As a man, managing the onslaught of a tantrum is scary business. But anger doesn’t have to ruin your day.
I’d had it. After an exhausting couple of weeks professionally, dealing with personal pressures, and frustrations in my entrepreneurial business, man, I blew it.
A mantrum surfaced.
I blew my top. We had great plans for the family on a Saturday to do some fun things together, getting things ready for my daughter’s new room and it went south quickly. One thing triggered me, and the weight of the pressure broke the camels back. It was a small straw, but it had weight and I yelled and created a real stink (yes I was an ass, and yes I am human).
The day didn’t start well at all. I mean obviously, I wasn’t like Jack Torrance (Nicholson’s character from Stephen King’s The Shining), screaming at my wife peering in the door that I had just put my axe through saying “Here’s Sean”, but it was close.
It set a tone. It ruined a lot of the momentum that we had going into what we wanted to do. Yep. I had a mantrum. I recognized it right away, but of course, it was too late to take back. I decided the only action in getting us past this was going to be moving ahead with our plans. We (especially me) weren’t ignoring it, but it wasn’t going to define us.
I found that day, three ways that I worked to get past it and keep it in check along the way.
1. Moving Forward, Stepping On The Glass
I could have stopped, as a matter of fact I was going to stay home and ruin the day, instead, what I did was moved us ahead and said, “We’re going to get in the car, we’re going to go ahead with our plans. We’re going to keep our momentum going.” And we did. We moved forward, and we ended up getting almost everything we wanted to get accomplished done, and then some. By the end of the mantrum cycle, we had a happier story to tell.
2. Dragging The Vampire Into The Sun
I forced myself to be in the moment, smiling. It wasn’t easy. I was pissed. I wanted to be angry. It was misdirected, but just the same I was miserable. Instead, I remember the power of smiling and how consistent smiling forces your behavior to change. Even though I felt like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, that I was a fake, it worked. I forced myself to be in the moment, into the sunlight and even though I had ups and downs throughout the day, it was a more enjoyable experience.
3. An Aftershock Has Repercussions, Be Prepared
Now I know I talked about getting past it, but like any great earthquake, there are ripples. I did have a relapse that day. I got cranky at one point (I blame the exhaustion of constant smiling, and yes I am still to blame), and I started with short answers and I could feel the blood moving to my earlobes (my own spidey sense of “look out”). I fell backwards, but I talked about it. I snapped, but I saw it coming (since the San Andreas fault had already let go earlier in the day). I spoke about it immediately, identifying the Jr. mantrum and moved past it with my family, supported and together.
The day was not exactly like we’d planned. The beginning had a hell of a rough start, but by the end of it you realize that it’s the continued reaction that’s going to define what occurs and what effect it has on it. God knows my wife’s response to my mantrum was not fantastic, rightfully so, but it was a continuous effort I put in behind the mantrum that made the difference.