End the Silence on Domestic Violence: Mia, Lorain, Mike

Parental Legacy

Lorain's 11-year-old daughter, Mia, says, "When we were living with Mike, I was really afraid of him. When they would fight, we would have to lock ourselves in the room for a really long time, usually a whole day, until he's cooled down, and even when we do come out, he's really not that better.

"I feel like I have to stand up for my mom because he is very big and scary, and he'll just keep yelling until he gets what he wants. He calls me a brat and things that I'm not supposed to hear.

"Mike had a gun in his closet. It was really scary because I'm pretty sure it was loaded. If he ever got really angry at my mom, he would use it. He threatened that if my dog peed on his floor one more time, he'd put the dog in the shower and pee on it. If I could say one thing to Mike, I would ask why he would do such horrible things and be so mean."

Back onstage, Dr. Phil tells him, "I know this isn't easy for you, because you have a lot of allegations being leveled at you here, but you kind of have a smug, glib attitude about this whole thing that I'm picking up on here."

"No, some of the things aren't true, and they're lies," he says. 

Dr. Phil turns to Lorain. "What do say about all this? Are you exaggerating?"

"This is exactly what he does," she says. "He just wants to pretend that it didn't happen, that the stuff that he even admits to, it's no big deal. He never focuses in on the issues. It's always how wrong I am, or how I'm oversensitive, or I'm blowing it out of proportion," she says.

[AD]"I do try to focus in on the issues, and when we went to couples counseling " we have no communication because whenever there's an argument or disagreement, she won't talk, she wants to run off," Mike says.

"This isn't about communication," Lorain says. "See, he doesn't get that we can have a disagreement but it doesn't have to get into a violent, aggressive fight. And that's all I want to be able to do is communicate like a regular couple without being called names or having to run out of the room."

Dr. Phil asks Mike, "You've had two restraining orders issued against you, and you think both of them were unwarranted?"

"All I know is this woman has had restraining orders against four different men, so, is it always the men?" he asks.

"I don't know the other three men. I'm here with you, and I'm just asking you, were those unfair?"

"Well, I think that's a valid point, but I think you're just brushing it aside," Mike says.

Dr. Phil addresses Mike's defensiveness. "Unlike you, I'm willing to meet any allegation head on. You're claiming I'm minimizing and trivializing that there is a pattern here of her getting restraining orders against men. And therefore, by me trivializing that, I'm not recognizing the fact that you're just one in a long line of men she's victimizing with this, is that what you're telling me?"

"No, I'm not," he says.

Dr. Phil explains "She may be over-reactive and oversensitive, I don't know. I'm not talking about them because they're not here. I'm talking about you. And I don't know why you feel the need to hide in a crowd if you're willing to be accountable for your own behavior."

"Because life experiences affect how they act and react to things, so that's what I was bringing it up," he says. "I don't want to intimidate her. I don't want her to fear me."

[AD]"Reality is perception, and she does perceive you as a threat. I mean, who puts a loaded gun around and leaves it out?"

"Have you heard of the Second Amendment, OK? It's not a loaded gun around. There's not a loaded clip in it. It's locked up. The girls never saw the gun, so she doesn't know," he says.

Lorain sighs. "That's why I don't think this is going to work for us."

Dr. Phil brings up a heartbreaking moment in the couple's relationship.


Dr. Phil introduces Sue Else, the president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. 

 

She addresses Lorain. "As I've been sitting here listening, I have to say that I started to get a stomachache, and I started to feel fearful for you. I think so often we hear that minimization, and you take that in, Lorain, and it sort of makes you wonder and question yourself. And I really think you've got to go with your gut on this, you have to follow your instinct. And you've done and made some real courageous steps already, so I applaud your efforts there," she says. 

Dr. Phil tells Mike his comments about Lorain being too sensitive imply that the problem is with her, not him.

 

"No, I'm saying you're portraying me as if it's all my fault," Mike says. He explains that a counselor told Lorain that she needed to work on issues too.

"There are relationship issues, and there are abuse issues, and the abuse issues trump the relationship issues," Dr. Phil tells him. "If the abuse stops, if the abuse is not there, then you work on relationship issues."

 

Dr. Phil tells Mike, "Let me tell you, there is no relationship where this is going to be OK. If you did just the things that you've acknowledged, it wouldn't be OK, and if it was, that is not somebody you want to be with."

[AD]"I have a question for you. When she says, ‘You're a *. You're an *,' whatever. That's OK? Do I need to call 911?" Mike asks.

"If you feel intimidated, if you feel at risk and in danger, then absolutely, you pick up the phone and call 911. No question about it. And if she feels threatened, she needs to do whatever it takes to protect herself. You don't feel threatened when she calls you a name. She does feel threatened when you yell and scream at her."

"I don't want her to feel threatened," Mike says.  

Dr. Phil asks Lorain to stand up next to him, noting their difference in body size. He asks Mike, "Is this a fair fight? This isn't rocket science. Lassie could get this. This is not a fair fight."

"No, it's not a fair fight. I weigh twice as much as she weighs. I'm twice as big as she is," he says.

"You were telling the producers I always side with women. I'm going to side with a woman every time that some guy is getting up in her face and imposing his will on her physically, mentally and emotionally. You're damn right, I do," Dr. Phil says. "I don't apologize for that, and all you have to do is not do that, Mike. You've just got to say, ‘I've got to have another way to express myself.' And if she is like fingernails on a chalkboard to you, then move on! Move on, but you don't do what you're doing to her. And I don't want your life destroyed either. If you were to fly into a rage, and you just accidentally just knock her down, and she hits her head on the table, your life is ruined, Mike. I don't want that to happen to you."

"I don't want that to happen either. I have a son to think about," he says. "I feel that I need some help, probably with impulse control. I feel sometimes that I don't have that voice inside my head that says, ‘Don't do that. Stop.'"

Dr. Phil offers to arrange for help for him to deal with anger and impulse control.

 

He turns to Lorain. "But I'm telling you, you are not safe in this relationship right now, unless and until you have an independent, skilled professional tell you that the dynamics have changed here such that you are safe. And unless and until that happens, you absolutely, drop dead, should not be in this relationship. I could not be more clear about that," he says.

Lorain nods.

"And let me tell you something: Children that observe this kind of going back and forth, do not do well. They have a higher incidence of mental illness, they have a higher incidence of drug use, they have a higher incidence of alcohol abuse, they have a higher incidence of depression, and anxiety and lower academic achievement. They do not do well, kids that grow up in this kind of environment. And you don't want anybody to be exposed to this. It is toxic for everybody involved: you, you and the children.

Mike begins to understand why it's important that he gets help now.

 

Dr. Phil tells Mike to stick around; there's a story he wants him to see.

 

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please reach out for help. Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233). Help is available to callers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information and local resources, go to the National Network to End Domestic Violence: NNEDV.org.