I Had A Tantrum Yesterday, and It Wasn’t Pretty

Finding out I had zero choice set me on fire. I can usually put up with automated customer service, whether on the phone, or online chat. But this time? Oh my.

We bought a new mattress/box-spring set from a company we found online. It was delivered, unpacked and set up; the delivery guys left; I made the bed up all nice and cozy.

What do you mean I can’t talk to a human?

Looking forward to a nice shakedown nap, I sat on the edge to take my shoes off — and the side of the mattress sagged right down to the box spring. Surprise and shock! Holy moly — this was a new mattress??

Disappointed to the max, I called the company to see about returning and replacing the mattress.

No human; only a recorded message.

I was given three options from which to choose:
1. I could return it with no replacement, and pay 99 bucks shipping and 99 bucks restock fee.
2. I could exchange it for a new mattress and pay the same fees, plus the fee for shipping the replacement to me.
3. I could say screw it and keep the thing.

I hung up, irritated.

I should pay 200 bucks to return their shitty mattress?
They were going to restock it, when it was a fail?
Can we spell ‘lack of integrity’?

I was damned if I was going to pay all that! Isn’t there at least a nearby store I could bring the mattress to, instead of paying shipping?

I called again, tried using the keypad zero to get a rep and find out — nope.
I heard myself mutter angrily under my breath.

I looked on their site — was there another number to call? Nope.
Still muttering, louder.

I tried the online chat (after waiting 20 minutes to be first in line) — same three options.
As I waited, my mutterings became cusses. And more cusses.

I tried talking to to the voice chat — same three options.
Louder cussing, and accusations of idiocy.

By now, I was shouting. Loud. It’s a good thing my neighbor is gone teaching during the day — I’m sure he’d have come by to see if I was OK. I was not.
I felt my face get hot.

Automated customer service sucks

Here’s the odd thing: I don’t get mad easily.

I don’t get hot.
And I virtually never yell.
As a coach who specializes in helping people in business handle unwanted and unruly emotions, getting hot under the collar isn’t what I do.

But I did!

I was fuming! I’d become a human volcano. My brain cells had somehow morphed into molten lava.

Patience had gone on walkabout.

I was unable to think straight. I felt swamped, like life was impossible.
My entire body started trembling.

I watched myself as if I was someone else, and knew I had a way to change my state, but didn’t use it.

All rationality seemed to have evaporated.

Suddenly, I was filled with an irresistible urge to chuck my phone right out the window.
I pictured a famous baseball player, winding up and pitching one of those 190-mile-an-hour hardballs.
I felt my arm come up. So mighty tempting to just unleash the fury and let ‘er rip, launching that phone.
Create an explosion of plastic and mini parts and glass.
Shattering the entire window into itty bitty smithereens.

A voice inside my head said, “Like that would get you any kind of result you’d want, right?”
Mmmm. Nope.
And I knew that.
I knew that!
And still pictured throwing that phone…

I watched myself — who is this person?
That’s not me, is it?

I relaxed my arm.
I stopped cussing.
Time to walk my talk.

I put the phone down. Slowly, intentionally.

I stopped myself in my tracks

After all, I’m the one always teaching my students that emotions are just energy in motion, with mistaken thoughts tangled up in them!

It was time for me to do some tapping* and shifting my energy.

I sat back, closed my eyes, breathed, and tapped.
Getting the inside fire contained.
(*See tapping, below)
It was intense — it took a while.

I finally felt my brain switch back into adult-human again.

As I came back to myself, I wondered what had triggered me so badly.

I’m usually calm and quite able to go with the flow of about any situation, even one like this — what the heck?

I decided to pretend that the whole incident was a movie, and replayed the entire scenario out in my mind, start to finish.

As I watched it, I felt myself getting riled again!

So I slowed down the replay, watching it again from the beginning, noticing and feeling and tapping on each frame.

I saw that it was right when I got to the first bout with the chat that I’d begun to lose it.

It felt as if I was trying to scale a greased wall 100 feet tall and 40 feet thick. Impenetrable. No way to get up and over, no way to get through.

In the last parts of my mental movie, I saw myself gather my energy and light it on fire, as if I could blow the entire freaking wall apart.

But it was impenetrable, remember?

So there I was, stuck with a volcano on the brink of utter destruction swirling around inside of me, and no apparent way to get resolution for my problem.

