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October 26th, 2010 by Loni Coombs

When Leaving Your Abuser Isn’t Enough

The following is from my good friend Loni Coombs, a legal analyst and regular contributor to the Dr. Phil show and The Doctors. She appeared on the Dr. Phil show “End the Silence on Domestic Violence: Abusive Exes,” weighing in on the legal rights of women who are allegedly threatened by violent former spouses and boyfriends.

Loni_1Could you imagine, after having endured countless verbal or physical attacks from an abusive partner, finally getting up the courage and strength to leave them, only to find out that the nightmare isn’t over? In fact, just the opposite — the violence is increasing and intensifying?

This very real and extremely dangerous phenomenon is called Separation Assault. Abusers, who perceive that their victim is getting away from them, become more determined and more aggressive to make sure that “If I can’t have them, no one will!”

I recently met a very courageous woman who has been struggling to, literally, survive this separation assault cycle. Sandy came to share her story with Dr. Phil in the hope that she could save even one other woman from the hell that she is now enduring. Her allegations of abuse are some of the most harrowing that I have heard in all my years of prosecuting domestic violence. But that isn’t Sandy’s whole story.

Here is the cruel, tragic twist: Sandy has a child with her alleged abuser. You may be wondering why that is so significant … This next sentence is extremely important for every woman to know: No matter how violently a man abuses the mother of his child, he still has legal parental rights to his child, protected by law, unless and until a court says otherwise. So, despite Sandy’s best efforts to cut ties with her abuser, she can’t disappear because of her child. In fact, if she did, she could be in trouble for violating his parental rights. Shocking, isn’t it?

9035_1Parental rights can be forcibly terminated, but it usually involves a difficult legal battle. Courts have traditionally ruled to preserve the parental rights, unless the parent is shown to be incapable of taking care of the child due to substance abuse or mental illness, or is abusive or neglectful of the child. There is no specific ground to terminate the rights of a parent if they are abusing the child’s other parent.

Law enforcement and the courts have come a long way in prosecuting abusers and protecting victims. But there is still a long way to go. Awareness of the “separation assault” danger zone is crucial for any woman contemplating an escape from abuse.

More needs to be done to protect the children of parental abusers. Remember when OJ Simpson was held civilly liable for the death of his children’s mother? Even after the trial, he retained his parental rights. Some states have allowed evidence of domestic violence when determining custodial arrangements, finding that the child was “at risk of harm” even if they weren’t the actual victim of the violence. This logic needs to be expanded further, in the best interests of the children.

For anyone who is in an abusive relationship, or thinks he or she may be, or has a loved one who is, I highly recommend watching this Dr. Phil episode, which airs Wednesday, October 27. It could change your life. Maybe even save it.

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85 Responses to “When Leaving Your Abuser Isn’t Enough”

  1. Concerned Mother says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,
    This subject is one that has concerned me for a very long time, especially since it is a woman, doing the abuse. Apparently rare… Or not spoken about in an open forum.
    Thank you, Kaz2020 for bringing the issue of the abuser being a female. Also for being transparent and sharing your past situation, an abusive wife. Not sure about the physical abuse towards the adult son/man I an referring too, but the verbal demeaning, degrading and verbal circumcising of a man’s character is devastating to watch. After one of these (her) rages, his countenance is one of such broken human. We are not able to do anything for our adult child, except stand by him, with love support and prayer… I really believe that you should do a show on the female abuser… Thank you for making this site available for all persons with a heavy heart to open up and pour out our broken hearts over the victims, those living these nightmares or day-mares!

  2. Elizabeth Rivet says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I have to tell you that you are an inspiration to all of us. I just wish you were around when I went thru my divorce in 1995. You made a comment on the show today 11/19 that sometimes it gets worse after the divorce. I am here to tell you you are so right about that. After my divorce in 1995 for the next eight years were the worst of my life. He knew the most important thing in my life was my son. Luckily he was turning 18 by then so I didn’t have to worry any more about child support,which he said he wouldn’t pay. He never held a job long enough anywaay. But when I told him during our marriage that I was leaving him, he told me he would disappear with my son and I’d never see either one of them again. He was in the National Guard for most of our marriage and was very good with weapons and he owned 4 of his own. He even taught me how to show and I became as good if not better than he was. Well after we divorced he would stalk me every day. He would show up and get angry is someone was at the house with me, my son would leave one of his friends with me if he had to go out for awhile and my ex- would accuse me of sleeping with my sons friends what were they doing there protecting me. That’s when he would tell me a bullet is long range if he wanted to kill me. Then he made threats on my son’s life, then my son would never be alone with him everytime he was to see him his friends would be with him. I told him I was going to get a restraining order against him and he told me that if I did that I or my son would be dead before the ink was dry. I went thru all of the abuse except physical, he never hit me. He used to tell me that if he saw me with any man except my father he would kill us both, because if he couldn’t have me then noone else would either. Well in 2001 I got together with my son’s father who lived in California. He flew down to Rhode Island to see me and to meet his son for the 1st time. Well when he came here in 11/10/01 it was like the 25 years we had been apart our love we felt came rushing back and after the three weeks he was here, our son was ready to go to California and get away from the man he knew as his father all these years. because if he found out 1) I had a boyfriend and 2) who it was he knew there would be trouble for all of us. He would kill us all including himself, cause he always said he would never go to jail. When we left RI for CA. we had to leave his Hot Rod in RI and come back to get it later.
    So in 1/03 my fiance , his son from his marriage and out son took a trip to RI to get the car. While they were there my son decided to see him to say hello and touch base with him, incase he fould out my son was in town and didn’t try to see him.
    So they contacted my ex and they made plans to eat at a Restaurant, during the dinner when they were eating my ex told my fiance that he would never marry me. After dinner when they were getting ready to leave my ex kept wanting them to go to Foxwood’s Casino with him, but there was a storm coming and they wanted to get as far away from it as possible. Now neither my fiance nor our son new how to get there. Now it was stupid because my ex asked the waitress for directions. He already new the directions. So when they got out side my ex told them to follow the directions she gave them cause he had to stop for gas and cigarettes, and he would catch up with them. Well he never caught up with them, so they decided to get ahead of the storm that was coming to the area. When they turned the truck around they felt the car in the cargo trailer shift and stopped to check it out. While they were almost done with everything and refixing the chains that were holding the car, headlights were blaring into the back of the trailer. They didn’t know who it was until he came out of his car and went to the side of the trailer and again told my fiance that he was not going to marry me, and he also said something else but my fiance couldn’t hear what he said. My ex then showed a gun, At this point my fiance went into protective mode and shot him first because hehad to protect his sons. Family meant everything to him. And in the state of CT there is no justice, it was clearly a case of self defense, but he had a Public Defender who thru him to the wolves, and now he sits in jail for 45 years and he is a very sick man, with many medical problems.
    But my ex got what he wanted and did what he said he would do, destroy my live and take the most important thing in my life. and in the end he won.
    When I watched you show yesterday and today, when you were talking to Renee and Charles, in Thursday show you said something to Renee and when she answered you, he turned and gave her a look I’ve seen before, if his eyes were bullets, she would be dead right there. I feel sorry for all of them because when I saw that look I cringed and wanted to pick up the phone and call you and tell you what I saw and to give them seperate hotels and don’t tell him when it was. If she takes him back he will some day kill her and maybe the children also.

