Patriarch Spanks Wife & Gets Jail Time: Physical Violence is Always Unacceptable!

Patriarch Spanks Wife & Gets Jail Time: Physical Violence is Always Unacceptable! September 26, 2014

beltby Suzanne Titkemeyer

This Monday and Tuesday on the Dr. Phil show there was featured a man (Kirby ) that is a Fundamentalist Christian Patriarch type who’d spanked his wife Renee with a paddle for not calling him “Sir”. What he didn’t know was that his wife had videoed him disciplining her and eventually went to law enforcement with that video and others showing him physically disciplining their sons. He was arrested and now the wife has a no contact order against him.

Huffington Post had this to say:

Kirby made headlines — and spent 13 weeks in jail — after his wife of 26 years, Renee, videotaped him spanking her with a wooden spoon as discipline. Kirby claims Renee abandoned her religious commitment to be a “Proverbs 31 wife” by behaving disrespectfully, including spitting on him and swearing, so he felt he had no choice but to act as he did. Dr. Phil steps in with some stern words for this father of five.

First let me say that even as I watched this show I have zero regard for the counseling skills of Dr. He takes actions and makes remarks on his show that if he employed in a one on one counselling session that would get your counseling licensure pulled quicker than you can say ‘paranoid schizophrenic’. He’s schlocky, gimmicky and not that particularly smart. I’ve always thought his show was only a short step up from most of the other talk shows testing paternity and accusing relatives of sex with other relatives. Mindless entertainment for some folks, not for me.

This was one of those rare occasions when I didn’t change the channel after a few minutes. His guest, fundamentalist patriarchy Kirby, was insisting that his wife Renee needed to repent from disrespecting him, repent from taking the video of him, beg his forgiveness and come on home to resume being his Proverbs 31 wife again. The truly sad thing is that no matter how Phil phrased it, or said it straight to Kirby, he could not see how dangerously abusive his thoughts were. In Kirby’s mind he had every right, according to the Bible, to hit his wife and kids to keep them in line, deferring to him. He kept proclaiming that Renee was demon-addled and he was just spanking the demons out.

Kirby also committed what I personally consider one of the biggest cardinal sins those in and coming out of dangerous theology love to do: proclaiming that his wife Renee was a narcissist. She’d never been diagnosed with narcissism, and Kirby isn’t exactly a trained psycho-therapist trained to made diagnoses such as for narcissism. I’ve seen this arm chair quarter backing labeling of people others don’t agree with as ‘Narcissist’ for years now and it should stop. First of all, you’re just seeing that person usually in a very stressful point in their lives, or you yourself have formed an image of that person on limited information and have no more training than the average Kirby to make that diagnosis. Let’s drop the ‘narcissist’ label in recovery, if you must judge someone on their behavior it’s more accurate to observe that they have narcissistic tendencies than trying to label them a full blown narcissist without testing.

Dr. Phil missed a golden opportunity to inform the public that everyone has some narcissistic characteristics and it’s normal! It’s healthy to have a few bits of self interest. Whew, went down that rabbit trail, now back to the show.

Kirby kept asking Phil what he should have done when Renee cursed at him, and spit upon him, instead of hit her. For once Dr. Phil had a pretty decent list of suggestions that Kirby could have used to defuse the situation, the best one being to walk away from her until she was rational and calm before attempting to discuss why she was unhappy with him.

Below is Monday’s episode featuring Kirby and his straight out of the Christian Patriarchy Movement beliefs.

Most of that hour had a freak show aspect to it, not much different than Maury Povich’s ‘Are You The Father?” shows or Jerry Springer’s show, and was unhelpful at worst, but did expose the bigger problem of the toxic beliefs held by many patriarchal Christian types. That old ‘might makes right’, that they think you literally ‘own’ the people in your family and can treat them any way you wish, that the physically biggest and most violent member of the family controls everything by physically harming or bullying everyone smaller and less physically powerful, and teaches that violence is the way to settle issues.

