We usually associate tantrums with young kids. When we talk of someone throwing a tantrum, the image that comes to our mind is that of a three year old who was denied his favorite action figure or an extra helping of McDonald's Happy Meal. In our mind, we see a sobbing, blubbering, kicking and screaming child who is being dragged Willy-nilly by his red faced parents while the onlookers view the whole spectacle with wry amusement and sympathy.
What we do not realize is that adults are equally capable of throwing temper fits but tantrums in adults may manifest themselves in a very different way.
In children, temper tantrums can result in physical and emotional upheavals with all parties feeling its impact but in adults these can have more serious and far reaching consequences. Adult tantrums are like violent tornadoes that leave destruction and battered souls in its wake.
In adults, tantrums can destruct the fabric of family structure, harm professional relationships and destroy all friendships. They can manifest as physical and verbal outbursts, putting lives of those around in jeopardy. In teen-agers, such fits of fury and rage can end in physical abuse, self mutilation, and even suicide.
Temper tantrums in adults are always indicative of some other underlying problem. It could be frustration, feeling trapped in a no win situation, trouble at workplace, road rage or any repressed emotions that seek immediate relief and escape. The person on the receiving end can be an innocent bystander, the hapless spouse or the unsuspecting children.
For a spouse, the best way to handle an adult tantrum is to be reasonable but firm. One should not indulge in insult slinging, name calling or abuse hurling tournament. It is better for one partner to remain calm and silent. Once the tempest is over, they should sit down together and discuss the issue.
This should not be allowed to become a regular feature in one's life or home. The help of support groups, parents, family members and close friends could be sought to diffuse tensions and stop the situation from worsening. It is best to involve others and seek professional help if the wife feels threatened and fears for her own life and the safety of her children.
In dealing with parents and teen age children, it is very important for all the people concerned to give each other breathing space. Understand each others needs and desires and respect their wishes. Treat each other with dignity and respect because tantrums can lead to harsh words best left unspoken. Once cracked, these precious relationships can never be mended properly.
One can also witness adult tantrums in public places like restaurants, airports, offices and shopping centers. People lose their cool when they feel that they are not being given the due respect. At such places it is better for the person in charge to remove the offender to a quieter place and try to reason with him. A little bit of courtesy and understanding can go a long way in diffusing tensions and avoiding ugly scenes.
Pent up emotions and bottled up frustrations can suddenly erupt and result in highly embarrassing and potentially dangerous situations. Random shooting at malls, offices, schools and places of worship are often witnessed due to this factor. Vigilance by school authorities and security officials is essential to thwart any such tragic incidents.
For a person who suffers from irrational bouts of rage, it is important to address this issue by seeking professional help or family support. For immediate cure, the best remedy is drinking a glass of water. Not juice or alcohol or fizzy drinks but a glass of water or two.
Taking a bath, washing one's face and splashing water on face and head also helps to cool down. Taking deep breaths, going for a walk or listening to soft music also helps. Praying, meditation, yoga, exercising, drawing, writing, playing musical instruments or sports all helps to channel out anger and make a person calmer and less prone to violent bursts of anger.