“I Would Lash Out at My Family”

June 5th, 2017

Giselle’s anger was out of control, and it hit her family the hardest . . . sometimes quite literally. When Giselle lost her cool, she would yell and scream, throw things, break things, and strike her siblings.

Her mom, a single mother of three, tried all sorts of things to calm her daughter down, but nothing worked. Giselle’s temper could not be tamed.

“I’ve always struggled with my emotions,” says Giselle, 16. “Anger came easily to me, and I reacted impulsively to situations I didn’t know how to react to. I would lash out at my brothers or my mother for the smallest of reasons. My mother was fed up with my unpredictable behavior and she felt she needed to do something.”

That “something” was to bring Giselle to David Lawrence Center, where they met with Laura Birnie, an outpatient therapist.

Giselle and her mom met with Birnie regularly, but progress was slow. They discussed possible consequences for Giselle’s violent outbursts, including the option of calling the police. Giselle didn’t believe her mom would actually call the cops . . . until she did.

When the police arrived, they didn’t arrest Giselle, but gave a warning that served as a much-needed wake-up call. Giselle got the message — and then got with the program. She buckled down and started the hard work of real change.

Birnie met with Giselle and her mom for several months.

“We worked on controlling her emotions, expressing them effectively, and setting boundaries and consequences,” says Birnie. “I started giving Giselle homework, and she started taking things seriously. She started learning what she needed to do to keep her anger in check. She began to understand that she could be angry without acting out in such a destructive way.”

By the time they closed the case, Giselle “was a different person,” says Birnie. “She’s more considerate and respectful, and she’s doing wonderful!”

Giselle’s mother says, “I can see the difference now. She does not get angry as before, and now she is able to laugh and is happier.”

“I am much more in control of my anger,” says Giselle. “I am now able to assess a situation before reacting; I can take a step back and think about the possible outcomes.

“I’ve been able to grow throughout this process, resulting in healthier family relationships and healthier behaviors.”

Giselle and her mother are grateful for friends like you who support the work of David Lawrence Center. Thank you!

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