In a world where Lydia Schatz and Hanna Grace Williams were disciplined to death by parents using Michael Pearl’s book ‘To Train Up A Child’ and where the biggest recent news stories have been Adrian Peterson’s child abuse disguised as discipline and Ray Rice’s spousal abuse I think it’s time that we brought this entire issue of physical violence in families to the fore front of discussion. It’s time for people to realize hitting is not love, it’s abuse, it’s anger, it’s violence and that it has long lasting effects on people, damaging a part of their soul they’ll never get back.

After the fascinating hour on Monday Dr. Phil’s Tuesday show, where he spoke with Kirby’s wife Renee, was a huge disappointment. Instead of continuing on with the theme that good men do not beat their wives for any reason, Dr Phil in his interview with Renee got onto her for asking one of her children to hold the cell phone while she was being spanked. He acted like that was a manipulative wrong thing to do yet never mentioned the most heartbreaking part of the entire beating on video, the fact that you can clearly hear the children in the background crying because they were witnessing their beloved mother being beaten by their father.  To me that was the most awful bit, you cannot help but feel for those children, being exposed to that type of trauma as children will stay with them forever.

And this is Tuesday’s show with Renee.

By the end of the segment Dr. Phil’s answer was a spectacularly awful option. He wants to send Kirby to a Christian Counselor to work out Kirby’s issues. That is such a complete cop out on the part of Dr. Phil considering how widely the effectiveness, educational levels, experience and real help can vary in the world of Neuthetics. Recently Kathryn Joyce wrote an article on the dangers of using a Christian counselor.

I’ve had my own personal horror stories of my poor husband going to various Christian counselors during his years long bout with depression. As we went from Christian counselor to counselor the answers were always the same, either he was told he was being ‘selfish’ and not trusting in God, or he was told that I was not submissive enough or whatever enough and that was the cause of his depression. In reality he had tumors on several of his parathyroid glands and that was driving the depression. It was physical, chemical, and not one of these so-called ‘experts’ advised my poor husband to get a complete physical where it might have shown up by his insanely high calcium levels in basic blood tests. Nope, better to blame that depression on lack of faith or someone else than to rule out physical causes first.

This has made me extremely skeptical of any Biblical based counseling. Knowing how Kirby believes for Dr. Phil to pay for a Christian counselor is about as useful as trying to roller skate on a train track.  It just doesn’t work.

If nothing else the show was a good lesson in why you go to a highly recommended real psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist instead of going on a television talk show to solve your problems. At least middle America got to see what the Christian Patriarchy Movement is all about.

I think it’s time as a nation that we stopped ALL violence wrapped in the innocent name of discipline. No tolerance for abuse. This is a problem and we must address it and move on into a future where children, women and yes, even men, no longer have to fear abuse and possible death at the hands of those they love.

Hitting is never right.

Read everything by Suzanne!

Suzanne is an empty nester lives near Washington DC with her husband, cats and various rescue birds. She worked at a residential treatment center for children and is also the administrator of NLQ. Was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 7 years ago. Her blogs are True Love Doesn’t Rape and Everything and Nothing

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

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  • Edie Moore McGee

    What an idiot Dr. Phil is! It’s not like those children didn’t know exactly what was going on anyway! In that situation, you do what you need to do to solve the problem. I lived it at one time. If a child holding a camera is what it takes to get the evidence you need, you give the child a camera and send him to therapy later. Getting out is key. You have to survive it to fight another day and to go on with your life. What a load of hooey Phil dispenses!

  • Sara Lin Wilde

    Thank you for going down the narcissism rabbit hole. I’ve struggled with very dualistic thinking in my life as well as people who expected a lot of self-sacrifice out of me . . . and then, when I refused to sacrifice myself to the extent they preferred, they called me selfish and narcissistic. Sometimes it’s hard not to believe the hype, especially in a culture where women are encouraged to put themselves last. It’s always welcome to be reminded that a little bit of self-interest is necessary and healthy and good.

