Terre Pruitt's Blog

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The Guiltier They Are The Louder They Yell

Posted by terrepruitt on March 6, 2012

Have you ever been in a situation where the reaction of the person you are dealing with is completely odd?  Before I became a Nia Student and teacher I worked in the mortgage industry.  I started when I was 15 going on 16.  I learned a lot working with Mortgage Brokers, Real Estate Brokers, Lenders, Title Officers, Escrow Officers, County Recorders, borrowers, appraisers . . . . and the list goes on.  One thing I learned early on was from a broker.  While I don’t remember the exact situation (what it was he did not do), I do remember the utter perplexity I felt then the moment of absolute clarity.  I have what I learned and easily applied it to many, many, many, many, many situations throughout my life.  Sometimes it actually helps because I can work with the knowledge, sometimes it doesn’t help because it doesn’t matter that I know what is going on, the person is just going to be the way they are no matter what.  Sometimes there is no defusing certain situations or people.  The lesson I learned was actually about behavior.  I observed that people tend to get over the top angry and blow things out of proportion when they are at fault.  The situation I vaguely remember was that I could not do something for the broker because he had not supplied me with what I needed in order to do it.  He was angry and his huge outburst completely flabbergasted me because it was not my fault, it was out of my control, in fact. . .. . and then I saw it clearly . . . .it was his fault and he knew it.

People tend to get more upset when they are the one at fault.  Even when they are the one at fault they project the anger on the person they are dealing with and more often than not the situation goes down hill from there.  Sometimes, as I mentioned, when you know what is happening, when you recognize that the person displaying the anger [(edited, added 02.20.13) is angry at themselves], sometimes you can defuse the situation.  You can somehow let them know that it is ok they made a mistake and work to fix the situation.  But sometimes that doesn’t work.  Sometimes people just want to be angry.  Or sometimes maybe it is that they have had such a bad day they almost can’t help but be angry.  Or sometimes when the situation involves another person they can’t let go of their anger.  If say, whatever it is they did in the situation affected their child or their spouse (or whomever), sometimes this is when they can’t let go . . . and I believe it is because of the guilt of their error.

In some situations it is impossible to help relieve the person’s guilt because you might not even recognize they are feeling guilty.  You might not recognize that they feel bad for the situation they have created.  It could be that it is not really a big deal to you and it can be easily fixed so when the person displays anger towards you, you might be shocked and not be able to work with it.

This reminds me a little of listening with love, but this is more listening with understanding.  Of course, as I mentioned if you don’t have a sense of any wrong doing then it is difficult to understand why someone might feel guilty and then that could be where the listening with love comes in, right?  “I have no idea what is troubling this person so that they are so angry, but I will listen with love because there has been no indication that I should do otherwise.”  🙂

With all the different ways to listen; the “not assuming” and the “understanding what someone is going through”, to the just “listen with love” sometimes communicating can be a challenge.  We should keep trying, keeping talking, keep listening, even through someone else’s guilt.

Have you experienced what I am talking about?  Have you seen or been at the brunt of someone’s anger because they were the one at fault?  What did you do?

4 Responses to “The Guiltier They Are The Louder They Yell”

  1. Mike said

    Terre – Oh I have experienced it a LOT in my lifetime. I’ve been in financial services (as you were) for many years and have come in contact with these anger projectors in all shapes, sizes, colors and genders. In fact I have one on my team at work right now. No matter what, it’s always someone else’s fault and the more she gets worked up the more I know it was HER error.

    Usually when you recognize this person for what he or she is – there isn’t much you can do except let them go on – and then diffuse it with calm logic. These individuals usually belong to the poor me club where everything bad or wrong was brought on by someone else.

    I know I will butcher the quote as I’ve only heard it and never read it but I like it: “Me thinketh thou protesteth too much, I better count the spoons again.”


    • Oh no! I am sorry you are in constant contact with someone like this. I feel as if I need to disclaim: Not all the guilty with loud yells are in financial or real estate. They are all walks of life, I just happened to recognize it when I was dealing with a broker. 🙂

      And you are right, I didn’t make the connection. Sometimes the people that do this are the “poor me” kind.

      Your quote made me laugh. I am familiar with the first half, but I don’t know that I have heard it teamed up with its spoon portion!


  2. Michele said

    Very good post my friend, this does ring true and I guess how I react to a person freaking out on me depends on how healthy I am and where I am at with the situation, and also if I feel any guilt at all – real or imagined (I sometimes imagine guilt). I am reminded of the Four Agreements, they always help me when I choose to “listen with love”. Thank you!


    • Oooooh, right! If the receiver (of the outburst) feels any guilt his/her reaction could be outrageous too. And that is a difficult one because often times where there is an issue/problem the person trying to help with it feels bad–whether or not it is guilt, one feels badly so they could easily explode on that emotion. Also your statement about “how healthy” you are can be taken in so many ways. When I am not feeling well (have a cold or something) I tend to have less patience. Or if I am feeling bad about something else . . . if my emotional state is already wobbly . . . . I could easily bark right back. (I am not sure EXACTLY what you meant, but those are the things I got out of it).

      The reason I stated it is a challenge to communicate is partly because I was thinking of the Four Agreements. Not to assume, but then if you “understand” that the person is guilty then you are assuming that is what the person feels. So it is difficult to “put yourself in his/her shoes” and have understanding when you are not supposed to assume, right? Tricky!

      Thank YOU. Love you!


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