"Classless," "hoe," "deadbeat mom."
These are some of the names that Dominique says her mother, Norma, has called her over the last decade. The relationship between the two women has been toxic for years, with Dominique blaming Norma for sending her down a destructive path, and Norma feeling frustrated that her daughter would rather party than take care of her 8-year-old son.
That boy, Bilal, is stuck in the middle of the two sparring women. Norma, a retired army officer, has had custody of Bilal for the last six years -- a time during which Dominique's own life has been a mess. She has been arrested, spent time in jail, been in and out of her mother's home, and is currently homeless.
The situation is at a breaking point, and now that Dominique says she wants her son back, it's also his future that is at stake. Life coach Iyanla Vanzant visits the broken family in Chicago, and makes the assessment that Norma is the root of the breakdown, blind to the pain she has caused Dominique and, by proxy, her grandson.
Since the mother and daughter cannot communicate effectively face-to-face, Iyanla places a tall barrier between them and soon validates what Dominique has often said about her mother.
"Dominique, you're absolutely right: she doesn't like you," Iyanla says. "I don't know why, and my heart weeps for you."
Iyanla turns to Norma and points out that Norma's misinterpretation of her daughter's words may be a major catalyst for their dysfunctional relationship.
"Maybe you hear her blaming you as opposed to her crying out to you," Iyanla says. "She needs her mother. She needs to be able to put her head on your shoulder and let her heart break."
Both women, Iyanla adds, absolutely must acknowledge that the aftermath of their behavior extends beyond just the two of them.
"Unless you have a relationship with each other, your relationship with Bilal is bogus! It's bull!" she says, before turning to Norma. "[You] can't love him and disrespect and disregard his mother!"
If mother and daughter can't see this and change their behaviors, the barrier between them will never come down.
"You came in here like this, you're going to leave here like this," Iyanla tells them.
"Iyanla: Fix My Life" airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.
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