Is Raising Your Voice Abuse? (7 ways to cope with Abuse)

In this brief guide, we will look at the question “Is raising your voice abuse?”, as well as other subjects related to this question like the psychological and other effects of yelling and signs of verbal abuse. We will also discuss what one can do to cope with abuse.

Is Raising Your Voice Verbal Abuse?

Yes, raising your voice can be verbal abuse, if it is done to someone repeatedly and in a context where they are not able to fend for themselves, or when the person raising their voice is also being threatening with the content of their yelling.

Yelling or raising your voice at someone can have lasting damage to the person, which means that if someone continues to do it despite the knowledge that they are irreparably hurting the other person in some way, they are being abusive.

In some cases the person raising their voice may not be aware that they are, and they may be doing so to prove a point or to emphasize their opinion or argument, in which case it is not abusive, and may just be them trying to argue their favor.

The important distinction to make between raising your voice and verbal abuse is to see how the other person is being treated, are they being allowed to make their point just as well and is it hurting them in some way? If the answers are no and yes, respectively, then raising your voice is definitely verbal abuse in this case.

Another key thing to remember is that raising your voice and verbal abuse being not related to each other does not make raising your voice okay; a behavior does not necessarily have to be abusive for it to be wrong or malicious, and even if the other person is not getting hurt right now or is not noticing that they are getting hurt, does not mean that the yelling won’t cause significant damage to them.

Another thing that matters greatly when someone is raising their voice is it is a frequent thing, and are the people bringing up past issues as a means of deflecting responsibility and avoiding discomfort. 

In some cases, raising your voice can also be a sign of being defensive and escalating the issues, or trying to escalate it, which means that the argument will only get worse, and there is a need to make peace before it gets out of hand.

To understand properly whether raising your voice is verbal abuse, there usually are other signs of abuse along with the yelling as well, and one may want to look for them if there is someone raising their voice at them all the time.

  • Belittling the partner/person being yelled at, and/or name-calling: this can also include calling them names, swearing at them, or putting them down in some way.
  • Demanding or ordering them to do  things or putting limitations on them in some way that cause them to be tied down or restrained in their behavior
  • Threatening or blackmail: threatening someone with consequences if they don’t do what you say while also raising your voice at them is definitely verbal abuse.
  • “Gaslighting”:  when someone is being manipulated into questioning their own sanity or perceptions, is a classic sign of abuse and found in nearly every type of abuse.
  • Manipulating: Causing someone guilt, such as “I did this for you” or “if you loved me you’d do this for me”
  • Patronizing the person being yelled at: for example saying “You won’t understand, so I’ll explain this again”
  • Blame: Blaming the other person for causing whatever problems there are, or even for forcing the person yelling to raise their voice in the first place.
  • Passing abuse off as a joke: shaming someone after raising your voice at them and saying it was just a joke or wasn’t nearly bad enough for them to actually get hurt.
  • Insulting people, or things, that your partner likes, or their religious beliefs
  • Refusing to talk to your partner and or giving them the silent treatment.

If you are being abused in any way, physically, emotionally, sexually or verbally, here is a website where you can try to find some help.

Psychological Effects of Being Yelled At

There are many psychological effects of being yelled at, which include, first and foremost

  • Lack of communication 
  • Disturbed relationship 
  • Chronic pain 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety
  • A constant, unrelenting state of Stress
  • Unnecessary activation of fight or flight response 
  • Anger issues
  • Personality problems 
  • Feeling jittery and wired
  • Constant Mental anguish
  • Frequent Illnesses or infections
  • Weakened Immune system
  • Weakness in the body
  • Teaching the child wrong behavior through modeling 

The commonly seen psychological effects of being yelled may occur immediately or they may sometimes show up as long-term consequences, but they always happen because being yelled at affects us very deeply, probably more so than someone just raising their voice.

Probably the most major psychological effect of being yelled at is Stress because when someone is being yelled at all the time their brain is kicking into fight or flight mode, because it feels that they are in a dangerous situation.

Fight or flight mode is responsible for helping the body prepare to act, which is great if there is actually some external danger, but if there isn’t, like in cases where someone is just raising their voice without actively hurting you or doing something to you against which you need actual physical defense, causes stress which leads to some significant adverse problems in the body as well.

