I have an almost 15 month old daughter at home. And when she doesn’t get exactly what she wants when she wants it, anytime someone says “no” to her, or any iteration like it she will most likely throw a tantrum. Scream and cry and throw stuff and fall on the floor, all part of the game to her. She has been pretty consistent in this since she was very little, and no I know these aren’t yet as bad as toddler tantrums will get. However, it is always sort of amusing to watch. My wife is stern with her, but my daughter isn’t at all afraid of her. She is terrified of me, and when I raise my voice it elicits a quick response. She is usually fine after a minute or two, unless she is tired and cranky, then it can go on for quite some time.
According to my wife, she isn’t the only one in the house who is prone to the occasional fit throwing.
It happened twice during the same chore last weekend that something wasn’t the way I expected it to be so I stopped doing what I was doing and went and laid down. The first time I wasn’t feeling well and took a little nap. The second time I just laid on the couch and my wife came over and told me what I just stated, that I was throwing a tantrum just like our daughter.
I found it kind of odd, I wasn’t angry or being boisterous or yelling at her in any way. But it wasn’t out of left field, obviously I stopped what I was doing because something wasn’t going my way and I quit.
But the reality is that I was removing myself from a frustrating situation before I said or did something I was going to regret. It is a move I learned a long time ago, just walk away. It was something I picked up in therapy when I was a kid and was never really able to implement until well into adulthood.
It probably seems odd for my wife to read this because she has countless stories of when I didn’t walk away and when angry words were said and feelings were hurt.
An unfortunate part of my personality is that I am easily agitated, sometimes more than others, not unlike everyone else. I find myself agitated more often when I am manic than any other time, and it is often the best sign that I am manic, something that is difficult to realize at times.
But there I was lying on the couch being told that I was throwing a tantrum not unlike my daughter. I couldn’t argue, but deep down I wanted to show her what a tantrum could be like, prove my point, and win the argument we weren’t even having. That is something I probably would’ve done ten years ago, maybe even five, who is to say.
Instead I just listened to her words and thought long and hard about what she was saying to me. Maybe my coping mechanism wasn’t working for her even if it was working for me. In the past I used to leave the house altogether and go see a movie or grab dinner alone. She convinced me I didn’t need that much time to come down to Earth and I didn’t need to be so dramatic. Maybe she was right about this one too.
I still haven’t decided what to do on the matter, but for the moment I will leave it up to the situation: if it is my only recourse I’ll take it, if there is a more mature way to handle it, I’ll give it a try.