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Can’t handle being screamed at. Any ideas how I can fix this problem?

Reddit View
February 8, 2020
71 upvotes

I’m a manager with many subordinates. Despite reaching a role like this, I’ve found I’m more often in the “flight” stage when being screamed at instead of “fight”. I can fight and discipline after carefully thinking what I have to say but not on the fly sometimes.

I’m better than I once was, but I had one instant when a person my level yelled at me in front of my subordinates while discussing proactive strategies. I kept pressing trying to understand why he was against the idea until eventually he screamed “I DONT WANT TO TALK ABOUT” “JUST DROP IT”. I was speechless and couldn’t say anything then. I have plenty to say next time I see them one on one, but I definitely left a bad impression for those that saw.

How do I become better at handling very reactive people at random times? I want to be better equipped and not speechless when in the hot seat.


Post Information
Title Can’t handle being screamed at. Any ideas how I can fix this problem?
Author HeresToTheNext20
Upvotes 71
Comments 59
Date 08 February 2020 12:00 AM UTC (1 year ago)
Subreddit askTRP
Link https://theredarchive.com/post/331190
Original Link https://old.reddit.com/r/asktrp/comments/f0jd99/cant_handle_being_screamed_at_any_ideas_how_i_can/
Similar Posts
Comments

[–]Endorsed ContributorFereallyRed100 points101 points  (8 children) | Copy

Take the high road.

Your job is to remind them that their behavior is unprofessional and inappropriate.

You stay calm, de-escalate, then go to a private area to debrief.

If they continue to be unreasonable, then it's time to disengage and take the issues of on the job unprofessionalism and impropriety to their supervisor.

You aren't required to take abuse in the workplace. Might even be a law or two about it.

Or, you could just realize that he's an idiot and laugh at him.

[–]HeresToTheNext20[S] 20 points21 points  (6 children) | Copy

Honestly laughing to their face would be the ultimate end goal for me when that happens. I don’t know how to get out of “deer in headlights mode”

[–]ogkushinjapan20 points21 points  (0 children) | Copy

Laughing is fun but not realistic in some situations especially your job. I’d tell him to take 5 and come talk to me when he’s cool in an assertive way.

[–]Batman-von-Pepe2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Don't. You don't let your subordinates see fights between their superiors, that's just poor leadership.

To note, I like all my people to contribute but if someone is adamant about a position then I expect them to defend it properly, if they can't then they are just wasting everyone's time. Losing control and blowing up like they did is just wrong. If I butt heads with others I will let them know we will continue the discussion at a later time but do so in a cordial manner. Gripes go up. Frankly you should have a talk with this person about doing shit like that in front of your subordinates. If they see others not respecting you then how are they supposed to respect you?

If someone is raising their voice at you then you have the upper hand because they are now being influenced by emotion. Get in that mindset and maybe it will help you calm down in those situations.

[–]spottedstripes8 points9 points  (2 children) | Copy

Someone at my work does this. They laugh very loudly all the time whenever they are nervous or are faking their feelings and it's very obvious. The whole office knows. It does not make you look more powerful, it makes you look weak and like you are a loose cannon about to blow.

[–]DatRiggz0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

The way he mentions laughing at them isn't an uncomfortable lol, it's a lol that crushes spirits and establishes dominance.

[–]Endorsed ContributorFereallyRed7 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy

Exactly. You show you are slightly amused by the situation.

You know "Amused Mastery".

Anything inside your frame you have mastery over.

Anything outside your frame is slightly amusing to you.

Literal spergs need literally specific instructions.

"Laugh" does not mean "ROFLMAO" It doesn't even literally mean "laugh". It means find the situation so beneath you it's amusing.

[–]BusterVadge0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I used to be just like you when I first started my sales job. The only thing that helps is exposure to it until you're able to remain calm and laugh it off later. I'd get clients that would literally scream at me. I used to freeze, stutter, not know what to say (blank deer in the headlights).

After about a year of this (maybe an hour or two total of being screamed at) I realized that it didn't phase me anymore and I got great at de-escalating.

I hear that enrolling in an intense martial art or boxing can help (learn to control adrenaline). Also, this is one area where I almost wish I joined the military when I was younger because it prepares you for these things.

[–]Alt_Mayday0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

  1. Observation ("Right now you are just yelling at me, which is unprofessional and leads to nothing")

  2. Openess ("I understand that you're not satisfied with thing X, that's why I'm here to talk with you about it")

  3. Appeal ("But please calm down and allow us to have an actual discussion")

Works every single time. Literally just ignore their childish hysteria and maintain a cool + professional frame.

