Episode 3: Abusive Relationships with Dr. Suzie Chen

We welcome the brilliant clinical psychologist Dr. Suzie Chen on this week’s episode. She has a robust background in helping people identify the differences between unhappy relationships and abusive ones. We also talk about a variety of resources that can assist people in getting out of a relationship when they are ready. WHEW! We told you it might get heavy once and a while… just know it all works out in the end!

Most importantly, if you or someone you know is battling with the decision to get out of an abusive relationship, just know you are not alone. There are resources you can access right now. The hardest part is taking the first step and know that someone will be there to catch you.

Tina-Louise, Dr. Suzie Chen, Tara Jean
We love patterns and bananas.

Here are some of the resources mentioned in the show:

National Domestic Violence Hotline, Available 24/7/365 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
American Psychology Association (apa.org)
Find a local therapist: Psychologytoday.com

When Is Enough, Enough? By Laurie Ashner

Tina-Louise, Dr. Suzie Chen, Tara Jean in living color.

TRANSCRIPT:

Tina Louise Eckert 0:13
Hey everybody, this is my best friend Tara Jean O’Brien

Tara Jean O’Brien 0:22
is my best friend Tina Louise Eckert

Tina Louise Eckert
and I’m single

Tara Jean O’Brien 0:22
and I am married and this is single versus married podcast. I still like that we specify that you are listening to a podcast. Well I’m excited today is very exciting for us. This is our first episode where we’re having an expert

Tina Louise Eckert 0:37
experts having an expert know an expert

Tara Jean O’Brien 0:39
you know an expert who is a doctor, doctor was news to me today. I did not know this, but Okay, everybody, I know there’s going to be heavy. It’s a little bit heavy. Our topic today is signs that you’re in an abusive relationship. Yes. And this isn’t just a love relationships. This is any sort of relationship in your life. And we’re going to get to that and we’re going to hold back the tears for now because I’m an important question. I’m ready. What’s wrong with your face?

Tina Louise Eckert 1:13
I have a really popular hobby.

Tara Jean O 1:16
Yeah, it’s going to be

Tina Louise Eckert 1:19
very expensive. I mean, some people do crossword puzzles. I mean, I just like to sit in a dental chair and cry. Yeah.

I had some dental surgery, let’s say, and let’s just say my body didn’t really like it.

So I kinda have half my face melting off my body right now.

Tara Jean O’Brien 1:37
Oh, you poor

flittle chipmunk only a hal.

Tina Louise Eckert 1:40
I said, I look like a chipmunk, chipmunk. Like I’m hiding a chipmunk, chipmunk to your

hamster in your hamster itchy. And I you

Tara Jean O’Brien 1:48
know, I will admit, I feel really I feel very personally guilty for all your dental surgery because this all started I don’t know how many like 15 years ago I threw a fundraiser for a friend and at this fundraiser Tina Louise was pretty Performing but before she go on stage and perform

Tina Louise Eckert 2:03
so we had a little food backstage and sure no just a little noshing

and I’ve bit on a baby carrot and broken tooth still went

on to the show

Tara Jean O’Brien 2:12
I think like what happened is because

I came out was like where’s Tina Louise? Like she broke it to me and I’m like,

What like she ate a carrot

Tina Louise Eckert 2:20
with the most random and I’m like she left because she broke her tooth on a carrot like like that’s fragile over nevermind i don’t have any cavities never had cavities right

I just have my teeth are just made out to

crumble. So that wasn’t the first dental problem I had just happened to be the first one you got to experience but I felt responsible for all that you have that you can carry that responsibility to

God but

the show still goes on show must go on.

Tara Jean O’Brien 2:52
You’re still beautiful and the right side

Tina Louise Eckert 2:54
of my case I’m gonna have

the insights Fraggle Rock this little people Working on my team though pitchforks nobody so much cheaper.

So today’s topic is signs your in an abusive relationship. And we not only have an expert and a doctor, but also a very dear friend of mine. This is Dr.

Susie Chen. Yay.

Dr. Suzie Chen 3:18
Hello, thank you for the very lovely introduction. Thanks.

Tina Louise Eckert 3:22
So responsible.

Sounds like she pays her taxes and raises children get their teeth cleaned.

Carrots

Tara Jean O’Brien 3:36
Excuse me. Have you ever broken your tooth on a carrot?

Dr. Suzie Chen 3:39
I can say confidently never.

Tina Louise Eckert 3:41
I always

broke a tooth on a chicken strip in Vegas.

Tara Jean O’Brien 3:47
That’s like, that’s like kind of a soft food. Susie, I hope you’re learning a lot about us today and I surely AM.

Tina Louise Eckert 3:54
So Susie and I have been friends for a guess about 14 years.

Tara Jean O’Brien 3:59
Wow, that’s been a long time and 13 How did you guys meet?

Dr. Suzie Chen 4:03
We met at a party.

Tina Louise Eckert 4:05
You want to take it from here?

Dr. Suzie Chen 4:07
Oh, God, you might have to remind me. Well, essentially, at the end of the party, you offer to walk me to my car

because she had

Tara Jean O’Brien 4:14
Wait, is this really Wait, was this almost like you weren’t single at this moment?

Tina Louise Eckert 4:20
That’s how we met we met to do X, okay. So she had like tall black boots on like to, like, little past her knee or to her knee. And I remember thinking like, Oh, you can’t walk to your car. So like, I was, like, I have to walk in I just met her like, Oh, I’m walking to your car. And as I get to her car, she goes, why can you walk me to my car, but then you have to walk home by yourself. That’s right, but I’m just very protective. And she was gonna be a new friend or a new stuff my clients into her and I’m like, you are now my friend. That’s such a funny story. Because is like, well, how are you gonna get back but that sounds like me doesn’t hit

Tara Jean O’Brien 4:56
100%. You’ve probably done that. 100 times. Yeah. I love it. How do you new Susie oh well I know Susie through you, but I feel like we really bonded when so Tina Louise and I came up with the TV show idea. So we shot a sizzle reel for it. It was called pretty dumb luck and I made you be an offensive Asian stereotype.

