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Topic : 05/10 Obsessive Love: Secrets Revealed

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Created on : Friday, May 04, 2007, 12:10:02 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Dr. Phil follows up with the complicated and twisted story of Jennifer and her husband, Jeffrey. He is so obsessed with his wife, he goes to extreme measures to spy on her and keep her under his control. After the last show, Jeffrey chose to seek help at Creative Care in California, while Jennifer headed home. See what private investigators found when they did a sweep of Jennifer's house upon her return. After being in rehab for two weeks and not complying with the rules, Jeffrey receives an ultimatum from the staff at Creative Care. When Jennifer learns the news, she breaks down and shares her thoughts in a video diary. Jeffrey gets re-motivated and stays in treatment, but does his obsessive jealousy end? Afraid for her safety and ready to end the marriage, Jennifer meets with an attorney to find out what rights she has. Then, Dr. Khaleghi, director of Creative Care, has a startling message for Jennifer and reveals why he doesn't believe Jeffrey is ready to see her. And, Jeffrey joins Dr. Phil onstage to share his progress. Is he giving 110 percent like he committed to in the last show or has he been up to his old tricks? Will Jeffrey decide to return to treatment, or give in to his anxieties and return home? Talk about the show here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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June 4, 2009, 5:19 am CDT

Stunned

 

I missed this story the first time it aired, and saw it today for the first time when it aired on pay-tv in Australia. I came here to read other peoples reactions, and I am just shocked at how many people are still so ignorant about the problems that face someone who is in - or trying to escape from - an abusive relationship.

I spent the first 19 years of my life saying that it could never happen to me. I wouldn't stay. I'd find a way out. Then I saw people I knew and love wind up in abusive relationships, and I realized that it could happen to anyone.

For those who say that it is partly Jen's fault because she had an affair (...and I realize that some people have disputed the fact that any affairs took place, but whether she did or not is irrelevant. Even if she had been playing musical beds and sleeping with a different guy every day ~ There is no justification for abuse.) I have spoken to many women who did have an affair while in an abusive relationship, they knew it was wrong, but felt that it didn't matter one way or the other, because they had spent years being punished for affairs that they didn't have. Plus they were so emotionally broken down, that someone paying them positive attention, being gentle with them and not constantly putting them down or berating them was very appealing.

Now, I am not saying that I think an affair is a good thing, just that I can understand how it could happen. Of course, the batter way to handle it would be to get out of the abusive relationship before trying to move on with another person, but it seems as if there are still so many people who think this is an easy thing to do. An abused woman (or man) has very little sense of self, they have had their self esteem eroded away by constantly being put down, most of them do believe that it is their fault. In fact, a lot of them begin to believe everything their abuser has told them. They are cut off from their friends and family, little or no access to the financial means to escape, they fear that they will lose their children, that no one will believe them, and they are right to be afraid for their physical safety.

When my sister escaped from the man who almost killed her, she and I both had to go into hiding. I was 20 and experiencing a very difficult pregnancy - knowing her deep love for her family, he threatened to rape and murder me if she ever left, before hunting her down and killing her. That was many years ago now, but I still believe that he was capable of following through on his threats. Over the next decade we had to move homes everytime he managed to track us down. We lived in fear.

 

Some of the comments I have read are almost as bad as the old "well she must like it if she stays" attitude. That is frightening to me.

 

Jennifer was a 19 year old girl when she married this man. Little more than a child, and he started the power games almost immediately. People have said that she should have realized something was wrong when she wasn't allowed to invite any of her friends or family to the wedding ~ yes, she should have ~ but again, she was 19 years old. At the age where love is still the stuff of fairy tales and legends. She trusted in her notion of love, and that it meant that he would protect her and care for her and do what was right for her, and their unborn child. She may not even know when his controlling behavior started, because at first she probably thought it was wonderful that he cared so much about her and didn't see it as control.

 

He, on the other hand, was a thirty year old man. (So she probably also figured that he knew more than she did about how things were "supposed" to be.) He took advantage of her age, her innocence about life, and he twisted everything around until all she knew was his way.

In answer to the people who have asked why she kept talking to people or posting pictures of herself on her myspace page ...because she "knew it would make him crazy", I think there are a few answers. One is that she was very isolated and lonely, and it was a way to reach out to people in a 'safe' way. (although not safe from him, obviously) People think that posting photos of herself in a bikini shows confidence in her body, but sometimes the opposite can be true. Maybe she was looking for compliments on being pretty, after all, that was one thing that Jeffrey told her she had going for her, so a lot of her self worth could have been tied up in that. There's also a chance that is was an attempt for her to "get back" at Jeffrey in some way (and not necessarily a conscious attempt) to try to take some control of the situation. If it was, then it was rather immature, which isn't surprising since she was basically held hostage in "Jeffrey world" from the time she was still a teenager. Under those circumstances it would be extremely difficult to mature in a normal, healthy way. The same applies to the criticisms of her going out partying while she was in hiding at her Mother's place. With all the stress she had been under, she needed a chance to unwind and blow off some steam. Not to mention the fact that she is a young woman who has the right to go out if she wants to! She had obviously arranged for her kids to be looked after while she was out, so why should anyone judge her for it?

I do worry a little bit, I have seen quite a few women go through a bit of a wild phase when they finally escape an abuser. Part of it is just not knowing what to do, suddenly they are free to make their own decisions and choices, and it's overwhelming. They can get a bit lost in their search to find out who they are outside of that relationship.  I'm not saying that this happened to Jennifer, simply saying that I have seen it before and I wouldn't be surprised or make any judgments if it had.

 

It's been two years since this all happened, I would love to hear how she is doing now.

 
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