Physical reactions to yelling?

(New Jersey)

I posted this somewhere else, but did not get any good answers..Perhaps you could help me?

Someone yells at me. Constantly, I have a history of physical abuse from my father. But this stopped nearly 10 years ago. I had more abuse later but not in severe forms.

I experienced something rather strange. Someone (I wont say who) a person I will call " X" was yelling at me. and it was in the car. I was in the seat next to X and X was driving.

X started screaming at the top of their lungs right at me. I turned my body against the window to not have to look at X. And the screams, just the screams, every time X yelled my back would involuntary "snap up." Like my upper body would just completely JERK upright. Every time X yelled, my body jerked in a very large movement. And I could not control it.

Is there a term for this reaction? that even though I am not being hit by X, the screaming caused a Jerking reaction? I do not believe it is simply a "cringing" symptom from physical abuse, it felt different. What could this be? is this normal? Has anyone else ever had this?

Ben's Answer:

This sounds like a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) type of reaction. A person with severe unresolved abuse or trauma may have very involuntary and extreme reactions to triggers. Being screamed at in the close quarters of a car certainly could trigger some major PTSD symptoms. It doesn't really matter if you consider it "cringing" or an involuntary nervous reaction or whatever you care to call it - it's a sign of trauma (and a sign that the person that was screaming at you at the top of their lungs is not safe for you to be around).

I would recommend that you try Meridian Tapping/EFT as the best treatment for these trauma (PTSD) symptoms - and you may even be able to do this on your own. Using Meridian Tapping, you can eliminate the emotional triggers that cause your body to react in those extreme ways, and you could resolve the continued effects from your past abuse.

could be another helpful tool to use to calm your nervous system and heal your past abuse.

Best wishes,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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