When my parents laughed at my temper tantrums, it made my crying even louder.
After all, here I was all upset, hoping there would be empathy for my anguish, and all I got was ridicule.
Years later when I asked them why, they said it was because I was just funny. They couldn’t help themselves.
Which I guess is fair.
The thing is, I would often forget what the trigger for the tantrum was, but I got so invested in tantrumming that I just couldn’t stop. Admitting my wailing was for nothing would mean losing face.
Right now I’m in the early weeks of a new job as newspaper publisher. Although it’s a role I’ve been circling for a while, there’s still lots of nitty-gritty to get to grips with. And now, unlike when I was the annoying passive observer with all the answers, the buck stops in my inbox.
As I’m new at this, it’s easy for my cistern of sanity to get overwhelmed when something negative happens. I overflow into panic and upset. I want to cry and I want to quit. That’s until someone manages to talk me down.
Today a client announced he was pulling his business because of something written in the newspaper. He wasn’t happy so we couldn’t share his toys anymore. His tantrum will probably go on for a while (and he might even forget what triggered it), but eventually he’ll cool down and we will get him back.
All of this makes me think: we’re just a mortgage and driver’s licence away from being five. There’s a thin veneer of adult clothes and grey hairs hiding the inner child.
Maybe we need to be OK with that. Perhaps it’s even rather funny.