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

  1. Donna says:

    Hi, My name is Donna. I have been in 3 bad marriages, the last one the worst by far. Not only was my ex physically abusive at times, we decided when things got tough (I started drinking to self medicate) that it was time to find another woman. He carried on his affair for months before I finally put 2 and 2 together. When I asked for his help, he said no, that he was happy where he was (with the other woman). When I decided I had finally had enough and gave up, I met a wonderful man. That’s when my ex decided he wanted me back. He actually had the nerve to have his “girlfriend” call me and try to convince me to take him back! I explained to her that she was a huge part of the reason my husband I were no longer together and what was she thinking trying to help him get back with the woman he left for her. What kind of a messed up person manipulates people in such a way as to get his girlfriend to call his ex wife to make amends? Wow!!! I can honestly say nothing has shocked me more. The mental and emotional abuse was more than any one should have to endure. I lost weight and developed medical problems. I’m so glad I’m out of that relationship!!! Ladies, no man is worth your self esteem and self worth!

  2. Maureen says:

    Donna, I completely agree! I never got married, because my father used to say that the best way to break a bad habit is never to start it in the first place!

  3. Becky says:

    Dr. Phil – I don’t have a chance to watch all of your episodes so perhaps I’ve missed the one on husband/male abuse. I have a dear male friend who was in a bad relationship for several years. He was afraid to leave. Every time he made an attempt to leave she would hurt herself and threaten to call the police. Finally after more than 5 years of this abuse, he let her call the police and asked them to take him to jail. As in most domestic assault cases, the only witnesses are the victim and the abuser. His lawyer advised him to plead guilty to minor domestic assault with a one year jail term and he agreed. He couldn’t see any other way out of the relationship. The local newspaper portrayed him as an evil abuser. He has a police record and a “reputation” that he’ll have to live with forever. When he was released from jail she refused to hand his personal belongings over to his lawyer and they are now headed to court to retieve such things as his baby pictures, his children’s pictures. The abuse continues. Please Dr. Phil help the men who are in this situation find the help they need. Sometimes the pendulum swings too far. We, as a society, need to protect all genders from all domestic abuse – physical and mental. These men and women feel that they are prisoners in their own home and we need to help them understand how they can achieve their freedom. Thank you in advance for considering both genders.

  4. Stacey Allen says:

    I left an extremely abusive relationship just over three years ago….. with the help of my best friend whom, with both hands grabbed me from the “sinking ship” as my head slowely went underwater. It was the hardest thing in the world to leave him….. He had so much power over me after our 13 year relationship from hell. I too have children to this man / manipulator. He was really bad when we first broke up, as Dr Phil says…. he tried to be mr nice guy at first and then after about three weeks of constant haggling, realizing I wasn’t coming home, he turned on me, bigtime. Going back to Dr Jekyll and not Mr Hyde. I ended up having to get a dvo (domestic violence order) against him to protect myself. He was making threats, and I couldn’t handle it anymore. This settled him down a little….. I have now written a book, which is in the publishing process on my ordeal….this helped so much in my recovery, but still, I have to face that face at every drop off, every weekend. My best advice to you is be very careful who you breed with! Because it affects your whole life forever.

  5. Alice Stephenson says:

    True. Here’s a link http://www.hotpeachpages.net I suggested to Dr. Phil Website that was added to General and Mental Health Resources live link I also suggested. Although, I was hoping General and Mental Health Resources live link would be HIGHLY visible on “main” message board page and Dr. Phil Website home page. Simply because many going to the Dr. Phil Website are barely hanging on at the end of their rope or wits end. Perhaps, is now… I haven’t looked.

    Time is of the essence when you are needing an exit plan from an abusive marriage and by the way… I needed exit plan as a teen when stalked so, once again, PREVENTION IS THE BEST INTERVENTION. Example: Emotional and Life Skill Education K-12 DAILY CLASS of age appropriate topics, role play learning to say NO (and accept NO).


    Dr. Phil, I’m glad you are covering this now. I’ve had “learned helplessness” since 16 when called police for a 20 year old yelling up obscenities at me since I didn’t want to date him since he cursed etc. I thought, “I don’t have to put up with this!” Ironically, when rapist later played softball his softball number was the same as OJ Simpson’s football #32, whom he admired. Back then I resembled Nicole Simpson… a lot.

    So anyway, he hid in bushes and said policeman almost stepped on his hand as police told me, “Don’t call for someone just yelling up obscenities to you since you won’t date him. We could be solving murders.” Yes, 4 years later, almost mine as I “learned helplessness” that night. I think, perhaps, the policeman almost stepped on rapist’s hand as a warning to give him a chance thinking a normal person would leave.

    Instead, after police left, rapist didn’t leave and came up LAUGHING saying, “See, even the police don’t care about a slut like you!” That’s how it felt too (abandoned) and I know Nicole had similar experiences w/abuse of her minimized. Well, no surprise abuse escalated because he’d heard and I’d been told BY POLICE to not trouble them so four years later the murder they were almost solving was mine. I’m VERY disappointed that gender slurs are glorified by all races and rampant in movies & music when ARE as hurtful as N word.

    Told by police 4 years later, “You need to find a big man to protect you because we cannot protect you 24/7.” So there you have it. That’s why women stay because KNOW if leave it can get worse. Perhaps, Dr. Phil is that big man all battered women need. I know when I heard Dr. Phil tell a woman on his show that the man who abused her should be kicked to the curb it made me feel good to hear how I was done wasn’t right. Not that he should be kicked to curb… just to be validated was wrong what was done to me. Nobody, wants to be involved due to he said/she said confusion.

    Oh and ladies speak up or records will just reflect lies abuser tells to get away with abusing you… and get records. I still have a tendency to keep silent too long, to not trouble persons like police made me feel when I called when I was 16, while someone abusing me blows like a tea kettle to cover up tracks of having abused me. Actually, on domestic violence cases record should be sent as a tangible reminder to abused “and” as evidence.

    This said, since pedophiles target single women w/children PLEASE don’t be intimate with ANYONE abusive and bring children into the mess. So true as research indicates that over eagerness to babysit of men, when woman single, often a red flag. Sad thing is there are good guys out there who “might” offer to babysit or truly be interested in a woman w/children yet best to see as a possible red flag if overly eager to, as research indicates. I know family members do as well and not just strangers many victims have told me so sometimes those persons trust strangers more than family. So true that over eagerness to rush relationship is a red flag for both men and women.

    Unsafe sex isn’t just for STD’s and rushing or being forced into a relationship without knowing person for BOTH men and women IS unsafe. Oh, and listen. I was told not to go out with rapist because mean to woman, who called me, at fair and I tried to cancel yet he said, “Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance?”

    Many abusers will word things to where a personality flaw of yours to not go along with them. “If you were a Christian you’d forgive me.” Well, maybe so… yet you don’t have to stick around for round two of verbal or physical punches. Plus Jesus said, “Go and sin no more” not keep beating the hell out of her emotionally and physically like before. Well… if you want to “learn helplessness” like I did and be under house arrest handcuffed by low self esteem ignore red flags. That’s what boils down to.

    Culminated to three suicide attempts that fortunately it dawned on me FINALLY, thank God, that to do that I’d become my worst abuser. Dr. Phil often says we teach people how to treat us… Don’t “learn helplessness” by any abuser in the school of hard knocks. If you are a teen or anyone reading this remember you have a right to NO even if you aren’t a virgin. Perhaps, due to fear of rejection we hate to say no to friendship of someone.

    Read Robin’s book “Inside My Heart” and Dr. Phil’s “Love Smart” because PREVENTION IS THE BEST INTERVENTION. Speak up and stand up for you for Dr. Phil is so right “You are never alone if you are there for you.” Considering suicide happens when you’re not there for you. BE THERE!

