Meltdowns are scary.

If you haven’t heard, Bill O’Reilly is no longer on FOX News.  The multiple allegations of sexual harassment/abuse have finally been responded to in a decisive, public way by the network, and he is gone.

Recently, an old clip of O’Reilly having a complete meltdown on the set of Inside Edition has been making the rounds.  If you haven’t seen it, I’ve embedded it below, but please be forewarned that you are about to see a man whose anger appears to escalate quickly–the kind of anger you could easily see turning in to physical violence.  This could be triggering for some folks who have lived with erratic people or been privy to such sudden, aggressive mood swings.  (Granted, we don’t see what happens in the minutes leading up to this take — it may have been a tough day of shooting — but his behavior is not professional.  That’s my opinion as an actor, director, and working artist.)

I have worked with people like this. All of them have been male. While I have worked with a woman or two who would occasionally lose their temper in a public, uncontrolled manner, it was never to the degree that I saw in male colleagues or bosses.

That’s not to say that only men lose their temper like Bill does here, nor is it to suggest that men do so at a greater rate than women.  My exposure is limited to the few thousand or so people I’ve had regular interactions with.  Part of me does have the feeling that, if we looked back at the way we’ve conditioned men to control/express their emotions vs. the way women have been conditioned, we’d find patterns in the male conditioning that could increase their potential for such outbursts.  Luckily, in the past couple generations or so, there have been some progress made in helping folks of all genders to have healthier relationships with their own emotions.  Anger and fear are especially volatile emotions that, when repressed or projected, can lead to explosions.

I’ve lived in the same houses as others (male and female) who had these types of outbursts. Even when apologies happened, or the explosion wasn’t directed at a specific person, it still made it impossible for me to trust that person or to feel 100% comfortable around them ever again.  While I have never sat down with a mental health professional to discuss these folks, I have a feeling that some of the things I experienced may have been emotional abuse, or its close cousin.  After all, living with someone who is prone to sudden, angry outbursts can make a house feel a lot less like a home, and a lot more like a minefield.  And the person laying the mines has a lot of control, whether they consciously seek it or not.

Toxicity is terrible.

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