Wife M and I rarely — if ever — yell at each other. At times we might get sarcastic, express displeasure at something or even bicker, but we rarely actually yell (and 99% of the time we are lovey-dovey :)). So I’ve always wondered, how does someone start yelling in a relationship? In those relationships where a person is moody and raises their voice — how does it progress from the first date and the honeymoon period to actual yelling? I could never quite figure that out. But after a meeting with my boss last week, I think I know…
My boss actively courted me for over six months. We had coffee, he sent me notes asking me to come work for him, and when I started working for him he stopped by several times a day to make sure I was okay. Then after a few weeks he stopped popping by. Then he started coming in through the other door so some days I didn’t see him, and if I popped in his office for a moment to ask about something he had a look of tolerance on his face, like I was interrupting him. One day he didn’t make eye contact as I passe dhim. In the meantime, he made a flippant comment about an employee or two, and I heard him yelling twice at other employees through the office walls.
Then last week, he raised his voice at me during a meeting. Not actual yelling, but he was visibly frustrated and his voice was over a conversational level. I hate yelling. My family yelled at each other a lot when I was growing up, and over time I came to really hate it. So when someone yells at me I genuinely want to punch them, and when the yelling is over it is hard for me to not distrust them (although he is not a bad guy, per se). Last week, my boss didn’t actually yell at me, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the escalation over time, over hear the yelling at others, and to see that eventually I too will be yelled at.
But what is most interesting, is that *now* I see how people start yelling at their spouse – it happens gradually, like the foot in the door principal. So in baby steps you go from whispering sweet nothings with someone to their hollering at you and blaming you for their problems. Wild!
I am glad Wife M and I don’t yell at each other (I think our last genuine yelling match was almost 20 years ago). And I don’t know how someone can spend their life with someone — and sleep with someone — who yells at them. I think I would have to leave that person. And because I was an adult before yelling truly started to repulse me, I am lucky that I met Wife M young and it happened to be that we’re not yellers.