It’s a simple fact of human nature: when we’re being yelled at, we don’t hear. To be yelled at is to be attacked. When attacked, we defend, shut down, or counter-attack. Yelling is not only ineffective for expressing a point, it makes the situation worse. You could be telling someone the location of a hidden treasure or a prophecy from God, but if you’re yelling, there’s a good chance they won’t hear it.
I first read about this when I was a teenager. It was a time in my life where there was a lot of yelling in my house. My Dad yelled at me. I yelled back. Not surprisingly, nothing ever seemed to get resolved. Life was defined as moments of peace in between yelling matches.
One day I went to my Dad and said “From now on, when you yell at me, I’m not going to listen to a word you say. Conversely, when I’m yelling at you, I don’t expect you to listen to me. You want me to be an adult, but you don’t yell at your coworkers or other adults. Why should we be any different?”
His initial reaction to this was not positive. But the next day he asked me to sit down and talk. He told me that he had thought about what I said, and was willing to try it out.
From that moment on, we resolved not to yell. It had a dramatic impact on our relationship. We stopped yelling, and started listening. We’ve been on good terms ever since.