Why Do I Shut Down When Someone Yells at Me?
Yelling is a form of aggressive communication, and for many people, it can be difficult to manage. When we are yelled at, it can provoke feelings of anger, shame, and even fear. This can lead to us becoming overcome with emotion and shutting down.
What Does It Feel Like?
When someone yells at us, it can be an extremely uncomfortable experience. We may feel overwhelmed, embarrassed, and even frightened. Our heart rate may increase and we can become hyper-focused on what is happening in the moment. We may not be able to think straight and temporarily lose the ability to respond effectively.
Why Does This Happen?
Our reactions to elevated emotions can be influenced by past experiences. We may have grown up in a household where yelling was common and as a result, we can become conditioned to shut down when emotions are high. This can also be true in other environments such as the workplace or school. Traumatic events can also cause us to become more sensitive to negative emotions.
How Can I Cope With It?
There are several ways to manage our reactions to someone yelling at us:
- Take Time To Reflect: Taking a moment to reflect on the situation can enable us to better process our feelings. This can be helpful in allowing us to respond more calmly and objectively.
- Set Boundaries: Setting boundaries can be an effective way of managing our reactions. Making it clear to others that we will not respond to yelling can help us to remain in control of the situation.
- Practice Self-Care: Taking time to practice self-care after being yelled at can be beneficial in recovering from a difficult experience like this. Talking to a friend or family member and doing something that brings us joy can help.
Nobody deserves to be yelled at, and it’s important to remember that shutting down when someone is aggressive is a survival mechanism. Taking the steps mentioned above can help us manage our reactions when faced with this type of situation.
2. How can I learn to cope more effectively with being yelled at?
The first step to learning how to cope with being yelled at is to take a moment, take a deep breath and remember that it is not personal; the other person’s reaction may not be anything to do with you. Friedemann Schaub, MD, PhD, author of The Fear & Anxiety Solution, suggests using an “inner witness,” which is the ability to notice difficult emotions without being engulfed by them. This awareness can help you respond to the situation in a more thoughtful, deliberate way.
It’s also important to use emotional boundaries to shield yourself. Set limits on what kind of treatment you are willing to accept, remind yourself that this is not your fault, and communicate your expectations clearly. Finally, avoid emotional reactions that could further escalate the situation; instead, try to remain calm, state your point of view, and allow the other person to have their say.
5. Could there be underlying causes that contribute to my reaction of shutting down when yelled at?
Yes, there could be underlying causes that contribute to your reaction of shutting down when yelled at.
Reactions to intense emotions or traumatic events can be deeply rooted. Having experienced a stressful or traumatic event in the past can cause the body to react to similar events in the present. It is possible that your reaction of shutting down when yelled at could be linked to a past traumatic experience.
It might also be helpful to explore the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that you experience in the moments leading up to and following an episode of being yelled at. Understanding your unique experiences and how they evolve over time may provide more insight into the origins of your reaction.
Additionally, it could be beneficial to speak to a mental health professional to discuss your experiences and explore further the underlying causes of your reaction.