In general, I’m a pretty quite person. One of my best friend’s uncle nicknamed me “Mousy” because I’m too little and too quite.
I can spend an entire day not speaking to another living soul and be completely happy and content. (Truthfully, I could do this for days and get a lot of reading, writing, knitting and work done. It makes me feel accomplished and whole when I get to do all those things and bonus if I get to do it without interruption!)
Unfortunately, I can also be loud. VERY LOUD!
My entire family is LOUD. Which is something I never really noticed until I married my husband. His entire family, including cousins, can fit into one room comfortably.
Mine can barely fit into one house.
And when we do, it’s sounds a bit like we could all use hearing aids. We’re all trying to have conversations and be heard. The volume goes up and up and up until children are covering their ears and neighbors are wondering if they should call the police.
We are not yelling at each other.
We are, however, speaking in upraised voices that force attention to the conversation and has been known, on occasion, to make babies cry.
This is normal.
It’s what we do.
How else are we going to be heard?
It’s a problem.
When I’m not heard in my little mousy tone, I get a little louder. When I’m still not heard, I get even louder. I continue to increase my volume until I feel I’m finally getting through and that’s the volume I stay at until I’m done saying what I need to say.
It scares my husband.
So I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to stop yelling and screaming to get his attention.
Great plan… no idea how to put it into motion.
We’re really caught in a cycle here. It goes like this…
Me: [Insert random thing] really hurts my feelings.
Husband: [blank stare]
Me: Seriously, I’m upset because [Insert random thing] really hurts my feelings.
Husband: That’s stupid.
Me: It’s not stupid, you’re not listening to me. [Insert random thing] really hurts my feelings.
Husband. Yeah, and that’s stupid. Just stop feeling that way.
Me: How can you say that to me?
Husband: I love you.
Me: I don’t feel loved because [Insert random thing] really hurts my feelings and you think it’s stupid.
Husband: Well, that’s dumb.
Me: You’re being a jerk. I know it’s dumb to you, but it’s not to me. I can’t just stop feeling that way and I need you to quit doing it.
Husband: Okay. I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.
Me: Thank you.
Husband: Can you not yell at me anymore?
Me: You don’t listen until I start yelling.
That’s the basic format of our arguments. The last one we had got really bad and my throat is still raw.
This is not healthy. I know that.
And I don’t feel like an angry person, but after talking with another couple, I’ve realized that I definitely am. I mean seriously, who isn’t automatically on the defensive when someone is raising their voice to them? And even though I don’t feel angry when I first start raising my voice, I am by the time I’m done.
I have got to find another way to express myself.
I stayed up until 2 a.m. last night trying to figure out how I’m going to handle the next time I need him to hear me. I still didn’t have it figured out when I woke up at 6.
I talked to my husband about it. He had no idea and then he had to go to work.
This was me on the inside:
Kinda the exact opposite of what I was going for…
So I got proactive and did what every normal person does these days…
I asked the Google fairies…
Apparently no one else on the planet has a problem with yelling at their spouse. However, people yell at their kids A LOT!
Google has lots of suggestions for not yelling at your children.
While my husband and I can be pretty immature and act more like our kids ages than our own, I’m not so sure I want to approach my issue the same way Google tells me to deal with a child.
Or do I???
I found a site called the Orange Rhino challenge. It’s a 365 day challenge to help mom’s stop yelling at their kids.
On it, there is a list of “Orange Rhino” Alternatives to Yelling. It’s a list of 100 things you can do instead of yelling at your children. I’ve decided to steal this list (or at least part of it since I don’t actually own any of the 50 Shades books and have no desire to) and try it on my husband the next time I feel like raising my voice.
If you don’t have time to take a look at the list, here are just a few of the things my husband has to look forward to:
- The Hokey Pokey
- Me banging my arms on my chest like a gorilla
- Him being tickled
- Me flushing my screams down the toilet
I figure I’ll either get his attention or he’ll put me in a psychiatric hospital. Either way, it should be interesting… and fun… and much better for my throat!
Wish me luck and I’ll let you guys know how it goes!