Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Adult Temper Tantrums Are *Not* Okay

Believe it or not, some adults are stuck in childhood to the degree that they occasionally have what I call an adult temper tantrum. People typically say an adult with this problem has a "bad temper" but the truth is that they have temper tantrums just like little kids do. In society, it seems to be more prevalent and accepted that men have bad tempers. Ever wonder what all the women do when society says it's not okay for them to turn over a table or scream all over the house? In a nutshell, women are more likely to internalize their feelings.

Recently a client of mine told me about what happens in her house when her husband loses his temper. In short, everyone gets scared and walks around on eggshells until her husband gets his mood under control. My client loves her husband but is afraid this trait will never change. I explain consistently with my clients that people can't necessarily change their personality, but they can certainly change their behaviors.

Let me be clear when I say this: If someone in your house is guilty of adult temper tantrums, you must say "No more." You must create a No Tantrum policy to protect the peace of your house and environment. Everyone must learn how to manage their feelings, and there are countless outlets that are good for frustration when someone feels overwhelmed.

The most important thing to do if someone in your life has tantrums that affect you is to sit the person down and seriously describe how the tantrums affect you. Explain that you are willing to work together with that person to help him or her find better ways to cope when he or she feels overwhelmed. Do not forget that adult tantrums must be unacceptable and understand that you must take a proactive approach to this problem if you ever want things to truly change.

12 comments:

betty said...

Hi Seth,
there is a direct connection to tantrums & men who have NPD or BPD. This is what I am assuming my x had because there was never a calm conversation. once i began to kindly explain how the put downs, blame & tantrums made me feel, he would interrupt & begin another tantrum. he would yell that i am always hurting his feelings & that i dont have a right to be hurt. i think these guys are different in that they lack empathy & if that is so, then is there any hope at all??

Agathos said...

Hi, I cannot put in words what I feel when I read this article and most importantly Betty's comments. I am in a similar situation as Betty and I am totally stressed out. I am not able to talk to him at all!! forget making him understand. I cannot see if anything can change him.....Please suggest, is there anyway to save my sanity by staying in the marriage?

Beth said...

Betty...you hit the nail on the head; No ability to calmly converse. Wow, been there with my husband for 11 years now. SO with all due respect Dr., when we live with this type of man, he can't sit down, talk, or listen to understand much of anything! So your suggestion to "talk to him about this", doesn't work. Obviously, we've tried that.
Thank you ladies for making me feel like I am not the only one!!

Carolynn said...

I agree with the doctors comments, however these individuals choose not to participate in a conversation that will be productive. I was so hurt by my husband of 8 years behavior that I wrote an email detailing his negative behavior, how it impacted me and that I wan no longer fearing his wrath. Of course, he did not respond. Sadly, I was left no choice but to file for divorce. Of course, he's more angry but I feel so liberated. I've chosen to take a positive spirit and will not argue, period! This has made him more angry. I'm not saying to anyone they should leave their spouse, but drastic action is necessary. Unfortunately, my husband refused counseling and would even bring MY child into his temper rages. ENOUGH!!!!! I wish you all well.

meg said...

I am convinced my husband is Aspergers.No amount of rational, calm discussion helps, it is all about him. For anyone in a volatile relationship google Aspergers Partners. Good Luck.

A.m. said...

I grew up around a father who had. temper tantrums two to four times a week. he used to say horrible things about me. did this do something to my person that I would like not be aware of/???

ffb38998-b195-11e1-9621-000f20980440 said...

Mouth wide open..I'm experiencing the same behavior with my fiancé.. I love this dude to death but his behavior has me questioning his love for me. When we sit down and are having a normal conversation he will start crying, slapping his hands together and just totally emotionally wrecked.. He has thrown things, broken things and yelled to the top of his lungs.. This is all while my 12 year old daughter is in the house.. He claims I don't do as much for him as he does for me in the relationship which I believe I try to ... But if I see that the conversation is about to get nasty I'll walk away.. He will than follow me blocking me in so that I have to stand and listen to him cry and yell.. I'm 7 months pregnant now so I try to avoid this type of situation all of the time.. He recently threw one of these tantrums and was asked to leave the home..I try talking to him but he just cuts me off constantly so he never hears my point of view because I never get to finish what I'm saying.. So I'm stuck just listening to him. I get so frustrated that I hold what I want to say and let him vent.. I really don't feel that anything that I'm doing or not doing should result into this type of behavior..

Smart Other Blogs said...

Good post and Smart Blog
Thanks for your good information and i hope to subscribe and visit my blog STD Symptoms and more Scabies Symptoms thanks again admin

Carissa Layton said...


I was married to my beloved husband and we loved and cherished ourselves for good 2years and every thing was going on smoothly but april 5, 2013 we both had misunderstanding and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and I begged him because I love him so much but he refused me I was so down cast and I felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back, a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first I was scared but I have to give this man a trial because I love my husband very much and I am not willing to loose him to any woman, so I ordered returning love spell from this great spell caster that made me a happy woman again to say it all my husband came back to me with much love and a caring heart...i am testifying to this great spell caster of Ishvara temple you are a great man in this world and you mean so much to me you are the best spell caster that i have ever hear off in all website contact this man via this email if you really need to get your problems solve ishvaratemple@yahoo.com

sharon johnson said...

My name is Sharon Johnson and i want to testify of the good work done by a faithful Dr uko a spell caster. in my life i never thought there is such thing as spiritual intercession. my problem started nine months back when the father of my kids started putting up some strange behavior, i never knew he was having an affair outside our matrimonial home. it dawn on me on that faithful day 19th of April 21st 4:23pm when he came to the house to pick his things that was when i knew that situation has gotten out of hand and he then told me he was quitting the marriage which i have built for over five years, i was confused and dumbfounded i called on family and friends but to no avail. two months after i started having problem with my kids welfare rent-age and all of it, i really went through hell. until a day i was browsing on the internet and i happen to meet a spell caster i never believed on this but i needed my man back so i gave the spell caster my problem at first i never trusted him so i was just doing it but you know a problem shared is half solved after a week my husband called me telling me that he his coming back home and that was all. now we are living happily and i still do contact him on this email:ukospelltemple@yahoo.com

Brenda K said...

Get out now! I've been walking on eggshells to keep the peace for 34 years. He asked me for a seperation on SuperBowl sunday. We are still in the same house because of financial reasons. I can't wait to get out of here, but as usual I am fixing the house up for resale, I did the first house on my own as well. I have had Arnold Chiari Malformation were I was going paralyzed from the neck down and had the most hidiouse operation to correct it, 7 days in the hospital, came home highly druged and he wanted to know what was for dinner. I got lung cancer and he wish that I would die, I had to have someone else take me to the daily radiation and chemo appointments. 2 1/2 years bedridden, had to be taught to walk again.2011 I picked myself up, quit all the drugs on my own and started exercising to lose all the weight that I had gained from being beddridden with a tube down my nose to feed me. All the while he is tell me to get my fat ass up off the couch and get a job. So I say to you GET OUT NOW or your life is going to be a misserable hell in which you only exist. No fun no happiness. They won't change. My son now is showing the same characteristics as his father, I wish I would have left him when my son was born.

Johnny Starr said...

Women throw many more temper tantrums than men do. Is this article a joke? Women in American society have the emotional stability and intelligence of 5 year olds.