[–]Smuggler-Tuek18 points19 points  (9 children) | Copy

Read “when I say no I feel guilty.” It has tools for this exact thing.

[–]HeresToTheNext20[S] 4 points5 points  (8 children) | Copy

I need to re-read this. I actually did use broken record. And I spoke calmly the entire time but I was not expecting him to scream at that level. I know now that he is potential to scream like that so I’ll for sure be better next time. But sometimes the heat of the moment gets to me.

[–]Gr33d3ater6 points7 points  (6 children) | Copy

You know man, we’re living in a world that isn’t real. We’re living in a world where the economy “has never been better” and yet companies are telling people at a higher rate than ever that they will be working longer hours, for less pay and fewer benefits, and if they don’t like it, there’s the door. We’re being told that employment has never been higher, and yet a 7$ raise in minimum would result in an economic collapse and every business to leave America.

We have a serious problem right now with Americans and job security/financial security. And you’re part of that mechanism. I’m not saying it’s your fault, but you are the cog in these peoples’ lives. You are as Marx said, the worker promoted simply to create infighting to stifle any unionship. Them yelling at you is exactly what corporate wants. It satiates the worker, insulates them, and keeps the worker powerless. Otherwise they might be forced to see the consequences of their greed and just maybe have an unpleasant thought on the golf course.

You need to realize that your ‘underlings’ as you call them, are really just you without the lottery draw. My best bosses were those who acknowledged the situation sucked, that he personally couldn’t do anything about it, and that I was right to be mad at the system we have right now.

You need to be more human, not less. People are yelling because you did your broken record thing, and that’s not human. That’s a fucking robot. You want someone to go postal on your ass one day? Because guaranteed, you piss off some American enough, ruin their life etc, and you’re going to be the first one at the end of that broken man when he breaks down.

Highest casualties in workplace violence are the managers. Which type of manager are you going to be? I’m not telling you to roll over, but if you can’t handle this job with empathy and understanding of why the yelling happens in the first place, maybe management isn’t for you. And I say that from the workers’ perspective, not corporate’s. You can be the worst manager a worker has ever had and be the best manager corporate has ever had at the same time. Don’t be that guy.

[–]HeresToTheNext20[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Luckily I have enough experience in my career where the respect between my subordinates and I are mutual. When they do speak out of turn I can keep a level head and speak to the deeper issues they may be screaming about. My problem is with people on my team at my level who work with me to set direction for the subordinates.

[–]Gr33d3ater0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

people on my team at my level who work with me to set direction for the subordinates

What does this mean?

[–]Smuggler-Tuek1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Blaming the world around you for your life. That’s true red pill lmao. How are you not MGTOW yet with this outlook? FYI there’s more than broken record in that book and they describe situations exactly like this.

[–]Gr33d3ater-1 points0 points  (0 children) | Copy

Right, taking up in arms with my peers against capitalistic destruction of wealth balance and the far right rhetoric of limitless returns and endless economic prosperity while we have the highest homelessness rate ever, higher than that of the Great Depression, is “blaming the world for my problems.”

Nothing could ever be better than the current status quo right? While another 80% of the remaining wealth in America that isn’t already hoarded is drained to the top through fraud.

[–]theyearsstartcomin0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

My understanding is that this is someone of his level, so another manager

[–]Vynxe-Vainglory0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Pretty sure you just made me gay for a minute.

Love this reply.

[–]Smuggler-Tuek0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Yeah it can be tough all the same. Honestly the one who loses their cool loses respect usually. I doubt you lost any respect.

[–]rn788912 points13 points  (0 children) | Copy

I used to have this problem really bad. I would completely shut down if anyone raised their voice at me. The anxiety it gave me completely ruined my college baseball career because it’s pretty much commonplace to be screamed at in that environment.

What fixed it for me was becoming confident in what I’m doing. I now work in healthcare and there’s a ton of people who are very assertive. I learned quickly that I’m going to have to be also or nobody will respect me. Once I got good at what I’m doing the anxiety went away. I quit giving a fuck because I know I’m right. If I’m wrong, I own it. Now if someone raises their voice at me I make sure they have a damn good reason for doing so, and I go on the offensive. I challenge every point they make unless they are just yelling because they don’t know what else to do, then it’s not worth my energy.

The goal is about valuing yourself enough to stand up for yourself when warranted. If you’re in a meeting and someone puts you on the spot like you mentioned, call them on it right there. A simple comment line “Bad day Mr. Smith?” In front of others will suffice.

