Screaming To Be Heard

I’m running down the street- enraged and heated. All I can see is red. With tears streaming down my face, I’m screaming at the top of my lungs- a primal, ear-splitting, guttural scream. This is as close to reality as my dreams get, except my screams are muted. This is a recurring dream I’ve had for as long as I can remember. And in these wakeless moments, I always feel an enormous sense of helplessness. No matter how hard I scream, I still can’t pierce that sound bubble. These dreams always end as I surge out of my sleep. My first instinct is to check on my husband to see if he’s stirred from my yelling, only to find him breathing deeply in his own slumber.

I grew up in a noisy household. With three girls in the mix and a set of grandparents, our tiny house was constantly buzzing. But it wasn’t the amount of people that increased the decibel in our house, it was the yelling. Someone was always in someone else’s space, using someone else’s things, or getting into someone else’s business. The loudest one out of all of us was definitely my mom. She had and still has a booming voice. It’s hard to not be aware of her presence whenever you’re in the same realm as her. This was one of the reasons I found it incredibly difficult to discuss anything with her growing up- she was always quick to react and hard to breakthrough.

The yelling in our house was so frequent that it normalized our reality, and I began to believe all families were the same. I never realized how loud we were until the first time I had dinner at a friend’s house. It was bizarre to see how other families communicated with kind words and favourable gestures- a stark contrast to my family sending shockwaves of invectives throughout the house. In our family, if you had something to say and you wanted to be heard, you had to yell. And you couldn’t just simply increase the volume of your voice, no, you had to do it until you got your point across by overpowering the other person’s voice. Sadly, I learned from a very young age that the louder I yelled, the more floor space I took up.

As I grew into my own, I slowly recognized that this behaviour was destructive and ineffective (because you are never really winning any argument so much as creating a barrier for productive interaction). But I still saw it as a problem with mostly my mom and a problem existent only within the confines of my family growing up. I couldn’t see this flaw in myself even though I developed a hot temper and a penchant for always expecting to get my way. In my own distorted world, I always had to be “right” no matter the cost or how ridiculous I sometimes appeared. I saw no issues with how I was communicating with those closest to me. I didn’t recognize this negative trait in myself until I saw my daughter starting to express herself in the same appalling way. My 3-year-old daughter was is still in her terrible two’s and I see so much of myself reflected in her mannerisms (unfortunately in all the intolerable ways). The first time I saw her yell at my husband, I cringed with shame. In that moment, I grasped that the person I had faulted all along, the one I had tried my hardest not to emulate, was the person I ended up becoming- my mother. I felt like I had failed my daughter in the same way I felt my mother had failed me growing up.

The realization that I was directly contributing to this cycle of damaging behaviour with my own growing family was clear. I knew I had to fix the situation and do better. Now, my husband and I make a concerted effort to fight fairly and disagree respectfully. When tempers flare and situations get heated (as they are bound to), we try to avoid getting into it when Charlotte is around. There are slip-ups, of course. We’re still a work-in-progress, but I think recognition and the desire to change is the biggest step of all.

How about you? Do you think we become our parents? Did you grow up idolizing a parent or did you try hard not to become one of them? How did that work out for you?


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32 thoughts on “Screaming To Be Heard

  1. What a great post and I love getting to know you more through your words! Yes, I def think we become our parents no matter how hard we try not to ha! But I think we can undo behaviors once we recognize them. I know I’ve mentioned so many not great things about my mother but strangely I think I inherited most of her good traits which makes me feel so endeared to her. I always had my dad on a pedestal and I think I inherited more of his bad traits ha! Good ones too. But he is very judgmental and thinks very black and white about everything. And I’ve had to work to start to live more comfortably in the gray areas of life. Still working on that! Thanks so much again, recurring dreams are fascinating! I wonder if the more you heal from these experiences, maybe the dreams will stop?! Keep me posted 🌺💕

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  2. That’s interesting! I admire the concerted effort you and your husband are making to break the pattern!! And the recurring dream is intriguing!

    I’ve always hated yelling, too! If someone wants me, I want them to come find me in the house and speak to me, not scream for me from downstairs. Major pet peeve. Although that sounds a bit different from what you’re describing! I can’t imagine the need to scream the loudest to be heard or to get your way! It sounds really stifling!! Ugh! I can only imagine how hard it would be to fight past that!!

    I do feel that I’ve become my parents, and the weird thing is that they’re polar opposites (hence the long-ago divorce). But I’ve got my mom’s obsessive and bull-headed tendencies, and my dad’s leisurely approach and laidback “why worry?” attitude. This strange combo makes me a neurotic (yet charming) mess. 😀

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    • I totally get it! I’m introverted like my dad and extroverted like my mom… It’s weird.. It depends on the situation, of course. I thrive in certain areas and need lots of improvement in other aspects of my life! Thanks for sharing, Meg! 🙂


  3. I get it. My dad was the same way. He could make the walls shake with his yelling. My sister, mom and I would ‘walk on eggshells’ trying not to set him off. Finally, when I was a teenager, I got fed up with it and started yelling back and rebelling. I figured there’s no pleasing him, so why even try.