    Thank you for listening to my story. This is a true story. There is so much more I could tell you, but I want you to read this and maybe if there is anything you can do to help me I would be happy to go on you show.

    I did get to marry him on 7/29/08 in prison, but I love him and wanted to do it. Now we are fighting to let him see our son.

    Thank you

    Elizabeth Rivet

  3. Shirley Bunkley says:

    I sit home in tears writing this. It has occured to me that all domestic violence isn’t between married people. I am a victim of domestic violence by my 27 year old niece. I am 45. The verbal abuse, mental abuse and physical abuse has left me ashamed, broken and damaged. I need help but don’t know where to turn. She has taken my SSI money, had my phone cut off and taken the car we both purchased and I paid the down payment. I have nothing left. Daily I think of suicide but i’m still here. I thought the abuse would end when she was out of my apartment but it escalated in a different way. This isn’t the life I worked for and it’s not what I expected to happen with the woman I loved and took care of. I pray others read this and get help. As for me, I have no place in which to turn anymore. Shirley

  4. Superspud13 says:

    Dr Phil,
    Your last two shows on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse were certainly a subject close to me. You see for the past 22 years I have lived with the pain that my actions caused. I was an abuser. I psyically abused my wife and sons. I also mentally and emotionally abused them. In 1989 my wife had enough after almost 20 years and left me. She divorced me. This a serious wake up call for me. I got into councelling and entered a twelve step program. I was determined to stop the violence and change my life. I suceeded. I have been rage free. My actions came too late for me. Two of my three sos I have not heard from in years. I like wise have not heard from my former wife. Rage and violence are neverthe answer. They have a very high price to pay if you resort to them. I’d like to get active inthe fight to end Domestic Violence and Chld Abuse but there seems to be no place for a ex abuser to do anything No one wants to hear about the cost to the abuser. I amnot looking for sympathie I deserve . Asmy dad use to say ,”You made your bed sleep in it” I just want to do my part to end the violence. Maybe my experiance would help others get help before they pay the cost. There isn’t a day that goes bythat I don’t regret my actions

  5. canada goose says:

    My ex then showed a gun, At this point my fiance went into protective mode and shot him first because hehad to protect his sons. Family meant everything to him. And in the state of CT there is no justice, it was clearly a case of self defense, but he had a Public Defender who thru him to the wolves, and now he sits in jail for 45 years and he is a very sick man, with many medical problems.

  6. Kathryn says:

    Dr. Phil, One of the greatest horrors of abuse is it’s tendency to be generational. I grew up watching my father beat my mother. I went on the marry an abuser, but was wise enough to get out of the situation before any permanent physical damage was done. There are still the emotional scars. I let his daughter form her own opinion of her father as she grew up. Yet everytime she went to visit I feared for her. He had the legal right for visitation. You would think after being backed into corners – hands around the throat that I would learn the ‘type’ of person to avoid associating with. While I have stayed away from being addicted to drugs or alcohol my judgement of the male specie is sorely lacking. I am currently ever so carefully encouraging a person from my home that I believe could become one of those types to seek retribution. His upbringing was very harsh. If what he has told me is true he is capable of taking the life of anyone he feels is a threat to him. He managed to isolate me (well tried anyway) from my family. They will not come to my home. He has verbally threatened my youngest daughter and cannot see where his comments about my family is very hurtful to me. He is excessively concerned over the current political system in play here in the US and has made no bones about how he feels about it. I have to be very careful what and how I say things. I do not want him to feel that I am a threat at all – just want to be left alone and him back in his own place. I really feel for anyone that gets into these situations.

  7. Tina says:

    Dr. Phil,
    My 13 y o daughter wrote to you awhile ago. SHE NEEDS YOUR HELP. Today 11/24/10 I was held in willful contempt be not forcing my daughter to visit with the man who “allegedly” sexually assaulted her. her biological father.

    She was 10 when it happened ( or the only time she recalls). He would order her to stay at his home while sex parties were going on. And even though she wanted to come home, and I lived 30 seconds down the street, he would refuse.etc. He even pinched my nipple in front of me while asking for sex a year after the divorce was final.

    He told me that he had sex with his older daughter who appeared just after the divorce was final in May 2007.

    He threatened to kill me if I took any assets ( he maintained 100%of the marital estate)

    Right now, I am COURT ORDERED TO seek advice on what to say to my 13 year old daughter to encourage her to visit with the man who she said molested and sexually assaulted her. So I am asking YOU Dr. Phil, what can I say to her?

    Today when she was told about the visitation starting DEC4 2010, she broke down in the courthouse. Also I should mention that she was not seen by the judge at all and was sequestered the entire day. This is tearing her apart.

    MY heart is aching… she had been suicidal and now I am afraid that she may slip back into the abyss.

    She was diagnosed as clinically depressed during a routine medical examine July 2008… she has since been to several different therapist ALL of which were blocked and her father refused to give his consent for treatment. And he still does even after a court order.

    He is a bully and has beat me in front of her. He had assaulted her during a supervised visit in front of 2 people….. tell me Dr. Phil,,,, what can I say to her so she can will visit her alleged perpetrator?

    Please help me, help her.

  8. Tina says:

    Dr. Phil,
    My 13 y o daughter wrote to you awhile ago. SHE NEEDS YOUR HELP. Today 11/24/10 I was held in willful contempt be not forcing my daughter to visit with the man who “allegedly” sexually assaulted her. her biological father.

