Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me? (A guide)

Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me

In‌ ‌this‌ ‌guide,‌ ‌we‌ ‌will‌ ‌discuss‌ ‌“Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me”‌ ‌and‌ ‌what‌ ‌you‌ ‌could‌ ‌do‌ ‌to‌ ‌tackle‌ ‌this‌ ‌situation.‌

Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me?

“Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me?”, you may be wondering.

First, you may have heard from people (e.g. a relative, your partner or a boss) that you are “overly sensitive”, “weak”, a “sensitive person” or “too emotional”.

It is not bad to cry and shed some tears since it is a way of showing emotional pain and discomfort over something someone has said, especially when yelling at you.

In addition, crying when someone screams at you can be overwhelming, saddening and you can feel very frustrated by not being able to address the issue differently.

Many people yell out of frustration or anger when they don’t really know how to handle the situation to make their point or deliver their message.

When you are crying under this type of situation, you wish they stop yelling so you can stop crying.  

Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me? (A guide)

The real problem is not if you are too sensitive when someone yells at you.

It is the reason behind it, meaning, it could be due to a particular type of parenting during childhood, immersed in a harsh environment. For instance, NAMI mentions how:

“Children do better when they are calm. The calmer and more connected the caregiver, the calmer and more secure the child. And the healthier it is for the child’s brain and body. Knowing this, here are some things all parents can remember to help young brains develop well, by ensuring our children feel safe and secure.”

Consequently, these are behavioural patterns that we drag from childhood to adulthood. Our parents are responsible for teaching and shaping our behaviors, especially how to manage emotions. 

As a result, when someone yells at us we can feel threatened or in danger, feeling sensitive or emotional.

How to react when someone is yelling at you?

As discussed, if someone is yelling at you then a frequent reaction to it would be crying or getting mad at the person that is yelling at you.

However, you can feel embarrassed if you were to cry in front of classmates, your boss or your partner. 

There is no need to hide your tears but if you want to know what to do when someone is yelling at you. 

In addition, there are some particular elements of being yelled at that make it so harmful. Some of the elements may include:

  • Why you are being yelled at.
  • The volume of his voice.
  • The tone of voice.
  • The facial expressions.
  • The content, such as being critical, humiliating or insulting.
  • The feeling of abandonment, not being good enough or less than someone else.

Tips of what to do when someone yells at you might also help when your client yells at you.

Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me? (A guide)

Some of us remember when we were kids and our mom or dad started yelling at us when we started crying after not being able to understand our maths homework or even our teachers when solving a math’s problem at school.

We just wanted them to stop yelling and stay calm when we did not understand something, the same thing happens in other contexts.

When we are frustrated, angry or simply do not understand something, our first reaction is crying.

Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me? (A guide)

As NAMI explains, “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.” 

Subsequently, our brain is capable to develop neuronal paths and wire according to what we experience.

As a result of growing up in a harsh environment, we develop poor coping skills that and are being reflected in difficult situations where we feel as if there is no control over them, since no one really helped us understand them and address those emotions. 

Listen and let them vent

When someone is yelling at you, they are trying to get a message across. Even though it is not the best way, listen and evaluate what they are saying and do not interrupt, they won’t yell at you forever.

After they have finished yelling about what you could have possibly done wrong, it is your chance to talk about your feelings and explain your situation. 

In addition, try to stay calm and do not feed into their anger by mirroring their behavior or adopting a confrontational position.

Also, it is important to put ourselves in the yeller’s position.

Some of them raise their voices and yell because the other person is not listening to them or make them repeat their message several times, although other people may yell due to poor communication skills developed during their childhood.

Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me? (A guide)

Don’t take it personally

If you are completely sure you did not do anything wrong then there is no need to take things personally.

As we talked, there could be a million reasons why someone could be yelling at you and probably, none is related directly to you.

Crying is your response to emotional pain so do not feel ashamed or embarrassed.

As we discussed, crying or getting mad is a natural way of expressing emotional pain and discomfort, although, it is not the answer.

In addition, if someone resorts to yelling it’s likely to be due to how they learned to cope with stress and frustration when growing up.

People tend to raise their voice because they feel they are not being heard or their message is not coming across as they anticipated so after having to repeat themselves, they yell.

Breathing is key!

Learn how to breathe through breathing exercises. This will prevent the situation from escalating and also engaging with them, resulting in a fight.

Pay attention to how your body reacts when you are being yelled at. You may start feeling muscle tension, heart palpitations, faster-breathing pace, sweating, etc.

