Heather claims that her husband, Anthony, is physically and verbally abusive and alleges that he recently tried to blind her by putting rubbing alcohol in her contact lens case. Anthony denies the allegation — and any allegations of physical abuse. He says that since returning from Iraq, he has had trouble controlling his temper. He admits that he lashes out verbally at Heather, calling her hurtful names, but he is adamant that he would never physically harm her. Dr. Phil has some tough questions for Anthony about his behavior, including his admitted abuse of Heather’s small Chihuahua. What does he think is at the root of Anthony's anger?
Allegations of Abuse
Heather claims that her husband of two years, Anthony, is physically and verbally abusive and says she fears that one day, he could seriously hurt or kill her. She says that he has punched her, bitten her, slammed her into walls, pushed her to the ground and, most recently, she claims he tried to blind her by putting rubbing alcohol in her contact lens case — allegations Anthony completely denies. Heather explains her parents gave her a gun for protection, but they're afraid that Anthony might use it against her. She adds, "They also don't want to take it, because they're afraid that there could be a time when I need it."
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"When I get mad at Heather, I walk away, because the only thing I know how to do is get physical, and I don’t want to do that with her," Anthony says. He admits that he lashes out verbally at Heather, who he claims nags him and pushes his buttons. "I've called her a whore, a slut, a bitch. I tear her down emotionally," he says. But he is adamant that he would never physically harm his wife. "You should never put your hands on a woman," he insists, adding, "But if you put me in a corner, I'll come out swinging ... not physically, but verbally."
"Are you a danger to your wife?" Dr. Phil asks, listing some of Heather's allegations. How does Anthony respond?
While Anthony insists that he would never put his hands on Heather to harm her, he admits that it's a different story when it comes to their 9-pound Chihuahua. "I don't like that dog. I hate his ass, bottom line," Anthony says. "One day when I came home from work, I wanted to take him outside, and he bit me for no reason," he recalls. "I knocked him out," he admits. "He bit me, and I slapped the * out of him. I slapped the * out of that dog."
"What the hell are you thinking? You're abusing a defenseless animal?"
"Selfish, controlling and unaffectionate?" — Hear some of Anthony's accusations about Heather — and her reaction.
Dr. Phil asks Heather and Anthony if they would be willing to take polygraph tests — since she claims that he is violent with her and he insists that he isn't. Heather indicates that she would submit to a lie detector test, but Anthony refuses, even though he says he's confident that he would pass. "I don't need to take a polygraph to know what the truth is here, Dr. Phil," he says.
“It kind of looks bad for the home team, when she will and you won’t," Dr. Phil replies.The dog was removed from the home at the time of the abuse and is currently living with a family member. The animal is safe.
"Rough and Tough Love"
Anthony says that he wishes Heather would be more attentive and caring in their relationship, especially since he returned home from Iraq. "When I was overseas in Iraq, I was front line," he explains. "There was no more being scared." He admits that he doesn't know how to control his anger and says, "I’ve never really had to. Every time I’ve had anger in the past four years of my life, there was always one way of settling it." He adds that he feels bad when he degrades Heather and calls her names. "I know what that's like. I had to go through that four years of my life in the Army," he confides. "The only thing I know is rough and tough love."
Anthony admits that he recently turned off Heather's phone — he says, because he was worried about who she was talking to. He also claims that Heather dresses provocatively and says that he has destroyed clothes that he felt were inappropriate. "You don't wear stuff like that when you're married. You don't wear daisy dukes, short-shorts, short skirts; you don't do that," he says. "That's just how I was raised. That's a no-go."
"If you are calling her all these names, if you are dictating what she can and cannot do — that is abusive."
"I’m willing to help you with your rage and your anger problems," Dr. Phil tells Anthony. He continues, "I realize that you have been deployed to Iraq ... I've talked to a lot of people who are suffering from PTSD. Based on everything that we've asked you, that would be a legitimate concern for me," he says. He adds, "At the risk of sounding cliche, you have to help me help you. You have to understand that there are things that you are doing that are unacceptable here."
Anthony agrees, and admits, "I could use help for my rage, my anxiety, my anger — everything."
Robin Weighs In
Dr. Phil introduces his wife, Robin McGraw, telling Heather, "I know your dad gave you a gun, but my wife would have given you a lot of knowledge." He explains that Robin recently launched the ASPIRE Initiative
, the first program from her new foundation, When Georgia Smiled, The Robin McGraw Revelation Foundation
, an interactive educational program designed to help stop domestic violence. The program is free and available in both English and Spanish, with custom curricula for three different age groups.
Robin shares part of the ASPIRE curriculum. "I so wish I could have shared this with you so long ago," she tells Heather.
Dr. Phil tells Heather that he does not think she should stay with Anthony at this point. "It's not even a close call," he says. "You definitely are not safe in this relationship, in my opinion."
"I don't want you to get in trouble for doing something you don't want to do," Dr. Phil says to Anthony. He continues, "I do think you have residual effects from being in Iraq." Dr. Phil offers to send Anthony to a PTSD specialist to be evaluated and treated, and Anthony accepts. He adds that he doesn't want Anthony and Heather to be together — or to make a decision about their relationship — until after Anthony gets the help he needs. "I think the world is going to look a whole lot different for both of you very soon," he says, and they agree.
The ASPIRE News App
Robin also helped develop a groundbreaking new app for smartphones that could save your life or the life of someone you love. The ASPIRE News app is a major development in domestic violence safety.
Click here to download the ASPIRE News app
Robin explains how the ASPIRE News app works!
!If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and needs
help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800)