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It Doesn't Start with a Punch

My Journey through an Abusive Teen Dating Relationship

Childhood and adolescence are full of firsts:

First steps. First day of kindergarten. First recital or sporting event. First date.


We cherish these milestones, but sometimes unexpected, subtle influences can throw life off course instead of allowing children to grow in healthy, fulfilling ways.


Journey with this survivor as she shares her experiences with emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, revealing why she stayed in the relationship; how she found the courage and strength to leave it; and how God’s redeeming love healed her wounds.

An intimate, practical guide to helping adolescents prevent and escape abusive dating relationships,

including steps toward recovery, healing, and forgiveness

This book will help parents and other readers learn

  • The protective factors that shield youth from becoming involved with someone abusive

  • How popular songs, movies, and TV shows can have unhealthy influences on adolescent relationships

  • The signs of an unhealthy romantic relationship and the many reasons teenagers may stay in one, from wanting a dating relationship to the misguided belief that their abusers are going to change

  • How to help your tween or teenager, or any youth who is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship

  • How survivors can heal, ultimately finding a healthy, new normal


A must-read for parents, grandparents, teachers, youth pastors, or anyone with a heart for teens. . . . A story of redemption and restoration. I challenge you to take in all that the author has to offer in order to help the teens in your life navigate the uncertainty of their world.” David Runnels, former Youth Director at Northern Hills United Methodist Church


With a heart and passion for helping teenagers and families, Dee Dee recounts her personal experience with teen dating abuse; depicting the slow transitions, sharing red flags, providing statistics that show how vast abusive relationships are, and lets the reader know they are not alone. She then shares ways of helping someone in an abusive relationship. It Doesn’t Start with a Punch provides beneficial information from beginning to end. Celeste Inman, M.Ed., LPC-S, RPT-S

"By courageously sharing her personal story, while also citing current research and statistics, Dee Dee provides an invaluable resource which can be utilized by Police Officers and Liasons to proactively disseminate information that helps to identify and prevent these abusive relationships before they occur.” Keith Lane, Chief of Police, New Braunfels


“Dee Dee’s ordeal serves as a guide for what parents can do and watch for in their own children. . . . This honest narrative gives insight [into] why it’s hard to leave. . . . I never knew girls would say yes to boys or go out with them to avoid hurting their feelings. The book touches on a lot of influences in kids’ lives and calls out for parents to be mindful.” John Allen, Principal Software Engineer, IT, Dell Computers


The value of “It Doesn’t Start…” is endless. The author’s story of how a smart, caring person becomes involved with an abuser is consistent with experiences I’ve witnessed throughout life and as a teacher. Many of the signs discussed are common throughout abusive relationships.  Her ability to take her story, link it to known psychological explanations and statistics, and then find a path to healing is exemplary. As a Christian I loved her connections between everyday struggles and direct quotes from the Bible. This is a must read! Ingeri Milam, Christian, mother, and high school teacher

“Honest. Raw. Smart. Dee Dee tells a compelling story of a young woman’s heartbreaking search for love and acceptance. Rejoice with Dee Dee as she shares the secret that allowed her to break free of the bonds that had held her captive to bad choices and destructive behavior.” John Mitchell, Lt. Colonel (retired), US Air Force

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