    Most every bad situation I’ve been in there were red flags I ignored. Get in the habit of paying attention to red flags and YOUR RIGHTS! That’s the common denominator I often see is most abused saw signs before involved yet we women can be embarrassed to death, literally, to not be “polite” and give someone w/a date rap sheet a 2nd chance. Be a hero for you for SELF MATTERS INCLUDES YOU. Listen to what parents and others see/say because truly love can be blind even if you are just trying to be a loving, kind hearted person.

    Even times I’ve been bullied online I ignored red flags allowing myself to be put in that position by ignoring red flags. Dr. Phil says, “If you can name it you can change it.” So lets pay attention to those red flags because PREVENTION IS THE BEST INTERVENTION. To not live life on the edge taking risks in the first place is WAY better than picking up the pieces.

    Think about it and I bet you’ll begin to see red flags you ignored to be “polite” or since lonely etc. Dr. Phil has a quote something to the effect that it is better to be alone in a healthy relationship with yourself than in an unhealthy relationship with someone else. Often we grieve for what we wish we had more than what we had when acknowledging whatever relationship that isn’t healthy isn’t healthy.

  6. Susan says:

    Sandy’s story and so many others like it are the reason why I strongly believe that we as a nation and a world population need to try and PREVENT as many future cases of DV from happening as we possibly can. In my opinion, ONE way to do this is to help women learn the early warning signs and red flags of abusive behavior.

    This is one list I have come across, and if it only helps ONE person avoid the violence of an abusive relationship, that is reason enough to provide it.


    1. His insisting on making all the decisions about what she does or where she goes.

    2. Pressuring her to move with him to another town or state, far away from her family and friends, to ISOLATE her from them.

    3. Getting angry whenever she wants to go somewhere by herself.

    4. Accusating her of “flirting” with just about any man she looks at or talks to.

    5. Getting angry at her spending any time with her family or friends.

    6. Pressuring her soon after they meet (anywhere from two to six months) to either move in with or worse, marry him.

    7. Insulting her choice of job or career, trying to persuade her to give it up.

    8. Addicition to alcohol, drugs or both.

    9. Humiliating her in front of her family or friends.

    10. Treating her as a possession rather than a person.

    IMO a woman who stays in a relationship with a guy showing a few — or all — of these warning signs is putting herself, and her children if she already has one or more, at serious risk of physical harm.

  7. Amanda says:

    I agree that domestic violence is an extreme issue and seems to be getting worse, especially among teens. I work with a young girl who is regularly beaten by her teen boyfriend. She comes to work with black eyes and bruises on a regular basis. He even beat her so bad on one occassion that he broke blood vessels in her eye. She never tried to hide any of the bruises and when people asked what happened she told them her boyfriend beat her. Everyone offered her all the help and support one could ask for, but she never left him. Now she is carrying his child. Very sad.

    There is one wish that I have regarding domestic violence. I wish that there was more awareness regarding men who are in violent relationships with their female partners. My brother, who was 20 at the time was in an abusive relationship with his 18 year old girlfriend. My brother has always been very popular, played sports in high school, and was very social. When he first met his girlfriend she seemed very nice and eager to please. But it wasn’t long before the abuse began. It started with controling the things he did such as going out with his friends and spending time with his family. Then it became violent. On one occassion when she came home from work at 2:00 am and found my brother sleeping on the living room floor rather than cooking her something to eat she began kicking him in the ribs. She cracked several of his ribs and left him with severe bruises. My other brother who was three years younger was there and witnessed the abuse. On another occassion, when they were going to my parents house to visit (because he was not allowed to visit our family alone) she assulted him while he was driving, hitting him several times in the face, scratching his face and splitting his lip and his eye brow. Why did she do this? Because he wanted to go to the local Subway instead of the one two towns over that she wanted to go to. The abuse wasn’t just physical it was extremely controlling and emotional, and it became worse when she became pregnant. She threatened to keep the baby from him and even threatened to harm the unborn child if he didn’t do what she wanted. For over a year my brother refused to stand up to her. He was ashamed and became a shell of himself. My 6′4″ brother turned into a 3′6″ scared child. His girlfriend was only 5′3″ and weighed less than 110 pounds. She was a model and you would never look at her and think she was an abuser but that is exactly what she was. Once the baby was born it only got worse. She refused to allow my family to see the baby or my brother. Finally on Father’s Day that year, six months after the baby was born, my brother had had enough. She told him that if he took the baby to see my father, she would move out and put a restraining order on him. He went anyway. We had a wonderful day but when he returned home she had done as she had promised. My brother was not allowed to see his son for several months, until his day in court. She told the judge that she would admit that the restraining orders were false and allow him to see his son again if he was not allowed to see anyone in my family. The judge wouldn’t buy it. Eventually my brother was awared full custody and she was granted visitation rights. My brother has provided a happy, stable home for my nephew for seven years now and continues to do so. She has visitation but continues to engage in abusive relationships with men. I think that it is important for everyone to be aware that it isn’t just men who abuse, it’s women too, and the men being abused feel just as helpless. Break the silence on ALL violence not just man no woman violence.

  8. Your show on Domestic violence hit home, Last December, my husband of thirteen years (11 and a half years in legal marriage, the rest living together) was arrested for slapping me upside the temple and knocking me to the floor. Up to that point, he’d been temperamental and argumentative, and used put-downs to try to ‘control’ our lives together. His money was ‘his,’ but so was mine from paychecks. He kept me in his control. When he slapped me to the floor, I found myself lucky to have a sister, locally, who is a trained CMA, and she called the local sheriff’s office. By the time his sentence was up in county jail, he faced state felony charges, and ultimately received a 17 month sentence in state prison.
    Now, I’m working around my job schedule to write a novel, in which the main character has gone through the same violent circumstances. I felt this story was too important not to share it; if reading this novel shows just one person what abuse is, and how to end it, it is well worth the effort to write it.
    For nearly a year, now, I have asked myself why I put up with my husband for so long. I know I’m not responsible for his actions, for his attitude, or his abuse, but I have had to own up to being an enabler. He did what he did for so long, bercause I allowed him to do so. At this time, I am afraid of looking for another relationship. Until I learn what it is in me that made me think I did not deserve better than falling in love with an abusive loser, I’m too afraid of getting into a repeat of what I’ve been through.
    Dr. Phil, your comments and those of your professional guests, let me belive that there really is light at the end of that proverbial tunnel. Thank you for caring.

  9. Susan says:

    In addition to the links I have seen posted here, I would like to add one more. It is called “The Domestic Violence Power and Control Wheel” and it gives eight different methods abusers use to intimidate and control everything their partner does.

    It is a very user-friendly graphic, and I hope it will help anyone, woman OR man, who believes she/she might be in an abusive relationship, and help the person END that relationship as quickly as possible. I feel it is far too risky to stay with an abuser hoping he or she will change. The possibility for serious bodily injury or worse, death, is too great for anyone to take that chance.


  10. Ray says:

    Dr Phil It seems that your concentration is all on the violence on women, but there never help for the men. I truly hope that you start stopping the silence for the men also.

