Every time someone yells, I find myself shrinking into my protective little world.

“Stay quiet, avoid eye contact, make yourself small, and if you are lucky, you might not be the one that takes the brunt of it all.”

I know my feelings are irrational, that the adrenaline rushing through my veins and my racing heart are conditioned responses to explosive anger. Every time I feel this way, I feel stupid for letting myself be bullied, and angry at others for subjecting me to it all over again.

At times, I am simply a bystander, listening to people yell at each other because that is they only way they can communicate. Sometimes, I am a listening ear that receives the yelling because it has no other place to fall. And I know, that there are plenty of times that I am the place that the blame should fall, thus the yelling is deserved in others eyes.

Each time I react – I used to always hide. Yet, now when someone yells at me – directing all their stored up aggression in my direction – I tend to get a wee bit perturbed. I used to take it all, but somewhere along the way I learned that there are things I don’t deserve. Being the focal point for someone’s inability to cope is not my lot in life. I am a person – and thus a rational being (contradictory to the third sentence I know…). I am capable of conversation, and of understanding the finer points of others feelings without the need for raised voices to deliver the punch.

So I ask you for one last time: Do not yell at me, and I will not yell at you. I respect you that much. But if you must insist on yelling, you will spar only with yourself.



Oh, how quickly I am undone when there is tension in the room.Even after all this time it still does not take much to make me fall apart. With one look, a slightly raised voice, a mood swing or a harsh answer I am quivering inside. It may not even have anything to do with me, but if someone does not calm down quickly or explain to me what’s going on, my mind and body go on alert.

I try so hard to be understanding and realize that other stessors could impact the situation. However, when someone takes it out on me, it’s hard not to let my feelings get involved. As my mind starts clicking through things I might have done, I begin to work to minimize damage by shutting down.

“Be quiet. Say what you must. Don’t let them know your feelings are hurt – it will only piss them off. Do anything possible to remove outside irritators in order to prevent greater wrath.”

After doing all these things, I begin to get angry myself. I begin to think of how hard I am trying to accommodate this unreasonable person and how it isn’t helping much. I think about how tense my body is, and how it is not my fault. Add this to my already racing pulse and I am usually just about ready to explode.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be ok. I know that all of it has to do with my childhood, but it is very hard to stop. I want to be ok. I want to shrug it off.

But then I wonder – “What if it really was my fault.”