We NEED it to recover our composure. Period.
I too get tired of being accused of "grudge-holding" or "sulking" or "insert insult from someone who doesn't need time to process strong reactions." It's for EVERYONE'S benefit that we walk away because we know ourselves best and know that we need to.
I don't realy understand why this is. I've had a couple of disagreements with friends that have gone down like this. They seem to think that the absoute healthiest way to deal with any situation is to talk about it immediatly. I seem to keep having to explian to them that I need time to sort out my thoughts for myself so I can effectivly communicate with them. Raw unfiltered emotions can be realy dangerous things, this process is realy to protect the both of us. I definatly think that when someone asks for time between an incident and trying to resolve the conflict it should be respected.