Dr. Suzie Chen 5:15
Remember that so long ago? And did you know it was so long ago that I think there was maybe like one Asian stereotype at that time? Yeah. So it was great for me because

I can’t act. You did so great. You threw things out. I know. She threw tops. I know I get

violent.

Tara Jean O’Brien 5:37
Thank you Susie. It was funny. And guess what? Everybody who might be offended right now that show went nowhere. So we got our dude.

Tina Louise Eckert 5:44
Oh, it’s so funny. I thought you’re gonna say that’s showbiz?

Tara Jean O’Brien 5:48
No, I was it still was funny. It holds up. Everyone was like,

Tina Louise Eckert 5:54
we weren’t a stereotype of ourselves. We were a stereotype for

Well, I think we were just playing who we were

you were playing Reno. Why

wouldn’t you be?

Tara Jean O’Brien 6:04
All right, let’s just jump right in, you got to rip the band aid off.

Tina Louise Eckert 6:08
I know, this is actually a difficult topic, and I’m happy that we’re hitting on it because it does hit close to me.

Tara Jean O’Brien 6:17
I just wanted to say, I know this is very hard for you to today. So we’re all here to support you. And

Tina Louise Eckert 6:20
I honestly can say I didn’t see it. In in the beginning, I thought they were obstacles like workable problems, because that’s how I saw it. I didn’t see it as it maybe someone wasn’t treating me well or was toxic. I just thought, Oh, this is relationship problems, we’d have to work on our communication. And it wasn’t until I had my aha moment and just happen to be in a form of a massive car accident.

Unknown Speaker 6:47
You know, sometimes you just need to spin out on the 10 freeway to really see the world across all five lanes of traffic.

Unknown Speaker 6:52
Yeah.

Tina Louise Eckert 6:54
Which,

and then also seeing a therapist at the time. really changed my My words from

what you’re doing is hurting my feelings, too. When you do this, I feel unsafe. And that was a big transition for me. And as much as I felt foolish afterwards that I even was in a relationship of that manner. I’m more proud of myself that I was able to get out. And I think this is something that we really want to talk about, like, not only the signs of what maybe don’t think is abuse, which really is and I think that was a big part of my problems. I didn’t, I didn’t realize that things were abusive, and I’m not talking physical abuse is definitely emotional and

psychological.

Yeah. Is that the other? That’s correct. That wouldn’t be right.

That’s the other because the word I wanted to say was not that was like something to do with like mind ology. I don’t know where I’m going with that one.

But that was really important is to see that oh, this is not a normal relationship problem. This is actually a one sided problem, because I didn’t have control over it. And I do want to see the signs going back to when I first saw the signs after my aha moment was when I would wake up in the morning and think, don’t do anything wrong today, like at least get to work without making a mistake, because that was probably very likely I was gonna say something wrong or do something wrong that was then gonna Domino into the rest of the day of bad behavior.

Tara Jean O’Brien 8:26
So you mean him? You’re saying don’t make him mad. Don’t make a mistake a front of him that would set him

Tina Louise Eckert 8:32
Yeah, so like, my goal was like somehow to get up, get ready, and get to work before doing something wrong. And that’s then that’s when I was like, well, that’s not that’s something that I know that’s not healthy. But I still couldn’t see what I thought was abuse. I didn’t. I couldn’t see it. I still thought it was just problems like relationship problems. And then another thing that was another sign, it’s like sometimes your body will react before Your mind understands what’s happening. So I physically sometimes wouldn’t leave the bathroom like I would go to the bathroom and then I would just like wash my hands because I’m you know, a normal human. But then I would sit on the floor not like a normal human and just like sit for a while and it wasn’t thinking about it like I just would sit there and is probably because I felt safe like I was in the bathroom. It’s like a confined area I don’t felt safe because we were living together so shared, you know, areas and the same thing of coming home. I sit in my car before going upstairs because I didn’t know what I was walking into. So these are all signs that my body knew before my mind in my heart did right and then when I did see it, and then definitely with the help of a therapist is definitely helped me divide my feelings and really understand it more than I took action.

Tara Jean O’Brien 9:50
Right? Yeah. Do you want to talk about anything specific that maybe like any instances or anything that’s like, not too traumatic, but that maybe was like oh, this is this is this is not Not just a problem we have to work through. But this is a behavior that’s threatening or not healthy to me.

Tina Louise Eckert 10:05
Yeah. I think, because there’s two parts of that it was when I would see something and hear it. I was physically present for something. And then when I would bring it up, he would say, No, that’s not what happened. And I would say, No, I physically was there. Like, I saw it. Like I heard it. Like, don’t tell me, that is not true. And he’s like, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. But that’s not how it happened. It got on my brain would just be so confused. Like, I never second guess myself. But I didn’t understand. Like, it was almost like he was coming at me with another language. Like, what? Because it didn’t make sense to me. You know, I don’t know what’s going on with you is a constant phrase. When you hear that constantly what’s going on with you? Like I don’t know what your problem is. Or maybe you should tell your therapist that that was probably the most hurtful because I was going on does make me cry. I was going and I was just nothing wrong with therapy. I think everybody Want to benefit with therapy? And he would throw it against like he would throw it in my face or like he would say my therapist name like, well, you need to ask her this like, and that’s crossing a line I think it’s not abusive in itself like to belittle me and belittle my process and that was to those that was a bad thing. Yeah,

Tara Jean O’Brien 11:24
yeah, I know. It’s hard so thank you for sharing all this. It’s a long process. It was hard because I’ve been your friend for so long and I’ve been I’ve known you through your entire relationship with Him. And there were few instances where I remember going Holy shit, like this guy’s got some things wrong and for him like some of the things that he outwardly cuz he hit a lot for me too, because we were very close as well.

Tina Louise Eckert 11:48
Yeah, maybe you guys had a friendship.

