My parents were pretty strict when I was growing up. I am also the type of person that hates being in trouble. I hate making mistakes. I sometimes cry at even the most gentle of scoldings (like an idiot).
Because of all that, I had never thrown a temper tantrum. My parents didn’t entertain that sort of misbehavior and I would never have even considered doing something like that. Until I became an adult.
One day I was out at the grocery store and I saw a small child in full meltdown mode. He was lying on the filthy floor. His hands were balled into fists. He was screaming and crying because his mother wouldn’t buy him chocolate.
I gave her a look as I passed by. It’s a kind of arched eyebrow, judgmental look that I have perfected over many years. But in my head, I was thinking, ‘Man, that looks cathartic. I wonder if it really makes you feel better. I must experiment. For science.’
I didn’t have anything on hand at that moment to have a tantrum over. But it didn’t take me too long.
The first time I did it; I was home alone. I was upset over something not going my way with a boy. So, I gave myself three minutes. I flopped onto my bed and said every pathetic, pitiful thing I had been walking around thinking to myself out loud.
After three minutes, I got up, washed my face, and realized, I was over that boy and that situation. It had helped. But maybe it was just a fluke. I’d need to run more tests.
I already had a control group. All the times in my life that I attempted to deal with my problems like a rational adult. And I knew how shitty that felt. Being an adult sucks a lot of the time.
I have never done this in public. I have never done it while crying. I have never done it in anger. And I have never done it in front of someone else.
It obviously wouldn’t work for any kind of genuine problem. But it does work surprisingly well for minor issues. It helps me to get out all of my patheticness over a situation in three minutes. Generally, when I am done, I have completely gotten it all out of my system and am ready to move on.
It’s my secret weapon.
Yoga, meditation, exercise, talking to my therapist, journaling, breathing exercises, visualization. All of those things are really helpful.They are all great ways to cope with stress and disappointment. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
But sometimes, my problems require a good, old fashioned temper tantrum. And sometimes, I let myself have one.
Has anyone else tried this as an adult? I am curious to know about someone else’s experience with this.