While still on their Key West vacation, Kelly confided in Emily that she was unhappy with the way she carried herself around Vicki Gunvalson -- who she called a "f--king pig" last episode -- while Emily tearfully revealed her daughter was starting to pick up on some of her explosive traits.
"She's possessed with the devil or something," Vicki added, as she filled Braunwyn in on their fallout -- which began when Vicki set up Kelly's ex-husband, Michael, with a friend of hers -- and said she felt Kelly was "still probably in love" with her ex.
Fast-forward to Kelly and Emily's session with Mike Dow, licensed marriage and family therapist, on the beach. He asked each of the ladies about their goals for the session.
"With my husband, as soon as he says something that rubs me the wrong way or makes me mad, I'm so defensive and I'm so quick to snap at him," Emily explained. "And sometimes he deserves it, but not all the time, and I just wanna stop doing that."
"I felt like I had a hard childhood, and I think that made me mad," she went on. "My dad wasn't around. He left when I was young. And my mom was a single mom. So I had all these feelings of anger, even as a kid. I remember thinking, 'Why do I have to put myself on the bus? Why do I not have lunch money? Why is there no food in the house?' That makes you angry as a child.'"
While Kelly could sympathize with feeling angry without control, she said she actually had a "really good" childhood. "But my mom is combative, and she's sharp with her tongue," she added, "I think that's where I learn it from. I feel like, if you're gonna fight with me, it's game on."
That's when Emily explained that the tipping point in finding a solution to her problem was when she saw her 6-year-old daughter, Annabelle, yell at her 4-year-old son, Keller. "She just was like going at him," Emily said, adding that it "crushed" her soul. "That's when I was like, there has to be a change."
Mike urged Kelly and Emily to take a deep breath, close their eyes and envision "the person who is always so easy to love." Kelly said she saw her daughter, Jolie, while Emily also pictured her three children.
Mike then asked the ladies to bring to mind "that person or these people who are difficult to love." Both ladies had tears in their eyes as Emily told Mike she was picturing her parents. Kelly said hers were Vicki, her brother Eric and her ex-husband Michael. Mike asked the women to keep their eyes closed and continue looking at these people who cause them so much stress. He asked them to tell these people, "May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be peaceful."
Emily complied, but Kelly said her initial response was to "punch [Vicki] in the face." After Mike let out a laugh, he told Kelly that if she reacted in that way to someone who's hurt her, she'd be letting that person win. Instead, he urged her to "cultivate that calm." Eventually, Kelly was able to wish hypothetical Vicki happiness, health and peace.
Mike noticed Emily was crying. She said she didn't realize how much pressure she had been putting on herself to create the perfect family, all because that's what she wanted growing up.
"It's because I grew up in such chaos," she explained. Mike urged Emily to loosen her grip and let go of the unrealistic expectations she had been putting on herself. He said she needed to be kind to herself in order to be kind to other people.
For Kelly's part, she confessed, "It takes everything in me not to lose my shit on [Vicki]. Like for instance, she's getting engaged, and Tamra's like, 'I really want you to go.' And I hate her! And I don't wanna hate her. I wanna act from a part of me of love and kindness."
"Another thing is my daughter," she went on. "I want her to be a better form of me, and I am an example."
"Don't forget that," Mike interjected. "When Vicki says something to you, I want you to see your daughter in your mind's eye. That's the ultimate exercise. You're keeping yourself calm, and you're gonna be teaching your daughter the same thing. So it's kinda like, 'I'm doing this for you.'"
"That's actually really brilliant," Kelly replied, still crying.
She agreed she'd attend Vicki's engagement party and bring with her the tools Mike gave her. We'll see how that plays out next week on the Season 14 finale.
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.