Farrah & Debra

Farrah Abraham Talks Family Traumas, Lessons, And WeTV’s Family Boot Camp With Dr. Drew

Well, Farrah Abraham has forgiven Dr. Drew, and now they’re both counselors here to teach us how to have functional family relationships and deal with life. Um.

The Teen Mom OG star chatted with Dr. Drew and his co-host Bob Forrest (Celebrity Rehab alumni) on his podcast, where Farrah opened up about her complex family dynamics, what she learned from appearing on WeTV’s Family Boot Camp, and how everything is Debra Danielsen‘s fault. Dr. Drew was also available to diagnose Debra’s mental state and praise Farrah for being so smart.


This interview meanders all over the place, but it’s highly focused on therapy and all the craziness (and crazies) in Farrah’s life. I’ll give her credit: at some points she’s articulate and self-aware, although she’s still content to blame others for wrongs in her life – namely her mother and MTV.

Luckily Farrah continues to get therapy (and not just TV therapy!) because as she says, “I consider that investing in myself. I just crave being healthy – mentally, physically.” She also compares counseling to hot yoga.

Dr. Drew and Bob praise Farrah for being such a “go-getter” and having an entrepreneurial spirit. “I think Farrah, even if she weren’t on a TV show, would be out there building businesses and stuff,” says Dr. Drew. In this same vein, Dr. Drew also challenges, “You have a tendency to be aggressive, and I think that brings some of the stuff on you that you don’t like, right?”

“An aggressiveness that stems from being misunderstood,” argues Farrah. Well to start there, Farrah, Dr. Drew, and Bob spend an extensive amount of time breaking down Farrah’s relationship with Debra, and how the true gravitas of the Teen Mom franchise, is the girls’ relationships with parents, adulthood, and significant others.

Bob believes the biggest and most relatable appeal is in the “dysfunctional” relationships between the teen moms and their own mothers. This is obviously near and dear to Farrah’s heart. “I think more people need to focus on that and talk about that. I think that’s why I started the WeTV Family Boot Camp show,” she champions.

Farrah received flak for “glamorizing bad mother/daughter relationships,” which she denies. “I want to help this issue!” she insists. “I was just so passionate of showing this. When it’s my mom and I, it’s like ‘Sometimes I hate you; I wanna kill you…’ and there’s really a ton of love under there, but there’s a lot of dysfunction. It just hurt me so bad, growing up, like, ‘What is this abusiveness? Why are we catering to this? Why aren’t some people doing more about it?'”

Farrah reveals that growing up she called the police on Debra, and there are “mugshots and all of the things” to corroborate her allegations.

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Dr. Drew talks up the impact Teen Mom and 16 And Pregnant have had to measurably lower teen pregnancy rates. He’s proud of Farrah for likewise bringing awareness to dysfunctional family dynamics. Farrah praises the the show for doing an “amazing job” of shining a spotlight on building good relationships. “Accountability, loyalty, trust – you have to grow those and it’s by your actions, not by what you say. And I think sometimes that’s where my family and I get off [track].”

The topic turns to boundaries between millennial’s and their parents. On the prevalence of “the cool mom” on Teen Mom (which arguable leads to some of the pregnancies!), Farrah waxes rhapsodically about why this is bad: “If you become a best friend as a parent, that means somewhere, internally, there’s not real functionality of a parent in there, so it substitutes as a friend.” Dr. Drew is shocked that Farrah says “profound stuff sometimes,” and laughs, “I’m sorry that a lot of it doesn’t get on TV!”

Farrah blames her parents for not modeling good communication skills. Then Dr. Drew surmises it may not have been entirely their fault. On Debra, he theorizes, “I’m worried there’s something psychiatrically going on there that is not being properly managed.”

Farrah quips “Xanax!” and jokes, “I guess she dates a doctor, so there that goes.” Dr. Drew cautions against Debra’s boyfriend administering psychiatric care. Uhhh.. you mean like administering therapy on TV?! He continues, “I’m thinking there’s something reaaaaaallly there, that you’ve been pounding against your whole life and your mom isn’t aware it’s there, and it’s of a psychiatric nature. And that’s psychological – it’s almost biological – and you’re wanting something from her that she just can’t do because of this biology.”

“That is what it is,” agrees Farrah. “That’s what I know now. And I’m done with the conversations; I’m done with fighting the uphill battles. And it’s fine.” Farrah illuminates that with some children their issues are a direct correlation to their parents “not just taking the knowledgeable action of, ‘Yeah this is my fault, this is not what I’m coming forth with.’ And it’s like lies – and it’s noticeable.”

“If you lie, it’s a line. And then there’s an action – it’s choosing. How do you tolerate the lying? And then continue on with lies? There’s an action and then there’s just saying those things,” warbles Farrah. “How much can you tolerate of your lies, or your bad choices?”

Through her PhD program in psychology including clinical hours research Farrah has determined that Debra has undiagnosed “Asperger and she has some other things that she herself doesn’t want to admit.” Always the consummate professional, Dr. Drew co-signs with the Asperger diagnosis.

“Let me qualify this: I’m not sitting in assessment with your mom. I’m not her doctor, but I’ve been concerned there’s something on the schizoaffective spectrum,” Dr. Drew also offers. He suggests Farrah look this up to see if it “rings true” regarding Debra‘s behavior.

I’m sorry – I find this beyond unprofessional and frankly gross! Just me?

Farrah admits that overall she’s really saddened by her family situation and how it affects Sophia.

