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  1. #1
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Default Responding to Tantrums

    How do you respond when a person "blows up?" This would include any type of angry fit in which the person loses control to a large degree, and ceases to be rational, so that there is no reasoning with the person until he/she calms down.

    Do you just wait passively for the person to finish venting, or do you walk away, or attempt to calm him down through some kind of action, or something else?

  2. #2
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    I guess it depends. If the person is a threat then I look to minimize the threat. If they are just ranting to rant then I'll pretty much block it out until they are done

  3. #3
    Large Member Ender's Avatar
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    Depends on the person really, some will calm down if you don't react, while on the extreme end others almost require you to put them in their place before they snap out of it.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    I like to jam a few fingers into their neck and say TSST!

  5. #5
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    I agree with Ender.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I guess like with kids you just have to try to determine what kind of tantrum it is. Is the person just blowing off steam, are they trying to intimidate/manipulate you? Are their complaints valid and something they've really been letting build up?

    If they are just blowing off steam, I'd say stay calm and give them time to do it. If they are trying to manipulate/intimidate you either you can stand up to them verbally or just leave. If their complaints are valid and they've just let things build up a long time, stay calm, listen, try to provide some validation. If they react badly to that, be quiet or leave.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  7. #7
    Senior Member niffer's Avatar
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    My INTJ father has problems dealing with my tantrums. He does nothing because he doesn't think I'm rational enough to deal with at the moment, and also because he doesn't know what to do next. Ignoring them won't help. It may end up in them losing energy temporarily, but ultimately does not solve anything. If this is the kind of tantrum you are talking about, you need to try and talk to them. Don't try to reason with them or rationalize with them. Just sit with them for a while. Try to guess about what they have on their mind.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I'll echo what niffer just said: just because someone is emotional doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to what they are saying and it doesn't mean they aren't right. It just means they have strong feelings about it. Strong feelings and valid points are not mutually exclusive and you shouldn't write off valid points because of the way they are presented any more than you should believe invalid points because they are given calmly.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  9. #9
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Cafe and niffer had some good specific advice.

    Another thing is your level of commitment to the person. Your relationship will help tailor what sort of response is appropriate. (You would probably respond differently if it was your child, versus your parent, versus a friend, versus a coworker, versus your boss, versus your spouse, etc. And some of these relationships are more important, so you would compromise more or expend more energy in dealing with them.)

    I think the frequency of the blowups would also have something to do with my response. Someone who rarely blows up really gets my attention when they do; those who always blow up after awhile just ignored in terms of taking their behavior personally. However, at the same time, if it gets to the point where you feel you are being disrespected consistently in the relationship, you might have to draw some lines.

    (For example, our son often will go into his room, shut [slam] the door, and scream into a pillow so no one can hear him. That's a compromise, he still gets it out but we also don't have to hear the awful things he might be saying about the person he's mad at.)
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  10. #10
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I like to jam a few fingers into their neck and say TSST!
    I just had to TSST! Youtube:

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    Anyway sorry for the derail- to address the OP, I don't have one response to people losing it. It depends so much on the person, the context, the events leading up to the tantrum. And characterizing it as a tantrum puts the focus on the effect rather than the cause. IMO it's best to ignore tantrum behavior and focus on respecting the person and addressing whatever made them lose it, if you can.
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    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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