With a bit of help from the Mr Men (!), here are just one or two ideas for when people start shouting at you.

Hello, and a very warm welcome to the space on the site where we chat about bits and bobs to do with mental health and wellbeing. It’s a section we’ve been running for quite a long time now, and we work on the ethos that no miracle cures to anything are offered. Furthermore, that not everything we run will be of use to everyone. However, over the course of these articles, hopefully there’s something out there that resonates with you, and can be of just a little use somewhere along the line.

This week, a few words about being shouted at.

I can’t say I’m a massive fan of the Mr Men books, courtesy of having to read them on loop to my kids as they were growing up. Naturally, they quickly worked out I wasn’t a fan, and kept asking me to read them. They’re very sweet to me like this.

Don’t tell the little blighters though, but did I did take a lesson from one of them. Mr Noisy, if you’ve not had the pleasure (!), is the one who goes around booming like nobody’s business. To the point where eventually, someone twigs the only way to deal with someone being very loud around you is to go the other way. To go very quiet. I never thought of a Mr Men book as a self-help book before, but y’know, you find the good advice wherever it happens to be. I started doing this, and as much as it galls me to say it, the Mr Men books many have had a point with this one!

Like many thoughts in this series of articles, it’s not a foolproof, but I have found this has merit. The louder someone gets in your face, the quieter you go. Even remembering this has stopped me getting into shouting matches in the past, and for that I’m grateful.

Personally, there aren’t many things in my life I genuinely hate, but being shouted at has clambered near to the top of the table. Like many, I’ve been on the receiving end of it a lot, and it’s only as I’ve got older I’ve found myself getting better at coping and dealing with it. What I learned, not always the easy way, is that the worst thing you can do is shout back. Been there, done that, and felt like an awful person for doing it.

I say that with the caveat of giving myself and others a bit of slack. On very tough days, everyone is susceptible to their temperature rising. We all slip.

But still: I shudder now for instance when I think of the work environments where I’ve been in where people in positions of power felt it okay to bellow, to routinely raise their voice at other humans. I do stop and think what it’s likely to be on the receiving end of someone’s outburst, their bad day, their temper. I try hard not to make it so they’re on the end of mine.

On the occasions now where someone is piling into me, two rules click into my head: don’t join in, and go quiet. It sometimes takes a lot of willpower, and it doesn’t always work. But with a tip of the hat to Roger Hargreaves, I find it a lot better than the alternative.

Thanks for reading, and you all stay safe and well.

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