I got a prize for self-control. Granted, it was imaginary and self-awarded, but by golly, I earned it! What didn't I do? I did not chuck my non-responsive laptop across the room, smashing it to pieces. Realizing temper tantrums do not befit a 60-year-old woman, I congratulated myself on my self-control and reflected on reasons why I made a superior decision:
1. I realized the wall would be badly damaged, and I would have to pay for the repair;
2. I realized that smashing my computer would only hinder and prolong the odious tasks for which I required my laptop;
3. I understood the value of the work and memories located on that computer could not be easily recovered; and finally
4. I once chewed my daughter out for doing nearly the same thing.
Once when my daughter was a teen, I spied her, in a fit of rage, chucking her cell phone on the ground. I recall her mood being inspired by her boyfriend. I could understand if not support her sentiment, but I berated her loudly and publicly about the cost of the phone and the assurance that the phone would not be replaced if broken.
This did not improve her temper. She retrieved her phone from the soft, cushy grass and stormed inside.
There have been many times since then when I have had the urge to act like my former teenage daughter, but common sense and decorum always seem to derail my baser urges. This is good, I suppose. No damage was done, and unnecessary financial commitments were avoided.
Dr. Roberta Satow, in her Life After 50 blog on Psychology Today's website describes adult temper tantrums as the unachieved ability to handle disappointments in life. She noted that tantrums can be internal, expressed in feelings of negative self-worth and fear. Nurturing parents help children learn to deal with these feelings and evolve into emotionally healthy adults. Adults who have lacked this childhood guidance require the patience and love of those around them as they continue to work through their personal and professional turmoils.
I guess I should feel grateful that I have evolved into a relatively stable human being but I have to admit that I think I would occasionally enjoy the freedom of a good scream and throwing tantrum.
Satow, Roberta. “A Strategy to Deal with Adult Temper Tantrums.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 5 Feb. 2019, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/life-after-50/201902/strategy-deal-adult-temper-tantrums.
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