  11. BettyDavies says:

    This is a subject that has defined my life. I have survived domestic violence three times. The first was right after I had lost both my parents as a young teenager; I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I was totally lost and I fell for the first guy who showed any interest in me. I went through ten years of total hell and abuse. I was in and out of the hospital and finally my uncle saw the bruises I had hidden for years while I was getting ready for my sisters wedding. I was asked why I stayed and there are so many answers. I had no self esteem left, I believed no one wanted or cared about me and I remembered my mom telling me before she died that marriage was taking the good with the bad, and I felt like I failed her by not making a good wife. I never got counseling or help to understand all that we go through both while going through DV as well as after we are out of DV. I fell in and out of a second abusive relationship not realizing I was still in the cycle of Domestic Violence. My third and final abusive relationship was the most horrible, terror filled and that is not to say my first two were not but this one within seconds almost took my life. I did not realize there were such horrible, psycho men out there as my second husband. It took him almost killing me by on quarter of an inch, putting me in ICU in critical condition and a year in rehab to realize that this was a serious thing happening to me. I ended up at a wonderful domestic violence shelter/transitional housing in Indianapolis Indiana called the Julian Center. I finally started going through counseling and meeting other women who were going through the same thing. It totally made me realize that I could not do this on my own anymore and I learned alot. I have graduated with my associates degree and now finishing my senior year of my Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and looking to get honors and go into law school. I want to work helping other women who are going through and survivors of Domestic Violence. I have also found out that this is a life long event that we will forever have effects from. Rather is be physical effects, or psychological effects and there are still times when my self esteem falters and I get scared all over again. This is a huge issue, and I also wrote the white house and asked how come they can turn the white house pink one day in October, but they can not turn the White House Purple for one day a week in October for Domestic Violence. This issue is just as important as Breast Cancer.

  12. Trina says:

    I was in a abusive relationship. What I don’t understand are why the laws make it so hard to get help. I did not know my ex’s address so I was not able to get a protection order. He was calling me at my job and left messages on the work phone. I was asked to leave work because some of my co workers we scared he would show up and hurt all of us. We called the police and they said there was nothing they could do. Maybe you could do a show about what to do when the police can’t or won’t help. I had proof but that did not help me. When I called the police in my town they told me until I was harmed physically they could not do any thing. How does this happen. I was lucky and for some reason he just stopped but I am sure there are women out there who are not as lucky.

  13. Rob says:

    I watched the show today and I have to say I really feel bad for all the woman out there that feel like they are in a hopeless situation. It’s such a shame that the courts and police depts don’t or can’t help these woman out more. It really broke my heart to hear that the only soft places to fall, shelthers, for a lot of these women are closing down due to under funding. It did get me thinking though, I own my own company and I do marketing on a national level and I could start running a fund raising campaign that I think would bring in millions across the country for these shelters. With my unique situation I actually think that I could put together a campaign with little to no risk for the shelters that could not only raise funds but could also help with public awareness. How awesome would it be to be able to be part of Dr. Phil’s “End the Silence on Domestic Violence” campaign. I wonder how someone goes about offering their services to the show? Good luck to all the women in these horrible situations in life, may you get the help you need to more forward in life.

  14. julie says:

    wow watching the DV show today was something i needed at just the right time.i have been married to my husband for 15 years been together for 23yrs.i met him just after my mom died ,i was 23 lost and lonely. the first few years were good.then things slowly went crazy.i went from a strong sucessful happy secure women with many friends,to being long term victum of contant verbal,sometimes physical abuse,who is scared and alone and plain broken down.recently he gave me a black eye that he denies doing.he says i must did it my self.family saw it and this time i told the truth not making up a story no ever believes,i spent day today looking for resources to help me and my kids. so the irony of seeing the show today ,made realize fhere is help out and i need to get. so thank you dr phil i watch you everyday but i am going to a differance for myself

  15. melinda says:

    The day my ex threatened to burn my children alive was the dat he LOST his parental right! How many woman & CHILDREN must DIE before the SYSTEM figures it out! after months of begging for help? I realized as much as people care? Sorry.. my hands are tied?! the reality is ur life & the life of your children are about to expire then YOU become the NEXT SAD STORY.. the NEXT LESSON.. the next…poor thing?! what could we have done to help? toooo late! My children have a normal life.. I have grandkids.. WHY? because I did it MYSELF when no one else would help! So put me in jail! KNOWING MY CHILDREN ARE SAFE & didnt have to endure any more abuse? Is worth the REST OF MY LIFE IN JAIL! MY job as a parent is to PROTECT my children from harm! I did! & I would do it again!

  16. Nicole says:

    My friend and co-worker, Larsen Hunt was murdered two days ago by her ex-boyfriend in her parents home. She was a NICU nurse and had gone home to sleep after working the previous night. At around 1:30 she tried calling 911 and by the time the police got there she was dead. She had gotten a restraining order against him a month ago. About an hour and a half after he killed her he was seen swerving on a road by a police car and they tried to pull him over. He sped off and lost control of his car, sending him into a home where he caught on fire and died. Larsen left behind a 5 year old autistic son that was her world. She was a bright, happy, and caring person. She was only 25 years old. The man that killed her had two children as well. Such a sad sad week for a lot of people down in Tampa, FL. Thank you for your efforts to end domestic violence. It makes me extremely sad that so many women will not be there for their children as they grow up or have the chance for a bright and happy future because someone has taken it from them. I would love to help in the efforts in any way I can.

  17. protected says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I watched your show on Oct 27, and could identify with the ladies on the show, as I also experienced the threats just after leaving a very abusive relationship. (He abused me as well as my daughters, and every time I tried to leave, would threaten to kill all of my extended family, but disfigure me, leaving me alive to suffer from all of my family being killed. I had to very carefully plot in detail my escape. We still have lingering effects of the abuse, but we’re safe!)… I wanted to say that the women on your show and others like them need to be instructed on how best to cover their tracks (I have been successful for several years now), including the fact that the Social Security Administration has a program to allow victims of domestic violence to be given a new social security number after having changed names, then, if done right, it allows the person, in essence, to vanish leaving no trail. (One does have to be committed to letting their “old self/identity” fully disappear, but it is certainly do-able). I would love to be able to help these victims financially, however, I am in a financially needy position right now myself (now married to a wonderful man, expecting twins and now out of work), but I would like to help in any other way that I could – such as possibly explaining what I did to escape and cover my tracks, and help these ladies plan also… I’m just saying I’m not sure how I can help, but I would like to. Keep breaking the silence on domestic violence!

  18. Cynthia Silverman says:

    Dear Dr. Phil

    After watching many shows such as yours, Oprah, Date LIne, 20-20, etc. I am so very surprised that nobody has ever mentioned (that I have seen or heard) getting rescue dogs. If you’re single and especially if you’re being harassed please encourage women to visit their local shelter and rescue a few dogs they may be saving their own life at the same time.

    I don’t have the stats in front of me but any law enforcement agency will agree that anyone coming to a home for destructive purposes will not want to be confronted by several large guard dogs. What a win, win situation that saving a dog(s) can often save many human lives as well.

    It makes me sick to hear of abused women being stalked or random acts of rape, murder and/or violence against a former spouse or (stranger as well). Dogs will alert you the moment they feel strange or bad situations and will also of course wake you up if they hear unusual noises or activitiy.

    I can honestly tell you it makes me so mad that these crimes may have been prevented if only a dog(s) had been on the premises or taken in the car at night to avoid car jackings….

    My personal experience was getting a dog after I seperated from my husband. That dog would not let my husband in the apartment. He could smell him coming a mile away before his feet were even on the path to my door. My dog would start growling the moment my husband raised his voice or talked to me in a mean tone. I never took my husband back and am thankful for my dog as I am sure without him things would have turned out differently.

    Please, please, please mention this on your show…..I know without a doubt it would help other women….my husband was scared of my dog and it gave me a great feeling of security. I know that my dog would attack anyone acting violent towards me, even verbally….

    I really pray you will air this suggestion and I know it will save lives.

