The Chain of Screaming

You know those moments when your boss hands you a big task and tells you it has to be done by first thing tomorrow morning, and it’s already 4.30pm? You want to scream at them but they are your boss, so you can’t. Instead, you take your built up frustration home with you and scream at your partner because they left an unwashed knife in the sink. “What the hell is this?! Why do we even keep the detergent next to the sink if you aren’t going to use it? How incompetent are you?!”

Your partner totally deserved it, right? Wrong. You just needed someone to vent your anger at. Without reason or explanation, you release that anger by yelling at the person who cares most about you. Way to go.

A wise man once said there is a ‘Chain of Screaming’, where screams aren’t passed back and forth, but rather down the pecking line. Your boss screams at your manager, your manager screams at you, you scream at your partner, your partner screams at her subordinate. Okay, this wise man may have been Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, but the point still stands.

I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing (although it isn’t really good). It’s always better to vent frustrations rather than letting them build up inside you. Sometimes you can’t yell back at the person who angered you, be that because they might fire you, or because they aren’t a person but an unpleasant scenario you’ve found yourself in. It’s easy to yell at a loved one instead because we tell ourselves that they’ll understand it isn’t really about them.

[Let’s break here for a second to explain that I’m not talking about serious verbal abuse but rather that little bit of misplaced frustration that happens to all of us.]

We’re all guilty of taking something out on the wrong person once in a while. But you know what? I’m calling it. I’m calling a big, fat, Get Fucked.

You want to yell at me when I’ve done nothing wrong just because you’re in a bad mood? Get fucked. You’re not even going to apologise and explain that it wasn’t actually me you were mad at? Get double fucked.

I’ve been there, I’ve had terrible days and then spoken to my partner who has asked me some silly question that has made me want to snap. “What kind of question is that, you idiot?!” But that wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be fair to him and it certainly wouldn’t solve my problem. Oh, it would help me vent, but it wouldn’t fix the reason I needed to vent in the first place.

Sometimes, your partner might be happy to be a punching bag for you. They’re happy to take your screaming, because they understand it’s got nothing to do with them and that you just need to get it out. These people are wonderful, so don’t take them for granted. Find something you can do to help release anger – listen to some calming music, set up a boxing bag in the back yard, whatever works. Most importantly, be upfront with whoever you come home to. Tell them: I’ve had a terrible day so if I snap at you tonight, please know it’s not actually you, I don’t mean it, and I’m sorry. If they are one of those wonderful people, they might say; No worries, do you want me to say something dumb to spur you on, so you can get it all out? It’s at this point that you hug them and forget about the bad mood you were in.


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