Troy and Sheesha have been married for two years, and say they have a “volatile” relationship — with each accusing the other of physical and emotional abuse. Can this marriage be saved, or should the couple walk away?
Accusations of Abuse
Troy and Sheesha admit that their fights have often escalated to physical violence. “Sheesha gets crazy and aggressive,” Troy says. He says Sheesha has bitten him and also head-butted him. “My eye was black and purple for about two weeks,” he recalls.
Sheesha says Troy has a drinking and gambling problem, and is also abusive. “He’s punched me in the face. He’s choked me. He’s thrown me in a bathtub,” she says.
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On one occasion, Troy says Sheesha called him while he was at a casino and told him not to come home, claiming she had another man there. Troy was furious when he returned and admits he grabbed a butcher knife and held it to Sheesha’s throat. He insists he never intended to hurt her — just to “make her think about how she treats people.” Troy says he went to jail for 18 days after that incident.
“It’s been a really volatile situation, and for me to see how far it’s taken us — all the way to the Dr. Phil
show — it’s really weird,” Troy confesses. He says he wants to change for the better. Sheesha says she feels like they’re just going around in circles, with nothing ever changing.
Dr. Phil lists the abuse Sheesha and her mother say Troy is guilty of. “Was any of that your dream for the future?”
Troy talks about the incident with the butcher knife. He says he’s also a victim — of Sheesha’s psychological abuse.
Troy says if he and Sheesha could just get away from his meddling mother-in-law, Arlonda, most of their problems would disappear. He says Arlonda constantly bad-mouths him and “brainwashes” Sheesha into thinking he’s going to harm her.
“Two words describe Arlonda perfectly as far as our relationship: cheerleader and co-signer,” Troy says.
“She’s a cheering section for my wife, and she’s a co-signer because everything my wife says, she’ll co-sign.”
Arlonda says she wants to see Troy out of her daughter’s life. “If Sheesha and Troy stay together, I fear he’s going to kill her,” she confesses.
“Drop-Dead Deal Breakers”
Dr. Phil acknowledges that the couple has marital issues and some mother-in-law boundary issues, but says none of that excuses violence. “There are what I call drop-dead deal breakers in relationships,” he says. “When you start putting your hands on a woman in frustration, anger, whatever — that’s a drop-dead deal breaker.”
He adds that if Troy continues down the same path, he’s going to do some serious jail time.
Dr. Phil tells Sheesha she shouldn’t antagonize Troy, but adds that no amount of provocation justifies becoming physical. “It’s different for a man,” he explains. “We’re bigger. We’re stronger. We have different musculature. So we’re held to a higher standard of physical restraint.”
Dr. Phil tells Troy that he needs to get out of the pressure cooker, even if that means divorce.
Dr. Phil gives Troy a reality check about how dangerous his behavior is — and how deadly it could become.
Troy’s mother, Van, describes a fight that became physical, and says she’s seen a change in her son.
Issues with Jealousy
Arlonda says Troy is jealous, controlling and chauvinistic. “I’ve heard him say women have to respect their husbands, and their husbands don’t have to respect them,” she says. “He says women should walk behind men. They’re not equal to men. They need to listen and shut up.”
Sheesha says Troy dictates what she can wear to work — and anytime other men are around.
Troy explains that he worries because Sheesha has a romantic history with several co-workers. He complains that she flaunts herself for others but dresses down at home.
“My wife gets dressed up and goes out every day because she takes pride in her appearance,” Dr. Phil replies. “Then she comes home and puts on something she’s comfortable in. That doesn’t mean she’s out strutting for others and not me.”
Van steps in to defend her son, and Troy and Arlonda square off. Is Troy trying to deflect blame?
Troy’s sarcasm gets a quick response from Dr. Phil. Plus, Dr. Phil tells Sheesha he fears for her safety.
Dr. Phil says he doesn’t believe Troy is an evil guy, but he does think Troy is a danger to Sheesha. “You two should not be together another day until you get professional help,” he advises.
“Where this will come down is on your side,” Dr. Phil tells Troy. “When you two get in a fight, when the cops come they’re going to arrest you — not her. Sorry, but that’s how it’s going to be.” He adds, “She can actually win the fight, and they’re going to haul you off.”
Dr. Phil also tells Troy that he needs to find ways to express himself non-physically. “People get physical when they run out of socially-acceptable ways to express themselves,” he explains. He offers to arrange professional intervention for the couple in their home immediately and they accept.