    Thank you all for the wonderful work you do….
    I will keep sending this message to everyone I can think of until it is talked about, that is how important I really believe this is.

    Best regards,
    Cynthia Silverman
    Long Beach, CA

  19. linda says:

    Don’t forget the connection between domestic abuse, animal abuse and child abuse. I am going to send Dr. Phil a copy of an article I had published in our local paper today. There is a very real correlation that cannot be ignored.

  20. Lisa says:

    Dr. Phil
    I have a story that I know you are gonna to love and then I have a facebook challenge that I know you gonna love. I am an abused child at its extreme. The only good thing about that is that I have been in a LOVE/HATE relationship since I was born. I believe that my sister is a sociopath. I may need protection. I may be exaggerating. I do not believe that I am. My sister has been bullying me my entire life and I just found out about it. DUH. My whole life people thought that I was crazy and I was almost convinced I was too. I threw away my family and they didn’t even know why. The funny thing is my Aunt coached me through my what I called EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWN. I am a speeder and I have an awesome story to tell you about my journey with my sister. I also have an awesome journey to continue and I want to start with you because mine started with you. I am 100 % positive that you have already heard my favorite statement. Dr. Phil, you are the second man that saved my life. My journey began when i met my boyfriend who showed me kindness. He led me to you. I always watched your show and I use to think, “God, I am the Dr. Phil show. Now i know why. I always wanted to write a book. I now know that I have been writing it my whole life and I want you to read it. Once I found the symptoms left by a Serial Bully, which was just recently, my life made since for the first time in my life and I am 43 yrs old. I am a cut to the chase type of person like you so her it is. I Love my Bully. I will never tell her that because I am aware that she is still a bully and I am still her target. The effects of bullying traps you in a little girl world. Well lucky for me I was a sweet little girl with a big imagination because I know the secret and I can explain it as a child and with the right words I can explain it to adults. My life is an oxymoron at an extreme. My sister and I are literally good and evil. I want to apologize to my sister but I really believe she has no concience. I was going to but when I get mad and kick her out of my life she always comes back no matter what. She was just recently damn neared killed in a very bad accident and I had just kicked her out in January and she got into her accident in July. she is now in the grasp of my parents and my Downs syndrome Uncle. I am worried for them as well. My parents have been told and I am finally getting my family back. In my little girl story, that was the happy ending and i have it. I would love it if you teach me how to teach others. I feel like I have a gift for the world. I am unwittingly trying to give it to my Mom. She has had 7 children and her stress alone gives her symptoms like I have and I want her to be at peace before she leaves us.

  21. kristable says:

    Hi my name is Kristable I have been away from my abuser for a year and a half and still live in fear everyday that he will find me I hae nightmares and still look over my sholder. my question is will this fear ever go away??

  22. sophie says:

    I was in a relationship with my ex husband for twenty years. It was dysfunctional from the beginning but gradually grew more abusive over the years. He took me away from my family and destroyed all relationships that I tried to develop. As our relationship deteriorated, I just shut down and kept my private life private. Many close to us knew he mistreated me but never knew to what degree. A few witnessed some extreme abuses. When I finally got the courage to leave, I was devastated by the betrayal of court system and people I thought were my friends. The courts only care about hospital visits and police reports….hard evidence. Anything else is just hearsay. My friends didn’t want to believe this could be true in our “leave it to Beaver” community. In order to keep up his appearance, my ex launched a full attack against me with character assignations that have me humiliated and emotionally scared for life. My ex is locally powerful, charming and rich with widespread influences and contacts. My prior clean record is now tarnished with lies that he’s fabricated. Post divorce, my ex has become devoutly Catholic, hiding behind the church to further his attack against me. He hosts prayer groups, attends all public events and even gives speaches to the bishop…all within 2 years of becoming catholic. He doesn’t give of himself but donates thru his family business to every charitable event he can find that gives him publicity. Despite appearances, this man is evil inside. My attorney believes he is a sociopath based on his 2 years of dealing with him. I believe this to be true. He’s only a click away from snapping. The courts don’t care. They’ve given him 50% custody because his attorneys did such a great smear campaign against me. I went from 100% stay home mom with a college education, clean record and former CPA to 50% looser in a flash. The courts treat the children like an asset to be divided equally without concern for what’s best for their development. He gets his 50% simply because he has the financial means to care for them yet he lacks the nurturing to properly care for them. I often think of going back to his abuse just so I can be with my children and protect them from him. Despite the separation, he continues his abuse towards me, continues his verbal assaults, continues to humiliate me and above all he attempts to alienate the children from me. Moms have lost their rights in attempts to make things equal in court. All those woman libers out there have destroyed family court for us moms. My life is different but equally miserable in my separation. If I knew then, what I know now, I would have stayed and not left. My children and I are no better off.

  23. Sandrayhwh says:

    Why Do Men Batter Women?
    SOME experts say that women are more likely to be killed by their male partners than by all other types of perpetrators combined. In an effort to stem the tide of spouse abuse, numerous studies have been conducted. What kind of man batters his wife? What was his childhood like? Was he violent during courtship? How does the batterer respond to treatment?
    One thing experts have learned is that not all batterers are alike. At one end of the scale is a man whose violence is sporadic. He does not use a weapon and has no history of abusing his mate. For him, a violent episode is out of character and seems to be motivated by external factors. At the other extreme is a man who has developed a chronic pattern of battering. His abuse is ongoing, and there is little, if any, sign of remorse.
    However, the fact that there are different kinds of batterers does not mean that some forms of battering aren’t serious. Indeed, any type of physical abuse can cause injury—even death. Hence, the fact that one man’s violence is less frequent or less intense than another’s does not make it excusable. There is simply no such thing as “acceptable” battering. What factors, though, might cause a man to abuse physically the woman he vowed to cherish for the rest of his life?
    The Family Connection
    Not surprisingly, a number of physically abusive men were themselves raised in abusive families. “Most batterers were brought up in domestic ‘war zones,’” writes Michael Groetsch, who has spent more than two decades researching spouse abuse. “As babies and young children, they grew up in hostile surroundings where emotional and physical violence were ‘normal.’” According to one expert, a male who is raised in such an environment “can absorb his father’s contempt for women very early in life. The boy learns that a man must always be in control of women and that the way to get that control is to scare them, hurt them, and demean them. At the same time, he learns that the one sure way to get his father’s approval is to behave as his father does.”
    The Bible makes clear that the conduct of a parent can have a significant impact on a child, either for good or for bad. (Proverbs 22:6; Colossians 3:21) Of course, the family environment does not excuse a man’s battering, but it may help to explain where the seeds of a violent temperament were sown.
    Cultural Influence
    In some lands beating a woman is considered acceptable, even normal. “The right of a husband to beat or physically intimidate his wife is a deeply held conviction in many societies,” states a United Nations report.
    Even in lands where such abuse is not considered acceptable, many individuals adopt a violent code of conduct. The irrational thinking of some men in this regard is shocking. According to South Africa’s Weekly Mail and Guardian, a study in the Cape Peninsula found that the majority of men who claimed that they do not abuse their mates felt that hitting a woman was acceptable and that such conduct does not constitute violence.
    Evidently, such a warped view often begins in childhood. In Britain, for example, one study showed that 75 percent of boys aged 11 and 12 feel that it is acceptable for a man to hit a woman if he is provoked.
    No Excuse for Battering
    The above factors may help to explain spouse abuse, but they do not excuse it. Put simply, beating one’s mate is a gross sin in God’s eyes. In his Word, the Bible, we read: “Husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own flesh; but he feeds and cherishes it, as the Christ also does the congregation.”—Ephesians 5:28, 29.
    The Bible long ago foretold that during “the last days” of this system of things, many would be “abusive,” with “no natural affection,” and “fierce.” (2 Timothy 3:1-3 The prevalence of spouse abuse is simply another indication that we are living in the very time period designated by this prophecy.