Hans Selye is a researcher who has extensively studied the patterns of Stress, and he gave a model for Stress which explains what happens to the body when it is under duress and is is called GAS, the full form of which is General Adaptation Syndrome, which also applies when someone is yelling at you.

Lastly, the most devastating psychological effect of being yelled at can be depression, and the reason for this has been shown in some studies that say that being yelled at by someone 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.

Effects of yelling at a spouse

The effects of yelling at a spouse can be serious both from a psychological and physical, as well as family related point of view, because research indicates that yelling at your spouse/partner can cause them to experience fear similar to how it would in a child.

Neurological research shows that it is very difficult to think while in a state of fear, and the researchers in these studies also say that if you want your partner to hear or truly listen to what you are saying, you need to speak in a way that does not produce fear, which raising your voice will almost always do, according to the same studies..

When someone is yelling at a spouse, the brain almost instantly perceives it as a danger, so any chances of the content of that yelling to be registered reduces drastically.

This kind of fear has no place in a relationship or a marriage, and it will almost never have a satisfactory outcome.

How to cope with someone raising their voice at you?

Here are some tips to cope with someone raising their voice at you:

  • Take a deep breath and try to get out of the situation
  • Tell the person, calmly, not to do it
  • Tell the person that you can’t understand them when they raise their voice
  • Try to think of something positive
  • Drink some water
  • Try meditation to stabilise yourself in general
  • Try breathing exercises
  • Get some fresh air

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we looked at the question “Is raising your voice abuse?”, as well as other subjects related to this question like the psychological and other effects of yelling and signs of verbal abuse. We also discussed what one can do to cope with abuse.

Verbal abuse and yelling may often get side-lined or ignored because many people don’t realize its harmful power, because they are not sure about what long-term effects, if any, this kind of abuse can cause.

However, more and more research lately has been proving, over and over again, that the negative psychological effects of yelling, whether it is yelling at your kids or yelling at your spouse, can cause some major long-term change in the mental health condition of the person.

Due to all these harmful effects of yelling and verbal abuse, it is extremely important to nip this problem in the bud and try to find some ways to reduce this kind of bad behavior, which requires more effort on the part of the person that is being yelled at.

If you have any more questions similar to “Is raring your voice abuse?”, or other comments or queries related to yelling or verbal abuse, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Is raising your voice abuse?

Is raising your voice the same thing as yelling?

No, raising your voice is not the same thing as yelling, because in some cases, raising your voice can be a mere effort to be heard, or to prove a point, or just a means of getting your point across in a slightly more aggressive way without necessarily being threatening, whereas yelling is a behavior that is engaged in with the explicit purpose of being aggressive and trying to dominate someone.

Yelling refers to shouting in a loud and sharp voice when someone loses their temper, whereas raising your voice may also mean speaking loud and clear (with emphasis).

What are the side effects of verbal abuse?

Side effects of verbal abuse are related to many problems with physical and mental health, and can even include chronic pain, depression, or anxiety.

Why do I cry when someone yells at me?

You might cry when someone yells at you is because it is a threatening behavior that can make people scared and angry, as well as sad, and crying is a mechanism that tends to happen on its own in these situations to somehow help calm the situation by showing the person in front of you that they are affecting you adversely.

Crying when someone yells at you may not be intentional either, and may just be a sort of defense mechanism that kicks in when you are very scared.

What does yelling do to a person?

Yelling can do some major damage to a person, both in a physical and mental way, and it can also hurt the person doing the yelling just as much as it hurts the person who is being yelled at.

The person doing the yelling may also suffer from just as much negative emotion as the person who is being yelled at, and they may do so for the purpose of trying to control the situation, which may not always work out in their favor and may certainly not give them any peace of mind.

Is yelling a form of violence?

Yes, yelling may be considered a form of violence and in fact, under a lot of guidelines as well. Some experts refer to yelling at someone as a form of domestic violence. 

In some cases, yelling may even be considered a form of violence in a sense of verbal abuse or emotional abuse, and there are certainly more than enough instances of people also being arrested in some cases when they are yelling threats.

Citations

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-fitness/201002/tips-preventing-those-big-arguments

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.healthline.com/health/parenting/effects-of-yelling-at-kids

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

https://mensline.org.au/changingforgood/blog/understanding-verbal-abuse/

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.