    She was 10 when it happened ( or the only time she recalls). He would order her to stay at his home while sex parties were going on. And even though she wanted to come home, and I lived 30 seconds down the street, he would refuse.etc. He even pinched my nipple in front of me while asking for sex a year after the divorce was final.

    He told me that he had sex with his older daughter who appeared just after the divorce was final in May 2007.

    He threatened to kill me if I took any assets ( he maintained 100%of the marital estate)

    Right now, I am COURT ORDERED TO seek advice on what to say to my 13 year old daughter to encourage her to visit with the man who she said molested and sexually assaulted her. So I am asking YOU Dr. Phil, what can I say to her?

    Today when she was told about the visitation starting DEC4 2010, she broke down in the courthouse. Also I should mention that she was not seen by the judge at all and was sequestered the entire day. This is tearing her apart.

    MY heart is aching… she had been suicidal and now I am afraid that she may slip back into the abyss.

    She was diagnosed as clinically depressed during a routine medical examine July 2008… she has since been to several different therapist ALL of which were blocked and her father refused to give his consent for treatment. And he still does even after a court order.

    He is a bully and has beat me in front of her. He had assaulted her during a supervised visit in front of 2 people….. tell me Dr. Phil,,,, what can I say to her so she will visit her alleged perpetrator?

    Please help me, help her.

  9. Lori M says:

    I had tears watching this show about Sandy. She is such a beautiful woman and that man has clearly destroyed her not only emotionally but physically inside and out. She clearly fears for her life. I have been in two abusive marriages. They did not threaten me in such physcial manner after I left. But my first ex continued to use my family and our son to harrass me, which equates to abusing our son as well. My second ex harrassed me over the internet and attempted to in legal ways. I have developed PTSD disorder over the years. I am pretty sure that Sandy must have PTSD. Her story is just horrific. She is living in constant fear. I have been communicating with individuals on Facebook on support pages for PTSD. I am finding a sad common demoninator and this is a link to a family abuser and then family rejection/denial. That also happened to myself. I working on gathering these stories and I see the extreme need to get this “hidden” type of abuse exposed. The family’s are using their power and money to continue the abuse and look down on the victim who has PTSD and is just sickens me. I would love to come and the show and share this. I am finding that most people are still afraid to talk about this for fear of what their family might do to them. I am scared myself, but I feel strongly that someone needs to speak up in order to help others in the future.

  10. Lori M says:

    @Superspud13

    Wow!!! That took such great courage for you to do and to tell about it. I think you should be involved in helping. Showing abusers that it is possible to change is a huge message and it should be heard. I am on a mission to help stop abuse myself. I really like the idea of you doing what you can to help. Wonderful!!!!!

  11. Lori M says:

    I just read this part regarding Sandy’s story:

    Parental rights can be forcibly terminated, but it usually involves a difficult legal battle. Courts have traditionally ruled to preserve the parental rights, unless the parent is shown to be incapable of taking care of the child due to substance abuse or mental illness, or is abusive or neglectful of the child. There is no specific ground to terminate the rights of a parent if they are abusing the child’s other parent.

    I have thought about this so many times. Why aren’t abuser’s classified as mentally ill?????? Instead the vicitms end up with that label. This same scenario applies in my first comment on here regarding family abuse. The family’s are casting us out after we’ve been abused by a family member and spouses because we are “mentally ill’. This is just not right. One of the stories I have heard on Facebook is a woman who was raped by her brother. And her family has cast her out and accused her of ruining her brother’s life when she has tried to speak up about it. Her family is wealthy and live in elaborate homes. And this woman is poor, disabled with PTSD, has two son’s with dsiabilities. Her life is consumed in getting help for herself and her own family. Just horribly said when her family could but won’t help her. Not sad, just dead wrong!!!! Again, this type of abuse needs to be exposed if it’s ever going to stop.

  12. Colleen Roy says:

    I am 36 tear old women that was married for 10 years to a abusive husband .I am maried know to a man that loves me and has never put his hands on me i live with the fear of my exhusband killing me every day. It has been 6 years since I divorced Istill live in fear and he still threatens me destroys my property I dont like to go anywere without my husband know it does cause some trouble with my marriage but we dill with it. I am thankfull for my husband know he is the only one that has helped me get through this stuff he is ther for the nightmares the sleep walking and he puts up with my fear of not wanting to go out by myself. People dont understand this it is not a easy way to live they think I am crazy but untill they have been in my shoes they will not understand. I thank God for every day that I am still on this earth. I pray for the day that the law listens and protects women who that needs protection.