  24. Joann Lee says:

    It has always been a hard life for me, even as a teenager I was abused by my father both sexual and beating. I have three children and yes most of it been hard. I am now in a relationship again to a man that I was married to at one point. It is mostly vebal abuse and being put down. I no longer know this man. I am afraid of him and sometimes I sit and look at him I can picture myself hurting him but he is not worth it. I really just need to vent since I am not employed I can’t do too much about it. Seems like I am stuck here with him and very unhappy person. Life is too short for me I am almost 60 and have spent 23 years with this man 3 of which we were divorced. I am trying so hard to get a job again and leave.

  25. NicoleW says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,
    Breaking silence is very important, I agree!!! Many years ago, I was in a violent relationship for almost 10 years, being blind for what was happening, coming from a same type of family. When I woke-up, I took our two sons (one and a half years of age, and the other aged three and a half) and left. The violence didn’t stop, but survived ‘underground’: Manipulating our two sons, making them believe what a rotten person and mother I was and still am… Making visiting appointments and not showing-up and/or calling. Telling them I am a thief and a liar and a manipulator and worse… . The youngest really being torn apart between his love for both parents… The eldest around his 19th or 20th birthday slowly but surely getting the insight, that ‘not everything being said was true’!

    Heartbreaking to see your children struggling with their fidelities! And a tough job to nurture and parent two sons that are not sure about the nature of their mothers believes. And, for all, are not sure whether they should listen to your advice and/of rules! Lucky for us, they have grown-up to become lovable and warm guys, aged 22 and 20 now, both living on their own, although the youngest is still struggling to become who he really is and to stand for what he believes in. All those years when they were growing up, whilst struggling financially because my ex stopped paying the child-support, I tried to stay positive and balanced in mothering my sons in becoming warm and respectful men. Although we had many, many, many ups and downs, we got through this…

    I am still recuperating! Completely split in two (or more – having a traumatic background), for constantly keeping an eye on my own intentions and interactions… Not willing to trigger their fidelity struggle too and thus not allowing myself to react impulsively… Constantly being aware of my parental obligations to my sons, to fulfill as much of their (psychological) needs as I humanly could… Making mistakes and having to correct my self to accomplish my parental works. Neglecting my own needs as much as I could… I have felt very, very isolated these years!
    That job is done! Sigh!!!

    Now… The aftermath… What is normal and what isn’t? How should and can I pick-up my own life? Now… I’m growing-up besides my youngest… finding out what I am all about, concerning Nicole!

    Regards, Nicole (the Netherlands)

  26. Berdena Stephens says:

    I am 68 years old and have devoted my life to changing the abuse cycle.For me it started as a 2yr. old child,I was sexually abused by my father until I was 7. He started the same abuse to my sister when she was 4 and abused her until she was 10. needless to say our childhood was very stressful and we spent a lot of time keeping secrets. I started to go to therapy when I was 21 and it took me until I was 60 years old to come to terms with my feelings, One thing I also learned as I was going thru therapy,was every stage in my life also had new triggers,so therapy was ongoing.My sister has not gone thru the therapy that I did so she has had many more health problems. So the moral of the story is I always needed the support of my Dr’s and my family. My father also caused the death of my 18 month old sister because of the abuse issue. I am a nurse and worked in all different fields ,so I was able to understand other women and their pain. I grew up in a Mennonite home and sadly the church did nothing to help our family.I do KNOW that if I had not had my faith in God,only God knows where I would be today. My mother never knew of the abuse until several years after the therapy and she did not know what his part in my sister’s death had been for over 12 years.My mother died 4 years after he told her and it has been a very hard thing to forgive because he showed no remorse.His comment was that he thought we were to young to remember the things that he did to us.My heart goes out to all women who are in abusive relationships because I also went thru 2 marriages that were abusive, before I figured it out. I thank God every day for the knowledge that rescued me.My story has many more chapters but I would have to write a book and that I haven’t done yet. I do think if our young people could be educated on how to cope with life better it would help a lot

  27. Suzanne says:

    I’m being abused by my boyfriend,I had told in him and the only thing that has happened was my kids were taken from my by CPS as if they found the information I told them on their own. They were taken on April 21st of 2010 because I wanted to get my children and I to safety.due to the budget cuts I can’t find anyone to help me get somewhere safe and away from all this,to get my act together and have my 7yr old,5yr old,and 3yr old togther with me again.CPS won’t listen to my kids,me and won’t quit taking the wrong side(the abuser).Can anyone help me,he sits back and gets an extreme joy out of our pain

  28. Stephanie Brownell says:

    I was beaten terribly by my daughter’s father…one time…in front of her. He forced us both into the car..held a screwdriver to my neck and was making me drive to a secluded hilltop here in town where he planned to kill me. I tricked him out of the car and foiled his plan..I prayed to God as i sped away to please let us get away and i would NEVER speak to him again..a promise I am PROUD to say I have kep to this day..7 yrs later. Not only did it take 4 weeks for my bruising to clear up, my daughter woke up with night terrors for 2 weeks. I went through hell keeping him from my child. Laws are a joke. Not only was he on probation for domestic violence against another women at the time of my attack (for which he received 5 dayscounty jail) he broke my protection order 3 times the first day he got out..calling my friends and family (3rd party contact). He was again slapped on his hand with 4 month sentence. Now he even admitted he was going to kill me on a recorded call. Now what made me sick was not only did we leave in the middle of the night with only the clothes on our backs (although the townhouse and everything in it were MINE) I can replace everything…not my life….We had to live in hiding for weeks until he went back to jail for beating up another woman. so much for 3 strikes…it does not good when they wont sentence the abuser under the law :( We lived in hiding for a yr and a half. when one day i received a letter from prison from him. He received my CONFIDENTIAL address from MY LAWYER. I argued with child support whom felt that since they took $7.00 off of his prison books a month that he was “making an honest effort” and deserved to have his child’s address…EXCUSE ME..I told that crazy lady to give him her address..when she asked “why on earth would I do that? I replied, “So he can kick in your door, hold a gun to your head and terrorize you and your children like he did me.” to which she had no reply. I found a form from my local DSHS office that stated him having our address could result in mine or her death. I denied child support forever. I can buy her socks :) Sad to say the system in place PROTECTS THE ABUSERS..I will help in ANY WAY I can…I try to educate young confused women all the time. More women need to teach their daughters to grow up to be strong..with self love and most of all self respect…so when or if they come across a “man” who hits…she will be strong enough to leave the FIRST time. before it escalates to murder. more women need to put thier child’s needs before their own as well as the feelings of the abuser…Too many women feel sorry for their abusers (a tool for the abuser) manipulation is thier game…Women just need to be stronger and smarter and LEAVE..BUT LEAVE SAFELY WITH A PLAN…AND STAY AWAY…The courts need to toughen the laws on not only domestic violence assaults..but the violation of the protection orders…how many more people have to die at the hands of their abusers before it stops…Sad to say if it were happening to a celebrity, Judge, lawyer, or prosecutor’s daughter or grandchild…the abuser would be put under the prison. Well everybody deserves that same justice…EVERYBODY IS SOMEBODY’S CHILD…God Bless you for your work and devotion to helping the survivors and thier children….now some may find my words harsh or say that children need a father…well to that I say…yes but ONLY A POSITIVE ONE…NO EXCEPTIONS

  29. Susan says:

    Dr. Phil, after reading this thread as well as your first one, I am more convinced than ever that before getting into ANY romantic relationship, ALL women need to read at least one book on domestic violence so they can be aware of the warning signs of abusers.

