Violent Love Intervention: Linda

Blinded by Love?

"My fiancé, Eddie, tried to kill me. He shot me, and I lost my right eye," reports 26-year-old Linda. Yet, she's still engaged to her alleged assailant. "I am still very much in love with him. My mother thinks I'm crazy for loving Eddie."

Linda's mom, Jody, expresses disbelief. "How is it this girl can still have so much love for this man who's done this to her?" she asks. "Linda tends to be drawn to the older man who she thinks is going to take care of her, but it eventually turns into abuse." 

Linda reveals that she swiftly fell for Eddie " a man 21 years her senior "  and they started living together. That's when the problems began. "We would scream and yell at each other. He would call me a bitch or a c**t. We would get into a physical fight. The police were called. I stayed because I love him," Linda maintains.

 

The day that Linda was shot, she and Eddie were arguing over whether she would leave him. "There was no time to say stop. He pointed [the gun] up like this and fired it. It was the loudest noise I've ever heard," she remembers. "I ran over to the door and he wasn't letting me out. He said, 'I'll just tell them you just shot yourself.'"

The 911 call from Linda's neighbor illustrates the unfolding tragedy:

Neighbor: Please send the police very quickly. There's a woman outside pounding on my door, yelling, 'Help me, help me, save my life!' There's a man chasing her. She's screaming.

"There was blood just pouring down my body. I thought I was going to die," Linda recalls. Despite the near-fatal shooting, she found herself covering for Eddie. "I told the police that he tried to kill me, so they took him to jail. Later on, I convinced myself that it was some kind of accident. In my statement, I told the police that it was not intentional because I didn't want him to spend the rest of his life in prison. I still love Eddie very much, and I don't want to hurt him. He's my best friend and my soul mate." 

Because Linda told the police the shooting was accidental, Eddie received four years in jail and 10 years probation. They currently have a no-contact order in place. "We cannot send letters. I frequently look at his pictures because I miss him. I know how much he loves me," she says tearfully. 

Jody is outraged by her daughter's allegiance to Eddie. "This is not love. This is sick!" she declares. "She's alienated everybody who loves her. We've dealt with the turmoil. We're done dealing with it. She's the only one who doesn't get it."

"Just to be clear, Linda's fiancé, Eddie, says he never meant to shoot his gun at Linda. He says he was just cocking the chamber into place and it went off," Dr. Phil explains. Turning to Linda, he says, "You heard what he said on his 911 call."

"I did," Linda replies. "I was like, 'That can't be right. That's not him.'"

Dr. Phil replays Eddie's 911 call:

 

Eddie: She's bleeding profusely. She has my gun.
Operator: Did she get shot?
Eddie: She tried to shoot me with it.
Operator: OK, did she get shot? 
Eddie: Yes, in the head. 
Operator: Is she breathing? 
Eddie: I don't know. She's running around the parking lot like a maniac. She's crazy.
Operator: OK, so she shot herself in the head? 
Eddie: Yes. 
 

After listening to the call, Linda shakes her head in disbelief. "It doesn't even sound like him. It's almost like a completely different person," she muses. 

"It's not a completely different person, though. You know that's him," Dr. Phil stresses. 

"Well, I have to accept that," Linda says. 

"He said you tried to shoot him. Did you try to shoot him?" Dr. Phil asks Linda.

"Absolutely not!"

"He said to the police that you shot yourself in the head. Did you do that?" Dr. Phil probes.

"No. Why would I shoot myself?"

"It was not an accident?" he asks. 

"No," Linda says. She pauses as the weight of Dr. Phil's words sink in. "It was not an accident. I have to come to terms with that."

Dr. Phil wants Linda to grasp the severity of the incident. "You were present at a premeditated murder. You just didn't die!" he says. "Is there any question in your mind that he intended at that point to kill you?"

Shaking her head sadly, Linda says, "No, I just wanted to save him."

"Why?" Jody asks, exasperated.

Linda raises her voice, "I don't know!"

Jody is grieved that her daughter is still loyal to Eddie. "It makes me saddened that she is trying to protect this man. He almost killed her. An act of God has saved her for some reason, and here she is trying to protect this guy," she says.

Dr. Phil wonders if Linda's actions seem rational to her. "What do you think about the fact that you're saying, 'I miss him. I love him. I want to be with him. We're still engaged, and I hate the thought that the court says that we can't be together again'? What do you think about that, now that you've stepped back and looked at it objectively?" he asks. 

"Objectively, looking at it, it's crazy. It's insanity," Linda admits. "I'm desperate."

"What do you think you need to do?" Dr. Phil asks. 

"Whatever you feel," she laughs.


Jody looks at her daughter skeptically. "Come on! What do you think you need to do?" she demands. 

"I think I need to wake up," Linda says.

Jody tells Dr. Phil that her daughter's lifestyle is dangerous. "She picks up with the men who are nuts. Her drinking. Just her lifestyle, in general, is out of control," she divulges.

Turning to Linda, Dr. Phil says, "In a relationship prior to this one, you were with a man 20 years older. He pushed you, he punched you, he threw you against the wall. He just practically beat you to death."

 

"My life is not stable," Linda admits.

Dr. Phil observes that there were red flags early on in Linda's relationship with Eddie. "He choked you, he hit you, he punched you, he called you a bitch, and he called you the C-word," he notes. "Every amount of verbal abuse, physical abuse, drugs and alcohol again, and then shot you in the head. What kept you from getting out of this relationship when these early signs of abuse began?" he asks.


"I don't know," Linda answers. "I guess I just accepted it."

Dr. Phil points out that Linda's immediate reaction was to lie to protect Eddie after she was shot. "You knew that by doing that, he would serve either no or a lot less jail time," he says. "You've lied so he gets out much earlier, which means he is a risk for other people."

 

"How much have you had to drink today?" Dr. Phil asks Linda. 

She covers her mouth in embarrassment. "Just a little bit," she replies. "I had a cocktail."

When Jody reveals that she noticed two empty bottles of vodka in her daughter's room this morning, Dr. Phil says, "You were drinking heavily before you were shot, so it's not just in reaction to that."

"Well, I think it's gotten a lot worse," Linda replies.

"Here's what I want you to do. You need to slow down. You need to calm down. I don't mean just this minute, I mean in your life," Dr. Phil advises. "Your life is spinning way out of control. True?"

 

"Yes."

"Would you say that you are overwhelmed and don't know how to get it back on track?"

Linda responds, "I would say that that's more than correct."

Dr. Phil introduces Dr. Jeffrey Reddout, a neuropsychologist who has offered to work with Linda. "I think you've gotten a lot of good advice here today. I think that we can start to work on the parts of you that we want to keep, and the parts of you that we want to let go," Dr. Reddout tells Linda.


"I would greatly appreciate that," she says with a relieved smile.

Dr. Phil addresses Linda. "Be very patient with yourself," he instructs. "You need to calm down and start recognizing that for some reason, you are here."