How to Respond When Husband Yells

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How do you respond when your husband yells at you?

Let’s list the obvious choices and immediate answers of how to respond or react to anyone yelling at you, most importantly your spouse, the man you love:
1) run.
2) yell back.
3) Hurl your body at him in voilence.
4) Ingore him and pretend he not there or speaking in some foreign language.

My Answer on How to respond when a husband yells at you?  Don’t.  Just stare at him.  Do nothing.  Pretend he just barfed all over whatever he is standing in front of.  Stare at him. Say nothing. Then walk away.  It’s your silence that will leave him empty and without someone to argue with to realize he wasn’t being very kind.

It’s Just Yelling:
When a person is mad and starts yelling, they are not sensible. They are unable to use their calm, relaxed and relatable brain.  You as a normal person are unable to communicate with someone at such a high level of anger.  Unless of course you rise to their level of anger and craziness and then you both will be together on that level.  But in reality, real communication is not possible at that level either because now both people are trying to communicate with TWO crazy loud yelling people and no one is in control of their emotions, feelings and expressions of what they really want.

Hearing anyone yell at you for any reason just sucks.  Because in the real world of sanity, no one yells when they want to communicate.  They just speak, clearly definining what it is they want you to do or want you to know.

There in lies the problem. The challenge.  When one is dealing with a yeller it is extremely hard to not react to the way your partner is reacting  But that challenge, keeping sane, keeping clear and keeping a responsible communicating stature when you too want to react, freak out, defend yourself like a ninja, is what will change your marriage, your husband and the way you continue communicating.  All depends on how you react.

YOU.

Because when you don’t react to crazy yelling, the yeller at some point will run out of steam, or passion for getting YOU to react and become quiet. Then you, the one who is calm and reserved (and full of energy to solve the problem at hand) will have the chance to do so if you just wait it out.

Today my husband yelled at me the moment he walked in the door.  No hug.  No hello.  It was simply, “Why didn’t I just see you at the appointment??!!”

I stood confused starring at him, trying to understand his motivation while also trying not to expose my mental rolodex, (dead from 10 hours of grueling work at my day job with no break) searching for the answer to his question.

Hmm…my mind raced.  Nothing.  I had nothing.

My husband stood there.  Quietly waiting for an answer.  So I did what I always did, laughed.  Then I asked what had caused me to laugh, “Ah…what appointment?”

The husband was not happy and his tone and words flew out of his mouth like a violent hammer.  “Obviously if you don’t have time to take care of our kids and me, then surely you do not have time to volunteer or help at school or that non-profit you spend all your free time doing!”

He was clearly angry at many things that had been going on in his head yet unvoiced and shared to me till right now.

What I knew he didn’t understand was that I forget about some of that stuff too!  Being a full time working mom of three kids and holding 2 jobs, one husband AND volunteer teaching position of a program I not only love, but one that seeps into my own brain reminding me what life is really about…I can’t remember anything unless I write it down or take a photo.

But the husband was mad and I had to address that as soon as possible or his anger would grow and fester and who knows what would come out next?  I knew I had to respond kindly.  Without defensiveness or anger.   Inside my head all at once were a bunch of responsible options. The other part of me wanted to run to his face, his him and call him a “Dick!!”  But as much as my ego and pride wanted him to know I had my stuff together and that I’m a great person, I knew that those responses would not get me to where I wanted to go:  peace and love in my marriage.

And since I do not believe in name calling, ever.  Those negative options were out.  The other option was just to apologize, (sincerely), and say nothing else.  Nothing.  Zip it.  Smile too and let it be done.

This last option was new for me and lately, I’ve discovered, it really works!  Because when I take ownership of the wrongdoing, admit it was my fault and fully apologize…well…then….there is nothing else to say.  The argument is over.

Midlife crisisSo when he was done yelling at me…I was quiet and looked at him with an apologetic face and as compassionately as possible could I said, “Wow.  I totally forgot.  I am so sorry.”

By the way, did you know saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t cost you a penny (maybe your pride and ego, but pride and ego don’t below in marriage anyway.

Of course I added more, “You sound really frustrated, and I’m so sorry if I made it worse.  I totally understand and agree with what you just said and it makes perfect sense.  Thank you for pointing that out.”

His mouth opened up a bit to say more to me, but nothing came out.  He stood there hearing me a little bewildered that he was indeed “understood”.  Then I smiled and hugged him.  He was so shocked he didn’t move. He didn’t hug me back. But that was okay. Shock does that and I could tell he was still a bit confused at what had just happened.  I had never ‘heard’ him so blatent before, trust was slow in coming.  Yet I was pleased, I did my part.

What was the mistake I made that created this whole drama?
I forgot about an appointment we had set up with my son’s school.  I never wrote it down and I completely forgot.  But my husband went and that was what was important – because at least one of us was there.  Of course my husband could have sent me a reminder about the appointment, which he didn’t and had he sent me a reminder I would have remembered the meeting, gone to the meeting and the whole scene above would have been avoided.  But he chose not to…  Why?  I’m going to guess he was upset about other things that really didn’t matter, but that annoyed him enough to test me. Because if I didn’t show up to this meeting, he now had a reason to be really angry at me and take out his frustations for a reason.

These days, Life is not easy.  Everyone is so busy it’s hard to slow down and reflect.  So much to do and keep track of.  Constantly double checking and re-checking and re-communicating with your spouse.  Even if you think it’s too much, chances are, it’s not.  You’ll miss something.  So keep the dialogue open, apologize often and just love.

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