"My husband's violent behavior has taken a huge toll on my children. My greatest fear is that he's going to harm either me or the kids," Sonya says on videotape. She says her husband calls her 10-year-old son, Ian, names that can't be uttered on television. She says he bullies the boy about everything from sports to how he brushes his teeth. "The kids are afraid of what Lawrence is going to do to them." She says she once called Child Protective Services after an incident with their daughter. "My children have asked, â€˜Why couldn't you have picked a nicer dad?'" she says.
"The kids are caught up in the middle of this," Dr. Phil notes.
"Yes," Sonya replies.
"I think I am too rough with the kids sometimes," Lawrence chimes in. "I'm a bigger person. But, I love my kids; I love them very much."
"It's just back and forth in front of the children?" Dr. Phil asks.
[AD]Sonya says the kids are constantly calling on her for protection.
"He was hungry to talk to somebody," Dr. Phil says of the tween.
"I am, too," Sonya says while weeping. "I just want help."
"That's horrible. I'm in a dysfunctional family," Lawrence says, while also dabbing tears from his eyes.
As Dr. Phil reads Ian's wishes for his parents, namely for them "to return from Dr Phil better," Sonya is filled with tears. "I'm tired of apologizing to him," she says.
Dr. Phil says that he first started the conversation without labeling Lawrence's behavior, but now it's time to drive home the severity of his actions. "What you are doing is abuse," he says. "It is domestic violence. It is physical abuse " mentally, emotionally and physically " it is abuse. Just what you have admitted to is abuse. There is an imbalance of power here."
"I didn't come halfway across the country to not listen to what I have to listen to in order to get things straight," Lawrence says.
[AD]"I don't think Lawrence is to be feared," Krishina says when Dr. Phil asks her to clarify previous comments that she's feared him her entire life.
"Well, if you want to trivialize this for him," Dr. Phil says. "We have to hold ourselves to a different standard."
If you or someone you love is being abused, please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233). For more information, visit NDVH.org.