“But he only listens when I yell”
This is what I hear from all my clients who admit to an angry communication issue.
It’s not true, and it’s not a reason to justify screaming.
Yelling Inhibits Trust and Understanding
Yelling is a power play to state “I am mightier than you.” It’s a way of puffing up and taking control over a situation by dominating someone else.
This never feels good for the person on the receiving end.
And it ruins trust.
When someone complies, it is out of fear, not understanding.
In fact, when someone is screaming, our brain goes into fight or flight mode and has a harder time registering words because the part of the brain that thinks is suppressed. If they comply, it’s often out of survival.
This can result in depression, anxiety, people pleasing, a loss of self-esteem, and damaging the relationship.
People Who Yell Were Often Yelled At
We are taught how to yell, when to yell, and that yelling will help us get our needs met. What we are not taught is the emotional and relational cost.
If you feel the cost is too high, you can always learn something new. Here are some tips to get you started.
Commit to discussing things only when both parties are calm. When you feel yourself getting heated, take a break from the conversation. Agree to come back to it within a reasonable amount of time when both parties are calm. Use a quirky code word that you set up ahead of time to communicate this. Don’t just walk away. If someone asks for cool off time, respect the boundary. Don’t goad them into fighting. Don’t follow them around. Leave them alone. If a child is misbehaving, look beyond the behavior and see the meaning behind the behavior. If they are tired, get them to sleep. If they are hungry, feel them. If they need a hug, comfort them. Yelling teaches them that they are not allowed to have needs. If your child is misbehaving, check to see if you are being firm, fair, and consistent. If you aren’t, they may not understand what the standards are. Instead of raising your voice when you are angry, lower it or whisper. This can change the dynamic immediately.If someone is yelling at you, don’t yell back. Repeat back what they said or acknowledge their feelings. People yell because they don’t feel heard. Let them feel heard and they will likely stop. When you feel like yelling at another adult because you don’t feel heard, say that. If yelling was a way your family communicated love, stop. Think about it. It’s not loving.
Everyone deserves to feel safe.
And most of us want healthy, connected relationships. Learning how to communicate calmly and respectfully goes a long way in making that happen.