3 Lessons Sarah Hyland’s Restraining Order Can Teach All Women

Written by Angela Atkinson

With so much negativity coming out of the collective noise of Hollywood’s early-to-mid-twenty-something stars and the gossip mills they fuel, it’s nice to notice and recognize when someone does something that’s actually a GOOD thing. (And of course, it’s also smart, because when we focus on good things, we get more of them!)

If you watched ABC’s Modern Family, you know who Hailey Dunphey is – the daughter of bumbling Phil and stressed-out Claire. She’s a beautiful, seemingly vapid (at first glance) girl who turns out to be super smart when it suits her.

The actress that plays her, though, hasn’t had such an easy go of it so far. In fact, it seems that as her star rose between 2010 and 2014, Hyland’s behind-the-scenes real life was pretty hellish.

Why did Sarah Hyland get a restraining order against Matt Prokop?

You may have already heard about Sarah Hyland‘s domestic violence struggles with her ex-boyfriend, actor Matt Prokop, who is accused of physically abusing and assaulting her. Sarah Hyland was granted a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend, Matt Prokop, in September 2014. Prokop, who played Ethan in ABC’s Modern Family as well as playing several movie roles alongside Hyland, was accused of making violent threats towards her. News outlets report that Sarah sought help from police and the court to keep Prokop away from her because she was afraid of his behavior, for which she had sought medical treatment.

Is Matt Prokop a Narcissist? 

You might wonder if Matt Prokop is a narcissist, and you wouldn’t be alone. While we can’t say for sure that he fits the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder, Prokop has certainly demonstrated some narcissist traits during his relationship with Hyland. For example, according to Daily News and TMZ, Prokop used physical intimidation, name-calling, and coercive control among his preferred methods of manipulation. We can only assume that emotional and psychological abuse was part of Hyland’s reality during the relationship.

Does this make him a narcissist? Maybe, but we aren’t aware of an official diagnosis. Either way, he appears to have been a narcissistic abuser. In fact, according to Hyland in an October 2014 interview with Meredith Viera, Prokop demonstrated the qualities of an abuser when he  “relentlessly bombarded me with vile, threatening and emotionally disturbing texts and voice mails including his own suicide threats.” Hyland reported that Prokop choked her so tightly that she “could not breath or speak.”

Prokop also allegedly terrorized her “both verbally and physically during the last four years of their relationship,” according to The Things, and his career ended with his relationship with Hyland.

3 Lessons Narcissistic Abuse Survivors Can Learn from Sarah Hyland

The clearly toxic relationship between Hyland and Prokop certainly appears to be an example of narcissistic abuse, and there are certain lessons fellow survivors of narcissistic abuse can learn from this situation.

Lesson 1: Even beautiful, successful women can be silent victims of abuse.

According to the Daily Mail Online, Hyland’s rep offered a statement from her attorney Lee A Sherman, which noted that “On September 19, 2014, Ms. Hyland obtained a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order against Matthew Prokop. The documents filed speak for themselves.”

The statement continues: “Out of respect for the court, the process, and all parties, I have advised Ms. Hyland not to comment on the matter. We request that you respect the parties’ privacy during this time.”

Additionally, Hyland alleged in the court papers that she “experienced four years of abuse at his hands during their relationship.”

“His grip was so tight that I could not breathe or speak,” she said in the documents of a violent incident with Prokop in May. “I was scared and in fear for my life.”

Sadly, Hyland is not alone in her plight. According to SafeHorizon.org, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That’s 25% of us.

(Read More of Sarah Hyland’s story from The Daily Mail, Link Below)

Lesson Two: No woman deserves to be abused, and every woman has the right to stand up for herself.

As a young woman who is idolized by girls around the world, I think Hyland’s actions are the best she could’ve taken. Too many young women, especially in her age group and those in their late teens, are far too willing to accept “whatever” in order to remain attached to a man.

Safe Horizon says that women ages 20 to 24 are at the greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.

While you might think that Hyland accepted the abuse for too long, she’s doing something right NOW. By standing up now and publicly declaring that domestic violence is NOT OK, Sarah Hyland is showing women around the world that they have the right to be safe. She is also offering herself a huge support network by going public with this one.  Go, Sarah!

Lesson Three: Get involved if you see a friend or loved one getting abused. (It might literally save their lives.)

A few more sobering statistics from Safe Horizon:

  • Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
  • Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
  • Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.

According to TMZ, court papers note that Hyland has said that it was only thanks to her TV mom Julie Bowen that she felt strong enough to break free from the tumultuous 4-year relationship.

We may not fully understand how seriously Hyland was being abused, but the fact is that abusers kill their victims on an all-too-often basis.

If someone you know is in an abusive relationship and is in physical danger, you have a responsibility to stand up and say something. Julie Bowen’s support helped Sarah Hyland step away in a very public way, but you can support a loved one in a much quieter way by just offering help and support as you are able. If nothing else, you can connect them with the right resources.

So what do you think? Did Sarah Hyland do the right thing, and what would you say to her if you could?

 Excerpt from the Daily Mail Online:

Threatened: The 23-year-old claimed in court documents that she was physically abused by Matt during their four-year relationship

  • In the court filing she also says she had sustained injuries with a ‘very sore throat following this event.’ Sarah then described how she got her TV mother Julie Bowen involved to help her ‘peacefully end the relationship.’
  • The actress, who plays Julie’s daughter Haley Dunphy on the hit ABC comedy, flew out her beau to his home in Texas earlier this year.
  • But when Matt arrived and saw everyone in his house, including Julie, he ‘ran outside into the backyard and began screaming,’ according to the documents.

Seeking help: Matt, who had a stint on Modern Family and co-starred with her in Disney Channel movie Geek Charming, entered rehab in August

  • Sarah said he threw a ‘lighter’ at her, which triggered Julie to step in and get her out of the house as she ‘wasn’t safe’.
  • She also claimed that Matt threatened to commit arson by setting one of her homes on fire and to get rid of her dog.
  • Following their split, Sarah said her former boyfriend ‘relentlessly bombarded me with vile, threatening and emotionally disturbing texts and voice mails including his own suicide threats.’
  • The former couple started dating after meeting while auditioning for High School Musical 3: Senior Year in 2008. They later starred together in the Disney Channel film Geek Charming in 2011.

Read more about Sarah Hyland’s story in the Daily Mai: click here

October 2014 Update

Update: In October 2014, Sarah Hyland was granted a permanent restraining order, and Matt Prokop has not worked in the film or television industries since. E! News reported that “Prokop has been ordered to stay 100 yards away from the Modern Family actress and her home. He has also been ordered to not go near her job or workplace and own or possess a gun or ammunition. The restraining order also demands that Prokop stay 100 yards away from Hyland’s dog, Barkley Bixby, as well as not make any threats, or attack, or harm the dog in any way.”

Are you dealing with narcissistic abuse?

Does this story feel a little too familiar to you? You might be dealing with narcissistic abuse, which is a pervasive, covert type of abuse that involves the exploitation and psychological abuse of one partner in a toxic relationship.

While narcissistic abuse can result in profound emotional and psychological harm, as well as long-term physical effects, the covert nature can make it difficult to spot and even more challenging to manage. Worse, if you find yourself involved in this kind of relationship, your self-confidence and self-worth are often so low by the time you realize it, you can’t or won’t leave.

Narcissistic abuse involves subtle manipulation, pervasive control tactics, gaslighting, and emotional and psychological abuse. Sadly, even the most intelligent and educated people can be manipulated and abused by a narcissist.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Are you dealing with narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship? Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Are you dealing with a narcissist who is playing mind games with you? Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

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Author

  • Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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