I cry when someone raises their voice (Why?)

In this guide, we will discuss the topic “I cry when someone raises their voice”, what it could mean, why this could be happening and some additional reflections revolving around Highly Sensitive People especially what it means to be an HSP, physical traits, heart-mind traits

I cry when someone raises their voice

If you have been wondering “Why do I cry when someone raises their voice?” or when they are angry at you.

You may have seen now how whenever someone yells at you, you start crying and they feel bad and stop yelling.

It could also be your response to feeling angry but not knowing how to manage the emotions that can be so overwhelming and your response would be crying because that is how you have learned to cope with it.

In addition, you may have felt something was wrong with you or weak, as other people may express when seeing you cry and when they say something like “stop crying!” is actually making things worse.

You feel embarrassed at times or guilty but this is completely normal and there is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed.

We need to start changing the stereotype that crying equals being weak.

People respond to anger or pain differently, for some, shouting seems the most effective way, others just stay silent, others become violent and other people cry.

We are not saying one form of coping is good or bad, but definitely there are some underlying issues.

However, it is normal if you cry because someone you love screams at you and belittles you by name-calling, being disrespectful, or hurtful.

This is considered verbal abuse.  

Important questions to ask yourself:

  • How long has it been happening? 
  • Is this happening with certain people or anyone that raises their voice at you? 
  • Have you been taking any meds or the doctor has changed them?
  • How do you feel when you start crying after being yelled at? (i.e. frustrated, angry, helpless, hurt, etc.)

Consciously answering these questions can help us have a clear picture of what is going on and how to go about finding the best approach to it.

When crying seems the only way

You may have felt how crying seems to be the only way you can express your feelings, either feeling angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, etc., leading you to think you can’t do much about it.

However, it is not. There are many ways you can go about expressing how you feel instead of having to burst into tears to let other people know you are in pain, but remember how no one should be yelled at. 

Is it about me or them?

Let’s start by recognizing whether your response tends to be more frequent when being yelled at by a partner or a parent.

If it is your partner or one of your parents, consciously think about their tone of voice.

Is it constant throughout time in situations? Do they talk like this to everyone or most people?

If it is the case then you can start by telling yourself it is not the person being angry at you specifically (or yelling) but it is their tone of voice, their personality and/or the way they communicate that seems to be “barky”.

In addition, it is important to learn to recognize someone who is actually yelling and someone that has a tone.

There is nothing wrong with you

You may have probably heard from other people comments like “you are too sensitive”, “you are weak” or “you are too emotional”, but there is nothing wrong with you.

In fact, you could be a highly sensitive person without even knowing.

Highly sensitive people (HSP), according to Elena Herdieckerhoff from IHE Paris, tend to live with their senses on high alert, having a vivid inner world where all of their emotions are magnified, where sadness is a feeling of deep sorrow and joy is pure ecstasy. 

In addition, she explains HSP tends to empathize without limits and care beyond reason.

However, instead of thinking there is something wrong with you, let’s see the positive side of things if you are an HSP:

  • Deeply and easily connect with other people.
  • You have a strong intuition, which lets you navigate life with your own incorporated GPS.
  • Ability to deeply analyze everything. 
  • Being empathetic, feeling what other people feel.

Remember, HSP is not the same as being shy, neurotic, or introverted, and being an HSP is even more common than you think with an estimated trait prevalence of 15 to 20% among the population. 

What High Sensitivity Is

This term was coined by Dr. Elaine Aron in 1992 and High Sensitivity or Sensory Perception Sensitivity in The Highly Sensitive person: Introductory Guide, “refers to people who process internal and external stimuli much more thoroughly due to a biological difference in their central nervous system.

Essentially, as information is received in the brain it is processed through filters that provide insight and awareness to the environment around us. HSPs simply have far more filters than other people.”

Moreover, “…This provides greater insight and awareness, yet it also consumes energy and takes time to process and decide on a course of action.

And, although everyone can refine

their abilities, HSPs cannot simply turn-off this trait any more than someone else can turn it on.”

