Why Do We Raise our Voice in Anger?

One afternoon a teacher was taking a stroll with his undergrads. There was a couple at a distance, they were angry and shouting at each other. It turned out that man’s wife had lost her wedding ring. Her husband unleashed a flurry of loud vulgarities and she was shouting back in kind.

The teacher stopped, turned towards his students and said, “Why do people shout in anger?”

One replied, “When we lose our calm, we shout.”

“Granted,” said the teacher, “but, why should you raise your voice when the other person is just next to you? It’s not that s/he’s hearing you better that way. You can still make your point without shouting at the top of your voice.”

They offered various answers, none with any revelation or consensus.

Finally, the teacher spoke:
“Anger immediately creates a distance. When two people are angry at each other, their hearts are no longer close, their emotions are divided and they feel miles apart. To cover that distance they yell. The angrier they are, the louder they shout. They are unable to hear each other and shouting is how they believe they can be heard.”

“And what happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other, but talk so softly, they almost whisper, because their hearts are very close. There’s little or no distance between them.”

“When they love each other even more, they exchange even less words, they murmur, they whisper, yet they hear each other better, their bond strengthens, their love prospers. Finally, they may not even whisper, they only look at each other, silence becomes more potent than speech, that’s how close two people can get when they are in love.”

“So when you argue do not say words that break your bond of love and make you distant from each other.”

To be in a relationship means that out of all the billions of people on earth, you are chosen by someone. This gives you value to another. What is valuable is precious and rare, its hard to get. That’s why after a disaster, when all the victims possessions are lost, the survivors say, all that matters is that my loved ones are safe. People are irreplaceable. When when shout and argue, we are left feeling worthless, disposable and pushed away. To be intimate is to be close and vulnerable. Anger pushes us to attack or protect ourselves from a threat. This fosters distance and defensiveness. So next time you feel the urge to shout, ask yourself: What am I trying to achieve? How is this person a threat?

* the author is unknown and the story is considered public domain

Man shouting photo available from Shutterstock

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Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

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