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© 2001, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


When we're upset about something, which is inevitable in life, the path of least resistance is to get angry and lash out at other people. Loved ones, amazingly, take the brunt of all this anger because if we were to act this way at work or school, we would soon be shown the door.Under stress we regress, as the saying goes. We regress to the vicious and foolish behavior we learned on the playground, among other places, when we were young children. I must admit that when I see adults act in ways that would make a well-behaved 7-year-old shudder, I am at first fascinated. Then, revulsion and embarrassment set in, for I see the person is falling into the same trap I can so easily fall into. The old childhood tapes are still readily accessed, and I can play them with ease. A good tantrum makes us feel important and self-righteous. For awhile.