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Psychological Effects of Being Yelled At (3 effects)

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This article will shed light on the psychological effects of being yelled at. It will also provide some useful ways to cope and rewire your brain towards safety.

Yelling is uncomfortable and discomforting not only in the sensory aspect but also due to its psychological and mental effects.

It can be even more distressing if someone close to you has the yelling behavior. It can have a toll on your psychological and mental well-being in the long-run.

Adverse Psychological Effects of Being Yelled at

Some of the adverse long-term psychological effects of being yelled at are listed below:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic Stress
  • Bullying behavior
  • Hinders Brain Development
  • Effects Self-esteem
  • Mental angst
  • Aggression

These psychological consequences of being yelled at may manifest themselves shortly, or they may express themselves as long-term effects.

Yelling is not healthy for relationships and can yield long-term adverse effects. A person may comply with a yeller at that specific moment to stop them from yelling, but after things are back to normal, they would revert back, as the yelling did not change their mindset in the long-term.

Yelling damages the relationship, it is not healthy to handle the challenging situation with verbal abuse. You should be aware of the psychological consequences of being yelled at to stop the behavior.

Effects of Being Yelling At As A Child

Verbal abuse and yelling behavior can be experienced in households with domestic violence and toxic relationships; children learn the concepts of emotions and reactivity from their homes. The exchange of interactions between the child and caregiver or mothers plays a great deal in understanding the emotional behaviors.

A child can identify yelling through the following cues:

  • The loud volume of her voice.
  • The deadly look in her eyes.
  • The high tone of her voice.
  • The critical and scornful expressions on her face.
  • The length and duration of the session (yelling).
  • The insults and remarks–you’re spoilt, unimportant, unworthy.
  • The unpredictable flipping of the switch turns their caregiver into somebody else.
  • The sense of abandonment that comes from these sessions.

Being yelled at frequently changes the brain, mind, and body in multiple ways, increasing the amygdala activity (emotional brain), increasing stress hormones in the system, causing high muscular tension and other physical symptoms.

Frequent yelling at the children changes the thinking and feeling process even after entering adulthood and leaving the childhood home. Thus, we can hear the voices of our critical parents in our heads even when they are not even physically there.

All human beings are born with a fully mature, hard-wired brain that can understand complex emotions like fear, sadness, and anger. The initial caregivers and parents can trigger, alter or nourish these responses with the type of environment they give to the child. For instance, fear is repeatedly triggered in a difficult environment, the one where there is the yelling, physical and emotional reaction that causes traumatic stress in a child. This stress is increased in the brains and bodies whenever the child feels attacked, including the angry voices, glaring eyes, loud tones, dismissing expressions and gestures, etc. Thus, causing a sense of abandonment in the child.

Long-Term Psychological Effects of Being Yelled At

Yelling Worsens The Behavior

While parents and other yellers may think that yelling can solve a problem and fix the problematic behavior in the future, studies show that it can create more severe and disturbing behavior in the long-term.  Yelling can worsen a child’s behavior. They are more likely to learn the behavior from home and apply it in their schools, making them the bullies.

The repeated cycle of yelling behavior will also likely become a pattern for the child when they enter adulthood and cause more long-term damage.

A study on parent-child dynamics revealed that 13-year olds who were yelled at by their parents reacted by showing higher levels of bad behavior over the next year. Behavioral problems of kids show similar results, whether the father or the mother does the harsh disciplining.

Yelling Affects the Brain Development

Yelling at a child can impact the way its brain develops. Humans process negative information and situations more rapidly than positive ones.

study found that people with a history of parental verbal abuse in their childhood have a wounded emotional brain compared to those with no verbal abuse history.

Yelling Leads to Depression and Anxiety

Yelling can lead to the physical symptoms of anxiety. The anxiety due to yelling can be felt in the form of irritability, muscle tension, brain figging, lack of focus, and sleep problems.

Yelling can cause depression. The research tracked the behavioral problems of thirteen-year-olds who were yelled at and found increased chances of depression symptoms in these teenagers.

Research has also observed a connection between emotional abuse and anxiety or depression. These symptoms can also lead to severe self-destructive actions like risky sexual activity and drug abuse.

