Afraid of My Husband: Lawrence and Sonya

Sleeping with the Enemy
Krishina wrote to Dr. Phil, pleading for him to help her brother, Lawrence, with his troubled marriage. In the studio, she reads her letter aloud:

 

"I'm reaching to you to appeal for your assistance, guidance and intervention. My brother and sister-in-law are in a marriage that is in unimaginable shambles. Both of them are so angry about so many things," Krishina reads. "They are immensely disrespectful to one another and allow their children to consistently hear their horrific exchange of words. I am beyond hope sometimes at thinking this monstrous situation could ever be changed. I am in hopes that this plea reaches you. There are a plethora of problems in their family, and they mean the world to me."

"Are you aware of any physical violence that is going on?" Dr. Phil asks Krishina. She says she isn't.

"Things are much worse than I think you are aware."

 

Lawrence and Sonya, who have been backstage, now join Dr. Phil. Lawrence says he doesn't believe he's an abusive person. Sonya counters her husband's claim. "I'm afraid of him. I'm very afraid of him," she says.

"I'm here to help you," Dr. Phil says. "I'm here to help you both. I want the situation to be better, but you have to own what you do." He tells the couple he wants to remove labels from the conversation.

"You may have a different yardstick for measuring some of this than I do," Dr. Phil continues. He turns to Lawrence. "Did you kick Sonya in the stomach in a fight in a hotel?"

 

Lawrence denies kicking his wife. He admits that they had an altercation in a hotel room, and he pushed Sonya. He acknowledges that his behavior was unacceptable.


The Dr. Phil show obtained the police report for that hotel incident. Dr. Phil says Lawrence was arrested for fifth degree domestic assault and placed on probation for one year. He admitted to police he was drinking at the time of the fight. Also, according to the police report, Sonya's shirt was stretched and ripped, and her chest showed red marks. The same police report said Lawrence had a scratch on his chest and a cut on the inside of his upper lip.

After reading the details of the police report, Dr. Phil pleads for honesty, telling the couple that he can't be of any assistance with stories of fiction and embellishment. He asks Sonya again if Lawrence kicked her in the stomach, and she echoes her previous comments that he did.

"One of you is lying. Someone is lying here," Dr. Phil says. He asks the couple to stand to show the vast difference in their sizes. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Lawrence, he says, "That's a different balance of power ... You are bigger, you are stronger, and you are more powerful."

[AD]"You are right," Lawrence says.

"I'm not saying that's abuse. I'm saying that's a fact," Dr. Phil says. He asks Lawrence about an incident Sonya said happened while she was pregnant. She says he twisted her arm and forced her to the floor.

"If she said I did, I guess I did," Lawrence says.

"That's a cop out," Dr. Phil says. "You either did or you didn't."

Lawrence admits that it's probably true.

Dr. Phil reads the bad names Sonya says Lawrence has called her, among them "bitch" and "fat ass." Sonya says Lawrence has done so in front of their children, other parents and friends. "Would that be an accurate list?" Dr. Phil asks him.

‘I've used many derogatory names against Sonya," Lawrence replies. He admits that his verbal abuse has escalated to violence. He says he put a hole in their armoire, broke his golf clubs and snapped his sons' skateboard over his knee as a way to discipline him.


Dr. Phil says Lawrence wants to make it clear that Sonya is not perfect. "You say she provokes a lot of this. You say she is violent and confrontational herself," he says. 

"She is very violent; yes she is," Lawrence responds.

"If he doesn't get what he wants, he takes it out on everyone. He's really controlling in that way. He controls our finances, our car, what we're going to eat, whether or not the kids are able to go to a park or not," Sonya adds.

"Sonya is the one who's controlling," Lawrence counters. "She undermines my authority."

Sonya says her sex life with Lawrence is stressful. "Lawrence constantly wants sex," she says. "It's not about love. If I don't [want to have sex], he will constantly bug me about it." She says that if she says no, he will withhold money and her phone, and wake her up at various hours at night and in the early morning.

[AD]"How much of those things are true?" Dr. Phil asks. While the couple bickers, Dr. Phil clarifies his question. "I'm not trying to label " I'm just trying to get the facts on the table."

Lawrence says his wife loses control and punches him in the arms, chest and stomach. He says she's spit on him, gotten in his face, kicked a hole in the big screen television, and broken Lawrences' laptop twice.

"That is true," Sonya says. Although she says she does it to protect herself and the children.

 

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.