Teen Dating and Abuse: Katie

Teen Dating and Abuse: Katie

"I'm 20 years old, and I have a 7-month-old baby, and I'm not currently with the baby's father because he's abusive — verbally and physically," says Katie. One incident occurred the day after

Christmas while Katie was feeding their son on the bed. "We have a fan right beside our bed, and he just picked it up and smashed it on the ground. I tried to leave and he pulled me by my hair, and on the bed he choked me, and the cigarette fell out of his mouth and burned some of my hair. I tried to leave again, and he threw me on the kitchen floor. I finally got out the back door," she shares. Her father, Jack, took her to the emergency room. "The reason he was mad is because I was supposed to have his clothes washed and dried that morning, and I didn't." The next day her boyfriend, Chris, was arrested and told to have no contact with her.

 

After the incident, Chris sent Katie a letter apologizing for his actions. Jack immediately made a copy of the letter Chris sent and gave it to the detective working on the case. "Even though Chris had

violated his no contact order, the judge lifted it anyway because I wanted to be there with him," Katie explains. She returned to the house with him because she believed things might change. "I thought that maybe he understands now that he can't do this," she reveals. "We went back to the house, and he was upset because my dad had given that letter to the police officer. He called my dad and said to come and get his bitch daughter and her kid out of his house."

 

Another time, when Katie and Chris got into a big fight, he made her sit outside in the rain for an hour, and she was four months pregnant.

"I personally believed that he was bad news as soon as he walked through the door," says Jack, who's afraid Katie is going to return to Chris. "She'll get on the phone, and then she'll come out and tell us, 'He's really sorry. He's been crying, and he's threatened to kill himself,' and she loves him." He worries for his daughter's safety. "My greatest fear with Katie is that one day I get that phone call that I have to go identify her body."

 

Wendy, Katie's mom, echoes her husband's fear. "I'm very concerned that Katie's going to move back in with her boyfriend. Over the last 18 months, they've been breaking up and getting back together. I have lost count how many times this has happened," she explains. She knows her daughter deserves better. "Katie is such a loving child. She has a wonderful personality. She loves people. She loves her son. She's our life."

 

Katie admits she struggles with the decision to move back in with Chris. "I think about going back to him when he calls me," she reveals. "There's some part of me that thinks that he might change if he got help and that he could be a positive role model for our son."

 

 

"What's your reaction to that?" Dr. Phil asks Katie, referring to the videotape piece.

"It's sad, really," she admits.

Referring to Katie's comment that after she talks to her boyfriend on the phone and he is so remorseful that she wants to go back to him, Dr. Phil asks, "Are you that love-starved?"

"I think so, yeah," she replies.

"Somebody can abuse you and beat on you and threaten you and choke you and throw you on the ground, if they'll just be nice to you later?" Dr. Phil presses.

 

"I'm scared to be alone," Katie admits.

 

Dr. Phil addresses Jack. "What do you think about this guy?" he asks.

 

"He's very manipulative. He's taken all of her self-esteem away," Jack says.

 

"What do you want for her?"

"The best in life that they can possibly have and make for themselves," Jack says. "I want her to be able to say to whomever it is that she is with, if she has a problem, that she can drop everything, move out and support herself and not have to depend on that individual to support her in any way." 

"When you think about going back to him, do you think about just the good things?" Dr. Phil asks. Katie nods. "And then you've gone back to him and it goes into just hell again."



"I don't want to go back, because I don't think he is going to change," Katie says.

Dr. Phil notes that Chris was contacted by the show and asked to participate, but he refused. "He wanted no part of any effort to move forward," Dr. Phil says. "You say you don't think he's going to change, but yet you say you get weak when you talk to him."

 

"I'm fine as long as he doesn't call," she says.

 

Dr. Phil shares his opinion. "Nobody with any sense of self-worth, any sense of self-esteem, any sense of value, would allow themselves to be beaten and abused by somebody else," he tells Katie. "What we know here is that he's called you bitch, lazy, fat, ugly, says that you're a bad mother, that you can't clean. He's gotten in your face, nose to nose, and screamed at you for, like, two hours until you say you were crying so hard that you couldn't even breathe. We asked you how you would describe him and you said, 'He's abusive. He's crazy. He's psycho.'"


"He is," Katie agrees. "He's nuts."

"In a relationship, physical abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, [are] absolute drop-dead deal-breakers non-negotiable," Dr. Phil declares. "That's something that you have to set a standard and say, 'I'm not going to do that.'"

"Do you love your child?" Dr. Phil asks Katie.

"Oh, yes," she says.

"Do you think he has any ability to defend himself?"

"No." 

He asks Katie if there were a vicious dog next door, would she put her son on the grass near the dog.

"Absolutely not," Katie says. "It's dangerous."

"Isn't that exactly, precisely what you would be doing if you took that child back into that situation?" Dr. Phil asks. "Because, intentionally or otherwise, flying into a rage, smashing that fan, throwing you down, all of that, how do you know that in that blind rage he's not going to hurt your baby?"

"I don't know," Katie admits.

"If you don't do it for yourself, you have to do it for that child," Dr. Phil says sternly. "If you take that baby back into that relationship, I have no doubt Child Protective Services would remove the child from the home. So the question is, is your love and protection for this child stronger than your need for playing this cyclic game with him?" Dr. Phil asks. "It's time for you to step up to the plate for yourself and say, 'I'm playing this game now for me and my baby, and I need to do whatever I need to do,'" Dr. Phil tells her. "I think what's happening right now is I think you're confused. I think you're depressed. I think you're losing momentum in life. You're kind of sitting around watching TV. You need to get a job ... where you get active, and you get around other people, and you start recognizing, 'Hey, wait a minute. There's life after that. There are people who don't hurt you.'"

Dr. Phil introduces 16-year-old, Anya. She is a high school student who has been in two verbally and sexually abusive relationships, and now she shares her story with other teens. She hopes that by talking about her experiences, she might keep at least one girl out of the

emergency room or worse. "You've gotten through this and distanced yourself from it," Dr. Phil says to her. "What was the most important thing you had to say to yourself to say, 'I'm not going to do that anymore? I'm going to move out of that'?"

"Like you said, it's self-esteem," Anya says. "You have low self-esteem, and you enter these relationships, and they make you feel worse about yourself. Once I started realizing I'm better than this, I have a sense of purpose, then that's when I started realizing I need to be with someone who will support me and want to help me accomplish whatever I need to in life."

Dr. Phil addresses Katie. "You see, there are others in this, and as we've said, one out of four teenagers say at some point they've been in a relationship that got out of hand and got abusive," he tells her. 
"This is about you, and you defining what kind of woman you want to be and what kind of standards you want to set in your life."

 

Dr. Phil offers to arrange professional counseling for Katie to concentrate on specific things. "One is to focus on your self-esteem, and the other is to come up with a life plan, an action plan that gets you off the couch, away from the television and into the world, so you can recognize, there are a lot of good people out here in this world, and this guy doesn't even almost make it."

 

Katie agrees to participate.