Why do I cry when someone yells at me?

This guide will answer the question, “why do I cry when someone yells at me”. It will also provide the reason why you are sensitive to yelling and how you can help yourself in such a situation.

Why do I cry when Someone Yells at me?

You may sometimes find yourself wondering, I am an adult now, but why do I cry when someone yells at me. 

Often you get remarked that you are overly sensitive, too emotional, or plain weak. 

Crying is a way of expressing emotional pain and discomfort on something that somebody said, especially while yelling at you.

You may cry when someone yells at you out of frustration and fear. The yelling can be overwhelming for your senses and mind. The threatening situation causes your amygdala to respond through crying as a defense mechanism, to stop the other person from yelling. The reason for crying in this situation could be due to the sensory overload the person feels due to their discomforting environment. Other times, people also cry while the other is yelling at them, out of helplessness and lack of control over that situation.

Yelling Is Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse is not just being scolded or calling names. It is usually 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 learning 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 that turns their caregiver into somebody else.
  • The sense of abandonment that comes from these sessions.

Role of Childhood and Parenting Style in Behavior Responsivity

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.

How to Respond and React When Someone Yells at You?

There are multiple ways to respond when someone is yelling at you. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Try to dissociate from the environment by drowning out the voices. This will help you not to be as affected by their actions by ignoring the possibly hurtful things.
  • Try to drift away from the situation. Think of the happy place and focus on that thought. 
  • Listen and let them vent. Although yelling is an immature and unhealthy way to put the point across, but at the core, the yeller is just being frustrated with his own situation. Try to dissipate the frustration by asking them to communicate and discuss the issue man to man, like an adult.
  • Recognize and validate your own feelings. Although the yeller is frustrated, that does not imply they have a right to pin their own emotions on others as well. So, it is really important to identify and validate your own feelings. Don’t discount on your well being to entertain the other person. Try to ground yourself and navigate through your feelings.
  • Don’t take it personally. The yeller is mostly in his own emotional turmoil and tries to project their own frustration onto others. In such a case, it is essentially required to not take anything personally. However, it can be challenging, especially when you already have a history where yelling was the norm.
  • Breathing is vital to surviving the chaos. Practice meditation and deep breathing. Focusing on your breath to calm your mind and body will help you get out of the problematic situation. It will help you in reducing the physiological reaction coming from your brain after piercing the danger.
  • Consult a therapist and ask for help. If you think the situation is too overwhelming for you, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Seek a competent counselor to help you manage your emotions effectively. Alternatively, you can express it with your trusted friend or family.
  • If you are facing abuse at home or with your partner and it is impossible to communicate effectively, call a helpline like Victim Connect to get you out of the situation.

How Do I Calm the Yeller?

Most people choose counseling and other professional help as a last resort. Therefore, we’ll be discussing some ways how you can stop someone from yelling in conflict situations. 

  • Before you begin the discussion, both of you need to acknowledge the need to break the dysfunctional pattern. It can be along these lines: “The last time we talked about it, I did not respond appropriately. I am willing to try a new and healthy behavior”.
  • Next, you need to think of ways you can change the pattern and be open about the discussion. It would help if you both took the responsibility to change your behavior and let your new behavior be known. Avoid surprises unless they are pleasant surprises.
  • Employ a healthy code of conduct at your home. We can only have control of how we aspire to be. 
  • It is essential to put a time limit on the duration of the discussion. If you are both comfortable continuing the discussion, agree to a set time limit. Repeat until it becomes a habit.
  • When either of you needs a time out, specifically to decrease your reactivity, decide on a time to resume. This will reduce the chance of evading the discussion entirely.
  • After the discussion, if you mutually agree, you both can analyze your roles in how effective the discussion was. Talk about yourself and how you felt about it. Feel free to compliment your partner if you found the discussion beneficial. Add on the areas that can be more effective. Be focused on your own behavior and reactivity. Avoid speaking for your partner and allow them to speak on their own behalf.

Conclusion

This guide answered the question, “why do I cry when someone yells at me”. The articles summed up why some people are sensitive to loud voices and yelling.

Crying or feeling helpless when somebody is yelling at you could sign that you are a sensitive human being. It can also be due to your childhood experiences where you once felt helpless in a similar situation. Knowing the reason in detail could help if you recognize and address the issue with some introspection. It will also help in understanding emotional regulation when you feel too overwhelmed in any situation.

Crying is a physical manifestation of the built-up of overwhelming emotions in your body. Your body gets the signal from the amygdala, which perceives yelling as a danger. As a response, you experience fear, and the stress hormone is activated, increasing the tension and pain and causing your tears to well up in the eyes.

Breathing exercises can help in managing your emotional response to yelling. Working on your breath to calm your body and mind can be useful in soothing the situation. 

If you are too overwhelmed to cope with the situation yourself, try to consult a therapist. They will help you identify the problem, address the issue by tracing it back to your early history and connecting the dots to the current situation, and help you resolve the unfinished business from the past.  

If you have further queries and suggestions on the topic, please write to us in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS): Why do I cry when someone yells at me?

Why do I cry when someone gets mad at me?

You cry when someone gets angry at you because it is a normal response. Your mind finds the situation frightening and overwhelming, and your body can register the situation as any one or all of these at the same time. You become sad that somebody is shouting at you, and it causes the response of crying.

Why do I cry when I yell at someone?

You may cry when you are yelling at somebody because of frustration, fear, or anger.

When we are trying to be heard and repeatedly seeing the same response, we become frustrated and bothered by the situation. This can be overwhelming for our minds and bodies. Hence we end up crying while yelling at the same time.

Why do I cry when my dad yells at me?

You may cry when your dad yells at you because it’s someone you love and respect, and being yelled at by this figure can make you feel neglected, embarrassed, uncomfortable, and abandoned.

Crying is a normal and healthy reaction to pain; both emotional and physical pain can result in this response.

Crying is also the manifestation of showing them that their words have hurt you.

What is the fear of being yelled at called?

The fear of being yelled at is called ligyrophobia. It is the aversion to loud sounds and noises. 

Why do I get scared when someone yells at me?

When someone yells at you, you may naturally get scared because you perceive the situation as endangering and fear that the yeller may become violent soon.

Additionally, you can be startled when someone yells at you because it may trigger an event from the past where you felt similarly helpless.

How do you hold back tears when getting yelled at?

It can be difficult to hold back tears when you are being yelled at because it is the emotional response controlled by the amygdala.

However, you can learn and train to hold back tears in difficult situations through practicing meditation and breathing exercises.

References

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2018/The-Problem-with-Yelling

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-stop-crying-arguments_l_5ca4fa07e4b0ed0d78102567

http://www.edbatista.com/2011/07/antonio-damasio-on-emotion-and-reason.html

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2018/The-Problem-with-Yelling

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