    Then ‘my little mirror’ was born. Like you said, I could see so much a me in her, and not always the good stuff. With that, I’ve decided to feel blessed that I’ve been given the opportunity to learn and do better.

    So I just want to encourage you to keep up the progress of change. It’s hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. And it sounds to me like you’re doing great. Great doesn’t mean perfect, it just means doing the best you can to make change happen. I’m still working on it too. 🙂

    Take care ❤

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    • This is so true! Thanks so much Deb, your words give me such comfort: “Great doesn’t mean perfect, it just means doing the best you can to make change happen.” This is just what I needed to feel like I’m moving along on the progress meter! 😊


  4. I had a similar reflective moment with my kids. Actually, I have them over and over; it’s worse as they’re developing into teenagers and fighting the ol’ apron strings.

    We didn’t yell quite as much (I don’t think) but we did yell. That and how disrespectfully I speak to him when mad are my two issues.

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  5. The terrible twos turn into what I call the ‘fuck awful threes’ (excuse the bad language but it’s true).
    It’s a negative trait I also suffer but learning to ‘let it go’ has been tough but so worth it.
    Well done to you! Self awareness and pattern breaking is hard, let alone when you throw parenting into the mix!

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  6. That’s so huge that you recognize those traits in yourself that you want to change and don’t want to pass on to your daughter! I’m sorry you had a difficult relationship with your mom and that your childhood involved a lot of yelling.

    I definitely think it’s easy for us to slip into habits that our parents had. I find myself doing that a lot, both for good things and things that I don’t want to emulate. I think you’re right that recognizing those traits is the most important thing, because once you see that about yourself you can take steps to change. And you’re doing that!

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    • Thanks Lieren! I try to see it from my daughters perspective a lot and the only way to do that is to remember how I felt as a child and what I would’ve given just to have what I felt I needed at that age! Thanks for relating and sharing! 🙂

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  7. People always talk about the physical things that we inherit from our parents, but what doesn’t get as much attention are the personality traits and habits we learn from our parents. It says a lot about you that you’re trying to break a cycle you realized was unhealthy. Many others are either unable or unwilling.

    My parents had a strong marriage, and I think that set a good model for the rest of us. One brother never married, but the other three of us have good marriages also. I’ve inherited many traits (both good and bad) from my parents. I learned a strong work ethic from my dad, but I also have a bit of a temper, as he did as well. I’m sensitive to others’ feelings like my mom was, but I can also be indecisive at times like her too. We are constantly a work in process.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re right, no one is ever a finished product- there’s always room for change/growth if you see it and want it to happen! It’s so lovely that you have your parents long lasting marriage as a wonderful example of a healthy relationship! That example of love, unity, trust and dedication lasts/inspires generations!

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  8. it’s amazing once more what having a kid will do to us. they offer us a chance to model what we think is the best behavior, and in so doing, cause us to reflect on and perhaps change our own in the process. my dad had a bit of a temper, and I told myself I would not be like that, that perhaps led me to perhaps being too soft sometimes with my own kids…

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  9. I don’t think I model after my parents much, but I too have had a time when I’d yell to get my point across in arguments. Not proud of those moments. Am glad to say that I’ve since found arguing to be counterproductive, and if I feel the urge to make things ugly, I simply return to the conversation at a later time. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Reflection is the key to unlearning bad habits- good for you for recognizing this in yourself and finding a more productive way to communicate your thoughts! Thanks for reading as always! 🙂


  10. I grew up in the household of kindness and nice gestures. No one raised a voice. I remember being in a taxi in New York and the driver yelling at us. I was shocked and reduced to tears. I was sixteen. We both have benefits and disadvantages. I am still timid and uncomfortable at confrontation. You have strength and courage. I need to ‘buck up’, and you need to keep listening and waiting. This is a wonderful, reflective piece. Hats off to you you when Charlotte yelled at your husband and you had the lightbulb moment. Life is always evolving and learning, and trying to change for the better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the alternate perspective, Jennie. That’s also very true! My other sisters (who grew up in the same household as me) aren’t yellers so there must be something in my particular DNA lol… One of the great things about parenthood for me is being able to reflect back on how I was raised and think about what I would have wanted my parents to do/be better at and emulating that for my own child(ren). I hope I’m moving in the right direction.

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  11. I think it’s a combination of both, depending on how far along the self-awareness continuum we are. For example, I was silenced as a child, so I raised my children to be more vocal, but there were times when I literally told my daughters they didn’t have a say in whatever was going on at the time.

    It’s such a delicate thing, not wanting to be like one’s parent, while trying to figure out something new.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s so true, so many ways we can disect how our parents and childhood affected us – in good ways and in ways we’re not always proud of. The act of reflecting and doing better (which can mean whatever works/feels authentic) is the goal- at least for me! 😊

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