  13. Sue Lynn Dollison says:

    Dr. Phil, I hav alot to say but it is late and my husband is sleeping ,it would start a fight I’m sure. Knowing how he fusses and starts arguements. He lies to me about calling women 3 as a matter of fact they are all on my cell bills the phone is in my name when we first got married of which it has only been 8 months and about half the marriage has been like a small piece of hell, Of course he would tell you that its all my fault he says I ask to many questions and I don’t I just have ran across things and I ask . I do know when a man is abusive he gets angry like this I experienced it in 2 other marriages .Please don’t think bad of me I fell in love and thought it would be different. My family and friends will tell you I’m good to him and I was my other husbands I think this is such an epidemic that it is in every home of 4 0ut of 5 in the US . Why do I say this it is in and around me with so many women and some are married, some not. I have family members that have abused the women as young girls and they ,the women are blamed for it. It is more than an issue with the poor or uneducated or just in the secular world it is in the church and it is killing our women and children. emotionally and all the ways to destroy a life from sexual abuse, to mental, emotional and physical. To me they are all one as bad as the other and I think that the man that does one of the abuses, usually does 2 or more if not all of them. I could write a book on this subject only because I have experienced mostly all of them. Nearly almost died from being sufficated by a man I dated a year or so and that was after a 24 yr marriage. He the husband of 24 yrs emotionally abused me due to unfaithfulness in our marriage and it was not because I was’nt a good wife or I lacked in any area of giving myself as a women to him it was just his way of life the whole time we of 24 yrs of that marriage he was unfaithful. I married again and all the times I was married they hid the abusive behavior , when I dated other men they had red flags that I saw, not the men I married. Please help us Dr. Phil to expose all the things these men are doing to women and children. the church and the talk shows and news even some books and papers they don’t give enough to the public in understanding this sickness, disease, sin all the above is what it is, it is needing more than just attention several times a year this is a national epedimic , and we want to solve the problem of the other nations concerning women!!! Don’t misunderstand me or think I take it lightly the other countries crisis lets look at our country first! I’m not going to tell you I had a good safe child hood my Father seemed loving enough most time and I loved him very much and have forgiven him but as I remembered him in their late 20’s and to mid 40’s he beat her unmercyfull and I have a brother that was abusive to his wife and the other was sexually and emotionally abusive to women and is very sick I have forgiven him to. This is very inportant as you know in the healing process. I want to speak for those that can’t or won’t due to threats and even death from a man ,husband or boy friend. I’m hoping you get this it is late and I am getting my typing and spelling off but I’m sure you hear my heart I will do any thing to help get the sources out there.I am in an abusive situation as I write this, he emotionally and mentally has been not talking to me now for 3 days not a word all because I asked him something he did not want me to know. 2 weeks ago I asked about his check and a call he made, so he put his hands on my throat in the middle of the bone where my adams apple is and began to squeeze my throat till it was hard to breath and to this day I have a problem with my voice, thank God he let me go! I want to tell you of the relationship I had several years this man chased his wife of 18 years after aparty and put his foot on her till she could not breath she died. The courts gave him 39 yrs and I found out after I left the man he only served 15 yrs for her life they had 5 children. You have to understand I had raised 3 daughters and was married 24 years I was not equipted for that life that I walked in to. I must stop now it is a terrible time for me even now in this one If this man don’t get help I will leave him and never marry again. I do not want a life like this again only the father in heaven knows my pain that I have suffered so many others millions of women all over this nation. Please Dr. Phil I do believe God gives people like you to be a mouth piece for the weak and I don’ mean that it is to say they the women and children are in any way less because they are not! you yourself know how hard it is to get this kind a thing out. Dr. Phil maybe these men will be made to get help and counseling. I do believe some of them are emotionally out of control and some they have been abused themself some are no good and will never do any women good and loving. This is a choice that they make just like drinking and drug use or any thing that would and could cause harm to another. May God give you wisdom and much strength to get the communitees even involvedthis all types of men in the work comunitee are doing these abuses to women in all manner that they can. Dr. Phil they are the lobors the judges, the police, the dr’s ,the clergy, the fathers ,the brothers ,the uncles ,and our Husbands! There are things I have heard and kmow from women in my home town and the tri state and women in other states that could tell you all that I have been thru but they don’t because of safety or no one would believe them or they would be or have been accussed of causing I know about 12 women who have been blamed for the beatings, abuse, rape or molested or the emotional as well as mental abuse and even if this never gets on tv or the web sight I will write the book maybe you will help me get the information to the editing this is all new to me this writing on computer but I think I like it ,I guess it is mostly due to my passion concerning the issue of abuse. I have much more to tell but it is pivate to most women I just have to get this out as soon as I watched it on the internet of which I don’t do hardly on any program ever it is a topic that is long been pushed under the rug for to long and with the money situations and the Porn in our nation it will get worse unless some step up to the problem. Thank You, Sue Lynn Dollison

  14. Sue Lynn Dollison says:

    I do thank you

  15. Robyn Michaud says:

    Good God, abuse. that is a horrible truth in so many woman’s lives. I lived in an abusive relationship for 5 horrible years of my life. I put myself there, for fear no one else would love me. I thank God, really, God for the wonderful man I am now married to who has shown me what love and trust is supposed to be. If you think you are in a relationship that you think is abusive and controlling, you are. Get out! Do not spend another minute there. There are men who will love you and care for you the way God intended it to be, or you can be the person you are all alone. Being on your own is not the end of the world. Sometimes it takes being alone to find out where you are supposed to be. I pray that everyone finds a place in their lives that they have meaning and know that their opinions mean something. God Bless you all, I hope you never have to feel the pain we women have felt.

  16. WANDA SPENCER says:

    I left a abusive marriage – physical, mental and verbal after 20 yrs Jan 1 2010. Almost a year later and still getting abused – verbally and mentally. No matter how much he still tries to control me, i still find a way to carry on. The sad part is that the police haven’t done much, and the children’s aid society in Canada have decided that he is the better parent at this moment..he has convince the entire town he was the victunm and is still the victunm. I cant wait for the police, and the childrens aid to really find out who he is, and it is slowly coming to the end for him. If wasn’t for the support of my friends and my children, it would be so much harder to move forward. It is true however, it gets worse when U leave, but I know it will get better, and in the long run he will be the one who will finally pay for actions. That’s what keeps me strong.
    Most women stay in order to avoid what happens afterward, but in the long run – you are better off, way better off. I thought to my self many times when he made things worse, that I should have stayed, but I stuck it out, and in the end, it will be me and my kids who will rise to the top..
    Just remember, you have nothing to lose… if you don’t leave. WRONG!!!! You have everything to lose….. your children, family, friends and your self respect. Your not just losing them – they are losing you – the most important person in their lives.

  17. support says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I need to say when you had Karen Anderson on your show http://www.breakingthesilence.com, a mother who faught to get her sexually abused girls away from their father, who was favored in the male patriarcheal court system in a rural area became victimized further in the system……and battered women who defend their own and the lives of their own children from an abuser incarcerated in prison are also victimized……YOU ALLOWED ON YOUR SHOW THIS TO BE AN ISSUE OF THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE RIGHTS…..this really is not the case. We are ignoring how corrupt the Judical is in regard to gender.

    Why not do a show to change these outcomes with acutal victims of domestic abuse who are incarcerated and what happens to them in the court system and in prison and what about their daughters often receiving abuse?

    Don’t try to be a hero without exposing all the TRUTHs.

  18. sally says:

    I am away from my narcissistic husband-the DSM is currently considering to exclude NPD from it’s text. I think this is a huge mistake-women, keep up the fight-speak out!!! We need to empower ourselves-we need to get angry (yea, don’t we struggle to maintain the status quo?) Oh, I also forgot that society doesn’t what to see anger. TOUGH!!! We NEED to be heard!!! Breaking the “silence” is work-we have Dr. Phil and the ice berg is about to tip. I don’t know about you, but, I’m getting tired of trying to pull a dead elephant up hill. I keep telling myself it’s NOT impossible. I NEED to stay optimistic and use the energy of my anger to work for me. What about you?
    Oh, 22 years with him really did a number on me! Yea, I could write a book!
    Sorry to say, but I can’t thank my pastor at the congregational church in amery,wi for any support, as he clearing abandoned me after I had told him personally that Bill was abusing me and also gave him material on abuse. (pastor showed up in court to support my husband during a hearing which my husband was being charged with domestic assault on me. When I look at it today, this looks to me like aggressive and intimidating behavior for a pastor. (the one who married us) DUH!!! When court was over, I’m sure that the pastor heard me say, indirectly, that he was “out of his league”.
    Read “When Society Becomes Addicted” My head spun around, what a rush!

