Violent rages can happen to anyone. But can things ever return to normal after causing a scene?
You may be known as the type of person who is never bothered by anything. Even the most upsetting events just seem to roll off your shoulders. But someday, somewhere, somehow, someone is going to set you off big-time and push you beyond your limits. And when an angry outburst happens, things can get ugly fast.
Whether you discover your ex has been spying on you through an intricate series of web cams, your identity has been stolen for the fifth time this year, or you can’t take your friend talking in a horrible fake British accent anymore, angry outbursts happen. Frequently, the person responsible for the outburst immediately feels a sense of regret after it’s over. But those around you may be so shaken that it takes an extended period of time for things to return to normal.
How can you speed things up a little and push this whole ugly scene under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen?
Donny lost his cool over a game of Farkle Party and things got weird with his friends
It was a casual Saturday night, and the gang was hanging out at Linda’s apartment tipping back a few beers and playing board games. During the classic dice game of Farkle Party, calm and cool Donny was having a very difficult go of it, and his friends weren’t picking up on the fact that their snickers and sneers were actually starting to bother him.
Earlier, everyone mocked his horse drawing in Pictionary. Then, he couldn’t think of any E words in Scattegories. And now, he couldn’t roll a 5 to save his life. When Andrea won the game with 10,000 points, Donny was so far behind people momentarily believed they had forgotten to record some of his scores. All it took was one little giggle from Joan, and Donny lost his mind.
“Fuck all of you!” Donny yelled, grabbing the card table and flipping it over, then kicking it and breaking it in half. He grabbed a handful of Farkle dice, kicked open a screen window, and threw them into the woods. “You guys are so damn high and mighty winning your precious games! Ever stop for a second to think maybe you’re alienating one of your supposed best friends? Screw you! Screw all of you, especially you Joan, you bitch!” Donny stormed down the hallway and slammed Linda’s bathroom door so hard that a neighbor called the police.
Inside the bathroom, Donny felt immediate shame and regret. How on earth would he ever show his face? Unfortunately, he had barricaded himself inside the apartment with everyone else, so he would have to come out eventually. He held his ear to the door and listened to his friends reacting to the never-before-seen outburst. He could hear crying and confusion, but mostly it was quiet. Had he really just ruined twenty years of friendship over his own buffoonery bad luck at board games? What can he do to fix this?
What to Do When You Feel Bad Immediately After Your Obscene Outburst
In actuality, it’s going to be very hard for people to come back around after witnessing an out-of-nowhere childish tantrum. In many cases people may never recover and see you the same way again. But, there are things to try.
- The best thing to do if you feel immediate regret is probably to simply state that to the group, apologize profusely, pick up your mess, say “I don’t know what came over me” and hope everyone can forgive you and move on.
- Blame an underlying issue, true or not. “I’m sorry, just before I came over here I found out I was rejected to dental school for the sixth time. I’ve tried to bottle up this anger,” or “I’m ruined! My stock plummeted. I just lost my life’s savings. I have nothing! This game just pushed me over the edge. It’s not your fault! I’m sorry!”
- Inform the group that you have anger management issues, and had been hiding it from them all these years, and are working diligently to improve yourself. Even if that’s a lie, you might really want to look into anger management if you react so angrily to something trivial.
- Another option might be to come back into the room laughing hysterically, pretending the whole thing was a hilarious act. “Gotcha!” you say, barely able to contain yourself, pointing at your friends and laughing. “You guys thought that was real??! Oh man, may as well hand me the Oscar right now! Jesus, you thought I’d get that worked up over a board game? Hand me another beer.”
- A third option could be to wait it out in that bathroom for a very long time, or until someone comes to check on you. Play it out for as long as you can until others take pity on you.
- If you had been drinking leading up to the event, blaming your drunkenness is a possibility. Of course, your friends may want you to seek alcohol abuse help if you go that route. Be prepared to actually attend AA meetings.
- A desperate option could be to pretend the outburst never happened. Just return to the room, sit down, and continue talking like before. State profusely that you have no memory of what happened. “What meltdown? I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Then you’re signaling to the group that you’ve literally lost your mind; it may result in someone having you committed.
- Of course, if you felt the outburst was warranted and don’t feel regret afterwards, you have no reason to worry about facing the group… unless you fear they might injure you.
In the end, Donny waited about five minutes, then shamefully emerged from the bathroom. He offered everyone apologies, stated that he didn’t know what came over him, and tried to play it off. Most people in attendance had forgotten about the incident within a few days, but not Joan. She avoided events where Donny might be present for the next 15 years.
My Hot Take
One time while working at the South Dakota State Fair, a friend and I were to measure off the camp sites and draw the spaces with chalk so campers would know where to park. My friend (who had been talking in a fake British accent for over an entire week and was annoying the crap out of me) and I got into a disagreement over how to measure the lines and I wound up exploding at him. Those who know me know how out of character such an outburst would be! I threw things, pushed him, and screamed profanities at him. He was very shaken. And then it turned out his method was correct. Oops. I felt rather ashamed and apologized, and then a few minutes later was back to going about my business like it never happened. I think that was the best way to forget about it and move on. Poor Brandon.