Why Do I Freeze Up When I Get Yelled At? | Exploring the Psychology Behind Your Reaction to Shouting

During the fight-flight-freeze response, your body prepares to either fight off the danger or escape to safety. However, in some situations, you may find yourself freezing up instead of fighting or fleeing. This can happen when you get yelled at, even if it's not by someone who poses an actual physical threat. Your brain perceives the yelling as a threat to your emotional well-being and triggers the freeze response as a way of protecting you. Understanding why you freeze up when you get yelled at can help you learn to cope with these situations and manage your stress levels more effectively.

Why Do I Get Triggered When I Get Yelled At?

Additionally, being yelled at can trigger the fight or flight response in the body, leading to a release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This response can also lead to physical symptoms like increased heart rate, sweating, and muscle tension.

It can also lead to feelings of fear, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

It’s important to note that everyone has different triggers and reasons for feeling triggered. For some, it may not even be the act of being yelled at, but rather the tone or words used that cause a strong reaction. It’s also important to recognize that being triggered is a normal human response, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed or upset in these situations.

To cope with being triggered, it can be helpful to practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, journaling, or talking to a trusted friend or therapist. It’s important to identify and communicate your triggers to others, and set boundaries to prevent being put in triggering situations.

It’s essential to take steps to manage our triggers and prioritize our emotional well-being.

The Impact of Childhood Trauma and How It Can Affect Our Response to Being Yelled at

  • Childhood trauma can lead to a heightened sensitivity to certain triggers, including yelling.
  • Individuals who’ve experienced childhood trauma may react more strongly to being yelled at than others.
  • Some responses to being yelled at may include feelings of fear, anxiety, or anger.
  • It’s important to recognize the impact of childhood trauma and to seek proper support and resources to heal and cope with triggers like yelling.
  • Therapy and other forms of support can be helpful in managing the effects of childhood trauma and responding to triggering situations.

It’s important to acknowledge the impact that yelling can have on our mental and emotional wellbeing. Verbal abuse can often cause trauma, especially if it’s a repeated occurrence. Seeking professional support can be incredibly helpful in preventing the long term effects of being yelled at. Let’s explore some tips to help you move forward.

Can You Get Trauma From Being Yelled At?

The impact of being yelled at can be severe and long-lasting, leading to internalizing negative beliefs about oneself. This can often lead to a person feeling inadequate, worthless, and undeserving of love and respect. Furthermore, yelling can cause physical symptoms, including increased heart rate, sweating, and anxiety. When yelling comes from a family member or someone who holds power over you, it can lead to feelings of fear, betrayal, and mistrust.

Additionally, children are particularly vulnerable to verbal abuse from their elders and those in positions of power. Verbal abuse can lead to trauma, which can manifest in several ways, such as depression, anxiety, a lack of self-esteem, and difficulty forming and maintaining relationships in the long term. Children who experience frequent yelling may also be more likely to develop mental health difficulties in adulthood.

The effects of being yelled at can also trigger vivid memories of past traumatic experiences. These memories can be especially prevalent for individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The individual may experience intense feelings of anxiety and a range of other negative emotions.

It’s important to note that everyones experiences are unique, and not everyone who’s yelled at will develop trauma. However, it’s always important to recognize and acknowledge when yelling is becoming a problem. If you feel like you’re experiencing trauma from being yelled at, it’s essential to seek support from a mental health professional.

Differentiating Between Yelling and Constructive Criticism: This Topic Could Explore How to Identify When Someone Is Giving Constructive Criticism Versus When They Are Yelling and the Potential Impact It Could Have on an Individual.

This topic aims to help individuals differentiate between yelling and constructive criticism and understand the implications of each approach. It provides insights into identifying signs of constructive criticism and how to respond to it positively.

Source: The Psychological Effects of Being Yelled At – Verywell Health

However, one of the most commonly experienced reactions is freezing up. When we freeze, our body is preparing itself to stay perfectly still and quiet, hoping that the perceived threat will pass us by. It’s a defense mechanism that can be helpful in some situations, but in others, it can cause us more harm than good. So, what can we do when we find ourselves freezing up in a confrontation?

Why Do I Freeze During Confrontation?

Freezing can be seen as a type of response to a perceived threat that immobilizes the individual. This happens due to the bodys sympathetic nervous system response, which triggers a cascade of physiological and psychological changes, such as an adrenaline rush and heightened alertness. However, in some cases, this response can be overwhelming and lead to a feeling of being stuck or paralyzed.

