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Red Alert: Warning Signs for Dangerous Partners

From the Show: HER
Summary: Watch for these red flags in potentially dangerous relationships.
Air Date: 3/13/17
Duration: 29:47
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Judy Ho, PhD, ABPP, CFMHE
Dr. Judy HoDr. Judy Ho, PhD, ABPP, CFMHE, is a licensed and board certified (ABPP) Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, a board certified Forensic Mental Health Evaluator (CFMHE) and a tenured Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University. She has appeared as an expert psychologist and host on several news, crime, talk show and reality television programs, including recurring expert and panelist roles on Dr. Drew (HLN), It Takes a Killer (Investigation Discovery), various CNN, Fox, CBS, ABC, and NBC news shows, recurring expert on a variety of E!, Lifetime, Reelz, and History channel shows, as well as a co-host on Crime Watch Daily (UPN).

Dr. Judy Ho received her undergraduate degrees in Psychology (BA) and Business Administration (BS) from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed her masters (MS) and doctoral degrees (PhD) in Clinical Psychology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine/San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program.

She is a two-time recipient of the National Institute of Mental Health Services Research Award (2004 and 2008), and completed a three year National Institute of Mental Health sponsored postdoctoral fellowship in Child Psychiatry at the University of California Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric (Semel) Institute, and is an active member of the National Academy of Neuropsychology and the International Neuropsychiatric Society.

Dr. Judy Ho has been performing since she was a child in plays, choirs, dance teams, and orchestras, and has pursued this hobby over the years as an adult, acting in several TV shows, films, and musical theater shows. She continues to advocate for fine arts programs in lower-income communities to help children bolster their coping skills and to build their self-concept and self-efficacy. She hosts an active research lab where she provides needed mental health interventions to high need parent and youth communities and studies the effectiveness of these programs.

As a psychology professor, researcher and expert she has authored several Op Eds, book chapters and magazine columns with the goal of providing information to the general public about psychological issues in daily life and quality mental health care. And, she regularly contributes clinical research manuscripts to National and International psychological journals, and writes chapter contributions to Mental Health Textbooks and research articles illuminating issues regarding mental health treatment for high need populations.
Red Alert: Warning Signs for Dangerous Partners
It’s a good thing to want to see the best in people. 

But, are you ignoring the red flags of a potentially abusive relationship? Are you viewing your partner with rose-colored glasses?

Most women who find themselves in abusive relationships are repeating patterns from their own history or family history. They don’t heed the warning signs, because they assume the familiar behavior is a normal part of relationships.

Abusive partners can be very tricky. Some entice women by assuring how committed they are, which can be very appealing. If you’re really needy within a relationship, you’ll explain many things away so you can stay in that relationship.

Do you have a bad gut feeling? That’s one of the first warning signs. Don’t try to talk yourself out of the feeling. Don’t try to justify your partner’s bad behavior. If you’re embarrassed to tell your family and friends about it, that’s a good sign you have a red flag on your hands.

Early volatility is not a demonstration of passion. Neither is obsession. Expressing love too quickly or insisting on seeing you every day in the early stages of the relationship may seem sweet. It may also be a warning that your new lover is very possessive.

Over-protection may come across as chivalry. Are you feeling limited by the protection? Are you being kept away from your friends? Is he making comments about your appearance? Is he keeping your from activity? The change may be gradual.

The first six months of a relationship tend to be the courtship and honeymoon periods. Abusive individuals try to ensure your commitment before showing their true colors. Verbal abuse may creep in, chipping away at your self esteem.

Some women settle for an abusive relationship, because they feel they can’t find anyone better. The abusive partner makes her feel worse about herself. The abused woman invests so much in a relationship that it’s hard to cut losses. It’s time to view the relationship like an outsider. Would you want your best friend to stay in a relationship like this?

Learn to trust yourself again. Move slowly in your next relationship. How do you feel about this person during the courtship? Take some time to think between dates. Hone your intuition.

Extracting Yourself From an Abusive Relationship

First, make a list of safe people you can contact. Consider a domestic violence hotline, friends, family members and attorneys as you plan your exit. You may have to dart at a moment’s notice if things become physical. Keep these numbers handy.

Second, pack a bag in case you must flee. Include essentials, medications and daily necessities. Have all of your documentation handy. You don’t want to try to make that plan when you must exit.

It takes a few weeks to plan, but you must be prepared for crisis. Your personalized safety plan will help you. Be prepared to disconnect from this person and end telephone and email communication. Don’t let him try to talk you into coming back or staying.

Can Your Abuser Change?

In many cases, the abuser comes from a transgenerational cycle of abuse, oftentimes witnessed as a child. Abusive individuals may actually feel sorry but return to the behavior. They lack the problem solving skills to resolve stress in other ways.

The motivation for change must be greater than the impulse to lash out. It takes time to undo abusive patterns. It’s best for the abuser to avoid relationships while working on correcting the behavior. This gives less opportunity to return to bad habits. Relationships can resume when the former abuser is prepared for success.

Listen in as forensic expert Dr. Judy Ho joins Dr. Pamela Peeke to discuss warning signs for a potentially abusive relationship.

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