Q. If I resist urgings from my spouse or friends to do something they want me to do, they just raise their voices and keep repeating the same thing over and over. What is going on in their brains?

A. What is going on in their brains? Good question. My guess is they think their brains know what is best for yours and if they keep rehearsing their opinion and throw in louder, longer, and even abusive repetition, maybe your dim little brain will get it—and they will finally get their own way.

Some people seem to believe that speaking more loudly is more authoritative. Certainly some people yell and scream—including some ministers, as well. In fact, after listening to a particularly loud presentation during a church service, a teenager commented, “The sermon notes must say, ‘Personal opinion. Lack of evidence. Increase volume.’”

Some people seem oblivious to how loud their voices are. When someone uses a loud voice when talking to me, I may hold up my hand in a stop gesture and say something like: “Please lower your voice so my brain can try to absorb when you are trying to communicate.” It often works. If it doesn’t, I may say, “I am leaving this room now. When you are able to speak without shouting, I’m willing to continue the conversation.”

 

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