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Home » It’s Actually Quite Common (And Not Really Talked About) For Adults To Tantrum

It’s Actually Quite Common (And Not Really Talked About) For Adults To Tantrum

Get Hard Will Ferrell Tandrum

It’s actually quite common (and not really talked about) for adults to tantrum. Here’s how to get out of a tantrum: 

Tantrums are a natural part of childhood development. Children tantrum when they’re seeking connection. Children can’t self regulate so tantrums happen when they’re emotionally activated and cannot self soothe.

Ideally, a parent figure helps us learn how to self regulate. But, many of us don’t have parent figures who know how to self regulate. So, we miss out on this state of emotional development.

This is why many adults tantrum. We tend to think of tantrums as behavior that come from children, but tantrums are quite common in adults.

Adult tantrums can include: screaming, stomping, talking over people, throwing things, slamming doors or our fists on objects, name calling (“you’re an idiot!”) refusing to listen to others, blocking out others or pretending they don’t exist.

Examples of tantrums: 

1. Your partner brings up an issue and you completely shut down and pretend they’re not in the same room (also called stonewalling)

2. Someone cuts you off in traffic and you become enraged, following them closely in and out of traffic and honking the horn or giving “the finger.”

3. During conflict, you tell someone to “shut up” and stomp off after slamming a door.

4. When someone doesn’t behave in a way you expected them to, you lash out or shame them.

5. When someone shares their feelings you become highly defensive and making sweeping statements like “I guess I’m an awful person, why do you even talk to me!” (deflection)

6. After a comment, rather than expressing how you feel, you sit and stew over what was said for hours sometimes plotting revenge in your mind.

7. “No” feels like a personal rejection and you lash out or cannot cope with disappointment.

A vast majority of us have experienced tantrums (myself included) and it’s important to not shame ourselves. When we’re in a tantrum, our nervous system is dysregulated and our inner child is looking for compassion and empathy (something we often didn’t get)

Here’s how to cope if you’re in a tantrum:

1. Accept it: witness your behavior from a place of acceptance and curiosity. Self shaming will only make the cycle continue.

2. Ask: why do I not feel safe right now? Tantrums happen when we don’t feel safe. Are we having beliefs that someone doesn’t love us, that we aren’t worthy, or that we’re doing to be abandoned? Look at the deeper feelings.

3. Move and pause: take space and move the body. Deep breathing helps too. With practice you’ll know when this is happening and have more control with your pause.

4. Forgive yourself: “I forgive myself. I know I am doing the best I can. I choose to love myself even when I act from a place of fear and pain. I am making better choices each day.”

5. Learn how to self regulate: self regulation is the process of learning to witness your emotions rather than react to them. It creates confidence and resilience.

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