  • Mel

    All religious leaders should be trained in what events can be handled in-house (in other words, those minor, but trying, life events that we all go through sometimes) and what events merit an immediate referral to a trained counselor (any mental illness, abuse, neglect etc).

    There is a level of hubris that scares me when pastors/priests/whomever decide that being able to read the Bible makes them more than capable of trying to fix someone else’s major life issues.

  • Allison the Great

    I can’t stand Dr. Phil, I really can’t. I agree that he would be a terrible counselor. I also agree that a “Christian” counselor is the absolute worst kind. I’ve been to one. They’re a crock.

    And it’s interesting what kind of men most of these patriarchal types are. They’re guys who are such whiney douchebags that they can’t get respect outside their home. Inside their home, they have to resort to violence to get respect. If I were Renee I would not ever see that man again. I’d suggest that if he wants a “Proverbs 31 wife” he can get a sex doll.

  • gimpi1

    Oh, my. That’s awful. What a horrible concept of God they had. So God cursed your family for generations because one grandfather was a Freemason? Must be a great many cursed families out there. Everyone I know had at least one family-member in the Freemasons, going back a generation or two.

    They may not have been backwoods, but they were pretty backward.

  • gimpi1

    The upside of this is that Mr. Kirby went to jail, Ms. Kirby has left him and has a restraining order against him. Hopefully, the divorce and move out of state will follow. The family is no longer under the thumb (and paddle) of this fellow. Dr. Phil or no, that’s good news.

  • Independent Thinker

    I watched the Dr. Phil show with Kirby and part of the show with Renee. Dr. Phil in one of the episodes referred to his wife Robin as a Proverbs 31 wife. I am pretty sure he said that on Kirby’s episode. I couldn’t help but think so he is proclaiming his wife is a doormat on national television. For me a Proverbs 31 wife is a negative not a positive.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    He did call Robin a “Proverbs 31 Wife” and at the end of the show swaggered over there to escort the little woman off the stage. Rubbed me the wrong way, but I don’t know if it was a one time thing or perhaps Dr. Phil always does that to his wife. Seemed rather creepy

  • Saraquill

    Is Dr. Phil an actual doctor?

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    He does have a doctorate in clinical psychology, so… legally he can call himself ‘Doctor’, but it is nowhere near the same thing as the type of doctor a psychiatrist is. A psychiatrist has to do the entire medical school thing most doctors do and rotate around during medical school before choosing a speciality. Psychiatrists = MD training. Doctor of clinical psychology does not do the medical training or usually write prescriptions.

    Dr. Phil left his practice of treating patients after a couple of slaps on the wrist for inappropriate behavior with patients.

  • Joy

    It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the show, but when I watched he always walked out with Robin.

  • The Proverbs 31 wife is not a doormat. She is respected by not only her husband and children, but also among the leaders and decision-makers. (“Praised in the gates” – the gates were where the leaders gathered to make decisions.)
    And the whole piece contains only one command, and that is not to do everything listed. The command is: “A woman who fears the Lord (note: Not one who do everything listed – on who fears the Lord) is to be praised. The command of the passage is to praise women who respect the Lord God.

  • Astrin Ymris

    You can’t maintain a belief in a literally true and inerrant Bible if you let yourself acknowledge the internal inconsistencies and outright absurdities involved.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I didn’t like him, either. I hated a show he did in which a woman was verbally abusing and berating her stepdaughter for being a drug addict… and Dr. Phil was joining right in. They verbally battered the woman into signing away her rights to her kids on national television, after which Dr. Phil informed her that she was expected to pay child support and help around the house while her bitch of a stepmother smirked victoriously.

    I found myself thinking “Having grown up around this toxic woman, it’s not surprising that she became a drug addict.”