    One book that looks promising but is too expensive for the average person to afford (price was listed at $106.95 at Amazon, way too high for me) is called DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FACTS AND FALLACIES. This book was written by a man who saw many domestic violence situations in his ten years as a police officer and has a rather unique perspective on this never-ending problem.

    It was written in 1998, and maybe you or someone on your staff would be able to get it at a reduced price. I was only able to read a few pages of it online, but I would have read the whole book if it had been possible for me to do so. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible, which I think is a shame.

  30. HOLLY says:

    I seen your show about ABUSIVE ex’s and I must say it brought back alot of chillying memories about my ex who stalked me for over 15 years after i left him.
    I just wanna say I know what these women are going through.
    WHEN WILL THIS END ??????????????

  31. V says:

    nobody picks the nice guy.

  32. Nancy R. says:

    When I was going out with my x-boyfriend he would scare me, but everytime I asked for help everyone would say, oh he’s such a nice person, he would never
    do such things. Once he got a chance after 16 years for a position out of the province he told me he was leaving and I could come too, but I said I was needed here at home. (We had 4 girls together and one passed away)

    One time he told me he if I said anything he would cut me into pieces and throw me over the bridge! That has always stuck in my head.

    I found out a month after my husband passed away with cancer, that this x-boyfriend passed away too from cancer, he had tried to get someone to bring
    him to see me that last time he was in the area (a month before he passed
    away, but they wouldn’t.

    I am still trying to deal with all the abuse that I had gone through. It isn’t easy at all.

  33. Kristin says:

    DrPhil~ My name is Kristin and I am 28 with 2 awesome kids. I was living in Chicago and had no choice to move back to my abuser. He beats me! He has choked me to the point that I blacked out when I woke up he was standing above me, grabbed my arm and dragged me downstairs and outside. There was a whole that he dug and told me, “See I could got ried of you that quick. Nobody would have ever known.” The scary part is my family doesnt call me, live near me, and I dont have any friends. I am not aloud outside. I have called the police and when he is let go and can come back into the house the beatings are worse. So, I gave up on the police. I have called shelters and they told me that there are no beds, gave me number to people that cant help. I am a divorced woman, with 2 children, a stay at home mom, no car, no money, no help. My ex is my abuser and if I am in this state he can get me. He has hurt me more then I can handle. I am now pregnat because I said, ‘NO.’ I was beatin’ and raped over and over. I am not asking for help I am BEGGING! My children dont see the abuse, they arent abused, its only me. If it wasnt for my children I would have giving up along time ago but that isnt an opinion. I do have a plan on how I would leave. But like i said I have no money. Can you please send help my way? thank you ur friend and fan

  34. Elizabeth says:

    Iam thankful that I saw the domestic violence segment on your show. I had been living with someone for five years who has anger issues, is controlling and verbally and at times physically abusive. I was a prisoner in the apartment with no car, job, friends, or money and hardly no food. The abuse has taken a toll on me to the point i was depressed, losing weight, and withdrawn from the world.Someone special to me was concerned and on several occasions sent me a couple of train tickets out of state. I didnt go thinking this was my life and my family lives in that state 48 mins away. Thankfully a good friend encouraged me to take a chance and leave so I packed what I could and left my abuser to go four states away. I encourage all women abused to leave I did they are worth living life as I wasnt living mine. Thank you for your program on this issue Elizabeth

  35. Kathy Pekuri says:

    I was abused as a child, by my mother, then I married an abuser, then I divorced him, and went to another abusing relationship, he was physically and mental abusive, he was mentally abusive to my children, but when I threatened to live or started to leave, he took out his gun and told me he would kill me and my kids, and he would throw my body in a mine shaft an no one could find me, I was scared to leave him, he also had over 300 to 400 girlfriend’s while I was with him, I was able to get out after 18 years of abuse, he finally left me for another woman. I am married to a wonderful man now, but my kids are still scarred by it, and I am having a hard time with trust, and my kids forgiving me. I have told them all how sorry I was, and tried to tell them why I couldn’t and didn’t dare leave.

  36. Emily says:

    What’s really scary is how these often-male abusers slickly schmooze their way through the legal system once their poor victims get away from them. Instead of appropriately charging these sick narcissistic sociopaths with every crime they’ve committed, their friends in the legal system help them CONTINUE TO ABUSE their victims as evidenced by the law itself letting abusers have at their poor, defenseless kids (another HUGE reason so many kids are bullies nowadays).

    Our court system is beyond broken – just ask Dr Milo how bad even high-profile DAs like Hurlbert in Vail CO favor the elite, the weathiest when they hit-and-run a respected surgeon. Hurlbert admitted that he let the criminal off easy because he’s rich!

    What in the world is it going to take for people to wake up and get real in America?? Until that happens, there will be no justice, only one miscarriage of justice after another :(

  37. lynn says:

    I have 2 court hearing this week re: assault by my abusive husband of 20 years, and for extending the order of protection. I am PETRIFIED! He is so charming…a classic narcissistic sociopath…He will bring his wealthy dad to court with him, despite being 50 years old…reading all of the above comments have definitely not given me any reassurance or peace. I can’t breathe or sleep…maddening

    I met w/ a domestic violence counselor last week and she said I was in the most danger now that I am trying to once again sever ties. He has access to numerous firearms (we are in the South). Thank God my children are almost grown. Am expecting to lose custody and extending the order of protection…how do you make peace with knowing your abuser has unlimited money and resources to find, harm, destroy or kill you? It just sucks.

  38. Heidi says:

    I wanted to point out that abuse can happen in lesbian relationships to. The only abuse that I have received has been in a lesbian relationship. The woman that I was in relationship with is a deceptive malicious woman. She is a performer and very charismatic she pulls people to her all the time. She will win you with her charm. She will collect all kinds of information then when she has your buttons to push she will use any and all information to make you feel like crap,reveal all of your information to everyone with a twist in her favor. She emailed people close to me and lied. When i did not respond to something the way she thought I should she would leave 10 minute messages on my machine with horrible curses and demeaning messages. Then she would talk about how lucky i was to have her. She would try to get me alone and really pull out creepy manipulative behavior. She would track me down and cause crazy scenes in town. She would blame me for anything that would go wrong for her. One time she ran at me screaming obscenities and took a swing at me . I ran later she tried to tell me that there are worse things and tried to get me to laugh it off.
    The list goes on and on.
    When I finally came out of the relationship she was worse. I tried unconditional Love, not reacting, nothing worked. I ended this relationship more then a year ago and she still tries to get me. It is very disturbing. These people haunt you psyche .
    I do my best to keep her out of my mind and move on with my life however it is amazing how being treated this way can haunt your life. Cruelty is not a gender issue it is a human issue. This woman like most other abusers are still out there. This is what scares me.

  39. Trish says:

    After my mother died, I was the executor of her will. I was the only child out of 5 who looked out for her by taking care of her finances, taking her to the doctor, always calling her, etc. and then I moved her to another state with me when I moved away. She lived with me 6 years before she passed. She told my siblings that when she died everything would be split 50/50 but she told me that the money that she put into finishing the basement of my home was mine because I took care of her. She only wanted me to share the money in the bank account after bills were paid. One of my sisters does support me but one sister and one brother will not speak to me, hasn’t since a year after our mom passed 5 years ago. They will not return my call, I send them cards, no response. I have explained all of this to them but they expect more money. What should I tell them? I wanted to write both of them a letter.When I sent their check to them, I stated in a letter that when they cash this check, they are accepting it as final payment in the estate. I tried talking to them on the phone which they both became very defensive and the conversation did not end very well. I want to salvage our relationship. I am the youngest. Life is too short. I thought I would write a letter but I don’t know the exact words to say. Can you help?

