“You always scream at me!”
I turned my swivel chair to face my eight year old boy and saw his face turn red, eyes welled up with tears. I felt sorry but was simultaneously so frustrated that the next best alternative for me was to try to calm down and explain myself to him.
“Do you know why I raise my voice and then finally scream?”
He murmured, “Because you’re angry?”
“No. It’s because I feel like you don’t hear me. The reason why people talk louder, raise their voices and then scream is because they want to be heard.”
I wasn't planning on that explanation at all, but since divine wisdom seemed to have decided to descend upon my short-fused and moody self, I couldn't refuse.
We scream to be heard. And we all have the desire to be heard, don’t we?
But each of us ‘screams’ in different ways and it’s not always easy to realize it.
Sometimes we act out in different ways in place of a scream.
We drink too much.
We get addicted to drugs or medications.
We rebel, throw tantrums or exhibit belligerent behavior.
Some of us end up overworking. Some choose to be perpetually tardy at their jobs.
Or we choose to retreat and become depressed.
‘Screams’ also sometimes manifest as silence. We withhold.
I think a lot of the times I’m the silent, withholding type. And I write. Sometimes I ‘scream’ here, on this site. But a lot of the times I just keep my written screams to myself to minimize collateral damage.
If there is anything I deem most important about screams, it is this lesson:
That one has to care to hear; one has to have heart to have ear.
To hear and truly listen to someone’s difficulties, anger, pain, sense of isolation or any other wound one carries, you need to REALLY see the other person, be open and have compassion. Screaming back at another’s screams only creates more noise, produces more useless energy that blocks each person from truly receiving what lies behind the scream.
I don't advocate screaming, nor am I encouraging parents to scream at your children. There are other alternatives, yes, and I'm not here to justify my behavior towards my son. Instead, I hope that next time I'd be more aware of why I'm really screaming, what it is that I want heard, acknowledged or received.
What's behind your scream? In what other ways do you find yourself 'screaming'?