In this brief guide, we will look at some psychological effects of being yelled at, as well as other problems related to being yelled at and how you can deal with it.
No one likes being yelled at, but did you know that there are some very bad psychological effects of being yelled at, and some even physical and damaging in the long term?
If you have someone in your life that yells at you a lot – partner, parent, children, boss- you might want to do something about it else it might hurt your psychological health adversely in the long term.
In a recent study that was published in the Journal of Child Development, said that children who are raised in an environment where there is too much yelling may be more at risk for psychological problems in the future.
The same study also suggests that when parents and caregivers yell at children too much and too often, in ways to correct their behavior or reprimand them, they may develop psychological problems like depression, anxiety, stress, and so on, which is a great reason to avoid yelling at children.
Psychological effects of being yelled at
Some major psychological effects of being yelled at include:
- A constant state of Stress
- Unnecessary activation of fight or flight response
- Long term effects like personality problems eventually
- Learning of wrong behavior through modeling
- Lack of communication
- Breaking down of a relationship
- Anger issues
- Chronic pain as a result of mental anguish
These psychological effects of being yelled at may show themselves almost immediately or they may sometimes show up as long term consequences, but they may almost always show up.
The psychological effects of being yelled at are only part of the reason why we should not be communicating in this maladaptive way, and should instead find ways to communicate in a healthy manner.
Psychological Effects of yelling at a child
According to NAMI, which is National Alliance of Mental Illness, there are some qualities of yelling at a child that cause many adverse psychological effects:
- The loud volume of the parents’ voice
- The shrill tone of their voice
- The dead look in their eyes
- The critical, disdainful, and scornful facial expression that makes the child feel hated
- The long duration—yelling for hours
- The names and insults—you’re spoiled, disgusting, and wretched
- The unpredictability of that “flip of the switch” that turns the parent into someone else
- Worst of all, the abandonment (Of feeling discarded by a parent)
The psychological effect of being yelled at in a child may look something like the trauma of a major catastrophe, that is how grave it tends to be.
The same NAMI website that tells us about the qualities that make being yelled at so harsh tells us of what psychological effects of being yelled at in a child may look like eventually:
“Attachment and infant-mother research confirms what we all intuitively know: Humans do better when they feel safe and consistently loved, which means, among other things, being treated with respect. What is news to many of us is that we are born with fully matured, hard-wired, core emotions like sadness, fear, and anger. And when fear, for example, is repeatedly triggered by a harsh environment, like one where there is a lot of yelling, automatic physical and emotional reactions occur that cause traumatic stress to a child. The stress in their little brains and bodies increases from anything that makes them feel attacked, including loud voices, angry voices, angry eyes, dismissive gestures, and more.”
This concept actually brings us to another statistic, one mentioned at the beginning of this article, about a study published in the Journal of Child Development, found that children who are yelled at constantly are at greater risk of depression and anxiety eventually.
But there’s more, another study, this one by NIH, found that children who are frequently yelled at as a means of correcting their behavior show more behavioral problems of the aggressive kind than children who don’t.
Yet another study finds that the kind of disciplinary measures parents employ has a large effect on the eventual development of the child, and when looking at psychological effects of being yelled at in a child, it is important to take into consideration that their growth is a huge psychological factor to consider.
If the child’s growth, mental and physical, get restricted as a result of something the parent is doing, that classifies as child abuse, and if yelling does that, it should classify as child abuse as well, naturally.
Why do we yell?
When asking what the psychological effects of being yelled at are, it might also be important to ask what psychological factors even lead us to yell at all.
According to Mark Twain “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
According to psychology today, there are many reasons why we yell, some of which include:
- Parental correction and discipline
- coaches, teachers, or instructors desire to inspire his or her students
- an employer’s rebuking and correction
- to gain the attention of another
- to assert oneself over another
- to incite or stir up emotions
- to encourage or stimulate a particular outcome
Neurological effects of being yelled at
The effects of being yelled at are not just restricted to psychological, being yelled at may also bring about a plethora of neuropsychological, and even neurological effects, and may even permanently change brain structure and chemistry.
Studies that NAMI quotes have come to this following basic conclusion about what being yelled at can do to the brain structure:
“Being frequently yelled at changes the mind, brain, and body in a multitude of ways including increasing the activity of the amygdala (the emotional brain), increasing stress hormones in the bloodstream, increasing muscular tension, and more. Being frequently yelled at as children change how we think and feel about ourselves even after we become adults and leave home. That’s because the brain wires according to our experiences—we literally hear our parents’ voices yelling at us in our heads even when they’re not there.”
