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Response to yelling

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I have this immediate and intense reaction to when someone yells at me. For the most part I don’t tolerate people who behave like that anyways. But I do work in hospitality and every once in a while we get someone aggressive. A woman screamed at me today about something very silly and I thought she was ridiculous, but acknowledging that on a cognitive level did not change the fact that I was shaking terribly and remained physically shaking on and off all day and couldn’t stop being on edge and in full panic mode ALL day (about something seriously unimportant).

I once brought it up to a therapist and they said that being upset when someone yells at you is a natural reaction but I don’t want to spend an entire day shaking and under extreme stress because someone else felt like yelling.

The strange part of it all is that growing up and dealing with what I did, I didn’t react that way…I couldn’t, for the simple fact that it was all day every day. But now that it only happens maybe once a year, I just fall apart when it does.

Anyone relate or have success beating that reaction?
Right, when someone yells at another the response is an upset. With us though it is a full body upset that doesn’t easily settle and that’s the bit that needs to be worked on. No one appreciates the raised voice this is accurate. The moment I get yelled at or voices raised my please appease kicks in and everything out of my mouth is connected to apology, I’ll fix it, I’ll change or whatever. Then I go into hard shut down, avoidance, hiding. One thing I’ve recognized in it is that I‘m dysregulated with the person and my aim now is to work on reminding my body, mind whole being that I can stay anchored. Not my storm. Oh, thought how I wish this was the outcome of my spontaneous response. If you think they went boom, guess who else did as well? Except, my boom is to find a way to get them to stop immediately by taking on all responsibility, finding a fix. None of it accurate though. I didn’t do anything to deserve the behavior from others, nor do I need to fix them.
total empathy, cerridwen, all the way to feeling it more intensely now that it is no longer a daily event in my life. the increased intensity in my response to being yelled at causes me to realize just how much pain i was repressing back in the bad old days.

for what it's worth
my current approach to handling these events is to think of the yelling as a symptom of illness and shoot to offer healing compassion to the screaming person rather than taking it to heart. alas, the attempt to offer compassion often causes an escalation in the person's psychotic episode. in those cases, i let them rant freely until they run out of steam while i visualize them screaming through the bars of a psychiatric hospital. healing hopes for all. no exceptions.
I hate the mere idea of someone yelling at me. We are probably evolutionarily wired to feel some degree of fear or anxiety when someone yells. Our cavemen ancestors who could see signs of aggression in an animal and knew to get the hell away lived longer than those who were like, “hmm that tiger is snarling. I am going to wait here and see what it does.
I have to walk away. So that I can breathe again. At the very least leaving the room, but most of the time I have to take myself outside to get even a modicum of emotional regulation back.

Completely coincidentally (because I'd have to walk away irrespective of whether that helped the situation or not), it works a treat. Yelling is very rarely productive for communication. Once yelling starts? Communicating tends to stop. So, there's not much point persisting - both me and the yeller need to get regulated. And being physically separate helps that along.

And because operant conditioning is such and effective way to teach - folks very often stop using a loud voice after only 1 or 2 walkouts. Because they don't actually want me to leave the room just because they're upset.

Win win. In my mind, walking out is a reasonable response, irrespective of whether a person has ptsd.
Anyone relate or have success beating that reaction?
Yes & No.

The most difficult things to manage, IME, are those things that happen so infrequently we don’t get practiced with dealing with them.

The very first thing I learned to do, PTSD-wise, was to manage panic attacks; recognize what was happening and stop it, with split second accuracy, slowing me down in what I was doing not at all.


- When they’re infrequent, they can make me blink, gasp a half breath, and miss a step before I’ve yanked it back down by its collar to earth. That delay, in how I was taught, is absolutely inexcusable/unacceptable. Because for half a second or so I’m not “here”, not able to react/respond rightly, and that half second pause can cost lives. My own. Others.

- When it’s been years since my last panic attack? Forget the stupid half second, it’s hours just having to ride the wave & fighting for control, and days to recover from it.

So it’s very much a double edged sword.

- PRACTICE allows me to live my life smooooothly.

- But not having to practice? My life is smooth with no effort …EXCEPT… when something drops out of the clear blue sky. Then I’m f*cked.
Just being in the vicinity a panic attack is triggered I can't handle yelling at all and when it's directed at me I totally shut down mentally. I grew up with a lot of screaming and yelling by my mother at anyone and everyone. In 9th grade had n algebra teacher put a student up against a locker screaming at him , I learned nothing in his class that year had a panic attack every time I walked in his class. I'm 60 still can't handle yelling.
Just being in the vicinity a panic attack is triggered I can't handle yelling at all and when it's directed at me I totally shut down mentally. I grew up with a lot of screaming and yelling by my mother at anyone and everyone.
Sometimes - we just ride that line at the top of the suds scale and something really anxiety or stress inducing throws us right into dissociation.....

Getting a grip on The PTSD Cup article helped a lot.

Not that everything that induces that massive stress reaction is better but I spend less time at the top of the scale where they wreak havoc.
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