October 5, 2018, aboard the ms Amsterdam in the north Pacific Ocean
Yelling or being yelled at doesn’t help anything
by Columnist Tom Blake
Before leaving on this cruise that my significant other, Greta, and I are currently taking, I read an article titled, “Don’t make excuses for a husband’s yelling.” It was written by Carolyn Hax, an advice columnist using a format similar to Dear Abby, dated September 2, 2018, in the Washington Post.
I could relate to what Ms. Hax wrote. Before I met Greta 20 years ago, I was in a committed relationship–not a marriage–with a woman who yelled at me.
I decided to save the article until I had ample time aboard ship to deal with the topic of dealing with an angry yelling mate.
And then, on September 28, I received even more inspiration to write on the topic when Champ Christine Baumgartner, a knowledgeable relationship coach, with whom most of you are familiar, posted a simple notice on the On Life and Love After 50 Facebook group that read:
“But I love him isn’t a good enough reason to stay with a man who doesn’t treat you with respect.”
So, out here on the Pacific Ocean, as our ship heads toward Dutch Harbor, Alaska, I studied Ms. Hax’s article. A woman had written Hax stating: “My husband is wonderful, supportive, kind…We have been together a long time and love each other dearly.
We do have one recurring issue. When he gets angry, he yells. This is not necessarily at me…But…which is sometimes directed at me—and I cringe at his anger in general.
I came from a home where yelling was the precursor to something worse…So, he yells, I get upset and (often) defensive, we fight.
I feel like he gets so angry, so quickly, over so many things that it makes me reluctant to tell him things that are negative…I know we are both at fault: He needs to control his temper and I need to be less sensitive.”
The woman also wrote that she had considered seeing a marriage counselor, but “it has never gotten that bad.”
Ms. Hax replied to the lady: “Not that bad? You’re not happy with things this way…Please trust your gut.”
Based on my experience with my yelling, former girlfriend, who would slowly get angry and raise the sound level of her voice to screaming level, as if she had an anger accelerator within her body, although I had done absolutely nothing to trigger it, I learned that people must extricate themselves from this type of relationship.
Being yelled at raises one’s stress level and is bad for one’s health. It’s like walking on egg shells. You always wonder when the next outburst is coming. It’s no way to live.
It was hard to end the relationship because I cared, but as stated in Christine’s Facebook post, being disrespected—and being yelled at is just that—isn’t worth the “but I love him” title.
Often, it’s hard to discuss your concerns with the person who yells at you. They simply get angrier and yell or scream more. Couples often seek counseling but that doesn’t always work either.
When my yelling girlfriend and I went to counseling, as we walked from the car to the counselor’s office, she said, “Don’t tell her the truth.” And got angry when I tried to explain that that was why we were there. We never went back.
If you are dealing with a person who yells at you, or you yell at him, confront it, get it fixed, or get out.
Part 2 -Cruise update
We have been at sea for five days, having left Los Angeles Harbor Sunday at 4:30 p.m. There are approximately 1,000 passengers aboard. Finally, on Wednesday, we had some sunshine and blue skies.
Internet is iffy because it’s done via satellite. We usually can access our email accounts, but opening websites like Facebook or CBS Sports is sporadic at best. Probably like most passengers, we’ll try to get in some internet action while ashore in Dutch Harbor.
On Tuesday, we met 12 people–two at lunch, six at a small cocktail party and four at dinner. Two were from San Antonio, Texas, one from Dallas. Three from Mississippi, two from Colorado, two from the Imperial Valley in California, one from Atlanta, and one from New Orleans.
Everybody has a story. That’s one of the things that makes cruising so interesting.