"We have a total of nine children together. Six children live with us full-time," Steve says. "My kids have expressed that they're tired of the arguing. My kids don't usually see the physical side of it. They see more of myself getting in Monica's face. It gets loud, because now we're yelling."
"When Aubrey's home, he still keeps yelling and screaming, and I say, â€˜You're scaring my daughter.' He said, â€˜I don't care.' How do you not care that you're scaring a 2-year-old? How do you not care?" Monica asks. "I don't get it. I grew up with my parents fighting all the time, and I couldn't wait for my parents to get divorced, and I don't want my kids to feel that way."
[AD]"The relationship has escalated to the point where now I'm getting in Monica's face, and I don't like that side of me at all. I'm trying to intimidate her to scare her away from the verbal and physical attack," Steve says. "I'm absolutely scared because you can only take so much. There's a chance I could snap and hit her back. It'd either hurt her really bad, which I don't want to do, or I'd end up in jail. I would be scared if I snapped, because I would seriously hurt her."
"I don't feel intimidated when he does that. It makes me mad, because who is he to do that to me?" Monica asks.
Dr. Phil asks Monica, "Where is this anger coming from?"
"I don't know," she says. "Everything, I guess. My parents. My father committed suicide. Everything, I guess. I don't honestly know."
"You've got an awful lot of things that are bubbling around inside of you," he says.
"I'm just not happy. I'm not happy, and I'm stressed to the max," she says, wiping away a tear. "I just want to be happy. I want my family to be happy."
"My biggest complaint is that he doesn't actually hear me when I talk," Monica says.
"So, you have an expectation that he's going to hear everything you have to say " and you really have an expectation that he's not only going to hear it, but agree with it and comply with it," Dr. Phil says. "Be honest."
"Right," she says.
"So, your definition of â€˜hear' is acknowledge, agree with and comply."
"And if he doesn't acknowledge, agree and comply " and in a timely fashion " then he's not hearing you, and that sets you off because you're being disrespected. He doesn't care. He's not paying attention," Dr. Phil surmises.
[AD]"Yeah. That's exactly what it is," she says.
"Let's assume for argument's sake that he's just a jerk. Does that, in any way, under any theory, justify you putting your hands on him in anger?" he asks.
"Absolutely not," Monica says.
"Does it in any way, under any theory, justify you demeaning him as a human being, as a person, as a father, as a man, as a husband, in any way?"
"The truth is, you married him for a reason. Do you like him?" Dr. Phil asks Monica.
"Most of the time," she says.
"Do you love him?"
"If you were on the street, and somebody started bullying you, or throwing you up against a wall or picking on you, do you think he would come to your aid?" he asks.
"Absolutely," Monica says.
"Do you think that if somebody was mistreating one of the children, that he would protect them?" Dr. Phil asks.
"You think he would step in front of a moving bus to protect his children?"
"Yeah, I do," she says.
Steve agrees that he would protect his family at any cost.
Dr. Phil asks him, "Do you love your wife?"
"Yes, I do. Very much. I wouldn't be here if I didn't. I would've left a long time ago," he says, growing emotional.
"What do you want for this relationship?"
"More respect," he says. "I want to stop fighting. It's getting insane. I can't do it anymore. Can't. It's not right. It's not right one bit. I walk on eggshells every single day of my life. Every day."
Dr. Phil tells Monica that she could be getting caught in neurological anxiety storms " which can be fixed. "When you get into a rage, what is the first signal for you?"
"My chest gets tight," she says.
[AD]"What we've got to do is prepare you so that becomes a cue for coping, instead of a cue for raging," he says. Dr. Phil offers her resources to teach her skills for managing and coping with anger, so she doesn't lash out. Monica accepts.
Dr. Phil asks Steve to be patient enough to allow Monica to learn these skills. "The litmus test is: if you can be together without being violent, then you can be together, but if you can't, then you need to be apart," he says.