[–]Andrew5432132 points33 points  (3 children) | Copy

Walk away

[–]HillaryLostTheEC10 points11 points  (2 children) | Copy

Best answer. Literally just turn around and walk away. Go into your room and close the door. Tell whoever is yelling at you to calm the fuck down and you won't talk to them until they're in a calm state.

[–]lowiqmaxxx6 points7 points  (0 children) | Copy

I disagree. I think this will make him look like a mopey bitch that just got his feelings hurt. Personally, I’d stand up straight, look him straight in the eye and say “ok.” And then continue doing what I was doing. The discipline part comes later.

[–]Pluglord0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Nah just walk away. No need to explain anything.

[–]i-love-cute-lolis37 points38 points  (2 children) | Copy

Fighting doesn't help, don't scream back as that'll make the screaming even worse. To be an alpha doesn't mean always going on fight mode, you can choose your battles.

I find it's best to just leave. Standing there like a deer in the headlights makes you look as if you're lost and defeated.

Leaving just shows you're not putting up with that.

You can also tell them that you won't tolerate them screaming at you. That is if your voice doesn't break when you say it.

[–]Monkitail5 points6 points  (1 child) | Copy

leaving also makes you a little bitch, so there's that.

[–]theyearsstartcomin2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Yeah, you need to show the pidgeon shitting on the chessboard whos boss

[–]ENTPunisher14 points15 points  (4 children) | Copy

What job are you working where you're getting screamed at by adults, subordinates no less, and they aren't getting marched down to HR and sacked?

I'd go for 5 seconds of silence and eye contact, followed by "Come see me after the meeting."

[–]YourShadowScholar10 points11 points  (0 children) | Copy

Yeah this in INSANE. In what job does anyone scream at people and keep their job?... Maybe if you own the company?

[–]HeresToTheNext20[S] 5 points6 points  (1 child) | Copy

Not getting yelled at by subordinates. When I do I can handle those better now. My issue is with people my level or above.

[–]ENTPunisher0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Well then you need to find another job, or find a way to get higher on the totem pole, or appeal to an even higher authority. Or you can just deal with it like Billy Beta.

[–]DatRiggz0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Dat dere HR 🤣🤣

[–]yvnglucifer2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

laugh

[–]PM_Happy_Puppy_Pics2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Hey man, I manage 20+ men and women and the best way I deal with this is to say, (calmly) "I can tell you are very passionate about this, let's talk in private, in about 30 minutes." Alternatively, I will say, after lunch break, or at the end of our shift, or whatever.

I do this so they calm down but also so I can gather my thoughts. I also am asserting my dominance by ending a confrontation and taking control of the situation in a structured way. They also can't complain or dispute it, because they are going to get time to say whatever they want, I am not invalidating them.

That is the best way to handle women as well- in everyday life. If she is up your ass about something you don't feel like talking about at the moment, say you understand it is important to her and you will talk about it with them at X time but now is not the best time. Again, have solid plan and time, so they won't feel dismissed, and also you are asserting dominance by establishing that time and place. This has never failed, and I have even gotten snarky responses, like, "oh you can't talk now?" "Are you scared?" "This can't wait!!!" Yet I always stand firm and deal with the issue later, where my thoughts are more collected and the other person is almost always more understanding.

I always inject humor when this kind of thing happens and not take things so seriously, because wtf, almost nothing people care about is actually life or death. And I point that out, tease a little and deescalate. You can find your own rhythm and creativity for that.

At work, if someone is seriously disruptive, I say, "Go home."

If they protest, I say, "I will call security to escort you." That has only happened once, and frankly, people know when they are bested.

[–]MrTrizzles1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

You were me. Are me. I'm still not lightning quick on my mental feet, every second I get to think something through yields exponentially more results than the second before... but seconds are a luxury when it's real time. I'm no quicker now, I'm just more seasoned.

This is your solution. And it really applies to any interruption that you must deal with, particularly with others present.

As soon as the outburst occurs, your mental frame should be: Whatever just happened, it will be handled--BUT IN PRIVATE. And you, you personally, don't feel one way or the other about it. You are not impressed by the outburst, but you're not unimpressed, either. You don't think it was appropriate, or inappropriate. You're not pleased or upset.

You are not faking this. The fact is, the outburst specifics of what was said to you is irrelevant, and you don't take the time to even consider it. You are now in meeting scheduling mode. Right now, in front of everyone, in the moment... you are briefly considering a time when you and your interlocuteur can meet IN PRIVATE to address whatever just happened.

And when you speak, you use your meeting scheduling voice. Think about how you schedule a meeting. You are not happy or sad or up or down when scheduling a meeting, you just are. Neutral. Cordial enough for the situation, but just looking to schedule that meeting.