  40. John Tattnall says:

    I personally have been involved with a woman going on a year and a half. I was a typical singles guy in my thirties , but I started thinking about finding the right one and brother that is not easy. This leads to your topic: When I first started with Suzanne she thought she had a choice (how or who she wanted to be with) As time went on she escalated our realtionship more and more. After a while i figured , hell chalk this one up to the game. Lo and behold she starts calling me again telling me she make a bad mistake and wished she were with me. Somewhere along the line it occurred to her she needed money and a better paying job to make it without him. I am not a stupid man . I have repeatedly scored right around 130 on I.Q I re-learned one thing” a beautiful woman can toy with a smart man. It will be approx. ten years untill there children are old enough to choose. The examples of violent husbands fit this guy like a glove. I tried to include all pertinent info. I love this girl way more than she knows. I hate being in a weak position. She wants to keep her family together and i respect that. She calls me every day and sees me when she can. You can tell me im smart enough to answer my own question. I want her bad and if that happens hes gonna get a surprise!

  41. Victoria says:

    kristen———-get out–call the underground–it can be done!

  42. annamarie says:

    und–it can be done!

    annamarie dreher says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    November 17, 2010 at 9:01 am
    Hello Dr. Phil and all readers,
    Because of the estranged parents right to still see their child regardless of his domestic violence status, this in itself puts the child in danger. I believe by the time the court system and or you spend thousands of dollars fighting back for your childs protection and your rights the laywers are the only ones winning because the more you fight and try to win your case all lawyers get more money (Because laywers are there to get the other party to give their client what they want and visa versa) and the real issue is lost from the beginning! First of all lets not kid ourselves someone who is abusive does not stop with the mate it continues to the children especially if the child defends the other parent. So the child is in danger from the start and the parent doing this gets away with the past and is not accountable for his actions therefore continuing the pattern . In three separate marriages the same pattern was there when I left their father, they went through the children to see where I was and who I was with. In addition to this with a court order they stood up my sons and never called so what I experienced was they want to see the kids because kids love you unconditionally until they are able to express themselves and when they tell the truth they turn on the kids too! When you do not have alot of money or continue paying lawyers to fight for you you are forced to agree with your ex and Im not exaggerating. laywers exit the case when there is no money flowing so they say you need to agree with him he’s trying his best (which is the furthest from the truth) thats what they get paid for to represent the other party not the child or your rights. If there was abuse in the home with the spouse and or the children it continues behind closed doors. Courts need to send most of us to mandatory parenting, anger management courses and classes because we need to be educated and it can help us also so we do not become an abuser ourselves. Many people do not think they are not abusive until the time it is prevalent the damage is done. I think we need more support, classes, volunteers, and advocates for the children. We also need sources to help us become more independent before we become so dependent and feel helpless to start over again. There are also health issues that can prevent us from starting over alone, they might not be terminal but be restrictive to he point that you cant just go out and work any job and support your family thats one of the hardest things to overcome. I think women tolerate more when their resources are minimal.

  43. larry lynch says:

    Hi Donna,

    I noticed you said “to medicate”. How are you doing now on your medication?

  44. Joanne says:

    I am watching your show, Dr. Phil, on domestic abuse. My God, is this woman’s story very close to my own. I was 15 when I met my husband (my first and only boyfriend), married at 19, and married for 27 years.
    The daily fear you experience does become a normal way of life. Watching this episode, I can still feel it. I am safe now, but not only myself, but my 2 children still struggle with problems from this. My husband ultimately put me in jail because he wanted the “ultimate” control. (the courts, after one year found me not guilty and dismissed the charges.)(If I tell anybody I will never see my children again.) This husband on your episode talks about “justification” and that, too, is familiar. My ex continues to manipulate the children (even though they are now older)
    My ex has never paid me any alimony and I have not gone to court to make him accountable because I am still afraid of him. He is now remarried, to a young woman (online) from the Phillippines (my children say that he abuses her) and he also has a mistress, but my children still tell me that their dad occupies his life with “following” me electronically. I truely believe that if he could find a way, he would be successful in killing me. (he had tried in the past). But just like the several previous messages on this site, I am always amazed that law enforcement continue to let him get away with the abuse.
    Recently my daughter was upset about something that happened to her many years ago and when she told me about I truely could not remember the incident. She became increasingly upset and said to me “Mom why don’t you remember?” As she went on explaining to me I then remembered. It was a time when he had hurt her, severely sprained/fractured her arm and went to the hospital. I think I had blocked it out. At that point I realized that I covered for him a loonng time.

    I don’t think I will ever become totally “free” from him.

    The woman on your show should get counseling for herself and her children and she needs to be away from him as he will not change. People don’t change. Dr. Phil is talking about jail time for this man; jail just “justifies” his behavior to himself. They don’t take responsibilites because his behavior is “learned” behavior and most likely if they investigate, there most likely is a history of it on the husband’s side.
    Thank you for letting me vent.

  45. Lindy says:

    After reading through these comments and others from women still dealing with domestic violence and trying to get out I am grateful I left 10 yrs ago with my baby and never looked back. My situation was extreme, I got a restraining order 10 days after he went to jail from a woman judge who realized he was lying to her and granted me everything I asked for. He insisted on choosing a family member to do the supervised visit with his child, however, the DA said I could legally leave the state while he was still in jail, and by the time he got out this family member would not agree to come get the baby for the visits. So I got a divorce and 10 yrs have passed and my daughter was spared having to spend any time with this sociopath. He is living with a woman he met 1 month after he got out of jail, she is overweight and I know he uses this to control her from my own experience with him. He has so many people fooled, but I know what he is, and so does his other 2 ex-wives as well as the poor woman he is living off of now (he claims a disability, but it never kept him from picking me up off the floor and slamming me down). I have never even gone out on a date since and don’t want to. I am truly grateful I was able to get away like I did. I feel the heartbreak and pain of these women, and hope that each of them gets free.

  46. Susan says:

    Dr. Phil, thanks for this new segment on domestic violence. I saw today’s “Trapped in Violence” program, and her husband Charles looked to me like the classic abusive man that the books I’ve read describe. He blames all of his abusive — and CRIMINAL — behavior on her, rather than himself and as you pointed out to him, takes no responsibility for anything he does.

    As I see it, he didn’t look sorry for anything, only angry and annoyed he was being asked questions he didn’t want to answer. When he answered you, his attitude came across to me as sneering, condescending, and at times, flat-out angry, but he knew he couldn’t take out his anger on you. I won’t be able to see tomorrow’s segment, but I doubt anything you say to Charles will change his behavior in any way.

