Yelling

  • 14 Replies
  • 379 Views
*

lotusblume

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 85
Yelling
« on: October 23, 2019, 02:20:03 AM »
Hi everyone.

I want to seek any advice and wisdom about how to stop yelling at my partner when triggered.

I am working on my issues from childhood and have made some progress, but two of my main fleas are defensiveness and yelling. I have managed to reduce my defensiveness in most cases, but when some intrusion from my FOO comes up, my fiance and I sometimes argue (usually when I haven't had time to process the emotions before speaking to him about it). I have made it a habit to do so first, so that I can have a centered approach when talking to him.

However, the other day when I turned on my phone, I received an influx of hoovers, and my partner got annoyed, and I tried to forget about it, but sooner or later we were arguing about how I'm dealing with the FOO. I got extremely defensive and was also affected by the hoovers, and before I knew it I was yelling, going off on a rant about how he doesn't understand, etc.

I feel extremely bad about this. It happens about once a month or two. Most of the time I can control my reactivity, but sometimes I just fly off the handle because I *feel* attacked. That triggers my fight response I suppose, because I was so used to constantly defending myself with my FOO. Yelling was a very "normal" thing in the house I grew up in, so I guess I have a deep core belief that yelling at someone you love is okay. I know that this is not true, and I do not wish to tell at anyone, especially my fiance or future children.

I have managed to calm myself down before erupting before, and I know I am capable, but every so often my lizard brain takes over and it's annihilation. I feel deeply defensive and even righteous about it, masking my shame, and then my prefrontol cortex comes back and I feel deeply regretful, apologetic, and guilty. Top it off with more shame.

I do not want this to continue. I do not want to turn into my mother. I want to learn how to regulate my emotions. I have blocked my FOO everywhere following this event so I can seriously buckle down and work on myself, without cognitive dissonance thrown into the mix making me even more reactive. So that's one step.

I don't want to lose my relationship because I'm still struggling with my emotional regulation and feelings of fog about my FOO.

I don't want to yell at him ever again. Does anyone have any practical advice? Please and thank you, Lotus.

*

notrightinthehead

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 2735
Re: Yelling
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2019, 04:28:42 AM »
Lotus, you say " I want to learn how to regulate my emotions." . I don't think that's possible. Your emotions are something that are at best felt, acknowledged, and allowed to pass through you. What you want to control is how you behave. You don't want to act out your emotions, you want to feel them, be aware of them and then decide what you are going to do.

If I understand you correctly then the situation you describe was that contact from your FOO put you in emotional turmoil, you shared this with your partner, were criticized by him how you handled it, then exploded and yelled at him.

The original trigger was the contact from the FOO. You needed to deal with that - digest it - work through it. The second trigger was your partner telling you how to handle it. What makes him think that he knows better than you, what you should do in that situation?  You are the expert on you situation. You are doing the best you can. Another person can listen with empathy, can make suggestions, can support you emotionally, but if they tell you what you should do, it might come across as if they know better than you do and are in a way superior to you. That will trigger an anger response too. Which it did, in the situation you describe.

What helped me often was to take a time-out. I would tell people around me that I could not talk right now, needed some time and space to clear my mind first and then would talk things through. Another way to be more in control of my responses, was to slow things right down and first clarify what the other person meant or was saying exactly, thus taking the focus off me, which allowed me to calm down before I answered.

Be kind to yourself - you are self aware and you are working - you are on a good path.

*

Penny Lane

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1029
Re: Yelling
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 12:34:11 PM »
This is a great goal and I think it's really laudable that you recognize this about yourself.

My therapist told me that when H gets triggered we have to "disrupt the pattern." That means taking a break so he can calm down and get out of that headspace. Right now we're both working on recognizing when the trigger happens, so we can cut off the discussion and he can do his own work on calming down.

Maybe you and your partner could implement the same thing? As soon as you start yelling (or, ideally, when you feel that yelling is coming on) one or both of you notices it's happening and calls for a time out. You both go and calm down and then you can discuss it in a healthier way. Would something like that work?

*

lotusblume

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 85
Re: Yelling
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2019, 12:35:44 PM »
Hi notrightinthehead,

Thank you so much for your reply, I am grateful. You're right about a lot of things.
"Controlling my emotions" comes from the programming "emotions are bad and must be repressed". This is also part of why I burst sometimes.

You identified those two triggers very well. First about my FOO, which I did not have time to process, and second about my partner, criticising how I was dealing with the situation. Something that I have a hard time with, even if it's constructive criticism, because I was always controlled by my parents, and "don't tell me what to do!" Is a deep reflex. In this case I felt like my partner was being too harsh and I was trying to get him to empathize in the moment, and I didn't feel heard or understood in the moment, which escalated my pain and anger.