Tara Jean O’Brien 11:51
You know, but there were a couple times where he not even he could hide certain things like he had a real alcohol problem. And that happened a at my wedding and be At one of your birthday parties that was just in front of everybody, just like devolving into this person who I was like, Who the hell is this? Yeah. And being very like, would speak to you in ways that I’m like, What? Like, I know you very well and like we just everybody who’s going to listen to this podcast knows you. You don’t you don’t take any bullshit, but yet you’re letting this person speak to you like you’re his servant or a child and I’m just like, holy shit. It’s hard. It was hard to witness and also for me as a friend, which we’ll get into, I didn’t know what am I supposed to do? Because if I would have confronted you about it, you would have been mad at me and said, like, you know, like, do you think I’m stupid? Or do you think that I don’t see what’s going on? I think it’s just there’s a lot of it’s a lot of steps that it’s hard to muddle through.

Tina Louise Eckert 12:43
And I understand that and I’ve been thinking about how to express this. But like I said before, was if before I saw it, if you were to say, I didn’t like how he was talking to you or whatever, I would have looked at it as well. This is a relationship and I’m committed to the person that’s working Through this because to me, it was something we worked through. Maybe he’s going through something right now. And that’s not an excuse, but like we can work on this maybe goes see help with each other, you know, but when I realized that it’s not something I can fix, then the words made sense to me. Right? You know, because there’s a point you want to fix things you want, you know,

Tara Jean O’Brien 13:18
this person you love. Yeah, totally understandable.

Tina Louise Eckert 13:20
Yeah. But it doesn’t matter how much you love somebody. If it’s not going to work, if it’s not healthy for you have to get out. And that became a safety thing for me. And I it’s not that I thought he was going to hit me or anything. But the reason I was sit in my car is because I didn’t know what I was walking into. And that is something that nobody should ever feel like your home and your loved one should be your safe place. And my home wasn’t safe for me anymore because I didn’t know what I was walking into. Right. You know, and so, and when we’ve talked about abuse, I mean, people automatically go to physical. Yeah, you know, but it’s, I think the psychological abuse and emotional abuse is harder. Yeah. Another thing is another sign of For me was he was very contradictory. So I had it, you know if he texted me or called me if I was at work, and it couldn’t answer, you know, I’m at work. Yeah. And I work on fashion and like, I work in warehouses, maybe I don’t get reception. But then sometimes you get mad, you know, like, Well, I was worried. I’m like, Well, you know, you know, I was at work, you know, and takes you right after, but you get mad and then I he would just disappear for a day.

Tara Jean O’Brien 14:22
Like, like so control and women’s control issue wouldn’t answer his

Tina Louise Eckert 14:25
phone, when they have to text have no idea who he is like he’s not.

Tara Jean O’Brien 14:28
So he’d punish you for not responding to him when he wanted you to respond to him. Yes. That’s scary. Yeah. And the only reason I could relate a lot to like when you finally reached out to me and told like when right after the accident, when I was like, Oh, this is it’s funny because before the accident, right around that time, you would start to say little things that you would never said before, about like, not like you were going to leave him but just like things you were upset with him about that you would never reveal to me before I remember going something’s brewing and then the accident, the things you were telling me about being like not wanting to go home. That was my whole childhood like my mom was very emotionally abusive to me and she had a whole host of other things, but to watch somebody else go through it and knowing what that feels like and knowing that it was my mom right and like this is your your partner Yeah. And I was a teenager so it’s totally different like I am I was trapped right? But you just kind of adapt and figure figure out how to get out of it but it’s hard when and I think what we’re gonna get down to we’re gonna bring Susie into this for both of these people. And now that’s like, talk bad about my mom now like she’s a different person we speak now like it’s still hard and it’s still we’re not like buddies.

Tina Louise Eckert 15:37
But you realize that you’re being the she’s a narcissist and like certain ways and that she would Gaslight me and that’s just, that’s what like, as I got older and was able to identify it, it’s like there’s something about being able to identify it that’s like, you can kind of take control the power back to be okay, this isn’t something I did, but it’s a result of the person’s behavior towards me. Yeah, and also You being a little say a child,

you but that you couldn’t leave, you did have to adapt in a way because you had to survive. So you built survival skills to get through that. And I feel like that’s what I was doing. I had survival skills, right until I had no more. Yeah. And then that’s when I will get to it how I planned my escape. Hey, friends, it’s me, Tina Louise. And I bet by

COMMERCIAL 16:26
the sound of my voice, you can tell that I’m totally wearing a tiara. Let me try a great for every occasion, whether you think so or not. I mean, I wear one when I clean my house to story, and when I have to have an uncomfortable conversation with a friend or family member. I mean, they’re a great way to make you feel special, because literally no one else will meet tiaras. It’s how you can identify the daddy issues and me.

Tina Louise Eckert 16:49
Susie, for our listeners, can you define what a narcissist is and what gaslighting is because for us, it’s like normal verbiage now,

Tara Jean O’Brien 16:58
I think people throw those terms around Why and I think most people don’t like you like oh that guy’s such a narcissist which in some cases like he’s author is hot

Dr. Suzie Chen 17:10
absolutely so a narcissist I mean, any of the these terms that we’re using or that you’re using a lot of it has become popular language part of our popular vernacular but you know when it becomes problematic is when it starts to really impact other people or hurt other people. Some people can be really into themselves but if they’re not really hurting other people or themselves too much, not really a big deal when it really matters is you know, when it starts to really impact where other people down where other people around them down, also wearing themselves down for potentially. So somebody who’s a narcissist is someone who’s got an inflated sense of self self importance. They can be self centered, arrogant, lacking empathy and consideration towards others. have little or no respect for their boundaries of other people. And ultimately, they really want to look good. I’m not really going to get technical here as far as the GSM is concerned for me it’s that’s those are kind of typical traits of Narcissus

Tina Louise Eckert 18:27
that what was that last one? You said that they don’t like to look bad.