Your meeting scheduling voice does not inflect to infer anything whatsoever about the recent outburst. Your audience should detect nothing in your voice or manner that appears to be a reaction.

And this is what you say, to Mr. Hysterical: "Well, we'll discuss that at a better time." Or thereabouts. The moment the outburst happened, you have a single objective, and that is to redirect that conversation thread to another occasion, IN PRIVATE. Note that it's not their outburst that will be discussed. Be clear in your mind that it's not. You're not meeting at a better time to address their outburst, but whatever the underlying issue is that caused it. Do not let yourself mentally judge the outburst! Put it out of your mind immediately. if you allow it in your mind, your thoughts will betray you, no matter how neutral your words.

(In case anyone is interested, this right here, these moments, are an instance of what RP calls holding frame. Just by considering the outburst at all, the moment in time when it appears in your mind for inspection, frame is lost. Frame is not lost to people, it is lost to ourselves. It is lost by allowing foreign objects into our thoughts.)

Now in your specific example, this doesn't quite work, because his outburst was a plea to cease the line of questioning. There's nothing to discuss later. I certainly hope you're experienced enough to understand why you would never even dream of publicly announcing that you will be discussing their outburst later. That wouldn't be just losing frame, that would be crumpling frame into a little ball and shoving it up your ass.

In this particular case, I would respond with, "I see." Or, "Ok. Moving on." Or even just a light throat clearing, the internationally recognized signal that a faux pas has occurred but it's in the past now and we'll leave it in the past, a short pause, then move forward.

Why am I so adamant on keeping the outburst out of your thoughts? Frame, motherfucker. In english, it's like this:

Outburst: Bad

You can fill in the rest, right? Praise in public, threaten coach in private? It's poor form to publicly address poor behavior. It's incredibly poor form to address an individual's poor behavior in public. But it's unfathomably poor form to discuss an individual's poor behavior in front of their peers! If you didn't know this, then hear me now. We are keeping the outburst out of our mind because there is nothing we can do about it right now, first off, but secondly, any reference to it will shame he who outbursted. And gentlemen with class do not shame their peers or subordinates. And third... it's bad. That's reason enough. Who wants to get bad on them in a meeting? Bad has a short half-life. Who wants to extend bad's lifespan one second more, or get bad splatter on one more person?

Since there's nothing to be done about it now, don't even fucking go there, bro. That's frame right there. Focus so intent that you're impervious to any extraneous protuberant.

Anyways. Taking it private is a win all the way around, 360 degrees. You look professional, you defuse the outburst, and you keep the meeting on track. And as a bonus... it allows you all the time you need to "carefully think" of a retort--and exactly how you're going to tear them a new asshole.

Tear them a new asshole, IN PRIVATE.

[–]xxx69harambe69xxx1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

lolwut

what kind of fucked up job...

id fuckin quit and just join the local construction or lawn crew

[–]Pluglord1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

What I’d do is immediately ask:

“Who’re you screaming at?” with a displeased and suspenseful facial expression. If they have any respect for you, they’ll calm right down when they hear this and either tone it down, or give an apology. If not, and they continue screaming at me, I automatically go into fight mode tbh. I’ll let them know that I’m not tolerating any disrespect in the form of anyone raising their voice at me. And that’s about as much talking as I’ll do before I either walk away or give them a death stare with an “ill fuck you up” undertone.

[–]Endorsed ContributorUEMcGill0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Have you read the 48 laws?

[–]HeresToTheNext20[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

A long time ago. I’ll have to re read that too then

[–]huey7640 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Ignore him. Walk away.

[–]SalporinRP0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

If they're someone on your level they have no right to scream at you. I guarantee everyone at the office thinks they're a cunt anyways.

I'd say do something that builds confidence such as boxing or BJJ. Some dunce at your job won't mean shit to you if you do a combat sport lol.

[–]DatRiggz0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

As a grown man, no one has the right to raise their voice towards me, period.

[–]HeresToTheNext20[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

This guy is actually bigger and taller than me. That might be part of why I was intimidated by him screaming all of a sudden

[–]thrwy754790 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

I kept pressing trying to understand why he was against the idea until eventually he screamed

Persistence is good. Pushiness is not. People need space. Learn to read them better, and be more self-aware. Also, if you're having issues with someone not agreeing, discuss things in private with them while probing, not interrogating, to achieve resolution. This should not have started in front of several people.

Further, don't ask why. Not one person on this planet wants to be asked why, especially by superiors. It will always put them on the defensive.