  19. sally says:

    When we REALLY start speaking out, it’s not going to be a pretty sight. Women, take stock in the mistakes you’ve made to pursue love. I know I looked for it in the wrong places. If you don’t have faith, find it, you’re stronger than you think. Look at what you’ve received for your efforts. God will Bless you.

  20. Jennifer Beckley says:

    I find it all still unbelievable that in this day and age that women who are being stalked and abused are still not taken seriously. I have been divorced for ten years from my ex husband and am still being stalked and threatend with CPS every time I don’t respond to him. My family isn’t supportive at all. Especially after trying to obtain a protective order for the stalking and harrassment. He’s even went to my job and told a guy that I had been casually dating that I tried to kill him while we were married. It’s true that domestic violence doesn’t stop even after a divorce. I have thought about not having a relationship with my son that he has custody of just to protect the other children living in my home. Unfortunately, my son is ending up just like him because that’s who’s been raising him and the abuse has started spilling over onto him and since no one really wants to listen to me, it falls on deaf ears and this is what happens. I am clueless as to what to do now.

  21. Babciaboop says:

    I’m just wondering what happens to/for the posters who are crying out on this page for help and/or advice? I hope this page isn’t just for the spectical of it and each is responded to in a life saving way. It would be sad, and a shame, if this were not so after so many are baring their souls in anguish and begging to be heard.

  22. Confussed says:

    It has been a little over 11 years since I left my first husband, even though it has been so long I still have a lot of problems when I have to see him or the thought of him being alone with me in a house while I sleep. We have 2 daughters together so I let him be a part of their life but it feels to me that him being a part of their life that he has to be a part of my life. I was with him for 6 years before I left. I had to deal with him doing things that would bruise my arms or when he was mad at me and wanted me to leave and I did what he said he would chase after me and grab me from behind bruising my chest. Things progressively got worse when we left our home state. He would get so mad that he would stop me from going outside to relax by grabbing my wrist and hurting it in front of our daughter who was 3 at the time. He would get so mad that he put a hole in our 5 year olds bedroom door, a whole in our kitchen cabinet door, and once he was so mad that he put his fist into the car windshield cracking it. He would tell me over and over again that if I left him I would be all alone because no one else would ever want me because I wasnt good enough. The last few months before we separated he proceeded to having sex with me when I was asleep. He would start having sex and when I would wake up and tell him no and cry he would just tell me that he was almost done. One of the things that scared me the most was when he was call our daughters (ages 3 and 5 at the time) to the bedroom and start an argument with me and then he would put a pillow over my face while pinning me down to the bed and telling the girls to watch how mom is acting because it scared me so much I tried to push him off of me while crying but he was stronger than me so I was always lucky that he would just stop on his own. The last threat that he told me was the end of it all for me, he was mad at me one night and told me to pack my bags and leave so I did put a few clothes for me and my 3 year old in luggage and when I started out the door to load the car he crabbed me and threw me to the couch and said that the only way I was leaving was in a body back not breathing. With all that I have had to endure with him do I honestly HAVE to keep in touch with him about the kids or can they just do it since they are 14 and 16 now? I just want to completely cut him out of my life because of all of the abuse I had to endure. I want to be able to put all the abuse behind me but to do that I need him out of my life completely. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  23. charlene says:

    I am a survivor of many types of abuse. When i was 5 a babysitter of mine sexually assaulted me and tried to kill my brother. As i was growing up also my parents were extremely physically/mentally/verbally abusive towards me. For so many yrs up until now i have suffered from all types of abuse inclusing from friends even landlords. But it took me to finally put my foot down and say enough is enough and accept the help and want to change things. I have turned to GOD who is so wonderful to help me through all this pain and he placed many ppl in my life to help also. I have a great church i go to and a great church family. Im living in an apartment which is called second stage housing and is run through an amazing shelter. I can only stay here for a yr but it gives me time to get my feet on the ground and make positive changes in my life. Im not gonna say things are always going to run smoothly but i know im a step in the right direction and i encourage other women/men/children/teens to step forward and get help for themselves and/or others that need it. Find local shelters that deal with abuse, talk to a counsellor, pastor, teacher or anyone else that could help. Good luck to all and remember we are not victims we are survivors.

  24. stephanie Mcgowan says:

    I am a 55 year old woman. I have been physically abused by my father, boyfriends and ex-husband. Back then it was never discussed in public itwas so SILENT…i suffered many years. I did however get out of the abusive pattern after I lost everything and dragged myself up, stood up and ran. I was 30 years old the mother of 2 and all alone. My parents were not an option for me, they were part of the problem. I had 3 younger sisters andd an older brother who could not help me, never mind themselves. I still suffer from all the memories, I didhowever start my life again at the age of 30. I joined the U.S Navy got a great education and experienced that not all men were poisonous. My role model my Father was the worst of all. I eventually believed that this was how LOVE was supposed to be expressed. Again until I joined the Navy I never knew it existed. I have been a survivor of Violence since I can remember. I also was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia, and Cryogloulinemic Vasculitis. I am proud to be a survivor of this as well. But NO GREATER PRIDE DID I FEEL WHEN I BROKE THE CYCLE. To this day I never raised a hand to either of my 2 children now both 32 and 33 years old. It Can be done it takes WILL POWER and BELIEF that there is a BETTER LIFE WITHOUT THE ABUSE….Call someone if you can get out, and Run Like hell to the nearest police station. Or join the military it SAVED MY LIFE….and you feel a sense of you as well as pride…I wishh all the very courage it takes and the end result will be the greatest thing you have ever received….Stephanie Mcgowan

  25. theresa kramer says:

    he took my kids. he left me. he told mei was nothing 4 so long. he had me locked up.triedto get me into the state hospital. those charges were thrown out of court. luckyme no ot really- theyheld mydivorce hearing until my commitment hearingwas over there rore i wajked across the hallway to my divorce. weve been divorced since july 98. i now have grandchildreb but i cant see them. i lived for my jids ike pain just keeps growing. been diagnosed with ms and my son screamef i hope itkills you. abuse physically gone since 97 butwhydoesit hurt more everyday?