  47. Issel says:

    I’m incredibly tired of the abuse that I have been enduring for the past 6 years of my life. I have been bullied, stalked, raped, kidnapped, beaten, falsly imprisoned, threatened constantly, lied about, video taped without my consent, humiliated constantly, got accused of being a terrorist for running from my abusers, have been accused of crimes I didn’t commit, thrown in mental wards and abused physically there for trying to run, the list goes on and on. I don’t know how much more I can take of this. I can’t get anyone to believe me, everytime I try to get help I get accused of having schitzophrenia because my story seems like it has never happened to anyone in this world. Normal people with normal lives can’t imagine this actually happening in the United States, so immeadiately I am considered mentally ill. My abusers continue to look for ways to hurt me for no reason, including but not limited to, trying to plan how they will kill me or telling me to kill myself in a fashion that they approve of. I can’t believe the suffering that one individual (myself) has endured. I shouldn’t be alive at all right now just because my body has taken all that it can take. And I don’t just mean that I have been raped and kidnapped once, it has happened on three different occasions. I’ve been beaten 21 times in 6 years and even attempted to flee into Canada to find some sort of refuge since I couldn’t get any protection here in the united states from any law enforcement agency out there.
    I’m so tired, my body is, and I feel like it’s impossible to keep running, I just don’t have the energy. I am extremely gentle by nature and cant conceive how this has happened to me or why it’s happening to me. Every day I am humiliated and threatened. I’m not allowed to be happy or relaxed ever they just keep harassing me, and I don’t just mean once in a while, I mean all day long. Mentally I feel like mush, my body is totally dying from being run into the ground and I keep getting accused of petty things like being jealous of some other person and being a whore. I can assure you that “being jealous” is the last thing on my mind and I don’t have time to sleep with anyone in between abuses. The abusers tell people that I am just trying to get attention everytime I reach out for help or friendship. They litterally convince anyone who tries to help me that I am mentally ill and tell these people to just ignore me. I have a disability on top of all this and my body has reached a point where it just starts to shake recently (sometimes as if I am cold when I am not cold and sometimes because I randomly become cold when there’s no reason to be) not to mention my kidneys have in the past and are at some points starting to fail because of malnutrition throughout the last six years. I’m so tired. I have frozen outdoors, sometimes in the snow, starved for long periods of time and was forced into homelessness for six years, 3 of which I spent outdoors. I get made fun of constantly by people that I at one time held dear.

  48. kaz2020 says:

    How many people out there have ever come across violent women?
    It has been a popular practice for us all to ignore or pretend that they do not exist.

    Well… SURPRISE!! people they do exist, and the longer society turns a ‘blind eye’ the longer the problems left in their wake will persist.
    There is the perception and many times the suggestion that a ‘weak female’ can’t hurt a man bigger than her.
    Let me tell you people, a woman with a knife, bat, steam iron, lamp, vase, glass, etc. in her hands can do as much damage as any man can.
    Men who stay in these relationships run a high risk of retaliating with devastating results, or as happens more times than we are willing to admit, they suffer in silence…..Yes I said it many men do.
    Most of these men are too ashamed to admit to their families and friends that they are subject to this type of behavior in their homes, because herein lies the double standard.
    If a man says that he’s being hit on by his wife, everyone gives him the look of “What kinda wimp are you?” or in some cases he’s ridiculed for being ’soft’.
    But hold on…. what is he supposed to do? “Beat her down” to prove that he’s not?

    I’ve witnessed first hand instances where a guy was being beat on in the street by his girlfriend/wife, and everyone who witnessed both men and women laughed. Some even commented ‘he probably did something to deserve it”.
    Have you ever heard this statement being made when a man hits a woman? Turns out.. he forgot her drycleaning.
    My second experience is a gentleman going into a precinct to complain about his wife’s abusive behavior, only to be ridiculed by the officer at the desk, and the obvious snickering of those in earshot.

    I’ve had first hand experience with the behavioral pattern of a violent female, since I was married to one for thirteen years.
    Yes, thirteen years. And like all spouses living with a violent spouse we tend to beileve that by changing the way we interact with that indidvidual we could curb their violent tendencies.
    The truth is you cannot, not without professional help, which does not come cheap, and your violent partner has to first admit they have a problem and be willing to seek help. Well good luck with that part….I spent those years trying to convince my partner that they needed help, and by the time they did succumb to the suggestion, I was already out the door.

    How do you ‘put-up’ with that kind of behavior for that long a period? Well it is not for the light-hearted.
    And how do you avoid hitting back when this person begins their onslaught? Also not an easy thing.
    Restraining the persons arms and sometimes legs may seem marginally effective, but just remember that type of restraint, especially with an individual flailing and writhing can cause bruising of wrists which can be construed by anyone in the aftermath as ‘abuse’ by you.
    Another alternative is to ‘walk away’.
    What a novel idea, except when it’s three o’clock in the wee hours of the morning, the kids are asleep in their beds, its sub-freezing temperatures outside, you have to wake up for work at 5am, and you need to get some sleep. Where do you go?
    There is also another aspect of violent spouses that very few speak about, and that is their need for confrontation.
    If you decide that it takes two to make an argument escalate, so you decide to restrain from responding in the hope that it does not escalate. I got news for you, to the consumate abusive individual that sort of response is tantamount to even further abuse.
    An abusive spouse craves confrontation, take that away, and they go beserk.
    I remember distinctly how many times when the weather was fine and it was day time and an argument would begin that I saw going down the same road to violence, so I would grab my keys to leave, and my ex-wife would block the door, to make sure that she had her chance to become abusive. After a while she started hiding the keys before she waded into any argument making sure I had no way out. Of course then I had to have spare keys outside of the house that I could access to make my ‘escape’.

    I found out eventually that my ‘Ex’ grew up in an abusive home, and we have always heard that a child who grows up in abuse learns to abuse. The thing is, we seem to forget that that statement extends to the females as well. Some females growing up in that environment may think that is how they should be treated, but some also grow up with such anger that they take it out on their partners in their future lives.

    The thing is, when we examine society’s response to abusive women, it almost seems as though it is encouraged.
    Take for example the media, women have slapped men across the face in movies for decades. It’s considered the appropriate response for a woman when a man does or says something she does not like.
    HELLO…. that’s abusive, I dont care how you want to phrase it, coat it, or condone it.
    It’s not right for anyone man or woman to put a hand on each other. Its always interesting when professionals, media celebrities, etc. make the very same statement, but never seem to address the fact that the media condones abusive behavior when its the woman dishing it out.
    Some women go from relationship to relationship being abusive, but because the men that they get involved with retaliate in kind, the men get labeled ‘abusive’ and the female moves on to do the same.
    The truth is those men ARE abusive, but the woman’s part in the abuse goes undetected because of the mindset of society.

    This is not a piece about condoning men beating on women, or an excuse for men to beat on women, or an attempt to garner support for why men beat on women, get this right.

    This is a statement about abusive women, and a society that should stop hiding their heads in the sand and confront the issue and find ways of dealing with it equally as they do with abusive men.

  49. ginny brosen says:

    I too was in a volatile, violent marriage and I knew death wasn’t out of the question if I stayed. I took ALOT and told him if he EVER hurt one of my children I would find a way to get away from him for good.. There isn’t enough room here to go over the circumstances, but my whole family was threatened and afraid of this man. The police were a joke, said it was domestic situation and they wouldn’t get involved unless major injuries took place, even though his mother called and said he had gotten gun from his cousin and was headed over to me. they (police) said, call if he comes through the door. The day i left he almost drowned my son, that was 35 years ago and none of us have seen him since. I had to leave the state, all the kids school records behind and start fresh, schools were on high alert in case he did come into the school. We moved into an apartment with a deck of cards, portable radio, pillows and blankets and each had a brown grocery bag of clothes and we started all over again. The peace of mind was AWESOME, but for years the fear stayed with me. 35 years later I still lack self esteem from this crazy, violent man wo made me feel I wasn’t worth the dirt I walked on. When anyone did anythng NICE for me, I couldn’t figure out why they would do that. He convinced me that NO MAN would ever want me, well, I have been HAPPILY married now for 21 years to a wonderful man who treats me like gold. Unless I get involved in talking about my experience, it feels like it happened to someone else, although the memories are vivid. I would like for this man to try to do this to me now, he would be on a slab somewhere and I would be smiling.

  50. Kristin says:

    Victoria~ I am trying to figure out what to do. I have no idea of what to do to get to that point.

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