  • That_Susan

    I agree that getting the video footage — of his abuse of both her and their children — was the smartest thing on earth that she could have done. It’s better giving them counseling over holding the phone than over being forced into weekend visitation with that abuser for years and years.

  • JohnnyCuredents

    Time for more taxes….to build all the jails we are going to need to lock up all the Mohammedan wife-beaters in our midst. Of course, their behavior is recommended in the Koran, so we may also need more police to make sure that evil text is off the shelves (even the Internet “book shelves”) everywhere. Taxes, taxes, taxes! But, now that I think about it, that could be a silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud — less violence all around!

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Please read our comment policy. We do not allow racism on NLQ. Muslim-bashing is not tolerated. First warning.

  • JohnnyCuredents

    Susie: Go to blazes. You’re nothing but yet another useful idiot.

  • Peter Davids

    There is obviously a special meaning in “Christian counsellor” here. It apparently means “psychologically untrained religious counseling” or something like that. I say that because the next building over to the one I work in has a faculty who offer a master of arts in Christian Counseling. I looked at the course list, and it is clear that it is a standard set of counseling courses and it does meet LPC standards in our state. Likewise the American Association of Christian Counselors is a professional association of Christians in the counseling profession. The “Christian counseling centre” where I had some training likewise met the appropriate Canadian standards for counseling. In that case there was close cooperation between the counselors and a medical doctor with offices on the same hallway (assuming the client did not have their own physician) for making sure that medical checks were done – the counselors knew that they were good at, say, cognitive behavior therapy, but that if the client had not had a recent physical, they needed to be sure that there was not some underlying physical condition that needed treating. Or, perhaps, a combination of a SSRI and CBT were the best solution. My point is that people who are suffering like to go to people who share their values, ideally whose faith is healthily integrated with their clinical practice. That being said, I also know plenty of examples of the other type of Christian counselor, the type you are condemning, who are psychologically ignorant (and do not even have a grasp on the Christian spiritual tradition). Of course, I have also known some psychiatrists (i.e. licensed, professional MD, and the ones I am thinking of were not to my knowledge Christian) whom I would not trust given what I saw of their practice. The long and short of it is that “Christian counselor” is a “catch-all.” When asked for recommendations in another area, my wife gets out her lists from the professional associations she belongs to and then looks at the nearby Christian counselor’s training, licensing, and specialties – and even then prays that it is the right match (as she would if the person were not a Christian). I would indeed send a person of the Christian faith to a Christian counselor, for that counselor will find it easier to establish a relationship of trust and will also find that he or she can use the resources of faith as well their professional resources, but I would make sure that that counselor is professionally certified, not just a listing in the phone book or a church directory.

  • Pixie5

    If we ban the Koran, then we would have to ban the Bible, Torah, and the Talmud because they all contain condoned and even commanded violence. However we do know that most people do not follow those verses, regardless of which Abrahamic religion they follow. So it is inappropriate to single out Muslims.

    Even this blog only singles out a certain faction of Christianity, not all of Christianity. Our secular government guarantees religious freedom, except in cases of abuse. In those cases, it is appropriate to deal with the abusive behavior, but banning the religion is not.

    Before our secular government was in place, we had the Puritans killing Quakers and stoning their own people to death as the Mosaic law commanded. And they were not the only Christian sects that killed people. If you were lucky you just went to prison for “heresy.”

    My point is that our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to not ban religion (including non-Christian ones) but to deal with the behavior instead. Banning religion and religious texts goes against everything our nation stands for. And as far as I am concerned, the Koran is no worse than the other Abrahamic religions so it should not be singled out.

  • Pixie5

    That is a good distinction to make. Unfortunately the untrained ones make all Christian counselors look bad. Since many only get training in their church then they do lack the skills to deal with more serious issues, including abuse and mental illness. I had a bad experience with one myself, who was not qualified and labeled my suicidal feelings as “wanting attention.” Fortunately my parents got me to see a real therapist. But even now it is scary how many church counselors do not understand mental illness and even tell people to not take medications as that must mean that you lack faith in God, in their view. And being depressed is a sin, because we are all supposed to be happy because….Jesus.