This is completely normal reactions but if you learn how to breathe, then you can “disarm” and reduce the physiological activity going on in your body. 

Validate and recognize your feelings!

Feel, name and validate your feelings. Tell yourself “what I am feeling is normal and it will soon pass”.

When we go through difficult situations, we get filled up with a lot of overwhelming emotions that need to be felt, named and addressed.

As human beings, we tend to search for validation, especially for those we care about.

If you are not finding this validation and understanding from the person that is yelling, seek someone else that can help you when you are feeling emotional discomfort.

In addition, you could try simple self-compassion tips such as:

  • Positive self-affirmations
  • Breathing control and relaxation imagery exercises
  • Compassion meditation
  • Gratitude journaling
  • Music meditation
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Self-care

Be assertive

If you can’t handle the screams and the yelling, and you see the yelling is likely to continue, or they will not respond calmly any time soon then you can opt by saying something like “I understand you are frustrated and I would like to clear up this problem, but everyone is too flustered to have a conversation about it”. 

In addition, you can say something like “I would like to be excused to go to calm down and think”.

Avoid suggesting the person to calm down since it can seem very rude and have the contrary effect.

Also, if you are going to leave the room due to the excessive yelling, try to read the context and not leaving if they are still talking directly to you. 

Ask for help

If you feel too overwhelmed by your emotions and can’t cope with them, it is recommended to get in touch with a counselor or a therapist to be able to learn how to recognize and handle your emotions. 

On the other hand, if you feel uncomfortable talking to a counselor or therapist, try talking and expressing how you feel with a relative, a friend or someone you trust.

Why is this blog about “Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me” important?

This blog about “Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me” is important because it can help you understand why people perceive you are too sensitive when being yelled at.

As we discussed, if you react by crying or getting mad is a result of previous experiences but recognizing and addressing it can help you react differently next time.

Consequently, emotional regulation is key when your emotions are too overwhelming where you keep reacting the same way.

There are plenty of exercises to learn about your emotions and how to handle them.

If you feel too overwhelmed and can’t cope, try consulting a therapist or counselor.

Please feel free to comment in the comments section!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about “Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me”

Is it normal to cry when someone yells at you?

Yes, it is normal to cry when someone yells at you. Crying is a natural human response to frustration, stress or sadness.

The idea is to identify those scenarios that make you cry to address them accordingly.

Once you have identified them, you can implement certain strategies to anticipate crying.

Why do I get mad when someone yells at me?

It is a normal reaction to get mad when someone yells at you, especially if you consider it is unfair or for the wrong reasons.

This pattern of behavior is likely to result from negative experiences in childhood, so it does not matter who yells at you but the way you tend to manage by getting mad at them.

How do you not get upset when someone yells at you?

To prevent getting upset when someone yells at you, you could try the following:

– Try to breathe deeply, close your eyes for a few seconds and feel how your body is reacting to being yelled at.

– Take a step back to analyze the situation.

– Avoid agreeing with the person if you don’t feel their reasons for yelling are adequate. If the yelling continues after you have expressed your reasons then ask for a break from this person.

What happens to your body when someone yells at you?

Your body reacts to the yelling as a possible threat, meaning you could experience physiological activation related to the flight or fight response.

Your brain Wil increase the stress hormone release into your bloodstream, increasing muscle tension, sweating, heart palpitations, etc.

This is considered a natural and normal reaction to prevent you from getting hurt or being harmed.

Recommended reading

  • The Highly Sensitive Person
  • The Handbook for Highly Sensitive People: How to Transform Feeling Overwhelmed and Frazzled to Empowered and Fulfilled
  • The Highly Sensitive Person in Love: Understanding and Managing Relationships When the World Overwhelms You
  • The Highly Sensitive Person’s Complete Learning Program: Essential Insights and Tools for Navigating Your Work, Relationships, and Life
  • Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing

References 

Nami.org

Lifehack.org

Wikihow.com

Why am I so sensitive when someone yells at me? (A guide)

Daniela Paez

Daniela Paez is a Clinical Psychologist with an MSc. In Clinical Neuropsychology from Bangor University. She has vast experience in working with children with disabilities, adolescents and their families, in extreme conditions of poverty and vulnerability. Additionally, she owns a private practice where she provides neuropsychological evaluation for children and adults, and treatment for mood disorders, anxiety, couple therapy, among other conditions.