Effects of Yelling at a Spouse (How to cope with Mistreatment)

In this brief guide, we will discuss some effects of yelling at a spouse, and how to get your spouse to stop yelling and communicate effectively. 

Effects of yelling at a spouse

The effects of yelling at a spouse can be serious both from a psychological and familial point of view, as research has indicated that yelling at your spouse/partner can induce fear in them similar to how it would in a child.

Neurological research shows that it is very difficult to think while in a state of fear. 

Authors of these studies say that if you want your partner to hear what you are saying, that will only happen when you speak in a way that does not produce fear. 

When someone is yelling at a spouse, their brain perceives it as a danger, whether it is a man or a woman, and the chances of them registering what is being said reduce drastically.

When we hear yelling, our brains go into a Fight or Flight mode, which is a primal defense mechanism that involves either getting away from a source of danger or fighting it.

Neither of those two behaviors should happen in a marriage, a spouse fighting with you is just as bad as a spouse running away from you.

Neither response will make the spouse do what you want them to do with the yelling and neither will give you a satisfactory outcome.

Psychological effects of being yelled at

The psychological effects of being yelled at are numerous.

As discussed above, the primary psychological effects of being yelled at is obviously a Fight or flight reaction. 

Being yelled at may cause a person to retaliate, causing a bigger problem than what the situation began with, or it may cause them to withdraw from the situation altogether, maybe even leading to a situation where the person just moves away from the situation altogether and there is too much of a gap between the people.

Another psychological effect of being yelled at maybe not being able to associate with that person anymore, you may not want to talk to them or spend time with them, or even be around them, and this can eventually lead to a huge rift between the two people if the yelling happens too often.

A major psychological effect of being yelled at may also be Stress. The person being yelled at obviously feels a great deal of stress because their brain is kicking into high gear, telling them that this is a dangerous situation, and this stress can then lead to some significant adverse problems in the body as well. 

Hans Selye, a prominent researcher in the field of Stress research, came up with a model for Stress, which is called GAS, the full form of which is General Adaptation Syndrome.

This model highlights how a body reacts to perpetual stress, and how badly it can affect your body if it thinks it is in danger for long periods of time.

Stress like this can cause stomach problems, increased alertness that then leads to problems like fatigue and tiredness, and neurological damage that may become apparent as the person grows older. 

Another major psychological effect of being yelled at can be depression. 

Studies indicate that marital dissatisfaction or being yelled at by anyone, really, can lead to some lasting damage to the cognitive processes of the individual, and add to the symptoms of depression like Helplessness, Hopelessness, and Worthlessness. 

Severe depression can be a result of constant fights with a spouse, and if they yell at you often you might be at an even greater risk.

Effect of Husband yelling at Wife

The effects of a husband yelling at his wife can be similar to the other psychological effects discussed above, with the small difference of what happens in a marriage when someone is yelling at you too much.

Husband yelling at his wife used to be an acceptable thing before the wave of feminism and general societal norms shifted things.

More and more people realized that this shouldn’t be the norm and husbands mistreating their wives that way should not be normal, no more than it would be normal for a wife to yell at her husband.

This led to changes in social behavior and yelling started being considered as a means of verbal abuse, and now we live in a society where that kind of behavior may allow a woman to leave that situation or get help from authorities.

The main effect if a husband yelling at his wife, therefore, can be a rift or break in marriage, and many marital therapists say that couples who come for counseling usually come after the first few times this sort of behavior is noticed.

People who come for counseling after the yelling behavior has become normalized and frequent, find it harder to get over their relationship issues due to the fact that the constant yelling has made it impossible for the wife to relate to the husband.

As discussed previously, when someone yells at their spouse, it can make them experience the same kind of danger as when a real dangerous situation occurs.

Yelling and Screaming in Relationships

Yelling and screaming in relationships may be indicative of depression in one of the partners, especially if it is the husband doing the yelling.

Men who tend to yell more at their spouses tend to be depressed or stressed in a lot of cases, but instead of experiencing the symptoms of depression or anxiety that people commonly experience, they act out by yelling at the spouse instead.

If your husband has suddenly started yelling and screaming at you you might want to get in touch with him properly when he is not agitated and see if he is experiencing other symptoms of depression.

Yelling and screaming in relationships can also lead to a break in the relationship so no matter who is doing the yelling, it is important to address it in a calm, rational way. 

Why is my spouse yelling at me?

Here are some reasons why your spouse might be yelling at you:

  • They have seen that kind of behavior at home, as a child and do not know better methods of communication.
  • They are a bully and they feel if they don’t dominate you, you will not listen to them
  • They might be insecure and think that someone has to be the dominant one in the relationship
  • They might have an anger management issue
  • They might be depressed
  • They might have work issues that they are not able to talk about
  • They are experiencing too much stress
  • They are suffering from mental health issues

What to do when your spouse is yelling at you?

