Dave Navarro, who is best known as the lead guitarist of Jane's Addiction, was 15 when his mom was shot in the head and killed by her ex-boyfriend. Thirty-three years later, he tells the story of turning his pain into music in a documentary called "Mourning Son."
"He changed an entire family forever," says Navarro about his mom's ex-boyfriend, John Alexander Ricardi, who was convicted of killing Navarro's mom, Connie, and her friend, Susan Jory. Ricardi, Navarro recalls, even held Navarro at gunpoint and handcuffed him to the toilet.
"The terror that goes through a 15-year-old child's mind ..." begins Navarro.
"It writes on the slate of who you are," continues Dr. Phil.
After his mother was killed, Navarro says he turned to drugs.
"I definitely used drugs as an escape from the death issue, but I also used the death issue to do drugs," says Navarro in the documentary. "That night, I discovered if I ingest something, it's going to make pain better. I picked up a joint and smoked it and realized that it took pain away. I became a full-blown drug addict from that night on ... The truth is I was just trying to find an escape from all the trauma that I had gone through. Ultimately all those things did was compound the trauma and make my life much much worse."
In "Mourning Son," Navarro goes to San Quentin State Prison to see Ricardi. "My intention to see Ricardi is, in my mind, the last step in basically turning this thing inside out," he says in the film. "Ricardi let my mom off the hook, really. Because if he wanted to hurt her, he should have taken me out. That would have made her suffer."
Now Navarro, host of Spike TV's "Ink Master," hopes to use the senseless tragedy he suffered to help others see some of the red flags of domestic violence situations.
"Once they broke up, my whole neighborhood was in fear of this guy," says Navarro about Ricardi, who had dated Navarro's mom for about five years before she broke up with him. "I just knew something was going to go wrong."
Dr. Phil explains the phenomenon known as separation assault. "There are more serious injuries and murders in the two or three weeks after breaking up from an abuser than any other time in the relationship," says Dr. Phil. "That is the most dangerous time, when you break up and get away from your abuser because they panic."
Dr. Phil's wife, Robin McGraw, whose foundation, When Georgia Smiled, creates and advances programs that help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault live healthy, safe and joy-filed lives, adds, "Sadly, victims are told by their abusers that it's their fault. They're told that so much that they do become believers of that. Sadly, it takes them a long time to believe that it's not their fault, that they deserve better."
If you or someone you know could be in a domestic violence situation, Robin McGraw's free Aspire News app could be life-saving.
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