Welcome to “Why I Yelled,” Fatherly’s ongoing series in which real dudes discuss a time they lost their temper in front of their wife, their kids, their coworker — anyone, really — and why. The goal of this isn’t to examine the deeper meaning of screaming or come to any great conclusions. It’s about yelling and what really triggers it. Here Jose, a bank teller from New York City, explains screaming at his girlfriend for being overbearing before realizing, ultimately, that she was only looking out for him.
Who did you yell at?
I yelled at my girlfriend while she was dropping me off at work.
I’m guessing that’s not a typical commute experience?
Not at all. I’m a very calm, easy going person with a lot of patience and it usually takes a lot for me to lose my cool. My girlfriend struck up a conversation about a time-sensitive medical task that I needed to get done before heading into surgery in the near future, which was going to keep me out of work for at least three weeks.
What was going on?
I had to talk to my health insurance and the disability sector of my job. They’re just a pain in the ass to deal with. I had to coordinate with my doctor about my leave and get it approved. I told my girlfriend I had those calls pending, but I was buried under work and needed to clear some things up before taking care of it. It was a very hectic month: I was pulling overtime at work and also had to deal with a lot of time-sensitive situations on my second job as well.
Would you consider yourself a workaholic?
Well, I tend to put work in front of everything else including my health. It’s a bad character flaw and I am currently working on that part of me. Stress is a pretty serious thing and can make you do strange things. I was stressed out about this surgery, I was overworked, and just under a lot of demand. While the drive continued, she started in an authoritative tone to tell me about how important it is to have this task done already and that I shouldn’t be slacking off when it comes to my health.
So what did she say?
She sometimes takes a tone that has underlying aggression. It’s one of those nagging “You should do this!” tones and it’s in an aggressive manner. Sometimes in stressful situations that can really aggravate me. She was telling that I need to get it taken care of ASAP and shouldn’t be procrastinating or putting it on the back burner because it’s going to fuck me up.
What, exactly, set you off?
As soon as the words “slacking off” came out of her mouth in that tone, I felt the blood rush to my head and lost my mind for a minute. I yelled at her about how stressful things had been for me that month. I told her, “I fucking understand that I have to get this done but it’s been really hard to, I have so much time-sensitive shit on my plate and just need to find some time in between to take care of it! It’s not like I’m sitting here not fucking doing anything at all. I still have time and will take care of it this week!” Something like that.
How did she react?
We stayed silent for the rest of the drive to work. The last thing we said to each other was goodbye. I usually apologize if I felt I was wrong in a situation, but I was still angry, so I slammed the car door shut and went to work. I try to reason things out in my head as to what leads people to feel or act in certain ways. It’s something I do for almost everything.
It sounds like you feel like she was right. Was she?
I know she’s looking out for my best interest. I know why she took that tone and why she reminded me. But I needed her to be on my side. I was stressed to the nines. She could have said, “Do you need me to help you with anything so it can help you take care of this sooner?” When I got home I told her that I had taken care of the medical task and apologized for the outburst. I explained my point of view and told her that I completely understand where she was coming from.