You’ve seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel Alone in Their Marriages keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show, Braxton Family Values. Now it’s your turn to sit in her chair…

Hi Dr. Sherry,

My younger brother is living with this girl he’s been dating for about 2 years now. Their relationship started as an affair after he chose her over the relationship he had previously been in with his then live-in girlfriend. Throughout their relationship, we have barely seen him or spoken to him. If we did occasionally see him, he had bruises on his face and body. Every time I questioned him about it, he said he hurt himself on the corner of a door or at work.

Since he has been with her, he stop being responsible for his own personal bills. He stopped paying for his car and credit cards which became a problem because the car is also in our mom’s name and now she has become responsible for making those payments. Recently he went to our mom, crying hysterically and pretty much confirmed our suspicion that something was wrong in his relationship.

He said that he has been paying his girlfriend’s bills and neglected his own. He also admitted that she becomes violent with him, will scratch his face and he even had a bite mark scar on his arm. He said one day she got so mad at him that she stabbed him on the chest. At the emergency room, he was questioned by the police who were suspicious that his girlfriend might be the one who assaulted him because she just dumped him there. He has a scar about 2-3 inches of where she stabbed him. One night he said she picked him up from work and started to accuse him of cheating. When he told her she wasn’t, she started to speed and was driving erratically so much so that he was scared for his life. He pulled the emergency brake on her car and she lost control and crashed it. He said she started to freak out and started to take out bottles upon bottles of hard liquor she’d hidden in the car. She admitted to be driving while drunk and said she was scared that she was going to jail for that.

He also said he found out that she was cheating on him again. Apparently the whole time they have been together she has been seeing other people. According to him, she has had 3 abortions even though they have been trying to get pregnant since last year. He left her when he found out she was cheating but went back after a couple of days. How can we get him to see the relationship he is in is abusive and unhealthy. They both have children from previous relationships and I’m concerned for my nephew’s safety around these two. We don’t know how to open my brother’s eyes to this dangerous relationship that he is in. What should we do?

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Concerned sister

Hey sis, 

Men can be victims of abuse just like women. Abuse of men by women is rarely discussed or reported but it definitely occurs. As emotionally painful as it may be, your little brother is a victim of abuse. As a big sister, it is natural response to want to save and rescue him from this abusive relationship. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do other than share your concerns with him and support him when and if he decides to save himself. If you press the issues with him, he is likely to shut down and withdraw. That is why it is important to be nonjudgmental when you express your concerns to him. Your brother must get to the point of wanting to save himself. There is a reason that he has remained in this abusive and dysfunctional relationship. If you are truly concerned about the safety of your nephew, you must report it to authorities. This should only be done if you have real evidence that he has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed. While your brother’s girlfriend may be abusing him, it does not necessarily mean that she is abusing your nephew. I highly recommend that you suggest that brother seeks individual therapy to process and understand issues. —Dr. Sherry

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