Shocking Accusations: Abused Wife or Abused Husband?

February 6, 2014

Marie says that her husband of 8 years, Ron, has a violent temper, and she’s afraid for her safety and the safety of their 4-year-old daughter. She says Ron’s mood can change within seconds and claims that he has become verbally and physically abusive. She alleges that Ron has pushed her down the stairs and hit her in the head — and claims that he has threatened to do much worse, recently even writing “kill” on the bathroom mirror. Ron adamantly denies that he has ever physically or verbally abused Marie. He claims that she is a compulsive liar who often mixes her prescription medications with alcohol — and says that she is the one with anger problems. How does Marie respond? Dr. Phil sorts through the allegations and looks at video from Dr. Phil cameras placed inside the family’s home — what did they capture? Can he help this couple find a way to stop fighting and start communicating — for the sake of their child?

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MarieRonRobin, Marie's auntScott, Ron and Marie's neighborMarie talks to Dr. Ian Tong, of Doctor on Demand

Marie's Fears

Marie says that she has been terrified of her husband, Ron, ever since last year, when she claims he began saying things like, “I really want to hurt you,” “I just want to bash your face in,” and even, “Our story will be on the 6 o’clock news.” She claims that Ron has dragged her down a flight of stairs and had the police called on him at least 14 times. She also claims that last month, he smashed her on the side of the head while trying to grab her cell phone. "We were in an argument. He asked me to turn on the recorder to my camera, and he wanted me to record the whole thing," Marie says. "The fight started to progress, and then Ron came at me. I don't know what he was going to do to me. I was afraid for my life."

See video of the encounter. Plus, Marie claims Ron recently wrote "kill" on the mirror. How does he respond when she confronts him?

“We put cameras in your home to see what happens in the natural flow of things, and what we’ve seen is a high degree of volatility," Dr. Phil says, talking to Marie alone onstage. "Are you afraid?"

"Yes, terrified," she replies. "I think that I'm going to be another missing wife."

Noting Ron's absence, Dr. Phil explains that hours after completing his sit-down interview, Ron had a sudden change of heart about doing the show, missed his flight to Los Angeles and refused to take any calls. "But I have a relentless staff," he says. "They've been very concerned about this family, and the good news is, after much machinations, we did get him here."

Ron joins Marie onstage, and Dr. Phil asks him what caused him to change his mind. "Why did you have such a change in your demeanor and decide not to come to the show?"

"It's all based on lies, Dr. Phil," Ron insists. "There are going be two Maries that I’m going to be able to talk about," he says. "There’s the loving, most beautiful, caring Marie in the world, and there’s the bitter, ticking time bomb. When you hear the things I have to say about the person I love most in life ... I don't want to be here."

“What happened between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday that you changed your mind?" Dr. Phil persists.

"I’m an abused husband," Ron claims. "Do you know what that means, Dr. Phil? I get my face bashed in every day." He continues, "I'm dealing with a lunatic. I was going to have three days of peace." 

"I have one goal here. I want to calm this situation down, because we have a child growing up in a highly toxic situation."

"Punching Bag" Ron?

Ron insists that Marie is melodramatic and a compulsive liar and says that she calls the police unnecessarily. He claims that she is the one with anger issues and alleges that she has physically attacked him repeatedly and spit in his face. Ron says that their problems are exacerbated by the fact that Marie sometimes drinks alcohol on top of taking prescriptions. "She's not well, so I give her the benefit of the doubt, while being a punching bag," Ron says. "I get irate," he admits, adding, "It's been like eight years of talking to insanity."

"He says you're over-dramatic and don't know when to walk away, and as a result, it just goes on and on and on," Dr. Phil says to Marie. "Do you not know that's escalating things?"

"I guess I never realized it," Marie responds. "But, yes, it's escalating things for me to actually stay there."

"You say it doesn't take much to set him off," Dr. Phil continues.

"I’m passionate, but I’m never physical, Dr. Phil," Ron insists. "I've never once touched her, never called her anything. Everything she says is a lie. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know she’s lying. She can’t help it."

Dr. Phil asks Marie and Ron how the word "kill" got on the bathroom mirror, and they both deny putting it there. "Somebody is lying," Dr. Phil says. "What that tells me is there are three agendas. There's your agenda, and there's your agenda," he says, addressing Ron and Marie, in turn. "And then there's the family agenda, and it's coming in third. One of you is lying, and your daughter picks up the tab for you coming in here and covering your ass."

"Somebody is going to tell me the truth here, and this situation is going to change, or I'm reporting it to CPS."

Hear from Marie's aunt, Robin, who says Ron is a "rage-aholic" — and from a neighbor, who claims Marie is the problem.

Dr. Phil says that the home cameras captured some other concerning behavior that he wants to address with Marie. He plays a video of Ron asking her about three liquor bottles that were in the trash can — which Marie admits she dumped outside. "Ron says that you take a combination of Celexa and Klonopin, and then you drink whiskey," Dr. Phil says. "I'm worried about this combination of pills and alcohol, and I wanted a physician to address that with you."

Marie talks to Dr. Ian Tong using the Doctor on Demand app. "You're taking a huge risk," he warns.

Learning to Communicate

"What do you want?" Dr. Phil asks Marie. "If you could write the script for this marriage, what would it be?"

"I wouldn't have to worry about what kind of mood he's going to be in," she responds, tearfully. "Being happy that Daddy came home from work — and didn't have to go outside and get high in order to see his little girl," she adds. "I want Ron to be Ron again."

"I ask you what the script was going forward — what would be the wonderful world for you — and in that, you subtley took five or six cheap shots at him," Dr. Phil observes. "What you'd expect is you'd go, 'Oh my gosh, we would be happy. We would be best friends again. We would support one another. We would take pride in watching this little girl blossom and be wonderful. That's what I would expect would be a healthy response."

Dr. Phil turns to Ron and says, "What do you need to change to spark a difference in this relationship?"

"Dr. Phil, I like being her best friend, and I want to continue it," Ron says. "To get back there, there's two major things I need help with. One, I smoke so much — cigarettes, weed. Second, I'm a recovering alcoholic. I don't drink alcohol one bit, but I stopped going to meetings, and I need to get back to meetings." He adds, "One more thing, if I could. If we were friends, friends do nice things for each other. I'm looking back at the past eight years, and I see cops, cops, break stuff, punch my face. I'm like, 'What kind of friend are you?'"

"You two may have the worst communication skills of any two people I’ve ever met on this stage at one time."

Dr. Phil offers to set up Marie and Ron with a specialist who can help teach them how to better communicate. "We're going to show you how to relax and calm down together. You'll actually do some meditation together, some relaxation together, and then we'll teach you how to communicate," he says. "I think the silence is going to be deafening. Your daughter is going to go, 'Wow, I got my mom and dad back.'"

Marie and Ron both agree to take the help.

Doctor on Demand was created by Doctor on Demand Inc., which is owned in part by Dr. Phillip C. McGraw. Dr. Ian Tong is the Medical Director for Doctor on Demand.