    Of course they completely ignore Psalms where David was so depressed that he wished he had never been born.

    As far as abuse goes, I have a friend who almost died because her minister told her to stay with her abusive husband.

    I also knew a lady once who as a child in the Catholic church built up the courage in confession to tell her Priest that she was being molested by her father. He told her to say so many “Hail Mary’s” and sent her on her way.

    I am glad that there are people like you that are qualified to give advice, that is not solely based on your interpretation of the Bible and also work with other mental health professionals.

  • Mark Robinson

    the writer of this article spends SO much time bashing Phil, it is lost on the reader what he/she is actually pissed off about. What about centering on the SUBJECT rather than the TV show that exposed it?

  • JohnnyCuredents

    Pixie: You’ve either never bothered to actually read the Koran or, if you did, you did not understand what was in front of you. As they say, a little knowledge is dangerous. People who think your kind of thoughts are why we are where we are versus the greatest threat ever to face our civilization barring none.

  • Astrin Ymris

    We have plenty of prison space– we need to release the people looked up for non-violent drug offense and people locked up for inability to pay traffic ticket fines. THEN we’d have more than enough room to lock up all abusers, rapists, child molesters, and other violent criminals.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Reading comprehension is your friend.

    The article was meant to rehash that particular show, and yes, the Dr. Phil show is pretty lame. “Dr.” Phil mishandled an opportunity to get a ‘patriarch’ with clear mental issues to proper treatment. Biblical based counselors have been proven to be less than helpful with genuine mental illness.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    It is my personal experience that those legitimately trained Christian counselors are few and far between, at least in this area. I only know of one in this area, the rest haven’t been trained with much more than their church, hold no social work or psychology certificate. A good counselor can help, but an untrained one can only do harm.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Welcome to ban. I do not tolerate racism in any form here.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    See below:

  • Peter Davids

    That may be true in some areas. In our metropolitan area as in a number of others I know, I could easily come up with enough to make a good choice. We did come up with a half dozen or so for someone on the north side of Baltimore without much problem. But you have to go through the professional association listings. Some churches employ such people, but most churches do not have such competent people or else have limits – the Episcopal Diocese of Texas limited pastors to three sessions with a person or couple, no matter what the pastor’s training – it was get the picture and then refer to the most appropriate outside professional. I hear most about Christian counselors who work in clinics, group practices, private practice (often not very lucrative), or the like. But I fully agree that in some areas they are thin on the ground. And one does not find them on the billboard or lighted signs of churches that advertise healing from depression or other forms of mental illness (there is such a sign not far from the university where I work – we pass it on our “Starbucks runs.”

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Good to hear that they are plentiful in some areas. The best I can advise anyone in picking a Christian counselor is to first ask where they did their training and what their certifications are.

  • Pixie5

    I understood her points perfectly. She was talking about how Dr. Phil handled the situation. He did not actually expose this in the first place. The news was already out there. I think critiquing how a prominent mental health professional in the public eye handled this is appropriate, whether or not you agree with her conclusions.

  • Independent Thinker

    Robin sits in the audience at every Dr. Phil show taping and walks off stage at the end with Phil. It comes off controlling to me instead of romantic. I wonder how many productive hours of Robin’s life have withered away because she is busy being Phil’s cheerleader instead of living up to her own potential.

  • B.A.

    I would say that a**hole Kirby is the narcissist,not Renee!

  • B.A.

    Unfortunately,this passage,along with so many others,is twisted by the patriarchal movement.

  • B.A.

    I’m shocked that something like that was even legal. I’m so sorry you went through that.

  • Tiffany H

    I could not agree more.

  • gimpi1

    “When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain’t the way.”