The Fear of Being Yelled At

No One Likes Being Yelled At, but Some More Than Others

Do you get terrified when someone yells at you? Do you feel your heart racing or thudding when you hear someone yelling?
Do you feel anxious and traumatized when you hear the yelling?

It is normal to get scared or alert when someone yells at you. Yelling is often a form of negative reinforcement intended to instill some fear and restraint.

However, being afraid of being yelled at to the extent of beginning to lose control over the body and getting anxiety attacks is not normal. Self-help, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and exposure therapy are some treatment options available to treat this fear.
If this fear sounds familiar to you and if you recall instances of experiencing chills going down your spine when someone yelled at you, it is very likely that you are a victim of the anxiety or fear of being yelled at.

Phonophobia or ligyrophobia is the fear of loud noises and is closely related to the fear of yelling. However, just because you are afraid of being yelled at, it doesn’t mean you have phonophobia.

The fear of being yelled at can make day-to-day activities very stressful, especially social interaction and professional life. You might begin to avoid public places as they are prone to conflict, or you may hesitate to raise a complaint or disagree at work, fearing your seniors might yell at you. This crippling fear can take on worse forms if left untreated.

However, it does not mean it does not have a solution. This is a common fear that is treatable.

In this article, we will take a look at the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this phobia.

What Causes of the Fear of Being Yelled At?

The question arises—why do we experience anxiety, panic, or breathlessness while someone is yelling at us? The first reason is that our brain understands that yelling is a potential sign of a threat. As a reflex, the brain induces fear. However, this fear becomes a full-drawn phobia when the symptoms worsen beyond the individual’s control.

When the shrillness in their voice, angry expressions, aggressive body language, and humiliating words send shivers down your body and make you sweat the very last drop from your body, you know that you suffer the phobia of being yelled at.

Frequently getting yelled at changes the mind, brain, and body in ways that increase the activity of the amygdala (the emotional brain), stress hormones in the bloodstream, and muscular tension.

One of the causes of this anxiety stems from childhood. Being frequently yelled at as a child changes how we think and feel about ourselves and lowers self-confidence. Even after we become adults and leave home, this self-perception persists because the brain wires according to our experiences of the past.

If you grew up in a household where the immediate and most widely administered reaction to the smallest of mistakes was yelling and humiliation, you are more susceptible to developing such a phobia. Our minds gradually begin to associate great threat and ferocity with this type of behavior.

Constant yelling also lowers your self-esteem and confidence and might gradually evolve into severe forms of depression. It sows the seeds of self-doubt, which in turn affects all aspects of an individual’s life-social, personal, and professional. As a result of the anxiety of being yelled at, you develop psychosomatic illnesses and begin to suffer from physical weakness.

Symptoms of The Fear of Being Yelled At

People yell not just to exhibit anger and disagreement; they also do so to impose discipline and supremacy. The best example of the latter is the workplace. Being yelled at by your boss or any other senior official is not an alien experience.

When being yelled at is so common, how does one distinguish between a normal fear and a full-blown phobia? Understanding the symptoms of a phobia will help differentiate between a normal fear and a phobia.

● Anxiety attacks
● Heavy sweating
● Breathlessness or shortness of breath
● Increased heart rate
● Chest tightening or chest pain
● Nausea
● Dizziness
● Losing control and fainting
● Lightheadedness

How can you treat the “fear of being yelled at” phobia?

When this fear of being yelled at begins to interfere with your ability to function normally or enjoy everyday life, you must consult a medical expert, like a therapist, who will help you. However, while the therapist does their job, it is equally important for you to make an effort as well to speed up the process.

What are some ways to self-help?

Just the way you expect to be heard and understood for the cause of your behavior and reaction, so do the people around you. It is crucial to try and understand the cause of their anger and reaction.


Family and friends are synonymous with love and support. It is always helpful to discuss your problems with them. Having your feelings heard and being able to vent out any frustration or pain makes it easier to get through it.
An open conversation with your loved ones can help you deal with your problem more effectively. They may even be able to help you on your journey.

Relaxation Techniques

Try relaxation techniques like meditation and progressive muscle relaxation to calm your senses. They will help your body and mind remain calm during such situations when someone is yelling at you. It can help lower the restlessness and uneasiness you are experiencing.

Other practical tips
● Stay calm, and do not yell back.
● Spend some time alone.
● If someone is yelling at you because you did something wrong, accept it and see how you can fix the wrong.
● Listen to relaxing music.
● Exercise more, and take your mind off the yelling.
● Work on your communication—skills–verbal and non-verbal—to reduce instances of misunderstanding or miscommunication.

If this is a family member you’re dealing with, when things have cooled off, you could explain to them that it is hard for you to deal with the yelling. See if there is a different way that you could both communicate if a similar situation arises in the future.

Professional treatment for the fear of being yelled at

The good news is that the fear of being yelled at is a treatable anxiety disorder. Therapy by a mental health professional is all it takes to help. Your psychotherapist may even prescribe you medications along with psychotherapy.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

There is no single therapy or direct treatment available to cure or improve the fear of being yelled at. It takes a series and combination of therapies to help you conquer this form of phobia.

● Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): The emphasis of CBT is on changing the negative thoughts that contribute to the anxiety associated with the phobia. CBT focuses on changing thought patterns and employs a variety of strategies, such as making someone aware of mental distortions, journaling, and using relaxation techniques. All these are attempts to change people’s perceptions of fear.

Exposure Therapy

● Exposure therapy: During exposure therapy, an individual confronts their fears and anxieties in a safe and controlled environment under the supervision of a therapist or counselor. This exposure can take place in both fictitious and real-life scenarios. This method of treatment reduces feelings of fear and anxiety by gradually introducing triggers that would normally escalate a phobic episode.

Final Thoughts
Phobias are curable, or at least reducible to the point where they become ineffective. However, this is only possible if you take the initiative to seek help. In a lot of cases, escaping and avoiding might seem like the easy way out, but it is far from true.

It is not always possible to eliminate the problem; the goal is to make it ineffective. How long can you go without speaking to or confronting your seniors? How long can you let yourself be humiliated by those in authority at work or home?
With the right amount of self-help and professional treatment, you will soon be able to confront your fears and get the better of them!

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