  26. Carrie Neal Walden says:

    I am a “fan” of yours on FB and saw your snippet about “separation assault” today when looking through your recent video clips. This is a term I hadn’t heard before, but it is exactly what happened to me when I left my boyfriend, who was abusive and has mental health and addiction issues, and finally cut off all contact.

    I was afraid to “cut him off” because my gut told me he’d go off the reservation, so to speak – so I didn’t do it immediately. When I did, he did more than what I was afraid of, and now he’s in jail for violating the 25K bond he got out of jail the first time on, for violating the restraining order I got against him. He has been indicted on felony aggravated stalking charges and what he’s done to make my life a nightmare, since April, is stuff you’d see on a “Law & Order” episode.

    It brings me some comfort to have a term for his behavior, at least in regard to me, so I thank you for that. I will only feel safe if he is in jail – his next hearing is tomorrow so I am waiting to find out what happens.
    Sincerely,
    Carrie Neal

  27. lia says:

    dear doctor phil
    i have been struggeling for a long time because of the fact that i have to let my abusive ex see our daughter on the weekends i live in arizona and when we had gone to court i showed the judge the records of my ex trying to kill me and my daughter the judge had told me i was a horrible mother for not letting my daughters father see her it didn’t matter he wanted to harm us so then the judge gave me full custody and my ex visitation on the weekends and my ex now knows where i live and work and has my number to my home.
    he stalks me all the time and tells me he knows every were i am going and wants us back together i don’t want him near me or my daughter, now my daughter is showing signs of depression when she comes home from her dads she cries all the time about everything she is going to be three this year and i have been trying to potty train her but my ex puts her back in diapers and tells her she doesn’t need to use the potty i don’t know what to do i am sick of worrying about if he will hurt her and when he will come and hurt me because he has told me that he still wants to be with me and he will do whatever it takes to get me back and he doesn’t want me with anyone else, the court system here is all wrong and i am afraid i will end up dead before something is done.

  28. I worked for over 33 years in the Florida prison system. I saw a lot of murders, killers and general criminals. Most claimed to have been victims of abuse. The families and society just didn’t understand them. Bleeding heart society decided to coddle them into submission. Those on death row in 1972 were released to a general population prison for the rest of their lives. Now they too can be coddled to death. A few criminals do return to society, but still think they are owed a comfortable living. There seems to no end in sight for the system.

  29. Kathleen Fox/Espenshade says:

    I sent an email a few minutes ago, because of the show aired today. It was disturbing to me. As I am working through the domestic violence situation at hand it just added pain. How I longed for a loving relationship, good communication,best friends for my husband and I. But instead(first marriage) 32 years of adultery,lies,mistrust,verbal,mental abuse.Divorced him finally! Married another 4 years later. Went through 4 1/2 years of verbal, mental,no communication,isolated himself,didn’t want sex or to sleep with me. So now the aftermath of domestic violence. At 62 yrs old its very hard to deal with. I left and ended up in a shelter. How devastating but so thankful for the help I am receiving. I have 2 sons to the first marriage-42yrs & 36yrs. They are hurting too. It’s has taken the real meaning of life and love out from the depth of my heart and soul.I am working hard to regain my life back. But, just 3 weeks ago I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and
    Anxiety and Panic Disorder. Alot of people are not educated or have any idea what the results from domestic violence are to the abused. I am in Transitional Housing for abused women(its a 2 yr program)I have 1 yr completed and March of 2013 I will be in my own apartment. Also in the process of my second divorce which is stressful and painful. Going from a beautiful house to a low subsidized housing will be difficult. But my main goal is to be there for other women of my age(Grandma)and help them find themselves back in there families lives and in society. Last but not least-Jeremiah 29:11-For I know the plans I have for you,declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I know with Gods’ help I will not be a “victim, but a victor!!

  30. Alice Smith says:

    Dr. Phil, I have been a long time fan of you, Robin and your show for many years now. I was in a terrible domestic violence relationship, well i was actually married to the creep. It got really, really bad. to the point where i would actually pray for something bad to happen to him, so he might not make it home that day! I was raped many, many times. i was sold to his family members, forced into sexual relationships with people i never had even met before, including prostitutes. I was even forced to have sex with a dog at one time, this while i had a gun pointed to my head and told i would get killed and buried and never found by anyone! I lived like that for 11 years almost, until after many times of trying to escape, i finally was able to do it and not go back. I had left him before..but had always returned and i would hate myself for that worse than anything. I would tell myself, “girl, you was away from him and his abusive ways, why am i back here, getting beat again, being sold again to men”? i had a ‘break down” i guess you could say, after the death of my momma, she passed from cancer and i was told that “was the best thing that could have ever happened to our marriage, was her dying”! She was the only other person in my life, besides him that i talked to, i was all alone after she died with nobody, I had a sister who did help me, by giving me a safe place to go after i left him.I had a son with him, our lil boy who i could not talk to about my issues. The abuse just got worse and worse by the day it seemed like. I had threatened to be placed into the trunk of a car and driven back to where we were staying, if i didn’t change my mind and come with him without him forcing me…but i was finally able to get away and stay away from him for good. that has been over 11 years now..and he still is violently mad at me, we have ason who is 20 years old and we have had many, many issues with all of that. you can only imagine what that would be like. he is narcesstic, controlling and crazy! i have nightmares to this day because of the traumatic abuse i suffered from him for so many years. he blamed me for everything, told everyone i was to blame. he even had a catholic priest call me after i left him for good and tell me my place was with my husband, not at my sisters house seeking refuge from him! i had a few choice words for the preacher man i must say, he knew nothing about what i had been through with that monster. Many times he has been aquised of molesting children. he finally was charged and found guilty of one of those charges, not sure what it was, some type of sexual assualt on his young teenage neice who was sleeping on the coach, where his mother lives. he was also there and she said he done something bad to her.It’s been many, many people say things like that about him.I know, as a child who was abused, physically, and sexually..that a person will a lot of times end up with someone who will abuse them when they get old enough to be with someone. that’s what happened to me. it’s like somehow i knew he was a monster and me being abused, that i deserved being with someone like that. i am now in a wonderful place in my life. i am no longer abused, or living in poverty, having to ask people for money and a place to stay…but he is. he will always be like he is, no change for him. he will not even admit doing any woman, any wrong. he hates women, blames women for everything that has ever happened. Told me all the time, to be submissive to him, he was the man, i was the woman! i am so glad i got away from him and didn’t go back. he is now with one of the women he used to run around on me with, abusing her.Thanks for your show, it has helped many women who are in situations like that. Sometimes all they need is to know, they are not alone. others have gone through what they are now going through. T.V helped me, he hated me watching shows that would let me see things and make me aware of things that others were going through. i learned that i didn’t have to live with that nomore! oj simpsons trial brought lite to domestic violence, it elped me see what others were doing to get away. I am thankful for that, a lite being shown on the problem of abuse in families. I feel like nicole brown simpsons death actually helped me to live my life in peace. because of her getting killed like she did, it made a huge impact on domestic violence being talked about, instead of being pushed under the rug and hid from others. I am very thankful to her and all the women who lost their lives, in order for us to live and be free from from domestic violence. if i could do one thing in my life right now, it would be to thank Nicoles family. let them know she didn’t die in vain, she helped us to get away from those monsters! thanks Nicole and all the other women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us to see this issue is real and it needs to be talked about!

