Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
"Don't yell at me," said the wife to the husband or the mother to the child or the teacher to the student. It hurts. It's stupid. And she nevers hears or thinks about what you said when you yelled. All she heard was yelling.
Take the example of the time I left the garage door open and anyone could have gotten in the house. All the yelling was probably valid, but I was so upset by it that I didn't focus on the mistake and did it again. On the other hand, the time I left the office door unlocked was even worse and my colleague just mentioned it nicely. So, I listened, thought about it, took responsibility and never did it again. No one learns by demeaning words or tone of voice. Once again, it's just stupid. In fact, what one learns is that the yeller is frustrated, rigid, intolerant of mistakes and even cruel.
Or, onemight fathom that the yelling person is really overreacting because he's upset with himself or about something else and letting out all your tension on the victim. Well, she or he is not a punching bag or a whipping post, so forget it. People who are so verbally abused can refuse to take it. Personally, I would leave the room, the building, the town, the State or the country, depending on how bad it is and how far I need to go or really can go to feel safe.
But what if the victim of yelling is a child? The child is stuck and can only leave mentally. That departure happens by denial, depression, opposition, passive aggression, or outright rebellion. The child may talk it over with someone who cares or stuff the terrible feelings inside. The child may judge that it's the yelling parent or sibling who is disturbed, insecure and needs help. Usually, though, the child becomes anxious and insecure. The repercussions can show up physically and mentally for years. What a mess!
The correction is so easy. Talk, don't yell. Explain, understand, tolerate, and model self-control. If there's a legitimate gripe, consequences should be just, not weirdly stupid.