Dr. Suzie Chen 18:29
That’s that’s a they really a driving factors they that do not want to look good towards other people like that say right look bad towards other people correct. So I mean, you know for relationships let’s say they’re getting started in a relationship. I mean they’re fun, they’re interesting, they’re passionate, they’re really charismatic and so you know if there’s somebody that they really want to be with, they will spend and exert a lot of energy You know, praising them very loving gestures.

Tara Jean O’Brien 19:05
I feel like we’re just doing a checklist I do X was interesting.

Dr. Suzie Chen 19:09
Yeah, lots of compliments, that kind of thing until they lure you in. And then once they feel like they’ve comfortably got you in their hooks, then they kind of, you know, turn the light switch. Yeah. And then it becomes kind of cold and critical. Yeah.

Tina Louise Eckert 19:25
And then, I know I touched upon what gaslighting is, but you want to tell our listeners what gaslighting is.

Dr. Suzie Chen 19:32
Okay, well, gaslighting, it’s actually probably a term that’s newer, but the concept has been around for quite some time. Now. It actually didn’t see gyptians right? Absolutely.

Tara Jean O’Brien 19:44
saying like, like King Tut was like, Oh, you guys can’t do that. You guys are so bad at that.

I’m gonna stop.

Dr. Suzie Chen 19:53
I’m sure it’s been around for a long time.

But for gaslighting really, that term came from there was a play in 1938 called gas light in which the husband tried to drive his wife crazy by turning out the gas lights, turning them down a little bit making them dimmer and every single time she asked, Are those lights dimmer? He would say, No.

Tina Louise Eckert 20:21
Yeah, I know this. I saw this. Really? It’s so interesting. That’s fascinating.

You can watch a Broadway

movie You’re so highbrow like you go see on YouTube, you’re

like it’s just on Broadway.

Dr. Suzie Chen 20:34
Play. Yeah, it was a play originally and then they turned it into a TV show.

Tina Louise Eckert 20:37
Now translate that into like today’s terms. It’s like what I said when you were to do a Broadway style.

Dr. Suzie Chen 20:45
I wasn’t even there. yet. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I was there. I was there copper. I saw the whole thing.

Tina Louise Eckert 20:54
But it is it’s a it’s like, as I said, like I would say I saw something and and you would say you didn’t know you didn’t.

Dr. Suzie Chen 21:02
Right? So absolutely. So when it’s when the perpetrator manipulates the other person into doubting themselves or questioning their own experiences, feelings, instincts, their own sanity and which sounds like a lot like what you described earlier.

Tara Jean O’Brien 21:18
Yeah. Why do they like why do you think that’s a trait? Like what is that? What is the power behind that?

Dr. Suzie Chen 21:23
It’s a form of manipulation. So and control so once somebody is worn down in a relationship where you’re feeling, you know, you’re constantly doubting yourself, your self esteem isn’t that great. You’re kind of a little bit more isolated from your friends. You know, it’s just another way to control and manipulate you

Tina Louise Eckert 21:45
how I look at it. So yeah, maybe you were someone down so much like kneading dough, you know, and I get so pliable that all of a sudden you can start molding your dough however you want, like he can start molding me how I want because I’m so broken down have a sudden he can now make me how he wants me to be

Dr. Suzie Chen 22:02
and right and somebody who tends to, or can fall, anybody can fall into that type of relationship, right. But once you’re in there, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of, you know, loyalty towards your partner or family members. You want to defend them. And you’re also thinking, Oh, it must be my fault. So you’re constantly walking on eggshells, and you’re just going to be trying to make everybody else happy,

Tina Louise Eckert 22:30
which you won’t do you won’t be successful at it something I saw, like the actual thing. I mean, I verbally would say that exact words, I felt like I was walking on eggshells. Like I said, away, I’d wake up and like not want to make a mistake with him. I ultimately was mean, if I didn’t, he’d find a mistake. I think that’s when and I know we’re just focused on just narcissistic behaviors. And there’s other signs of abuse.

Tara Jean O’Brien 22:54
This is all spectrum right? And like we’ve all had a bad day and we maybe take it out on our partner and things like that. How do you know the difference? It’s between being in you’re in an abusive relationship versus just an unhappy relationship.

Dr. Suzie Chen 23:05
A lot of it stems from how you might feel like you relate to your partner or friend, whoever it is. If you’re feeling constantly, like you’re walking on eggshells with them if you’re feeling anxious or fearful, speaking up about your own feelings or experiences and you’re doubting yourself you’re feeling kind of confused or crazy, you’re questioning Am I too sensitive, maybe always apologizing to your partner or always trying to make a happy, I felt like that was a way I thought I can get out of something quicker

Tina Louise Eckert 23:39
if I just took this apologize, like I understand. And I would apologize to just hopefully to stop the subject from moving forward.

Dr. Suzie Chen 23:47
Or sometimes you might be constantly making excuses to others about your partner’s behaviors. You might withhold information about what your partner is doing, or your friends or family members or Doing to avoid any sort of like explaining their behaviors or avoiding embarrassment that you’re in that type of relationship. But if you aren’t happy, I mean, generally it could be the relationship is okay you’re not necessarily feeling anxious or walking on eggshells or fearful of your partner it could just be sort of like a you know you’ve got to improve your communication a little bit your your partner your friend, they’re not belittling or invalidate your feelings anyway they’re generally supportive and consistently caring in some sort of capacity so

Tina Louise Eckert 24:37
like the foundations

Dr. Suzie Chen 24:38
Yeah, there’s a consistent positive regard and relationship

Tara Jean O’Brien 24:43
right but then you like you get to know somebody and they might be into tech now and then you’re like

Dr. Suzie Chen 24:50
right maybe your value systems just don’t match up your

Unknown Speaker 24:55
Thank you, Dr. Susie.

