Rage Caught on Tape: Jacob and Lawlis

Rebellious or Typical Teen?

Dr. Lawlis: What goes through your mind when you walk in the house, and you know [Ed is] somewhere in the house?

Jacob: I feel like, ‘Oh, jeez. Here it goes again.'

Dr. Lawlis: How do you feel when you say, ‘I've got to do all these things on this list so I won't get in trouble'? 

Jacob: Most of the time I actually feel like I'm going to do that, but I end up just not doing it.

Dr. Lawlis: Is it a form of rebellion?


Jacob: Yeah, I think so. Like, I want to get back at him.

Dr. Lawlis: Sometimes, it kind of feels good for [Ed] to get mad.


Jacob: Yeah. I try and get him mad so that I can feel happy, like, ‘Ha, ha, I got you mad.'

Dr. Lawlis: There is power in that, isn't there? What do you think he thinks about you?

Jacob: That I'm just useless. That I just get him mad.


Dr. Lawlis:  What are some of the most drastic thoughts you have?

Jacob: Sometimes, I think I just want to go up to him, slap him in the face and say, ‘Shut up, Dad.'


Dr. Lawlis: How do you feel when he's lecturing you?


Jacob: I just want to get it done and over with as fast as I can.

Dr. Lawlis:  What do you think about when he's up there ranting and raving?

Jacob: I secretly make fun of him.

Dr. Lawlis: How does it make you feel when you fool him?


Jacob: It makes me feel like I have all the power.

Dr. Lawlis: How do you feel about him coming into your family?

[AD]Jacob: I am glad. Even if I say, ‘Man, you're a big pain,' because I wouldn't have either of my brothers with me. I wouldn't have a dad ... I want for him to be open with me, talk to me like I'm his son. I just want to be able to get along with him and be able to do things happily with him.

Dr. Lawlis: Do you want him to be proud of you?

Jacob: Yeah.

Dr. Lawlis: Do you love him?

Jacob: Yes, I do.

Dr. Phil asks Mimi, "What do you think about what he had to say?"

"I think they're playing the same game," she says. "They really do deeply love each other inside, they just don't know or don't want to tell each other."

Ed adds that he knows Jacob pushes his buttons, but he doesn't know how to react to it. "It's kind of like I just lose control, and I can't stop myself from going and doing it, and I want to stop that," he admits.

"Do you understand that you're modeling a very combative, very confrontive, very divisive behavior for him?" Dr. Phil asks Ed. "I guarantee he believes that the happiest day in your life would be if he went away."

[AD]"But he's not useless to us, and he's not useless to me, and I've told him that a number of times," Ed says.

"It takes 1,000 ‘atta boys to overcome one of those, ‘You are useless. You are stupid. You are a moron. You are an idiot,'" Dr. Phil says to Ed. "You are a power figure to him. Your approval is tremendous currency to him, and he thinks he can't get it, so he stops trying. You're the adult. You have to disengage at this point from the combative interaction." He explains that everyone has a currency, something they value and move toward. "Find his currency and help him earn that currency."

Dr. Lawlis adds, "You are a model, and when you establish the ground rules of fighting, he's going to fight you the way you fight him."

[AD]Dr. Phil offers Ed steps to take to improve his relationship with Jacob. "The first thing you've got to do is decide, ‘I will not deal with this child with anger, condescension, sarcasm and attack.' You've got to stop that behavior," he implores. Once he does this, Jacob will notice the change. He also suggests Ed partake in Jacob's chores with him for the time being, as well as carve out quality time for the two of them to spend together. "You've got to pull this kid in. You've got to charm this kid," he says. "Should you have to do this? Probably not. Will it work? Yes, it will, because it will become currency, where he wants and believes he can please you."