Here is what you can do if your spouse is yelling at you:

Don’t tolerate the behavior

The first thing to do is to stop tolerating this behavior.

If your spouse constantly keeps yelling at you, then you must put a stop to it. 

Yelling at someone is disrespectful no matter who they are, even children, and therefore it absolutely must not be tolerated.

When your spouse starts yelling at you too often, you need to try to respond in a calm, rational tone the first few times.

It may be difficult, but try to not make any faces and while looking them straight in the eye tell them “I’m sorry, but I cannot discuss things or argue with you when you raise your voice, so please talk calmly and I’ll try to understand what you are saying.”

If this behavior is new you may even try saying something to the effect of “I understand that you are feeling frustrated, but I don’t think I deserve to be yelled at this way and it is not making me feel very safe or good, so please stop and we can discuss what is bothering you, and I promise to at least try to understand your point of view.”

Unless you change the way you respond or the way you receive the yelling, no change is going to come about.

If you are afraid of your spouse and think they might hurt you if you try to stop them from yelling, you need to leave the situation and call a helpline that helps victims of abuse.

Here is one such website that is devoted to getting help to victims of abuse:

Don’t try to justify the behavior

Do not try to justify their abuse, saying that they are not able to control their anger, and so on.

It has been seen that most people who yell or abuse, choose to because they have been allowed to get away with this kind of behavior for so long.


If you want to know whether they actually have an anger problem or if it is a situation-specific issue ask yourself these questions:

  • Do they yell at work?
  • Would they yell at their boss or another person in authority like a policeman?
  • Would they ever yell at their friends?
  • Would they act this way in public?

If you think that even one of these questions is a No, then that means your spouse has the capability to control their temper, they are just not choosing to do it around you, which is not okay and needs some kind of intervention.

In case you say yes to all those questions, then you might be in a dangerous situation and you should get some space for a while, go stay with someone you know, friends or family, and tell your spouse that they need to reflect on their behavior and get help if they want to make it work.

Don’t agree with them

Don’t agree with what your spouse might be saying in their fit of rage, make sure you know that whatever they are telling you, that you are not good enough or you don’t do a good enough job at home or whatever else it is, it is all built to make you feel bad because they are angry.

Whether or not they would say that in a better mood does not matter, just tell yourself it is because they are angry and move on, and also tell them when they are calmer than insulting you, even when they are angry, is not okay, and will not be tolerated. 

They do not have a right to say mean and hurtful things to you out of habit when they are angry and make sure they understand it.

Try couples counseling

If your spouse is willing to work on their issues and on what communication problems you may be having with each other, marital therapy can work wonders.

Find a good therapist and go to them. 

Alternatively, you may also try to convince your spouse if they are not readily agreeing, and try to appeal to their love for you, and if they want to work on your relationship and feel affection for you, chances are they will agree.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we discussed some effects of yelling at a spouse, and how to get your spouse to stop yelling and communicate effectively. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments that you may have, and seek help if you feel that you are at risk for domestic abuse.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Effects of Yelling at a Spouse

Is it OK to yell at your spouse?

It is not OK to yell at your spouse and it may even be classified as verbal abuse. 

Doing things like yelling, screaming, abusive language, etc., can damage the other person’s self-image, self-esteem, and overall mental health. 

Yelling can also damage the children’s psyche, and make them prone to problems with commitment or mental health when they grow up.

How do you deal with a screaming wife?

To deal with a screaming wife you need to remove yourself from the situation.

You need to tell her that you cannot hear her when she screams at you and if she expects you to do something or behave in a certain way with her she needs to use her calm voice.

Try listening to her when she does use a calm voice and truly engage in her speaking to you. Make eye contact and avoid facial expressions like being annoyed. 
Try to ask the questions that allow her to express how she feels when she stops yelling, so she knows she will get heard when she doesn’t yell

How do I stop yelling at my husband?

To stop yelling at your husband you need to tell them that it makes you angry when they don’t listen to you or don’t help you out, or whatever it is you are yelling about.

You can also count to ten before you raise your voice and tell them at the moment they are making a mistake that you don’t like that and then get some distance between you and them.

How does yelling affect your body?

Yelling can affect your body by giving way to chronic pain.

A recent study found that there may be a link between negative childhood experiences, including verbal and other kinds of abuse, and development of painful chronic conditions later, when the person grows up. 

The chronic pain conditions included arthritis, bad headaches, back and neck problems, and other generalized chronic pain.

Citations:

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2018/The-Problem-with-Yelling#:~:text=Being%20frequently%20yelled%20at%20changes,increasing%20muscular%20tension%20and%20more.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201508/does-your-partner-have-rage-attacks-heres-what-do

https://www.lifehack.org/627394/the-best-way-to-react-when-someone-is-shouting-at-you-in-anger

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