Physical traits of Highly Sensitive People

Highly sensitive people are more in tune with their bodies signs and symptoms, they also seem to have refined sensory details such as perceiving others don’t seem to perceive or being oriented to detail, finding lost things easily, being sensitive to strong light or perceiving loud or constant noises that can distract/disturb them easily. 

In addition. They are more reactive to pain and pleasure, medications, substances such as coffee, sugar, and central nervous system depressants such as wine, alcohol, etc. they are also more aroused when they are in places such as hospitals, concerts, or large stores. 

They can either require more sleep than other people or have difficulty going to sleep because they are aware of everything that is happening around them and may perceive the drop that taps on the bathroom sink.

Heart-mind traits of Highly Sensitive People

Among the traits indicated by O’ Rourke & Walsh (2012), you can find:

  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Loyalty
  • Attention to detail
  • Awareness of subtleties
  • Focus
  • Sense of Calm
  • Contemplation
  • Diplomacy
  • Intuition
  • Sense of Justice

In addition, some behaviors include relying on quiet observations, trusting and eliciting other opinions, motivated by meaning and purpose, need to create, holding to high ideals, among others.

Difficulties faced by Highly Sensitive People

Highly sensitive people tend to focus more on the needs of others than their own, they have difficulties setting boundaries and dealing with conflict.

Moreover, they get easily distracted by noises or interests, are perfectionists, their feelings are easily hurt, misunderstood by other people, and can reach sensory overload faster than other people.

As indicated by O’Rourke & Walsh (2012), “ Overload in HSPs may be triggered by a variety of stimuli depending on the individual, but it may include large gatherings (parties, conferences), noisy environments (supermarkets, concerts), conflict (arguments, violence even on tv or movies), new or unfamiliar environments (hospitals, courthouses), injustice (unfair treatment of self or others), overwhelming sensory situations (airplanes, subways), unrealistic expectations from others or more.”

This probably sounds way too familiar to you where you have felt irritable, impatient, stressed about all around you happening at the same time.

To help reduce this overload effect, effective sleep, exercising regularly, having a healthy diet, can be extremely useful.

You could also incorporate yoga, mindful meditation, deep breathing techniques or even obtaining help from a professional mentor or coach. 

Why is this blog about how I cry when someone raises their voice important?

Crying when someone raises their voice is considered normal, especially if you are constantly being yelled at by someone you care about whose behaviors are more inclined to verbal abuse.

However, if you have identified you tend to cry no matter the context or the person then you may be a highly sensitive person and this is not considered a disease or a disability, it is just simply the way your brain processes information. 

So next time someone says you are too sensitive or too emotional, you can avoid being affected by it because you know what it really means.

It is nothing to be ashamed of or guilty but if you feel you can’t cope or you feel too overwhelmed, make sure to get some support or help.  

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about I cry when someone raises their voice

Why do I cry when I get yelled at?

If you cry when you get yelled at is actually a normal response when you are feeling frightened, overwhelmed, or experiencing discomfort.

It could also happen that you feel extremely sad because the yeller is someone you love or appreciate. 

Is raising your voice disrespectful?

Raising your voice is considered disrespectful and mean.

No one likes to be yelled at, especially if the yelling comes from someone we love unless someone is yelling at you from the other side of the street alerting you from imminent danger or harm.

How do you hold back tears when getting yelled at?

Holding back your tears when getting yelled at may seem quite difficult, but it is certainly not impossible.

It requires practice and control over your breathing and your emotions.

Learning how to breathe in situations that cause emotional pain is key but also focusing on how your body reacts also helps to hold back the tears.

Why do I raise my voice when I get upset?

If you raise your voice when you get upset, it is likely your message is not getting across effectively which makes you feel frustrated and angry, resorting to raising your voice in an attempt to get heard. 


TEDxIHEParis: “The Gentle Power Of Highly Sensitive People” by Elena Herdieckerhoff.

Walsh, E. & O’ Rourke, C. (2012) The Highly Sensitive Person: Introductory Guide. Retrieved from Plumturtle.com.

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