Another study published in the journal called Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience sought to study the neurological effects of being yelled at by looking at the resources the brain needed to use when under the threatening stimulus of yelling, which it perceives as a danger to allow for adequate survival behavior.
According to the researchers of this study, they worked on the principle that while sight and sound are the two major ways by which we assess danger, sound, which is involved in the experience of being yelled at, is much more acute than just sight, because it is more associated with emotions (through amygdala), and it encompasses more details of the information being provided.
“That’s why we are interested in how fast our attention responds to the different intonations of the voices around us and how our brain deals with potentially threatening situations,” says Nicolas Burra, one of the chief investigators on the study.
“Anger can signal a potential threat, which is why the brain analyzes these kinds of stimuli for a longer time. In an auditory environment, this mechanism allows us to not become alarmed at the slightest potentially threatening noise or, conversely, to adopt the most appropriate behavior in case of danger. These extra milliseconds of attention are, therefore, crucial to the accurate interpretation of a threat in a complex auditory environment,” the researchers in the study explained further.
How to stop yelling at kids?
Now that we have seen what being yelled at can do to kids, here are some ways to stop yelling at your children and find better ways to communicate your displeasure:
- Try to keep in mind that young children aren’t trying to bother you intentionally, and try to cut them some slack
- Remember that yelling is only teaching the child to do the same
- Use humor instead, laughter can be quite useful and the child might pay more attention if it seems like a fun thing you are doing
- Train yourself to raise your voice only when nothing else will work and you have already tried everything else
- Focus on talking calmly, you are the adult, and you need to exercise control no matter how annoyed you are because yelling will just shut down the channel of communication.
Effects of shouting on health
Many people don’t consider that shouting all the time can lead to adverse effects on their own health as much as it affects others.
Psychiatry professor Edward Suarez who teaches in Duke University tried to study the relationship between three main variables: anger or hostility, depression, and CRP levels, which means C-reactive protein (CRP), a predictor for high cholesterol for cardiovascular disease.
There were a total of 127 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 65 in the study, and each was given a measure of anger and depression, and their CRP levels were monitored.
The study found that stress-induced changes in the nervous system, like those noticed during anger and depression, may trigger activity in the immune system.
They noticed inflammatory responses that have been linked to the thickening or roughening of the linings of arteries and making them more prone to accumulating plaque.
Psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser of Ohio State University who often studies the relationship between emotions and illnesses says of this study, that it is “the first evidence linking CRP with anger and hostility.”
Anxiety from being yelled at
When someone raises their voice at you, it may feel like your stomach is feeling upset and you may feel woozy sometimes, this happens due to anxiety from being yelled at, which is a very common phenomenon.
Anxiety is simply defined as: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”
It has been proven over and over again that being yelled at causes feelings of fear, and fear is strongly linked to anxiety.
You get anxiety from being yelled at because your brain is processing all that yelling as a sign that something horrible is about to happen, or that something dangerous is happening, and it thinks that fear is a justified response.
The fear and anxiety from being yelled at may manifest in typical physical symptoms of anxiety, which according to NIMH are:
- Getting fatigued easily
- Difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
- Being irritable
- Having muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep
In addition, you may also feel dizziness, stomach issues, excessive sweating and weird appetite changes that you can’t explain.
In this brief guide, we looked at some psychological effects of being yelled at, as well as other problems related to being yelled at and how you can deal with it. Please reach out to us with any questions or comments you have.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Psychological Effects of Being Yelled At
Can being yelled at cause anxiety?
Yes, being yelled at can cause anxiety, as has been shown by various studies.
Being yelled at may also cause changes to the brain structure and cause depression as well.
Is yelling unhealthy?
Yes, yelling can be unhealthy in long term ways, especially if you do it too much.
When someone yells too often it can make their stress levels rise and it may also damage their heart in the long term.
Is yelling effective parenting?
No, yelling is not effective parenting as it doesn’t help.
Yelling is not an effective method of parenting because rough verbal discipline like that not can actually make things worse and create long-lasting psychological problems for the children.
Yelling is also not considered to be a method of effective parenting as it has the capacity to damage parent-child relationships.
What happens to your body when you yell?
What happens to your body when you yell is very similar to what happens in a typical fight or flight response to the presence of danger.
When you yell, your body experiences a surge in emotions that trigger a response that includes fear, excitement and anxiety which causes the adrenal glands to flood the body with stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, that cause adverse physical states in the body.