The Tasmanian Devil

Have you ever wondered if some people are born to be violent? There's a new test you can take to find out if you have the gene that would make you more prone to anger. A single gene has been associated with violent behavior, and it's been called the warrior gene. Scientists say that one-third of all men have this in their DNA. In the past, all studies have said anger must be attributed to either nature or nurture.


"The research that has been done indicates that this genetic makeup, combined with maltreatment, increases a person's risk of being an aggressive, violent adult," says Bill Bernet, a forensic psychiatrist.

The test is relatively simple. A swab of the DNA from your mouth is sent to a lab, and results are sent back with an answer.

"Would you want to know if you had the warrior gene?" Dr. Phil asks the audience. "I bet there are people in your life that already know if you have it."

Raeja says her sister, Lori, is a rageaholic, and Lori even describes herself as a Tasmanian devil when she gets angry enough.

"I have no control over my anger," Lori says. "It's all about rage. When I get angry, I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack. I feel my palms getting sweaty, my chest heaves up and down, and I see red."

Raeja agrees with Lori. "When Lori gets mad, it is like a tornado," she says. "She starts twitching her eyes and that's when you know the explosion is coming. She goes ballistic."

[AD]Lori says she once was engaged in a verbal argument that became so heated, she wanted to become physical. "I am prone to throwing things," she says as she pushes everything off a dining room table. Lori also recalls getting a sandwich made for her while preparing to appear on the show and marching back in to have them remake it. "It's not at all the way I said," she says. "If I'm going to spend my money on a meal, I want it to be prepared properly. There was supposed to be no salami and this was sloppily made." She returns to the store to demand a new sandwich is made.

"If you're going to get in an argument with Lori, you can expect she's going to go to the extreme," Raeja says.

Lori agrees that the average person can't beat her in an argument. "I'm going to verbally abuse them where they are not going to want to retaliate. I know that people walk on eggshells around me," she says. Raeja tries to tell her that, in life, things don't always go your way.

"Do you think you have a rage problem?" Dr. Phil asks Lori.

"I know I have a rage problem," she answers without hesitation. She tells Dr. Phil it all boils down to letting the smallest things get to her. "I fester a lot of anger," she says, "so by the time I'm upset, it's rage, and by then, it's way out of control."

"What's a trigger for you?" Dr. Phil asks.

Road rage, Lori says, is something that makes her most susceptible to snapping. She blames drivers, who she says "don't know what they're doing." She goes on, "I'm ready to go ballistic. If they don't give me the wave, I will probably drive up alongside them, roll down my window, and start a verbal argument." She tells Dr. Phil she yells at other drivers to "park it and get on the bus."

[AD]"What do they say when you do that?" Dr. Phil questions.

"Most of the time they are looking at me like I'm out of my mind," she admits. "But most of the time it makes me so upset that my heart starts to flutter." She describes an incident that made her so irate, she drove to the hospital certain she was experiencing a heart attack. "I start to breathe, heave, my eyes flutter and I feel as if I'm fainting," she describes the symptoms.

Raeja says Lori wants to get to where she's going, and as quickly as possible. She says her sister criticizes her driving and has grabbed the steering wheel from her from the passenger seat.

Lori admits to also getting enraged by waiters that don't treat her like she thinks she deserves and "do not provide excellent customer service," she adds. "If that's the profession you're going to take on, then do it, and do it well," she says not mincing words. 

Lori says that in the midst of a heated argument with a former boyfriend, she devised what she now terms, the magic trick. Feeling as if steam was building up from her feet to her head, she grabbed a runner from a dresser and yanked it, throwing everything in the opposite direction. She then threw everything herself that hadn't already landed elsewhere. Standing in the middle of the mess, she says she pronounced, "That's my magic trick." 

[AD]"Have you run into anyone like you?" Dr. Phil asks.

She thinks long and hard. "I have run into someone like me, but not as angry," she concedes.

"How did that go?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Of course I am going to win," Lori states matter of factly. "You can start, but I am definitely going to finish."

Lori says when she was younger, three girls tried to fight her at a family outing. She says she fought with the bigger girl.

"As I understand this, you had her down on the ground, beating her head into the pavement, and stopped in the middle of it, looked at the other two, and said, ‘When I'm done whooping her ass, you two are next,'" Dr. Phil says. "That's a degree of control. If you're banging someone's head in to the floor, and you have enough control to stop and [indicate who's next], that's some conscious control."

[AD]Lori is adamant she was only defending herself. "I'll do it by whatever means is necessary," Lori says.

Raeja backs up her sister's story and says the other girls were persistent in their harassment. "There is a point where enough is enough," she says.

Lori says when she's with her kids she will let things go more easily. "I will let a lot slide." But still she says her family walks on eggshells around her and wants better coping tools for her anger. "I want to calm it down all the way," she says.