Violent Love Intervention: Ryan

Ryan's Rage

"My boyfriend, Ryan, has been abusive almost our entire relationship. After about a year of dating, I got pregnant. Three months into my pregnancy, we were arguing. He pushed me down and choked me. He had both hands around my neck squeezing as hard as he could. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't talk," recounts Michelle, voice quavering.


Ryan admits to having an anger problem but thinks Michelle contributes to his violence. "Michelle and I fight almost every day. I'd say she's 90 percent at fault," he says. "I don't want to hurt her. It just happens. I get so p***ed off that I just snap."

Michelle says that Ryan is verbally abusive as well. "He calls me a stupid c**t, a whore, a bitch. He thinks so lowly of me, how can he love me?" she asks, fighting tears.


Michelle recalls a frightening incident that made her fear for her safety. "We were in the bedroom, and Ryan was pushing me over the footboard of the bed. He pushed my stomach into that numerous times, violently," she says. "I had my son six weeks early, and I feel that the physical altercations are what caused the pre-term labor."


Michelle worries that Ryan is starting to lash out at their son, Aiden. "I am afraid of Ryan hurting our son. Ryan will scream at the baby and yell at him to shut up and stop crying," she says. "What's he going to do if the baby is crying like that and he's by himself?"


Caught in a quandary, Michelle turns to Dr. Phil for advice. "My boyfriend is violent, and we have a child together. Is it possible to make this relationship work?" she asks. 

Dr. Phil addresses Ryan. "Your position is, if she wouldn't provoke you, if she wouldn't do some of the things that she knows bother you, then you wouldn't be abusive with her?" he inquires. 

"That's the way I see it, most of the time," Ryan answers.

Dr. Phil runs down a list of Ryan's violence toward Michelle. "As a result, in your words, 'I choked her out,'" he begins. 

"Yep," Ryan says. 

Dr. Phil continues, "'I've laid on top of her and pulled her hair. I've slapped her, threw her across the room.' You've bruised her face, arms and chest, pinned her on the floor and punched her, grabbed her when she had the baby in her arms." He turns to Michelle. "[Ryan has] thrown you up against something with your stomach that you think caused the baby to come six weeks early?"

Michelle nods. "I think that the abuse and the constant stress from it, and him physically hitting me and doing that to me, a month and a half later, I had my son," she says.

Dr. Phil observes that Ryan's aggression is not just limited to his girlfriend. "You broke your dad's thumb last year, right? In an altercation?" he asks.


"Not on purpose," Ryan says quickly.

"You told him he's the biggest piece of crap, and every day you tell him you hate him," Dr. Phil points out. 

"Not every day, but I'm sure he knows where my feelings stand," Ryan says.

Ryan's actions perplex Dr. Phil. "At what point did you decide that you had the right to put your hands on another human being in anger?" he asks. 

"Never, it just happens. It's being provoked, whether it's by Michelle or anybody else," Ryan says. 

Dr. Phil says there is never an excuse for abuse. "I believe anybody that would do what you do to her ain't nothing but a bully and a coward," he says adamantly. "It's not OK. It is, in my view, an absolute, drop-dead deal-breaker!"