How Laura Govan's Dad Shaped Her Hardened Persona

Season 4 Episode 419
Aired on 05/27/2017 | CC
At 2 a.m. in most households, families are tucked in their beds in the midst of a deep sleep. At 2 a.m. in Laura Govan's childhood house, however, there was a good chance she'd be yanked out of bed if her father returned to a messy room after being gone all day. Michael, Laura's dad, may have thought he was teaching his daughter about respect and discipline, but Iyanla believes this childhood lesson made Laura internalize something rather damaging.

"So, the man who's not there gets to say what goes on," Iyanla says.

Michael nods. "I pay the bills," he says.

It's a relationship dynamic that is all too similar to Laura's situation with her children's father, former NBA star Gilbert Arenas, with whom Laura is engaged in a custody battle.

"She created [the situation] because it's what you taught her: Pay the bills; he ain't there. He's going to tell her what to do," Iyanla tells Michael. "It broke her heart. Your daughter is so, so broken. And I think part of it is because she feels like she's a problem, like her voice doesn't matter. And that she's got to fight for everything."

Watch as Michael reflects on this idea and defends his conscious choice to raise "aggressive" children.

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