Tara Jean O’Brien 24:58
What up like what Okay, say you say bacteria and abusive really say say you’re like this is an unhappy this seems like one step further like one of the best steps like, what do

Dr. Suzie Chen 25:06
you what do you do? How do you start? Yeah, I mean, if you have some friends or family members who you trust who are not judgmental, you can certainly begin by talking to them about it. It might be really hard because sometimes people might share things with you that you don’t want to hear, you know, kind of just sit with that because a lot of them the people who really do care about will notice these things happening. They may not say something if they’re not comfortable, but you know, just start by having that conversation with them. later on. I’ll be giving you some resources, you can go online and read about, you know what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship or if you’re with a narcissist or gaslighting, you can certainly look all those things up and start to educate yourself. Be aware of the clues that you’re in that kind of relationship or if somebody is doing that to you on that.

Tina Louise Eckert 26:00
When, you know sharing with somebody, there’s things that you can share that you don’t realize is bad, or you know or hurtful because you’re used to it so when you hear someone’s reaction to something that you think is normal commonplace and you hear the reaction that’s really helpful because all of a sudden it makes you feel not so alone in even thinking that maybe that was unhealthy when you say like steps that we can take his talk, you know, first step is a educating yourself like maybe I’ll start looking things up. I mean, obviously, if you know if you’re getting physically abused, that’s a little more would you Yeah, we’ll get into that but when you know looking things up, but then when you start talking to somebody you trust and that could be a therapist, or it could be a friend, you know, mentor, mentor, like just somebody that you can when you see in here their reaction or just the look on their face. It it mean, yeah, you get a little shame to you know, how did I let this happen? I’m not a dumb person, but you’re not dumb because you gone. That’s it. You know, I think this is a very, you know, carotids conception, but the talking about it is that was probably eye opening for me just to hear someone be like, Oh, that’s not good.

Dr. Suzie Chen 27:13
Yeah. And it might start to validate some of those doubts that those instinctual feelings that you had that maybe this isn’t good, right but I’m not sure because, hey, my partner is just complimented me the other day and maybe this is I’m okay this maybe this relationship is okay.

Tara Jean O’Brien 27:31
Or maybe he just had a bad day and he’s going through a lot, you know, like you do make the excuses. I remember the story Tina, Louise told me is the day after her car accident, which she By the way, she had spinal surgery like this was a major car accident. So the next day I go to see her, and she’s like, Oh, we got in a fight and he made me sleep on the couch last night.

Dr. Suzie Chen 27:51
I remember that.

Tara Jean O’Brien 27:53
And I think my reaction was like, first of all rage and second of all, like I cannot believe you on the couch. I can’t believe you just

Unknown Speaker 28:01
can’t believe you did

Tina Louise Eckert 28:02
it. Yeah, I know. I could say I can’t say anything. Yeah, I mean,

Tara Jean O’Brien 28:08
but I think that might have been a wake up call for you because I was like, You were just like yeah, and if we got in a fight or whatever you want to meet your car’s totaled? Yeah, that was crazy. Yeah.

Dr. Suzie Chen 28:17
And I remember even telling you you might have to go seek professional help.

Tara Jean O’Brien 28:22
Oh, yeah, cuz Susie because Susie what you were what you were here when like this all happened to Yeah, what was your reaction when that car accident happened?

Dr. Suzie Chen 28:28
I mean, we’re very similar. I remember

Tina Louise Eckert 28:32
where I was all my traumas today. My dental trauma, my relationship traumas and then my

Tara Jean O’Brien 28:39
feeling you’re gonna get new teeth. You’ve had your spine read.

Dr. Suzie Chen 28:46
I don’t know if everybody knows this. It’s the hot and you just ran marathons. Exactly. They know

Tina Louise Eckert 28:52
what go on anyways, but

Tara Jean O’Brien 28:53
what was your reaction?

Dr. Suzie Chen 28:54
I think I had similar I had pretty similar reactions to you. That’s great.

Tara Jean O’Brien 29:02
Okay, so here’s what’s what was coming in from my perspective and I think a lot of people will be here you see a friend or a family member in an abusive relationship whether it’s emotional or physical, what can you do? What’s the safest healthy what’s anything you can do without like losing that relationship with your friend or your family member meaning

Tina Louise Eckert 29:19
to help them like to you know, confront them about this or to talk to them about this? Like what’s the what is the easiest way to have like intervention? Yeah,

Dr. Suzie Chen 29:25
I think there’s it’s not one way for every person but certainly starting to have a conversation about it, planting a seed, encouraging them to seek professional help talking to a therapist or they’ve got

Tina Louise Eckert 29:40
the other thing is I think a good way of asking that help somebody because it it’s a non judgmental person. Sometimes it’s hard to talk to a friend like even though you have best if I wanted to talk to a family member or something. Maybe they won’t want to confide in me cuz they’re embarrassed or whatever think it does go to a third party. So maybe pushing them towards a therapist.

Dr. Suzie Chen 29:58
Yeah. Or a Education. I mean, whether it’s throwing them some pamphlets or directing them to websites.

Tara Jean O’Brien 30:05
What if I send somebody a dozen roses with a note that says I think you need help?

Dr. Suzie Chen 30:10
That is an option.

Tara Jean O’Brien 30:13
Just want to hear it. Dr. Susie says that’s fine. Sorry. Some roses out tonight

Tina Louise Eckert 30:20
is that tarji and Jim, who we’ve had on the podcast, both have just really given me a book, like a cell phone, but they’re good. Those are good strategy. Again, I was like, first of all,

Tara Jean O’Brien 30:34
Amazon has a great two day shipping.

Dr. Suzie Chen 30:37
It was a used book.

Tara Jean O’Brien 30:41
Because they don’t make that one. I don’t think they print that.

Tina Louise Eckert 30:43
Oh, the Egyptians. It’s like

Unknown Speaker 30:49
Oh, I love pictures.

Unknown Speaker 30:51
Then was I right?

Tina Louise Eckert 30:56
This is getting deep. So we’re talking about so steps going on.

