Yelling, Screaming Tantrums

Screaming Extinction Bursts

How to tell when your opponents are close to losing.

Loosing your cool means you are losing the battleThe louder they scream and holler, the closer they are to losing.  There is a well-known phenomenon in behavioral psychology. That is, when you are extinguishing a behavior, your subject cycles through an extinction burst. This means, they get more aggressive trying to get their way.

When a child is used to getting their way, and suddenly mom and/or dad and/or nanny – does not give them their usual reward, what do they do?  They scream, yell and throw a tantrum.

When a bully stops getting their way, they may yell, scream, and threaten their victims, basically throwing a tantrum.  When an abusive person stops being able to control their victim, they yell, scream and throw a tantrum.

And as is typical, they rationalize their bad behavior by blaming their victim. If their victim hadn’t provoked them, they wouldn’t have had to throw a tantrum or they wouldn’t have had to behave badly. It’s the other person’s fault for provoking them. It doesn’t matter how badly they behaved, they, for some reason, believe they don’t have the ability to control their behavior so it’s the responsibility of everyone around them to behave in a way that doesn’t provoke them.

Do you know what that level of inability to control your behavior is called in any person over 2 years of age?  It’s a sign of a mental impairment of some sort: inhibition control, borderline personality disorder, psychosis, low blood sugar. You get the picture. Could be anything. The point is that their attempt to control their anger problem by controlling others is doomed to failure because it isn’t other people who have a problem with impulse control. It’s the responsibility of the person with impulse control problems to figure out WHY they have impulse control problems and find ways to compensate so that they can gain control over their behavior and not act like abusive turds.

Regardless, if you are dealing with someone who has impulse control problems, the nicest thing you can do for them is to not give in to their threats that they will behave badly if they don’t get their way. All that does is teach them that behaving badly is a good way to get their way. What they should be learning and what it would benefit them and society for them to learn is that behaving badly isn’t a good idea, and you won’t get your way by behaving badly so go get professional help so that you can figure out how to behave in a more civilized fashion. When people throw tantrums, recognize it for what it is and don’t give in. You aren’t doing them or anyone else any favors if you do.

Why this means they are losing

Back to the original topic. The reason these yelling, screaming tantrums are evidence that they are losing the battle is because, if they were getting their way, they wouldn’t be behaving like that. They are only behaving like that because they aren’t getting their way.

If you are being bullied, or harassed, when your stalker/bully resorts to throwing a tantrum, it means whatever you just did, is working, and they don’t like it. So do more of it, just be sure to make sure you are safe from any physical aggression they might throw your way. It’s one thing to throw a yelling, screaming tantrum; it’s another to physically batter someone. And yes, that’s a real possibility. So do what you need to do to keep yourself save when (not if), your stalker/bully throws a tantrum (otherwise known as an extinction burst).

Anti-abortion activists:

Which brings us to anti-abortion activists. Because anti-abortionists have been unable to convince people to outlaw abortion, what do they do?  They yell, scream and throw a tantrum. (see:   They also harass, assault, batter, issue death threats, stalk and kill people who support abortions or who perform abortions. 

Are these the actions of a group of people winning their battle?  Nope. Those are the actions of a desperate group who thinks they can’t win any other way but by being horrible. So horrible in fact that they are now arguing in the courts, that because they can’t control themselves, and because they themselves behave so badly, abortion providers shouldn’t be allowed to exist. Or in the language of a 2 year old. If I don’t get my way I’m going to throw a tantrum and then you’ll be sorry.

We are adults, or, at least I hope we are. Let’s recognize this behavior for what it is. A sorry attempt by bullies to get their way when they have no ability to get what they want through other more civilized means. If we give in, we encourage more bad behavior.

The best thing we can do is ride this extinction burst out to completion and do our best to protect those on the front lines who are the targets of such horrid behavior. We should also be asking social health network to look into the mental health of these individuals and whether they represent a threat to society, because seriously, sane civilized people don’t behave that way.