Thank you for your suggestion about taking a time out. I have tried this before. One of my issues is also the codependent "trying to make X understand." In this case, my fiance. I couldn't let go of my point in trying to make him understand, and I blew up.

In the future when I feel myself getting angry, I will leave the room, try to process my feelings on my own, and wait for them to calm down before I attempt to have a discussion about the problem.

You're also right about getting angry because I feel he is showing me that he knows best how I should deal with my FOO. The thing is, he does end up being right, all the time. I have expressed to him that I just need to get there on my own. I understand his frustration as well, because some aspects of our life are on hold as I work out these things.

Thanks again for your advice and support.


*

lotusblume

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 85
Re: Yelling
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2019, 01:07:25 PM »
This is a great goal and I think it's really laudable that you recognize this about yourself.

My therapist told me that when H gets triggered we have to "disrupt the pattern." That means taking a break so he can calm down and get out of that headspace. Right now we're both working on recognizing when the trigger happens, so we can cut off the discussion and he can do his own work on calming down.

Maybe you and your partner could implement the same thing? As soon as you start yelling (or, ideally, when you feel that yelling is coming on) one or both of you notices it's happening and calls for a time out. You both go and calm down and then you can discuss it in a healthier way. Would something like that work?

Thank you, that is a great idea. I will definitely try this.

I think I can also try to pull myself aside and say, would it be okay for me to do this in front of anyone else? I can obviously control my actions when I'm in public, so I need to practice the same restraint when I feel triggered in private.

Thank you so much.

*

athene1399

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 956
Re: Yelling
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2019, 11:31:56 AM »
My SO sometimes wants me to talk about things as they are happening. I had to explain to him that I am not at the point in my healing where I can. Either I shut down and you won't get anything out of me, or I will get defensive, angry, and yell. Now I tell him "we can talk about this later. I can't talk about it now." When I talk about things in the moment, I feel they always come out wrong and then he feels attacked. I make very all encompassing statements like "People always do x to me", and he always responds with "I don't do that", then I come up with how I felt like he has done it at some point in time... you get the picture. And as it goes on, i get more upset. So calming down first and then talking about it (even if it's a week later) helps us.

I have also worked on being more mindful. When I get upset, i try to focus on my breathing to bring me back to present. It helps keep me centered so I don't fly off the handle. I also remove myself from the situation: leave the room, walk away, do something else for a bit. Find what helps center you and keep you mindful. :)

*

all4peace

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 7821
Re: Yelling
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2019, 12:04:21 PM »
lotusblume, this is such an enlightened question. I am glad you are asking it.

Are you able to feel in your body when you are getting angry? I have found that a vital first step. For me, my chest gets tight. It took lots and lots of practice, maybe an entire year, for me to identify right away when I was starting to get angry. Then my task became interrupting the argument and taking a break. For me, it sounds like this "I feel myself getting really revved up. I want to pause this conversation before I say something we both regret. Let me take a break and return to this conversation later." Or if my DH is getting revved up, I might say "You're raising your voice and my chest is getting tight. I need to leave this conversation. Please come find me when you're ready to talk calmly."

If you and your partner have attachment issues (many of us here do), it can feel abandoning or rejecting to leave a conversation, so first have lots of good dialogue about WHY and HOW and WHEN so that you're both clear that it is for the protection of your relationship and bond. Be sure that the angry person will calm down AND RETURN to the conversation. A typical cycle that can happen is that one person gets angry, shut down and defensive and tries to leave the conversation, and the other more anxiously attached person tries to follow them around to get connection and resolution, which makes the angrier person more defensive and hostile and shut down, etc.

This is a way to break that cycle. Things will get discussed. Things will be resolved. Nobody is allowed to stay shut down. Nobody is allowed to chase after frantically. Both people's needs will get met in ways that are respectful to each other, taking into account the differing needs of each person in the relationship.

I believe that emotional regulation is part of becoming fully adult. It doesn't mean we're repressing or controlling our emotions. It doesn't mean our emotions are bad. It means that we manage ourselves in a way that is respectful to ourselves and others, while having our totally acceptable emotions. If I'm angry, it is NOT ok for me to rage, scream, hit, throw things. It's ok for me to be angry, and I need to express that in a way that doesn't harm me or others. If I want to hit things or scream, I can do that in private with a punching bag where nobody is terrified or harmed.

You will not become your mother. :hug:

*

all4peace

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 7821
Re: Yelling
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2019, 12:07:43 PM »
I want to add that I hope you can find as much self-compassion as possible. You say you don't want to yell "ever again" and that you feel tremendous shame. Would you feel that way towards someone else? I'm guessing you would allow others to make mistakes without terrible shame. You had a PD parent. That leaves you (and many of us) with a steep learning curve. I would hope that if you told your fiance that you don't like your yelling, that you're working on it, that your fiance would have some grace for you.

