Have you ever watched someone throw a tantrum? Most of us have at one point or another. Better yet, can you remember the last time you may have been on the receiving end of someone with a temper? Those moments, along with the people who inflict them, wreak havoc. The person who loses their cool usually causes destruction to those in their path, before they storm off supposedly never to be seen or heard from again. But ironically, without fail, they come back. After repeatedly watching them act out then take their marbles and go home, you’d think they’d finally make good on their promise and stay away. But no. They usually return just like the tide.
The amazing thing to me, is the “how” they return. Out of the blue, they reappear. Usually unannounced. All happy and ready to start fresh. As if nothing ever happened. And you and I are supposed to play along. Smile. Make nice. One thought here: Elephant in the room!
I always wonder what goes on in the minds of these people. I don’t think it even dawns on them that they have hurt anyone in their radius or diameter for that matter. And to be honest, I don’t think they really care. Or, at least, I don’t think they can. You can’t act like that and care about anyone other than yourself. Not when you throw a tantrum and attack anything and everything in the room. Worse yet, they truly rationalize their behavior. I guess they want you and I to just “accept” that they are passionate, emotional people. It’s all good– in their minds.
I recently had the experience where someone that I thought was gone, truly long gone – came back. This person had not been mean to me personally as much as they had been to others. As soon as they saw me however it was all hugs and howdies. I have to be honest. I froze up. Right then and there I had a decision to make. Give the cold shoulder, wander to the other end of the room, or simply be polite. I am ashamed to admit, I actually chose a bit of each option.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I can be very passionate myself. So much so that it has been known to get the best of me. And sometimes I get embarrassed. I unleash my thoughts or feelings on an issue and I completely forget that soft, sensitive souls within earshot just do not want to hear my rant and prefer not to be a a captive listener at the bottom of my soap box.
I am working on this. But I do believe it’s a bit different from those who don’t mind saying hurtful things with the intention of doing damage.
So what exactly are we to do with those who, after the storm has blown over and you have forgotten all about them, drag back in like the dog? I guess the best response might be this–no response at all.
They will continue to be who they are. They don’t necessarily see the need or a reason to change. Therefore, it is not our job (nor are we truly able) to “fix” them or the problems that come with them.
In addition? They’re not usually as tough as they seem to be or as they want you to think they are. Many times, they are simply bullies. Cowards if you will.
Ironically, a friend of mine admitted to me that she has been known to throw tantrums. She confided in me that the times she has “acted out” in life were the times she didn’t really know how to properly act during a crisis. Her ugly behavior was her way of trying to get people’s attention. To let them know that she was deeply hurting and needed help. Very understandable. I can appreciate that. But it doesn’t make it the best plan of action. Either for the person throwing the fire or for those left to brush off the ashes.
What are the people in the room supposed to do when someone loses control? The best thing to do is simply smile and go about your business. And perhaps a bit of healthy distance wouldn’t hurt. These folks will continue to burn bridges. You might as well stand back and watch the smoke from afar. Remember, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And no one likes to get burned.
Just my thoughts.