I’m Afraid to Speak To Others!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about panic attack for being shouted at: What should this individual do who is afraid of reprimands?

I am 26 years old. My mom asked me to keep quiet even when yelled at by others as she is dependent on relatives. I followed that advice from my school and into my workplace too. One day my boss shouted at me and I had panic attack. I quit my job. I am afraid of talking to anyone because I worry that they will shout at me. If somebody comes near me to ask any question I get a panic attack. I am not sure what I should do now.

Signed, Confused and Frightened


DearĀ Confused and Frightened:

I can only imagine how frightening your situation is for you. However, you need much more assistance and professional support than we can provide. You won’t be able to change just by saying you will. You need to unlearn the habit of not talking and begin to learn the habit of speaking when it’s appropriate. You will also need to find ways to manage your fear.

But, once again when employed, you especially need to let your managers know that you are trying to improve in that area. You can bet that bosses get frustrated when they are trying to communicate with someone who won’t talk and who gets afraid at the slightest thing. When they areĀ  frustrated, they might raise their voices, which will make it even worse. So, it won’t be an easy situation unless your bosses know that you are seeking assistance about it.

You may also be able to find work that doesn’t require quite so much communication with others. Or, maybe employees can be told that you’re working through a problem and they should write an email before they talk to you personally. I wish you the best with this. Start right away by talking to a friend or relative and asking them to help you find some sort of assistance. Then, make a promise to yourself to keep trying. You recognize the cause of your long-term fear, and that’s half way to a solution! If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.