I agree with your assessment that having some breathing space from your PD family members will give you a safe space to heal. My emotional volatility went way, way down when I wasn't in constant panic, fight or flight. Your nervous system may be way overstimulated and with time, sleep, self-care and healing, I imagine you will naturally start to calm down in your interactions with your fiance.

Also, please don't put all the blame on you. It's possible that your fiance is communicating in ways that are challenging and that work may need to be done on both sides of the equation.

*

Starboard Song

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1960
  • Friends call me 'Starboard'
Re: Yelling
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2019, 02:27:58 PM »
I agree with everything said above: please do not blame yourself. Do not criticize yourself. Our mistakes are not "what we are," they are just some of the stuff we do. Being made of human, as we all are, ensures other than perfection. So not being perfect is OK.

On the other hand..........with all the kindness and support in the world, I'd like to propose another angle which is a bit tougher to say and take. I'm thinking 75% chance I mess this up, so please go into it knowing I mean to support you, not to criticize.

Imagine that the problem behavior here were not just yelling but, say, hitting innocent people, or calling out racial slurs at strangers in public, or shoplifting. And you wanted to stop but "something always happens and before I know it I am hitting people and shoplifting again." If that happened, nobody would have any doubt as to the correct response: "stop it." Nobody would allow any transference of blame. Nobody would say these things just happen sometimes. And we would never confuse emotions (which demand some respect) with bad behavior (which never does). We would, hopefully with great kindness, tell you to just stop it, as if it were that easy.

I can't stress enough that I am not saying you are a bad person, or proposing this is easy, or saying others aren't contributing to your challenges. But I am saying that sometimes, in relationship matters, we mystify behavior and choices. We get all wrapped around the axle, wondering why-this-or-that, instead of treating these issues with direct resolve, like we were fixing a car. If we were mystified about cars, and acted like there was magic under the hood, they'd all stop working very soon. I think it helps to demystify these things. I think it helps to apply that direct resolve as if it were so easy, even though it isn't.

So in that spirit, I encourage you to take away all the crutches and excuses and magic and mystifying confusion.

1. Yelling doesn't solve problems.
2. You don't want to do it.
3. Swear to yourself to stop RIGHT THIS MOMENT.
4. After this moment you will yell in emergencies, or to be heard over a loud noise.
5. After this moment you will not otherwise yell, ever.

And going forward, you treat any future instance as wrong, as surely as would be violent attacks or calling out racial slurs, or shoplifting. The Bob Newhart show, of all things, had the famous Stop It skit, that took this approach. Because it is told with humor, it may make my cold cup of coffee easier to understand as a kind suggestion of strength and power and encouragement.

I mean to be empowering, not judgmental.
There is no magic: you can decide to behave in ways you admire. I believe in you.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

*

lotusblume

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 85
Re: Yelling
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2019, 03:47:26 PM »
Thank you very much, athene, allforpeace and starboard song. These are all very thoughtful and encouraging answers.

Starboard song, I appreciate your thoughts. It is kind of a radical acceptance; this is unhealthy behaviour and I have the choice to put an end to it, right away.

I agree and identify with what you said athene and allforpeace.

Thank you all for your compassion and wisdom. I know I will deal with my anger in a healthy way the next time and I am not going to beat myself up over it. I have had a very good discussion with my fiance about it and he also believes in me and shows me compassion.

I feel confident moving forward. Thank you all. I will certainly refer to this post again.

*

StayWithMe

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 675
Re: Yelling
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2019, 04:29:39 PM »
Lotusblume, I feel you.  My parents would talk to me in threatening.  you better do this, you better do that.  That's really not a way to talk to anyone in civilized society.  I have had to wean myself away from that.  I have also learned how to avoid being baited.  It is very helpful to learn to contemplate what's being said to you before reacting. quite often, the speaker could just be making up something and trying to get a reaction out of you. Take a deep breath.   My mother likes doing that with her vague remarks.  Now I agree to disagree.  which is so not what they want .... it gives me a lot of pleasure.

My second husband has been very good about making changes as well.  now when I verbalize issues that I have with other people, he is more understanding.  If I say "I bet she did it that way so that I would forget" or some such since everyone is a political animal in any type of organization, he will now agree that, at least, that is a possibility.  whereas before, his attitude was "You're crazy, no one has an evil bone in their body except for you." 

I think it has helped my case that a couple of predictions I had made about other people turned out to be accurate.