Yelling Results in Chronic Psychological Issues

Recent research observed a connection between negative childhood experiences, including verbal and other kinds of abuse, developed chronic psychological pains and headaches. People with a history of yelling and verbal abuse may suffer from negative self-image and esteem problems. They are also likely to have chronic stress.

Yelling Triggers Flight/Fight/Freeze Mode

According to brain research, it gets difficult to think clearly in the state of fear, induced by yelling. When a person hears someone yelling, their brain read that as a danger, and thus they experience extreme fear. After the brain reads it as danger– a response of flight/fight/freeze mode is triggered in the person, depending on the level and amount of threat. The response can range from yelling back in defense to withdrawing from the situation or being numb or mute to the situation. None of it gives a satisfactory outcome.

Due to the above mentioned psychological problems, both the yeller and the one being yelled at will suffer from ineffective communication, leading them nowhere. They mostly face reactivity management problems. Therefore, it is important to seek professional assistance. Your therapist can help you in resolving the psychological issues of being yelled at.

Strategies to Help You Stop Yelling at Others

  • Practice and Encourage Effective Communication and Reactivity Management. Often yelling is an outcome of the inability to communicate effectively, which leads to furthermore frustration. To get out of this situation, you need to practice healthy communication that encourages you to put the message across without harsh tones and implications. This will lead to better and healthy reactivity management.
  • Practice and Train your Mind through Meditation. Meditation helps in calming your mind and body; it trains your mind to remain under control even in the conflict scenario. Once you have trained your mind, it will help you gauge through difficult situations without yelling in frustration.


This article helped you learn the psychological effects of being yelled at. Additionally, the article also explored some useful coping strategies and ways to rewire your brain.

Yelling is a form of verbal abuse. Yelling behavior is an indication of the need for control. People usually yell in situations where they feel helpless and stressed. Helplessness can be a powerful yet confusing feeling, where the brain reads the ‘helpless signal,’ and it will do anything to minimize it, usually yelling.

Yelling can be detrimental to the mental and psychological health of people being yelled at. It can trigger a fight/flight/freeze response in the person. They are unable to think clearly to respond to your yelling.

Yelling can be an early sign of a more serious form of abuse. If you are unable to manage your yelling behavior or you are being yelled at and need assistance for your psychological issues, consult a therapist. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS): Psychological Effects of Being Yelled At

Can you have PTSD from yelling?

Yes. Yelling is usually a contributing factor in more serious kinds of abuse, for instance, domestic violence and verbal abuse. These events are registered as trauma memory in your brain and body. When a specific sound is played, it can cause a replay of that traumatic memory, putting you into the flight, flight, or freeze mode. 

Can being yelled at cause depression?

Yes, yelling can cause depression. The research tracked the behavioral problems of thirteen-year-olds who were yelled at and found increased chances of depression symptoms in these teenagers.

Important studies have observed a connection between emotional abuse and anxiety or depression. These symptoms can also lead to severe self-destructive actions like risky sexual activity and drug abuse.

What does yelling do to a child’s brain?

Recent research shows that yelling at children can be as harmful and dangerous as hitting them. The study showed effects of physical beating and yelling were found to be similar. A child who is yelled at is also likely to exhibit behavioral problems, thereby getting increased yelling. Thus, continuing the sad repetitive cycle.

What happens when you yell at your wife?

Yelling at your wife or spouse elicit fear, as it does in a child. Research has shown that it is difficult to think clearly in the state of fear, thus putting the person into a flight, fight or freeze mode. The behavior from the partner can be defensive/yelling back to silence/withdrawal mode.

Is yelling effective parenting?

No, yelling is not effective parenting. In fact, it can lead to many long-term psychological issues. 

Research has proved that yelling is an ineffective parenting method because harsh verbal disciplining can have an adverse impact on the child’s brain development. Furthermore, the child is likely to learn that behavior and repeat the pattern in the future.

Overall, yelling can damage the parent-child relationships.

Is raising your voice abuse?

Yes, raising your voice is a form of verbal abuse and can be extremely threatening and fearful for people of all ages.

How do you stop yourself from crying when yelled at?

Some of the ways you can stop yourself from crying when being yelled at :

Try deep breathing
Take a break and be away from the situation
Try to stop the thought that is making you cry; it will require some practice to master. 


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