Dr. Suzie Chen 31:00
But I do want to say getting out of an abusive relationship is really hard. Because once somebody is so worn down, you know, they doubt themselves are isolated. You know, they’re feeling fearing retaliation potentially, or embarrassment, like, how did I possibly get into this? I mean, like I mentioned earlier, anybody can get into this. It’s really hard to come out. And like you’ve mentioned before that loss of that emotional part of that relationship can be actually harder than managing the abuse itself.

Tina Louise Eckert 31:34
Yeah. When I decided to get out, I was urged by my therapist to build an army. So I immediately told you guys I told my core group of friends, he held me accountable, be it, saying it out loud, made it real, like I wasn’t just thinking it and I wasn’t just plotting it in my head. But now, I have friends who support me and I was not surprised of how supportive everybody really was. too, with my decision, which I’m not surprised,

Unknown Speaker 32:04
like, no one was surprised like, Oh, no,

Tara Jean O’Brien 32:06
I remember you are You said your feelings were really hurt that like we were all just like got it. Let’s go. Yeah, no one was surprised.

Tina Louise Eckert 32:12
I didn’t know it was so obvious. And I felt like I wasn’t like I was like, I wasn’t in on the joke kind of feeling, you know, like I didn’t see it. And then when I told family members that I didn’t get the response, I really needed as support wise so I had to rely on my friends and why it was important for me to build an army because I didn’t know what the retaliation was going to be like. And getting out wasn’t as hard as it was of staying out. Because that’s especially when you have someone who’s you know, they’ll use as many tactics as they can to try to get you back and that’s when I really needed my friends and that was the most helpful way for me to get out. I think just telling people doing things on your own secretive, Al everything is safe. If you’re if me if it’s truly is an abusive relationship, like you need to tell people

Dr. Suzie Chen 33:01
Is there anything that you feel like your friends could have done better to? Or differently? To give you a little bit of a heads up earlier?

Tara Jean O’Brien 33:12
That’s a great question coming from a doctor. I mean,

Tina Louise Eckert 33:18
I’m Susie coming from Dr. Susie Chen. I know, I met her first.

Tara Jean O’Brien 33:24
Take all responsibility. I offended her first.

Tina Louise Eckert 33:28
No, because I don’t know if I would have been able to hear it. And I think that’s the problem. I think the only thing that could have been different is if, let’s say, if, when x would like, raise his voice in front of people, if someone maybe when he wasn’t raising his voice when things were good, maybe if that if, you know, I’ll just use you to torture because you’re saying he would say, you know, hey, like, everything’s great, right? And you’d be like, you know what, remember when he raised his voice at you like that, like, I don’t like seeing that. Maybe I would have been able to hear it that way. You know, when you say it in the moment, like he shouldn’t be treating you like that and be like, okay, you know, I like it’s so much to deal with, like, I can’t even deal with you now critiquing my relationship, you know, or you have someone else critiquing me. But I think if you would have brought it up when at a different time, maybe we could have had more of a conversation about it. It’s not your responsibility. I mean, obviously it’s not

Tara Jean O’Brien 34:13
right. Right. And it is it is hard, because I think there’s times I think, I would think that I said something that would lead you to that. I just didn’t feel comfortable saying it directly. Or me going, Oh, she doesn’t want to hear this. So I don’t feel like I can say it. So do you think most of the reactions into things like tea leaves the saying is common? Like that’s a normal? Like, this is what most people go through?

Dr. Suzie Chen 34:35
Yes, I think it’s very common.

Tina Louise Eckert 34:37
I’m common.

Dr. Suzie Chen 34:41
Only in that aspect.

Unknown Speaker 34:42
There you go. There you go.

Tina Louise Eckert 34:44
Yeah, yeah. So other than that, I don’t I don’t know. I mean, like if someone had an intervention, just like a we talked about intervention. And when you say it, well, I don’t know if I wanted to hear that. I don’t know if that’s really true. If it came if it wasn’t, I think what was sensitive and this is just me. Me, if I didn’t want to be critiqued, I’m making you know that somehow my fault or like, why would you let him talk to you like that as if it was coming out of a place of love and concern? And like, just like, you know, and also like an Oreo method, you know, have you say something, you know, positive and then constructive and then positive, like, maybe I could have heard it. For me personally. I don’t know. Because I think at the time, I was just, I was trying just to get through it.

Tara Jean O’Brien 35:25
So tell us about a point like, you know, once you’re out for people, especially who like there’s a charming person who doesn’t want you to leave how, what are strategies that maybe you can like, help yourself stay out? Because, you know, ultimately, anybody in their heart knows what you just left?

Tina Louise Eckert 35:38
That’s not gonna change when you go back. I need some safeguards safeguard.

Unknown Speaker 35:42
Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Suzie Chen 35:42
Yeah, I mean, it is hard, but you know, part of it is just building back up your self esteem. Learning how to be assertive and setting those boundaries, building a life outside of your relationship or your life with that individual. When you leave. You leave. You don’t threaten leaving you just leave for good. There was one thing that I actually read or heard about it, and I really love this. It’s the only way to win is not to play. Or you play along and keep your mouth shut until you can actually get out.

Tina Louise Eckert 36:17
Yeah, that those both makes sense. I totally understand that. being persistent, I see Oh, I don’t want to say mistakes. It was a lot of mistakes I made. When I finally got out, I never went back not not a mistake. And I really want to call mistakes. I think there’s things I definitely could have proved, I think isolated way too much. But that was my, my, you know, my self defense mechanism that’s finally had control to protect myself. And it kind of went to the other side of the spectrum, in retrospect, not the healthiest. But also, the thing about building an army is when you get out is I think it’s really important that you that you take care of your friend or your family member by checking in I think that was, you know, the most important is just checking in. Maybe I didn’t have the most positive things to say or nothing to say. But just You know, just checking in on a person or maybe gaming out of the house once in a while. Yeah,

Tara Jean O’Brien 37:04
you know, even though you’re like, I’m not leaving. Okay. Yeah. I’m literally not leaving,

Tina Louise Eckert 37:10
because I finally had some more safe like I had safe and I wasn’t going there was Yeah, yeah.