I definitely left a bad impression for those that saw

It's him that looked bad because he lost his cool.

he screamed “I DONT WANT TO TALK ABOUT” “JUST DROP IT”

When people get angry, they are going through problems. This is when empathy is most important. He's going through difficulties, and needs help, though it doesn't mean yelling at you is okay. In this instance, it seems you were asking for it, and it's better to walk away. If it was unwarranted, then you can stand up for yourself, and say, "I understand we have some issues here. However, I will not be talked to that way." That's it. You've asserted yourself in a firm, and fair way.

You have to learn to relate to people better. If someone is saying no, or giving off signals that they want to be left alone, you should back off. If you do want to be aggressive, then you should expect these types of things to happen.

I would recommend checking out The One Minute Manager by Spencer Blanchard, and Ken Johnson.

Further, I would highly recommend watching this interview with Chris Voss by Lewis Howes. It's filled with information that you may find useful.

[–]HeresToTheNext20[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

I think you nailed it. Looking back I was definitely being more pushy than persistent. He asked me to let it go and “we aren’t going to agree on this” in a calmer demeanor but I kept pressing. Honestly this is a new team so I wasn’t sure what were the sensitive points with some individuals on my team. This instance certainly taught me one of them. Thank you

[–]thrwy754790 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Honestly this is a new team so I wasn’t sure what were the sensitive points with some individuals on my team.

Out of curiosity, does the 1000-whys game work on anyone else? It seems to me that anyone would be infuriated if someone was badgering, or interrogating them.

[–]DerekMorganBAU0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

You definitely work at a fast food place stop flexing 😂

[–]HeresToTheNext20[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Interesting take.

[–]Meloxian0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I find taking a deep breath, telling yourself mentally to relax conciously trying to slow down the conversation helps like crazy

[–]cookiesandspleen0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

From his perspective, you were pressing him on something in front of subordinates. Having a disagreement in front of subordinates is never going to be easy. Always try to have those conversations 1 on 1. If I know that there's a chance I could lose control over a situation, I'll try to do it in a setting I have more control over.

[–]jenovajunkie0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

So he yelled at you, and then said he didn't want to talk about it?

This guy is the same level as you, so why is he yelling at you about doing something wrong if he doesn't want to say what's wrong with it. I might be confused about the way you explained yourself, but I find that more of a "flight" response by avoiding the entire premise of why he is yelling at you.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

It means you are a coward

[–]DatRiggz0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

You gotta be the horse and crush cats that test waters. Then again im in construction, I got zero issues telling people to eat dicks.

[–]heavy_lies_the_crown0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Look dead into their eyes and calmly and steady tell them that this is unacceptable.

Best if you do it one onr one, because most of the people have crowd mentality. So if you break them away from the crowd and explain that their attitude is relate to them keeping their job or gettin a raise. They will listen to you, respect you more and stop this screaming bullshit.

[–]professor_mcamateur0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

reaching a role like this

FRAME; you either earned it, or you rose to the level of your incompetency. so basically you should not be the person being yelled at and the most critical thing about being in a position of "power" is that you don't fluff your own ego in the process of telling it how it is.

meaning, 90% of the work related small talk you probably used to share with coworkers is now going to be detrimental to your integrity (if you ever made any off-handed snide remarks about literally anything.)

you no longer share any kind of informal bond with your former counterparts.

[–]Nevesj98G0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I'm only 21 so take my advice as you will.
i had the same exact issue with being screamed at, but after some therapy sessions(not because of that problem, it just came up in the conversation with the therapist) i found out i was kinda traumatized by an episode when my father basically screamed me into submission when i was 5 . Articulating that episode and putting it into other perspectives made me stop having that problem - in my case my father was in the air force, me realising that in the armed forces, screaming is more common made me stop caring about it since because i stopped looking at it in the same way that i always did.

[–]jm510 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

"When I Say No I feel Guilty"

It's a classic on assertiveness technique. Used copies are dirt cheap.

[–]WhatRemainsAfter0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Go smoke cigs with them. Ask what's up?

You have lead lost people and motivate them to lead best life so that they are efficient at work.

Sympathy brother. I see my co-worker drinking themselves to sleep every fucking day. They are depressed breed. Be their lighthouse at work.

[–]xX_bullitt_Xx0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

In front of a group: remain stoic and calm, maintain eye contact, say nothing until they're done, then tell them you'll discuss this after the meeting. You should absolutely not engage or defend (through justification) your decisions, as this makes you look weak.

In private: take absolutely ZERO of this bullshit. The exact phrase I use is "What do you think about your behavior right now is appropriate?". You'll end up letting them go regardless.



You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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