  31. Melissa says:

    I live in constant fear of my ex-husband. We share a daughter. I left him right before she turned 3 years old. His abuse of me was starting to affect her and though he never laid a hand on my children, I began to fear for them. He was however using them as pawns in his games against me. He was also training my two older boys from a previous marriage to abuse and disrespect me and would award them for doing so. He is extremely manipulative and uses his charisma to convince others he is innocent. He has not seen his daughter since I left and she is now 7 years ago. But there is always something to fear with him. I have been allowing him to have telephone conversations with her, but he overstepped the line last time and asked her when she was going to visit him. He is a pedophile that collects pictures and videos of little girls. He hasn’t been caught yet. He is a computer programmer that easily makes six figures. He has written programs to encrypt his collection and permanently delete his hard drive on a regular basis. I wish I had enough evidence to get law enforcement to monitor his bandwidth on his phone and home internet. I know they would catch him in the act and my little girl will then be safe from him. I still live single with my 3 children. My dad allows me to live in a house he owns. We are on food stamps and medicaid. There is no way I can win a custody battle with him. He filed a vindictive lawsuit at one point and then dropped it when he saw it wasn’t going his way under the conditions that I do not counter sue. I am still paying for the attorney that helped me. Protecting my daughter is the most important thing to me. I cannot allow anything to happen to her. My heart races in fear everytime I see his photo or his name.

  32. Teresa Dumas says:

    Dr. Phil,
    My daughter is in the middle of trying to deal with an abusive x-husband. She has done everything , to no avail. Her X even came to my home ( grandma) to pick up his baby son 1 and 1/2, with a construction hammer in his hand just yesterday ! I was terrified. Police merely took a report- seems you have to be killed or hospitalized to be able to have someone jailed. I was told that intimidating a disabled grandma or acting in a menacing manner wasnt against the law. My daughter lives with us, she has lost 2 jobs because of his demanding her to meet him with the baby at all hours when she is working, She is in healthcare and has several AMA certifications- she only wants peace, and to be allowed to move on with her life. Her X has been discharged from 2 jobs in one year for physically fighting with other employees! He manipulates the law and twists and turns anything and everything to cause problems with my daughter. I have witnessed these things personally , he has told her to remove me and her dad from the babys life ” or else”. He has even gone so far as to give false police reports to police that my husband is pointing a gun at him- both times police apologized to my husband after their investigating. I am frustrated with the legal system, and have actually started to write a book about this spiral into hell for my daughter and even myself! Our biggest concern is the fact he is acting out in front of the baby and teaching him how to disrespect his mother and women in general. The members of our church have told their wives that if they see him they are to get inside and lock the door! He has burst into our church during sacrament 2 times and was forced to leave by larger men ! He even went so far as to try to have the babys blessing revoked by the church- He was told that no church would revoke a childs blessing!!
    He even told her one day in front of me as he was taking the baby for a vist he told her ” remember Josh Powell” with a smirlk on his face and a gring on his lips told the baby to kiss mommy goodbye !! His attorney’s secretary is currently bringing the baby and returning the baby to me on his visitation days because I am watching the baby this week and next while my daughter attends a nursing class to certify for her license. I am terrified as police dont do anything, laws have kept their hands tied- his aggressive behavior has escalated and I fear my daughters death is eminent.Even the policeman who witnessed him throwing a paper in her face and screaming at her told her she was in danger. I am terrified-

  33. Free says:

    I wake up and im on the floor,begging ” stop, please, please, you’re hurting me, I was sleeping” beat me for a good cpl min and he stopped. I was crying, asking God to help me. My abuser was my husband. He beat me, strangled me, called me every bad name in the book, not only did he pick on me and my life he picked on my friends and family. Told me I was nothing and deserve to die. I cried everyday I was with him. He talked to my family and friends behind my back and wouldn’t let me talk to them because he would speak ill of me. I confided in him at some point and he let out all my secrets and everyone started to hate me. I was in a Europe, didn’t know the language. He would keep me locked up in the apartment and when he was angry, nothing helped. He cheated on me and he let me go downstairs to get air, I told him to leave for the night, he refused. I walked away, he grabed my hair and dragged me by my hair literally up the stairs to the second floor of our unit, he beat me because he cheated on me. I jumped out the window to escape one night, not to run away but just to feel free, I knew he would get me, he did. He found me at a bar talking to a lady, I had to go with him or he would beat her too. I sat in the car, he was yelling, I started to yell. He took my head and smashed it on the dashboard. I stopped yelling. He was swearing and continued to tell and call me names, I was quiet. He slapped me so hard I started to see stars ( he’s an MMA fighter and had knocked out guys with a slap) I yell “I’m sorry, i won’t do it again” he hit me harder, kept beating me in the car. I can’t breath because he’s choking me. I thought I was going to die. He released, smashed my head on the window. I try to escape but he pulls me back in. The car door is open and there are people passing by, I’m crying and begging for the monster to stop but he won’t and no one stops to help. The more I apologize the harder he hits. He strangles me for trying to escape my punishment. I go in and out of consciousness and he realizes I’m not well. I hyperventilate and he gets scared, lets me out of the car and tells me to stop faking it. I have asthma and no inhaler. My chest feels tight, I can’t breath, I rip the buttons off my shirt. I talk to myself in my head, tell myself I’ll be ok. God is with me, I make a birthday wish and ask him to protect me and He does…. Happy birthday to me.

