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Thu, Dec. 05

Dear Rhonda & Dr. Cheri: How is your heart today?

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My heart is crumbling into a million pieces about my family and me. I can hardly write to you. Here's what's happening:

• My husband and I have three girls and one boy. My husband is always angry. He is angry with my son the most. He yells and punishes him. They physically fight. I'll try talking with my husband and our son leaves. My husband and the girls don't say anything and watch TV like nothing happened. My son comes back and isolates in his room.

• Then he comes out pushing, yelling, and insulting our youngest. She runs to me sobbing. Now I found out her thighs are scarred by marks she made by rubbing an eraser on them.

• She then joins our family and watches TV, again like nothing happened!

• The only thing my husband says is I'm instigating problems that don't exist. He blames us for his anger and not understanding how stressful his job is and never acknowledges how stressful mine is.

• After all this chaos, I found out my husband's having an affair. He bold-face lies about it while looking at my proof. I'm tired of crying buckets. He yells at me when I cry.

My heart literally hurts. I want to die.


My heart hurts!

Dear Grateful,

Your heart is taking a beating and we are sorry. We want you to know that we empathize. You don't deserve this! Families are having a hard time in today's culture.

When a family, like yours, continues to live a façade of a good life, it makes the situation worse. When the truth is not addressed, the generational cyclical abuse and bullying will continue.

It's extremely hard to be the one with Courage (one of our 5 C's along with Civility, Confidence, Creativity and strong Carriage), but you need to stand up and don't stand by this dysfunctional life.

You're the victim of abuse, bullying, secrets, intimidation and damage to your heart.

We know this seems hard to digest, but while you don't have a choice to be a victim, you do have a choice about staying one and keeping your children victims, too. Before you do something permanently, as an answer to a temporary situation, think of how suicide will affect your family.

Losing a parent to suicide makes children more likely to die by suicide themselves and increases their risk of developing a range of major psychiatric disorders, according to a study led by Johns Hopkins Children's Center that is believed to be the largest one to date.

We understand your pain but the situation will be worsened if you commit suicide. You and all your family members need professional therapy-now! You may want clergy, too.

Create a reward for your family to help all to attend therapy. The most important reward will be stopping bullying, abuse, threats, self-harm, and suicide attempts.

Don't accept your husband's infidelity, ever! Your kids are likely to repeat this as an acceptable pattern of life.

Help change our culture. We need families with healthy and loving hearts to be leaders.

Ask yourself: How is my heart today? Is it full of deep sorrow and pain? Is it hurting so badly that you cannot function? Is it angry and then guilty? If the answers are yes, your heart needs to go to the hospital and heal. Do it for yourself and your family.


Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda's STOP BULLYING Foundation for Girls.

Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to

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