Another reason why someone may freeze during confrontation is due to past experiences. For instance, if someone has been through trauma or abuse, confronting others may trigger memories or feelings of helplessness. This can make it difficult for them to respond in the moment, as they may feel like they’re back in that past situation.

If they’ve had negative experiences with fighting or fleeing in the past, then freezing may seem like the safest option. However, this can also be counterproductive in situations that require quick decision-making or action.

For instance, individuals who’re more introverted or have social anxiety may find it difficult to assert themselves or speak up during confrontations. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re weak, but rather that they may need more time to process their thoughts and emotions.

It’s simply one of the many ways that humans respond to stress and perceived threats. With practice and support, individuals can learn to manage their responses and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

While yelling in relationships may be a common occurrence, it’s important to understand it’s potential impact. The psychological effects can be significant and long-lasting, making healthy communication absolutely essential. In this article, we’ll explore the toxicity of yelling in relationships and offer tips for fostering open and effective communication.

Is Yelling at Someone Toxic?

The problem arises when yelling becomes a pattern of communication in the relationship. When this occurs, the relationship can become toxic. Toxic relationships refer to relationships in which one or both individuals have negative and damaging experiences that can lead to overwhelming feelings of stress, anxiety, and fear. If left unchecked, these negative emotions can fester and negatively impact the relationship.

It’s important to note that yelling isn’t always toxic. There are situations in which expressing anger through raised voices can be productive. For example, if someone is in danger, yelling can be an effective way of getting attention and help.

Healthy communication is essential for building and maintaining strong relationships. It’s important to be able to express oneself in a way that’s clear, respectful, and non-judgmental. Being able to communicate effectively takes practice and patience, but it’s worth the effort.

When couples are experiencing conflict, it’s important to address the issue head-on and find a way to work through it. This requires being able to listen to each other and being open to different perspectives. Finding compromise and understanding is essential to building trust and strengthening the relationship. Effective communication involves sharing ones own feelings and thoughts in a non-threatening manner, while also being able to listen to and validate the other persons feelings.

Strategies for Dealing With Anger in a Relationship

  • Practice active listening and try to understand your partner’s perspective
  • Take a break from the situation and cool down before discussing the issue
  • Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements to express your feelings
  • Find healthy ways to cope with anger, such as exercise or deep breathing
  • Seek professional help or counseling if necessary
  • Develop problem-solving skills and work together with your partner to find solutions
  • Make time for relaxation and stress-reducing activities
  • Learn to forgive and let go of grudges

Dealing with confrontation can be tough, especially if it involves yelling and raised voices. However, it’s important to stay calm and assertive in these situations to avoid escalating the tension. By addressing the yelling and setting boundaries in a calm and polite manner, you can potentially diffuse the situation and maintain control of the conversation. In this article, we’ll explore some effective strategies for handling situations where everyone is yelling at you.

What to Do When Everyone Yells at You?

When someone yells at you, it’s important to respond calmly and assertively. This isn’t always easy, as being yelled at can be highly unsettling and even threatening. However, it’s important to take a deep breath and try to remain composed, as this will make it more likely that you can resolve the situation in a positive manner. One good technique is to acknowledge the persons feelings, but at the same time, let them know that you won’t tolerate being yelled at.

Finally, make sure to take care of yourself after a tense encounter. This might mean removing yourself from the situation entirely, or taking some time to process your emotions. Whatever you do, try to avoid internalizing the other persons behavior or blaming yourself for what happened. Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, even in difficult situations.

Communication Strategies for Dealing With Angry or Aggressive Individuals

  • Stay calm and avoid reacting emotionally.
  • Listen actively to the person’s concerns.
  • Acknowledge their feelings and validate their perspective.
  • Express empathy and understanding.
  • Avoid blaming or criticizing the person.
  • Stay focused on the issue and try to find a solution together.
  • Encourage the person to actively participate in finding a resolution.
  • Use clear and concise language to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Set clear boundaries and expectations for acceptable behavior.
  • Keep safety as the top priority and seek help if necessary.


However, when it comes to getting yelled at, the freeze response can sometimes take over, leaving you feeling helpless and unable to respond. The good news is that this response is completely normal and it's something that can be worked on and overcome with practice. It's important to recognize the freeze response for what it’s – a natural and automatic response to perceived danger – and not let it consume you. With the right tools and techniques, you can learn how to control your response and react in a way that's more productive and less stressful.