“I’m so crushed when grandparents and other people cannot be around to show that love and that support to my daughter, who definitely has a whole lotta love to give to everyone in her family,” says Farrah. “Sophia’s grandmother on her dad’s side lied to social security about our benefits, took me to court for grand-parental rights – just was very, very evil last year when I was depressed. [Derek’s father] Grandpa Jerry, who’s been on the show, is always super supportive and yes, he’s been part of a recovery program for alcohol and his wife. And that’s a very loving family structure so I’m happy for that.” Derek’s parents are divorced; his father is remarried.

Farrah is at peace with her father Michael following Family Boot Camp. “My mother was very disheartening about the traumas my father has tried to overcome as a man. Which if I would’ve known this growing up, if my family had been more open with, I think I would have come together in a much different way now that I’m 25.”

“There’s a reason Michael was attracted to your mom,” pontificates Dr. Drew, “and that reason is his traumas. They were trying to solve their trauma through their relationship.”

Farrah and Bob discuss how lack of boundaries and expectations on Teen Mom set the girls up to fail. “I honestly feel like there needs to be some boundaries with the interactions of production and [Teen Mom stars],” laments Farrah. “And then I also see, like them smoking cigarettes, and we have these amazing sponsors and government sponsors be like ‘let’s be the generation that ends cigarette smoke.’ And they’re really seeing the affects of what alcohol, drugs, cigarettes – all these things do to somebody’s brain, brain functionality, our economy instead of dumbing us down, I think we just need to be about the action.”

Farrah is surprised so many “older parents” (she means people getting pregnant at traditional ages) watch Teen Mom and doesn’t understand why they would bother. Yet she admonishes critics who complain about Teen Mom ‘glamorizing’ teen pregnancy. Farrah snipes about “screw looses” who ignore reality across reality TV – not just on 16 And Pregnant or Teen Mom – by getting pregnant with intent to achieve a lifestyle (basketball wife, for instance) or fame.

Dr. Drew is shocked by the social media “brutality” Farrah, Jenelle Evans, and Kailyn Lowry receive. This spirals into a discussion about how the shows handle co-occurring issues such as drug and alcohol abuse. Dr. Drew chastises Catelynn and Tyler as “in that group of millennials who think pot is no big deal. And it’s affecting them, and they’re unaware of it. They will get there one day.”

“With Amber and drinking – she knows,” Dr. Drew adds. “She had a long sobriety in the program, and she was connected to it. It’s not a priority right now, so she’s sort of trickling along and it’s working for her. Until that doesn’t work, we gotta kinda go along with it. It’s hard work to stay sober!”

Dr. Drew praises Farrah for learning lessons from her reality TV experiences. At the last reunion, Farrah and Dr. Drew discussed (off camera) why she doesn’t get along with the “two people that you hold closest to you, which is my mom, which is Simon [Saran].”

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“My main goal was to find security and understanding in why some relationships of mine are not panning out the way I want,” explains Farrah. “I understand who I mesh with… like my ex, like my mother. I just realized, and I came to an understanding, that I’m no longer going to be showing love or connection towards others who no matter what I do and work my hardest on to show love, kindness, connection in some way – if you have a negative outlook towards me, that is something that I can never change.”

“I honestly have just been surrounding myself with better women, better men. I’ve been happily single. I’ve been having a relationship that is good with my mother and I, and how I see fit. Which if that’s not talking to me, then that is good because that is where our relationship always needed to be.” Dr. Drew asks repeatedly if Farrah has friends, but she skirts around the issue to continue her ramble.

On why she doesn’t get long with co-stars and production, Farrah’s had an epiphany. “You can always say that I’m the problem, but just understand I grew up hearing that I was always the problem. And I think when you’re telling somebody things that are hurtful and dishonest when that person hasn’t integrity, trustworthiness, probably the best loyal friend that you’re ever gonna find, I’ve just realized that I have to alienate myself from situations, again, that just want to make me the villain, the problem. So I’m not fighting anymore and I’m not hanging out with those groups. And I think, um, as we’ve been seeing on MTV that I just really came through, I don’t care to bicker to fight to associate – it’s a job. It’s a job!”

Farrah was late to the reunion because Larry, production, told her that because she’d just flown in that morning from another job and was also ill, they would rearrange schedules to film her last. Yet MTV made it appear as if filming was held up because of her antics. “They wanted to blame me for their f–k ups,” Farrah laments. “And again, I’m ill, I still showed up, I still worked, and I left earlier than everybody else did in the whole building because they want to focus on what? Negativity and hatred and unprofessionalism, which I don’t stand for!”

Of her cast mates, Farrah says, “I don’t speak with anyone. I think it’s better that way. But you know Dr. Drew, last time they made it all about me anyway. So I just felt like let me cease the jealousy, let me cease the hatred – I don’t share stages anymore, and I think they all should just stay far, far away from me.”

Dr. Drew challenges that Farrah once told him she was diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder, which she denies. Although she does consent that she has continually signed up for the shows, knowing they will be exploitative and understanding that drama sells. Bob reminds Farah that Teen Mom is “a TV show that has to have character arcs, it has to have drama.”

Bob also opines that Farrah is “the most high functioning one of all of them – they’re gonna hate you.” Um… Bob needs to get a new therapist.

Farrah declines to discuss the sex tape, which she deduces as a “horrific learning experience.” Farrah ends by saying things with Sophia are wonderful and Sophia’s boutique is a tremendous success!

You can listen to the complete podcast here.


[Photo Credit: Instagram]