Although physical abuse is never acceptable, Sir and Tony say it's the emotional abuse that leaves the deepest scars. "The internal abuse, the demoralizing and demeaning of a woman, lasted longer than the physical abuse," Tony says. "The bruises heal. On the inside, you strip away their pride, force them to compromise their self-worth, their self-respect."

Tony says a grooming process tends to take place within abusive relationships. "In a sense, you gain their trust, but it's all lust and lies. The relationship is built on deception," he says. "They feel like you love them, and when you get close enough to them, you're able to critique them and criticize them in a way that they feel like, 'He loves me, so I need to change this.'"

The grooming, Sir and Tony say, stems from the man's own lack of self-worth. "In public I'm a very confident male; at home I'm very insecure," Sir says.

It's an issue Sir says he and his wife are still working through. "She still heals from the verbal abuse. I took almost every secret that she gave me to in an argument and threw it back at her as an insult," he says. "So it took awhile to kind of have communication."


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