Despite the fire and rage, the thoughts that rang through my head were drenched with pitiful, whining despair —
I’m helpless, I’m powerless.
I’m so stuck.
And self-pity — (envision limp hand to forehead, palm out, eyes rolled up, other hand waving flimsily) oh never mind me and my puny desires!
I have no value.
I’m nothing to them. Nothing. Just a source of revenue.
Poor poor me — I’d have to pay 200 bucks to return their shitty product.
Poor poor me — no replacement, unless I choose to pay through the nose.
Poor poor me — that’s no choice!

Uff! There it was — no choice.
That’s the key.
That’s what triggered it all.

Not only no choice, but the inhuman, wall-like impasse of an automated voice.

Just a damn heart-less, soul-less bot.

It struck me — is this where we’re going? Automated life? Not-human rules and restrictions? Being kept from our natural urge to invent or implement other choices?

How accustomed are we to having choice?
How often do we take that granted?

Having choice is called freedom. Autonomy.

Being super independent, I’m super sensitive about my ability to choose. No wonder I got upset, losing out to bloody (!@#%*&!#!!!) automated messages.

Choosing how I feel ranks right up there, and how I’d been feeling was pretty awful, so I kept tapping until I felt better.

I tapped on how stupid I felt (I’m just an overgrown brat) for losing it (I could/should do better, self-forgiveness); and then how grateful I was for having such a powerful tool* to deal with it all.

Then I imagined my huge fiery volcanic energy streaming up and out of my body into an enormous tank, where I could pull it out and use it later for creativity.

Why waste it, after all? It’s my energy!

harvesting my transformed emotional energy

Harvesting my transformed emotional energy


1. I could store the mattress until I can get rid of it.
2. I could give it to someone who doesn’t even have a mattress, much less a crappy one. I’ve been there — I’d have been over the moon to have had even a bad one.
3. I could sell it for beans, or give it away, on an online marketplace — with full disclosure, of course.
4. I could cover it up rain-proof and stick it out near the dumpster for someone to grab. Which seemed stupid to do, really.

I ended up storing the mattress. It was not a fun choice. I like to get what I want, and don’t much like it when I can’t. It’s a real inconvenience having that thing take up space in my little place. But sometimes, there is just no other way.


And then I thought, wait a minute!

I could ask the Universe for some other surprising option I wouldn’t have thought of, myself.

After all, we don’t know what we don’t know, right? How could I ever think of all the various possibilities?

I like asking the Universe — it almost always works. Maybe someone who could really use that mattress will show up and love getting it, defective as it might be. That would be so cool.

I mentally replayed the movie scenario once more. But this time, I edited it, tapping again, and adding my new choices.

Because I know darned well there are always more choices than what appear to be true at any one moment.

Flying into a rage really surprised me. I’m pretty much always on an even keel, and having had hard experience of living with nothing, am really grateful for what I have, and what I am able to be and do. Having a tantrum like a spoiled entitled brat isn’t one of my go-to states!

But I think it was a good wake-up call — the incident made me sharply aware of how much I do have to be grateful for.

Not only that, but it’s made me more aware of how our right to choose can be chipped away little by little without our noticing.

And how our speaking up to stop that from happening — whether it’s about a crappy mattress, or some political thing, or some global issue — can be seen as obnoxious, selfish, annoying, or some other criticism — whereas in truth, we need to speak up! We need to say, “Hey! Stop that! My rights are sacrosanct!”

Awareness is paramount, on all levels. Action to support a joyous life is just as paramount.

Knowing something is wrong + no action = conscious slavery.

How grateful am I for knowing how to use tapping to reground myself, and re-invent my experience! (My window is grateful, too!)


Thanks for reading! I appreciate you!

I’m frankly nervous about posting this story — my frail little ego wants me to look shiny and perfect, and my puny-brain thinks this sure shows me in a horrid light! Hah! Perfect? Not likely.

I’m hoping, rather, that maybe this story will help people get it that both inappropriately expressing emotions and repressing them can be — and most times are — disastrous.

But tapping* works wonders.

What have you taken for granted lately?
How do you handle unwanted emotions?


I Had A Tantrum Yesterday, and It Wasn’t Pretty
© Angela Treat Lyon 2024

Images: Comix by Lyon:
The Message Bot
Screaming for Choice
Harvesting My Transformed Emotional Energy
© Angela Treat Lyon 2024

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