I know they say that you go through the terrible twos and then after that, you apparently learn to regulate your emotions. Well, I currently have a 3-year-old and I can attest that although the tantrums have eased somewhat to what they were from about 18 months of age, we still have periods where someone is clearly losing the plot. How I cope with it is to think that he is briefly possessed by an energy he cannot control and as a way of asking for help, he has to cry and throw himself on the floor. Usually, this is not anything a cuddle won’t fix. I guess it is still somewhat expected at his age though so it’s all good in a way.
Have you ever, as an adult, had a moment where you feel like you were having a tantrum? For example,
- You enter into a store to browse and potentially buy something only to have the store attendant follow you suspiciously around the store as you might not look like the “type” of customer who would buy anything, or they do the exact opposite and don’t even acknowledge your presence. You figure its best to leave the store without buying anything although there might be something you would have bought had they been more welcoming.
- You go for dinner and have to ask for every minuscule thing for your table despite everyone else having the menu/water for the table/glasses/cutlery being brought to their table without having to ask. You then leave the restaurant occasionally before the food arrives and often without leaving a service tip.
- You are a patient and present to the doctor reporting that “I need antibiotics for my sore throat” as a presenting complaint only to storm off yelling profanities when the doctor makes a clinical decision that your ailment is likely viral and they will not be prescribing any antibiotics “in case the infection goes to your chest next week” illustrated in my previous blog Things I wish patients knew…
- You are driving when another driver cuts you off and suddenly you have to make them pay for what they did by honking the horn, flipping the bird, driving erratically and yelling profanities at them.
- You are invited to a party at a certain time only to get there at the time stipulated or a few minutes later and people are still in the early stages of meal prep and the party is at least a few hours from being ready and you think it might be better just to leave. You are thus unable to enjoy any of the party as a result and spend the day on your phone or sulking.
- You come home and despite your partner being home all day and you at work the whole time, you found the house in the same state as you left it in the morning and the dreaded “what’s for dinner?” greeting you at the door. You have a shower and go straight to bed after making yourself a sandwich to see if your partner will sort something out for themselves.
- You have been leaving hints everywhere about what you would love for your birthday/mother’s day/anniversary/Xmas only for someone not to heed your advice but instead get you something you feel you have no use/need for. You smile whilst slowly dying and trying to control the emotion inside.
- You have been dating for a few years and have been talking about getting married but your partner is not proposing “at the perfect time”. You have been overseas together, spent times in secluded beaches/on top of the Eiffel tower/on the edge of the Grand Canyon or other “perfect proposal locations” where you were pretty sure he would pop the question only to leave empty-handed. You don’t want to ask him when he will propose but you sulk for a little while after every disappointment.
These are some examples that have happened to a few people around me and, I must admit, may have occurred to me at some point and make me realize that there are things called adult tantrums. It can be really hard to regulate your emotions when you are in certain situations and sometimes you end up crying/yelling/sulking in response. I have read an amazing book called Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff by Richard Carlson, (reviewed on my blog entry titled Books I have fallen in love with… ) and sometimes I can’t help but be carried away by my emotions despite knowing that whatever it is will certainly not matter in a few months let alone in a few days. I, however, thought I would pen a little something to say, it’s okay, adult tantrums happen to the best of us. The key is to acknowledge them for what they are and learn not to dwell on the negative mood for too long. Hopefully, with time, you learn to identify it early and diffuse the inner tantrum before it becomes a full-blown meltdown.