Tara Jean O’Brien 37:14
And again, I want to remind everybody because what we’re talking about is that we physically should we moved her out of her place that she shared with backs, and moved her into a whole new apartment and we did that like over the course of a weekend. And this is not physical abuse, like we’re talking about emotional trauma, emotional abuse. And so Susie, what do you say to anybody that’s like, Oh, it’s just he you know, whatever he tells you you’re ugly or he tells you you’re stupid versus like hating you like you think there’s Did you think there’s like a real difference between physical abuse emotional abuse or is it all equally as is traumatic? It is all equally as atrocious.

Dr. Suzie Chen 37:51
To me when it comes to physical abuse, there are will give out information later but the National Domestic Violence hotline, they have a number that you can call and it’s confidential. They’ll help you, they’ll direct you and help you even if you feel like you’re being monitored, somehow your computer or your phone, they will help you to get around that to get to a safe place. And if you have kids, yeah, they can also help out with that, too.

Tina Louise Eckert 38:21
Yeah, you said something to me. And I think it’s so interesting.

So, it’s so horrible and interesting. But one fact that in fact,

Unknown Speaker 38:31
that’s a good one.

Tina Louise Eckert 38:33
When, let’s say I’m married, and my spouse is being verbally abusive to me, and my kids are present during that. He said, that’s a sign of child abuse as well. Like if he’s physically abusive to me in front of my children. That that goes under child abuse. I’m

Dr. Suzie Chen 38:49
just gonna say children are witnessing domestic violence. I told.

Tina Louise Eckert 38:55
We both were like,

Tara Jean O’Brien 38:56
I was like, Oh, yes. It’s just so interesting that that’s how it’s defined now. Because I think We were all like, at least I mean, I don’t know, maybe we’re just totally broken people, but like, my parents got divorced, like they fought in front of us. And I, you know, I

Tina Louise Eckert 39:06
know I saw horrible things

Tara Jean O’Brien 39:08
like I saw horrible. But that’s considered child abuse.

Dr. Suzie Chen 39:11
Well, the verbal part of it. I mean, there are some gray areas you can always call Child Protective Services or Department of Family and Child Services, just to kind of see if it’s a reportable incident or incidents, but generally, depending on the severity of the verbal threats, you know, it may or may not be considered as that but definitely if they are witnessing physical violence, right,

Tina Louise Eckert 39:36
and I think it’s something else, like I think, especially for like, let’s say just be abused women, you know, especially if you’re in a relationship with kids. Definitely hard to it’s a little bit harder to get out because you have shared assets and things like that. I remember I helped I helped a girlfriend of mine and they had a daughter together. The way I was able to help her decide to leave that relationship is I convinced her to help her daughter like that. What She wouldn’t help herself. She would just take things in private with from him. But when I said like, you can’t let your daughter do this because she’s gonna continue the pattern like I just kind of sold it that way. She found the strength and it happened within a week like we got a restraining order like and then now she’s amazing, you know?

Tara Jean O’Brien 40:17
I mean, I think an important message to get out there too. And I’m sure you would agree with me, Dr. Susie’s? I think a lot of people listening to like me, they don’t have a best friend. Maybe they don’t have a family member that they trust. I don’t think anybody is alone, honestly. Like truly truly. So this domestic abuse hotline, can you just call just talk to somebody is that not just to come up with a game plan to do the like dramatic like we’re going to get out? Is that just something you can do and call?

Dr. Suzie Chen 40:42
Absolutely. You can give them a call. You don’t have to do anything unless you’re ready. But once you’re ready, they will tell you how to safely get out of your situation they’ve got they’re not going to tell you their address. They don’t advertise their address, but they will help you create safety plan to get out of there. When you are ready.

Tara Jean O’Brien 41:02
It is this a national program likes people in cities from all over the country.

Dr. Suzie Chen 41:05
It is a national hotline, Domestic Violence Hotline or they are for intimate partner violence, but they are they also have local chapters. And you want to give out that number, right? Absolutely. So the National Domestic Violence Hotline, or their website is the hotline.org. And their phone number is 1-800-799-7233 or one 800 799. Safe as AFV. They’re available 24, seven 365 days a year. If you’re concerned about talking, they also have online chat available. That’s good.

Tina Louise Eckert 41:44
And it’s also something give out more information is that when you said we’re not alone, there’s so many forums that was something I did too. Yeah, like I just you isolated, but I went on forums and you just start reading other people and other people would comment, you know, I was more of a voice I think

Unknown Speaker 42:00
boy, yeah, I was so proud of myself.

Unknown Speaker 42:03
I so proud.

Tina Louise Eckert 42:05
I saw the word and like, rooted sure this is what I want to say. And also there’s a movie about that. So like, that’s how I knew the word. Yeah.

But I was a lawyer in these chat rooms, because I wanted, like, I just made me feel a little more validated. And I know that sounds so to me sounds so weird to say it because I am a very strong person for my friends. I’m very independent. Like for me to see how weak I was and not even aware of it is startling to me. You know,

Dr. Suzie Chen 42:34
I think that’s probably one of the hardest blows, right? Yeah, absolutely. And it is so common is so common that they have a national hotline for this. They have 12 step programs for this as well that you can attend. There’s one called the codependence anonymous, that you can certainly go and find a supportive network there as well.

Tara Jean O’Brien 42:53
I actually had somebody friend of mine who was at my wedding, like a couple days afterwards sent me a website and they just said I think you’re you might be interested in this and it was like the daughters of narcissistic mothers and I remember going because at this time I did not think my that’s not what I thought my mom was like I didn’t take it took me like to my mid 30s to be like, Ah, so they sent this to me and I’m like, that’s so weird that doesn’t make any sense like yeah my mom’s crazy she’s mean she’s whatever and I started reading it it was literally like a check like a little box where I was like, yep, that that that and it does it makes you feel dominant makes you feel like you internalize it in certain ways.

