr Laura: Why? Why? Why? Is the guy who raised you nice?
Caller: Yes, he is.
Dr Laura: So. Let me understand this. Don’t babble at me. You wanna dump a mother who made you with one guy — obviously he couldn’t have been the greatest guy in the universe — he wasn’t there. And then she found a nice guy to raise you. And you’re pissed at her? What the hell is wrong with you?
Is Dr Laura saying that it’s okay to lie if someone is nice?
More Anti-Therapeutic Techniques
Torri tries to explain, but Dr Laura keeps cutting her off in order to rant.
Caller: I’m upset because she lied to me about it for —
Dr Laura: So what! So what! Who gives a shit? That’s her private life! She gave you a wonderful man to raise you whom you consider your daddy. What if you’d been adopted? Who the hell cares? She did the wrong thing with a jerk, and then she did the right thing with the guy who raised you. I seriously would rather smack you across the head than anything else right now, you ungrateful little twit. You insensitive, ungrateful twit.
Let’s take a look at what else has been added here.
- First we had lying is okay from nice people.
- Now we also have a physical threat — “smack you across the head.”
- …as well as one of the many words adoptees tell us is painful: ungrateful. Dr Laura seems to imply that because Torri wasn’t raised by the jerk she should have only feelings of gratitude.
I’m not a therapist, but any half-twit knows that you really can’t talk someone out of a feeling they are having. Insistence, threats, and shame are not going to lead to emotional resolution.
Lying Means Bonding & Security?
The call continues.
Dr Laura: You wanna counter with anything? I’m dying to hear your counter.
Caller: No. I respect my Dad for so much. I was just very disappointed in my mom for never —
Dr Laura: You’re a twit for saying that. You’re a twit for repeating it.
There aren’t too many people who, when they do something incredibly stupid, walk around with a sign. Number 2, she repaired it beautifully. And if she had called to ask me whether or not she should tell you, I would have said NO because I would have wanted you to stay incredibly bonded to this wonderful man who also didn’t tell you the truth. Because they both wanted to take care of you and make you feel secure and loved. What crappy parents they were. You better get on your knees and BEG your mother to forgive you.
Let’s Break that Down
Did you get all that? Dr Laura certainly packs a punch.
- More twit-flinging.
- Hurling “stupid” at her caller.
- Stay bonded to people who lie.
- Lying = security.
- They weren’t wrong; Torri was. And she, the victim, is the one who must seek forgiveness.
Caller: My mom and I have continued our relationship —
Dr Laura: You BEG your mother to forgive you…for being a twit. I mean it. You owe her to beg her for forgiveness. She did exactly the right thing.
Caller: OK. Thank you.
That’s the last we hear from Torri, who completed exactly one sentence in the entire 5 minutes. She apparently gets off the call, but Dr Laura keeps muttering to herself.
Dr Laura: You’re a lucky girl. Stop acting like a complete brat. You have no idea how lucky you are, clearly. She could have stayed with that bastard she made you with. Would have like to have heard that call from you.
My number is 1-800 [IMA-TWIT]. I’m gonna make that a Call of the Day. I know it’s gonna raise a lot of hackles.
You are one lucky girl and don’t even know it. What a silly twit.
“I don’t know if I’m going to continue the relationship with my mother because she didn’t tell me that she made me with a piece of shit and then found a wonderful man to raise me by and I should have known all the time all of this because it would have made my life much smoother and better.”
Hmmmm. …My number, 1-800 [IMA-TWIT].
- What a peculiar brand of validation (“stop acting like a complete brat.”)
- You’re lucky you had people hiding your truth from you.
- More twittaging. More demeaning.
Makes you wanna be Dr Laura’s next victim, doesn’t it?
What Say You?
I do understand that Dr Laura is 99% entertainer and possibly a fraction of a % therapist, if even that. The point here wasn’t to actually help Torri, but to make a trainwreck out of someone’s situation. I fell for it, and maybe I sucked you in, too. But as one of my wise adoptee friends tells me, this is what adoptees deal with regularly.
It’s important that we, especially the non-adopted, learn to sense these microaggressions and call them out.
Now that we’ve heard Dr Laura’s assvice, let’s open it up to yours.
What would you suggest Torri do about a hurting relationship with her mom for not telling her sooner the truth about her dad?
More Assvice-Giving Experts
- Parenting Expert John Rosemond Wants to Give you Open Adoption Advice
- My Kids Know More Than Today Show Experts
- Dear Abby’s Bad Advice to an Adoptee
- Dear Abby Mucks it Up Again
More on Adoption Telling: It’s 2020. Why do we still suck at it?
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.
Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.