Today, when I was seeing patients, I had a session scheduled with a new female client who was referred to me for a physical altercation. I quickly scanned the referral form (too quickly) and, based on the report and the injuries reportedly received by a male, I was expecting someone rough and mean looking when I opened the door.
You know, ‘rode hard and put up wet Barbie.’
What I got was sweet little grandma sitting with her purse!
I go in and she smiled and was the sweetest little Maw Maw you ever saw.
This little lady caused bodily injury? She looked about 80 years-old (quick glance at the paperwork, 79) and like she weighed about 80 lbs. I wondered if she had cognitive impairments, but after about 12 seconds I knew she was of sound mind. I said, “Well, what happened? I see you were in an altercation with your neighbor and I can’t imagine you getting in a fight!”
She said, “Well, Honey, I came home and this old man was on my porch, and I told him to get off my porch. And he said, this isn’t your porch, this is my porch, and I paid my rent this morning. I told him he was very confused and it wasn’t his fault that he was confused because he was old and sometimes people that are old get confused easily but that he needed to get off my porch because I was ready to go in and have my dinner. It was getting late and Wheel of Fortune was about to come on. He said that he would just come in with me. I told him no, that he couldn’t do that because my husband was about to come home, even though I don’t have a husband because he was no good and I ran him off about 20 years ago. But I said that I did have a husband so he would go ahead and shoo. He said that it was his house and he wasn’t leaving. So, I swung my purse at his behind to make him go ahead and shoo off of my porch!”
For real, and she meant it.
Then she pointed to her purse sitting beside her.
I said, “Well, how did he get hurt?”
She said, “Well, when I swung it he fell down just a little bit in the yard, and yelled like he’d been shot or something and the neighbors heard him and the police came and they said I had to come talk to you. But they did take him off which was the right thing to do because it was my house. It was a terrible scene.”
Well… I was intrigued.
I have long been a fan of the possibility of using purses as weapons as you may know.
I am not a fan of guns, like, ever.
Now, it is at this point that I was supposed to talk to her about anger management techniques and the importance of inpulse control and determine if she has a past history of physical aggressiveness. Then, I needed to used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and engage her in identifying more appropriate methods she could have used and will use in the future. (I said all of that so that you will know that I DO know what i should have done.)
And I did do all that. But first,
I said, “this exact purse?”
She said, “uh huh. Pick it up!” (small giggle)
I said, “It feels like you have a brick in here!” (I giggle)
“I do!! I keep it in there for protection and sometimes to threaten stupid people.”
Well, that might have been the most fun I ever had at work.