Dr. Suzie Chen 43:27
Well, you don’t realize it because that’s how you grew up. You didn’t know that there was any other way he didn’t know that things could be better or different.

Tara Jean O’Brien 43:36
Another program that will set back on FX FX, another podcast funfact said Love it. Love it. Another we’re going to do a whole other episode on this topic. I don’t know if you know this organization, Susie, but it’s called impact personal safety. A very good friend of mine works with that at the chapter in Denver. I’ve taken it here in Los Angeles and it’s it’s a recovery program. It’s a full physical contact fight. And it’s for a lot of women who’ve been Domestic violence situations who’ve been raped to have been physically abused. And it’s all about like regaining your self esteem and your power. And I think you will give out more information on that on that podcast. But this is this very much ties into this topic of what happens when you leave you have to rebuild yourself and and there’s no shame in reaching out for help. What was the name of that again,

Tina Louise Eckert 44:19
impact personal safety for me, it was helpful, like I can’t cannot remember any forum that was ever on. I went through my history. I’m like, I don’t know where that went. But what I did revisit is I have had this book for a long time. And when I was planning my escape for some reason, I was drawn back to this book that I’ve had for there. I’ve had it rented out, re bought it, but it’s called a one is enough enough. It’s by Laurie Asner and Mitch Meyerson, and the byline is what to do if you never feel satisfied, but it’s when is enough enough in each chapter hits on something different and it’s from a psychologist point of view and to give very personal examples, but what health Me, was rereading it with new eyes. everything made sense because they’re all kind of the chapters are all something with any kind of abuse, you know, it kind of hits on every aspect that you can think of. And that helped me because I needed validation. Yeah, I that’s the number one thing I needed. And I was getting it from my therapist, but then I kind of felt it was one sided, you know, because they’re also I doubt how I was portraying it like was I just making myself sound like the victim? Right, you know, but this was what gave me that confidence in myself that I wasn’t making all this up and not to be embarrassed about it.

Tara Jean O’Brien 45:39
You have plenty of other things to be embarrassed about. Oh my teeth.

Susie, do you have any final thoughts for us

Dr. Suzie Chen 45:47
or the audience? You know, I had mentioned the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you want to read more about it to you may go on to the American Psychological Association website apa.org or psychology God today.com and you can read about any of the topics that were discussed today, lots of different articles, if there are concerns about child safety or anything like that I had mentioned earlier also, you may call or look on the website for the Department of Children and Family Services or adult protective services for older adults or dependent adults. So if there are concerns about abuse or violence and because you gotta remember like,

Tina Louise Eckert 46:28
I really hope this episode comes across if we’re really trying to hit all relationships, not just, you know, a single or a man Yeah, not just romantic, but like, you know, it could be disabled people elder abuse, I mean, there’s, there’s just it just, it all kind of goes underneath the same umbrella of being a victim. Yeah,

Dr. Suzie Chen 46:48
and that there is no shame in being in that situation. The best thing you can do for yourself is to, you know, find these resources, get hooked up, get educated and find a way to get out and and hold your ground. Once you’re once you’re out,

Tina Louise Eckert 47:01
I think Susie enough. I think Dr. Susie just doctor

Unknown Speaker 47:05
says I’m sorry. But honestly,

Tina Louise Eckert 47:08
it’s it’s, it’s such a pleasure to have you on and just added so much information and you definitely make the rest of our friends sound really stupid.

Tara Jean O’Brien 47:18
Absolutely, essentially we’re all failures and we’re so glad you’re

Tina Louise Eckert 47:22
here. Oh, thanks for graduating college. You’re welcome

Tara Jean O’Brien 47:26
beyond college graduate school. Susie Thank you so much. It’s so good to have you here. So good to have you here. Tina Louise,

Tina Louise Eckert 47:32
you too. We should end it a little more of a positive note. Well, okay, the positive note is that one day you will have a full set of teeth dies true.

I got a cat because that’s right.

Tara Jean O’Brien 47:46
We forgot about this. So we’re talking about all the sadness that she went through. Okay,

Tina Louise Eckert 47:49
well, x didn’t want a cat. So the first thing when Susie it’s ironic that you’re here Well, that’s running forgot Susie’s The one who she posted host of a rescue cat And I was like oh my god this must beautiful cat I saw so right immediately charging jumps on the Facebook post like guess you need to get this cat and I ended up getting that cat it is silly as it sounds that cat and this will make me cry trying to deny note but here comes to tears got saved my life pretty much is like a really wanted it to be gave me unconditional love. But also who did she look like? Jodie Foster.

Unknown Speaker 48:28
This cat literally looks like Jodie Foster. We’re gonna tweet a picture of her. We can follow on Instagram is Jodie Foster the rag doll.

Tara Jean O’Brien 48:37
I really tried to turn this and I did I did a pretty good job turning that boat real hard. Oh god. All right. So we’re going to tweet out all the resources that Susie gave to me. Well,

Tina Louise Eckert 48:47
once again, Susie, Dr. Susie Chen.

thank you so much. This has been very informative and I

really hope that anybody who needed to hear this today, I really hope you know that there’s people out there who care about you and you have to care about your inner child to get yourself out. So if you guys you know if you want to hear more

uplifting episodes like this you should like and subscribe moreover just subscribe we have we are we’re trying to hit many different categories of what single people married people have to go through and you on this happened to be a bigger heavier one.

But we love every week we’ll have a new episode come out. You can find us on Instagram at single versus married podcast, a single vs married podcast

Tara Jean O’Brien 49:28
and on Twitter we are single v married. I didn’t want that a stinky, stinky Twitter.

Tina Louise Eckert 49:34
On Facebook. We are single versus married podcast and always

Tara Jean O’Brien 49:37
we want to thank Jonathan Buchanan prison mazing music such a guy

Tina Louise Eckert 49:41
he’s such a guy.

He’s a man. Yeah, he’s a great

guy. So once again, thank you Dr. Susie.

And thank you Tara Jean O’Brien.

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