*

athene1399

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 956
Re: Yelling
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2019, 10:02:05 AM »
Something came up similar to this over the summer I think (I cannot remember the original poster), but it was something like they don't stop the yelling, but yell what they are feeling. Like "I am more angry than I should be, but I will be okay!" or "I just stubbed my toe and it really hurts, but I am fine!". I don't yell it out loud like that, but I've started thinking it and it does help. Like some of the little things my sister does that make me mad, i think "Holy Cow! She did x and I am incredibly mad! IN fact, probably disproportionately mad!" and just thinking the feelings in words helps me too. It helps me to be less likely to want to throw things (I used to throw things as a kid/young adult) or grumble around the house.

And if you do have trouble stopping the arguments/yelling. Self-compassion helps. What's work for me is envisioning what I would say to a friend if she were in this situation. If she yelled at her H, I would say "You know, I can understand why you were upset. It's ok that you yelled. Sometimes we just get mad." But if I were talking to myself it would look more like "You effing idiot, you yelled again..." So if you do yell again, talk to yourself like you would a friend instead of how you talk to yourself.

This is a good point too about walking away:
Quote
If you and your partner have attachment issues (many of us here do), it can feel abandoning or rejecting to leave a conversation,
At first I couldn't just walk away from SO because of some of his issues. It would make him really anxious. So when we weren't upset, we had a conversation about it. I told him I need to walk away sometimes or I need to shut down. But I promise once I feel okay, we can talk about it. Like I had to say you don't have reason to worry it I have to walk away. I will calm down and then we can talk. Or if it's the way he phrases something that I find triggering, I will talk to him later on about it. Like when you say x, I feel upset. I know that is not your intention, but can you try to use a different phrase?" It's not all on you. You two need to work together about it. :)

Healing is a process. It takes time and a lot of energy. We won't always be on our A game. We all have good days and bad days.

*

Penny Lane

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1029
Re: Yelling
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2019, 10:13:58 AM »
Wow, athene, I am your SO in my relationship. We used to have these huge fights and I would think it was all DH's fault because he was disproportionately upset. But then I realized that I was contributing equally because I was insisting that we not take a break but rather finish out the conversation. I was selfishly insisting we keep talking because I felt like it was agonizing to wait. I realized, though, that taking a break led to much bigger outcomes.

lotusblume my point here is that your finace needs to be part of the solution and figure out what he can do to facilitate better conversations. The immediate problem is you get triggered --> you yell. And to some degree you need to fix that alone, he can't do that for you. But there are underlying communication patterns that you can both work on together that might prevent the triggering in the first place, or make it easier for you to deal with in other ways. He plays a role in that as do you. It's all a process and I think everyone goes through this in any partnership.

*

1footouttadefog

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2175
Re: Yelling
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2019, 03:59:12 PM »
What came to mind is that you two might be triggering each other. 

It seems from what you describe that your partner became upset when you received a lot of texts.  Then you both escalated etc.

Under different circumstances I have experienced similar with my PhD spouse.  Itís as of when I am upset or drama is happening in my sphere he owns it or something.

I have over time attributed it to him parentifying me.  He has mommy issues (she was a grandiose narc) and does not like what he perceives as the world being rocked by me being upset or angry.  I think that due to his mother having disproportionate responses so much he is triggered by bumps in the road for me so to speak.

I have found that simply excluding him from some of my thoughts and feelings etc.,  is the answer. If he cannot process them as an adult I will not ask him to by presenting them to him.  If I donít ask of him what he cannot provide things are much better for both of us. 

I see this screening of some things to be a kindness, much like when I see a squashed possum on the highway and keep it to myself when the kids are in the car.

We all want to be known and to have emotional intimacy in our relationships, however itís easy to mistake enmeshment for intimacy if you come from a PD rich FOO

*

theonetoblame

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 49
Re: Yelling
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2019, 04:43:26 PM »
I didn't see this mentioned so will add my 2 cents.

My SO and I have learned over the years that when I am dealing with FOO triggers and trauma it also hurts her. We have both been harmed by the unhealthy activities of my parents and when she first met me I was still in the fog and presented my family to her as being an actual family. That all changed about 5 years later, now we are comparatively isolated where we live and her FOO and old friends live in another country.

Seeing me in pain brings about all sorts of unusual behavior in her. She may try to distract me, could shut down, might start cleaning to avoid the issue and to have something else to focus on. When I FINALLY figured out that she was actually hurting for me and that the frustration or anger I might have seen from her was actually an attempt to help me make a decision or to keep me from engaging in old habits it really helped me settle down. Now when she does this I actually see the sadness and hurt and how it effects her, this makes me sad not angry... in fact, it makes me sad to just write about it. In many ways we have shared this loss and very often now we will actually connect in a calm and grounded way around this shared sadness and loss, hug it out, talk for a while and then go about doing something productive. It didn't start out that way though, we argued about these issued for a long time and I was usually the first one to raise my voice during that period.