    I suffered through the hands of such a monster who not only physically abused me, mentally abused me, sexually abused me, and emotionally ripped me apart. Physical abuse was 3 times a wk usually n when that happened sexual abyss would follow. Emotional and mental was 24/7. I wanted to die….

    I ran away from him and it’s been 2 months this June 2013. I still have nightmares of being raped and beat. I trusted this man and he turned out to be the worst human being I had ever met. I’m back in Canada. I live a lie. I’m working and put on a happy face, when I see my sister or mom I pretend I’m ok. I smile, it’s not genuine. I’m hurting, I’m frightened, only a few ppl know I’m back, I’m ashamed. I have disgraced my family. I’m trying to live a religious life now and it’s the only thing giving me hope in mankind. I walk with my head down, I stare into space. When does the pain all just go away……

  34. Mary Wilcox says:

    My name is Mary Wilcox I have been with my ex over 20 years 2 years in between we were divorced and remarried. When he was 17 my dad was protecting me and my ex attacked him my dad ended up with broken ribs my dad was crippled he had rheumatoid arthritis. The first time we were married had a drinking problem he was very abusive physically. I remember every detail of every time he hit me starting with the first time he hit me in the face in front of a crystal factory. Over 20 years ago. I had many black eyes bruises all over my body til the day the marines put him on restriction for his abuse. I left him and went to Ca. and got a restraining order on him. We got a divorce my son was 4 at the time he is now 23. He stopped drinking and promised he would never drink again being young and naive I believed him. We remarried when my oldest daughter was 1 and a half. Things got worse he was controlling and one minute he was nice the next minute he was throwing items at me. When I would try to defend myself he would sometimes sit on top of me so I could not move he would squeeze my neck hard and put his hand over my mouth and say you can breathe through your nose. You can’t breathe through your nose if someone is choking you. It was always him saying I was cheating on him that started the argument or if I did not agree with him he got violent. He would not let me work because he did not want anyone else to take care of our kids. He said that they would hurt our kids. I never understood that because he would hit me and throw things at me right in front of our kids. Things got really bad around 2007 in Fallon Nevada he would get mad because his work and me and the kids tried to avoid him like walking on eggshells. One night he was arguing with me and I went in the room the next thing I know he was screaming at my son, my son was about 17. He was yelling about his room and he started getting in my sons face my son was in bed at the time. I told my husband your mad at me leave him alone he took my sons game system and broke it my son got up and my husband started hitting him in the face like he would do me punching him. My heart dropped I try to break them up and my son grabbed a baseball bat to protect himself. Fearing my husband would take it from my son and beat him with it I stepped in-between them I was struck with the bat and started bleeding between my legs. My husband knowing I was severely injured did not stop he went after my son I called 911 my husband proceeded to hit my son with a vacuum cleaner cutting his head wide open. Then he took me to the er I ended up with a lacerated kidney and spleen internal bleeding and fractured ribs. But my son was safe. While I was in the hospital my husband told the police it was my sons fault. I sent my son to live with my sister. My husband kept with abuse on me. We transferred to Mississippi where he injured me by yanking me to the ground by my hair. I went to medical many times for injuries but never told them my husband did it. I did not want to destroy his career and I had nowhere to go because my dad was ill so could not turn to family. Next we transferred to Ca. It got to where he would spit on me, throw things at me my daughter was on the bed next to me when he threw a bookshelf of books on me, he dumped drinks on my head destroyed my phones, in one night he took a hammer and broke a T.V., a computer, a laptop, a picture, shredded my clothes. He also broke my daughter’s TV. in front of her. He would sit down in front of me and say you took your love away for hours. When I rejected him he would force himself on me sexually even if I was crying. He called me a slut and whore every day. He accused me of having sex with my brother. The final straw was a couple days before Halloween of 2011 we were in the car and I asked him if when he was going to be deployed if he was going to open a ship account and if he was going to leave enough so I can pay the bills. My girls were in the car and he started screaming he said he was going to end it then he started steering the car off the bridge my girls were crying I grabbed the wheel I said the girls are in the car he said he did not care. He yelled at the girls because they were crying. He then got to the store told me to get out of the car. I begged him to just take me and the girl’s home. He did screaming at me all the way home. We got home and he yelled at the girls to go upstairs then he pushed me on the couch and told me he was going to end up killing me and himself. He put my kids in danger for the last time I had enough. I was use to his anger directed at me but he was starting to direct it more at the kids. Since the day I left he will not admit or acknowledge what he has done to me he just blames me for leaving and accuses me of being with someone. All want is him to get help he is mentally unstable and most of all I want to protect my girls from his anger. He called my 22 year old son crying many times making my son feel bad that he lost everything but what about what he took from my girls always hiding in their closet when he was screaming and what about everything he took from me over 20 years of being scared, sleeping with a knife under my mattress in case he just snapped and the physical mental and sexual abuse he inflicted on me. I am not complaining I just would like once in his life to acknowledge I did not make him do things to me he made a choice and he choice to abuse me he is responsible for me leaving no one and nothing else. What hurts just as much is cops were called many times and we lived in military housing and the Military police came seen the hole on the walls and marks on me yet they only sent him to the barracks. Now divorced from him Sept. 2013 he still is trying to make me pay for leaving him. He is a chief in the military 20 years service never let me work for 20 years and my age and lack of experience I cannot find a job or help for a custody battle for my girls. I have my girls and the state where I live has jurisdiction I just do not have the money for a lawyer for a custody battle and legal aid I am still waiting for their call. The only thing I want is to protect my girls because if he could snap on my son and beat on him like he did me he can do it to my girls. My son is 23 now he still feels sorry for his dad I will never understand why. I would like justice for the things he did to me but I know I will never get it now I just want my girls safe.

  35. Deborah says:

    Ladies understand this- despite all of the perpetrator’s brain washing – you are Not responsible for your abuse!!! You did not willingly volunteer to participate in such heinous, abhorrent acts.
    l am the first to tell you that getting out will require every ounce of strength and courage you can muster! You are not alone, although it feels very much so due to the physical and mental isolation you have no doubt have been existing in. If you can, read everything you can safely get your hands on, regarding the effects of abuse, and the resources available. Above all-stay safe. Not going to sugar coat it- leaving can be dangerous. Don’t be afraid to call 911. From my heart, l wish you- because you are worth it- the very best!!!!!

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