By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service.
If you grew up in a household where everyone raised their voices all the time, hearing people yell now may not have a great effect on you. Yelling is a toxin that loses many people their jobs, relationships and peace of mind. If there is one thing that you can do to improve your life and the lives of those you care for, give up yelling! And, yes, it can be done, no matter how long you’ve had this bad habit.
I grew up in a home where nothing was ever said under 87 decibels, and we all just accepted the yelling as a part of who we were. This habit spread to our extended family, and when anyone was upset with anything, they yelled about it. And it did get to me. At about age 10, I started retreating to my room and playing guitar to avoid the cacophony around me. Unfortunately, by then, I had developed the yelling habit, too, and at home it was hard to control. I had a choice: Leave (which at 10 really isn’t an option) or stay, and see who won the yelling wars.
Once I did leave home for college, at age 17, I made a vow never to treat my loved ones the way I had been treated. The yelling was painful; it hurt my ears and my feelings. It also scared me. Yelling in a threatening way is now considered verbal abuse, and it breaks up families way too often. No one should have to live with it.
I thought this bad habit was under control, but it would still come out at times, and one evening many years ago, I was yelling in the kitchen and it rattled the dual-paned windows. My other half left the room, which was the right thing to do, and I stood there taking in what had just happened. I felt bad, but the only thing I could do was choose to recommit to giving up yelling and make the appropriate apology (for several days).