…Do you have any advice for dealing with authority figures who make you really anxious or uncomfortable? My math professor yells really loudly and is really angry almost every class, and it startles and upsets me into not being able to listen to his lecture because I feel scared, but I’m not in a position to ask him to lower his voice. Should I email one of his superiors? I am not sure what to do.
I haven’t found a way to complain to superiors that helps; when I’ve tried it’s usually made things worse. This is not to say that it can’t be done – but I don’t know how, so I can’t tell you how.
The only thing I’ve found that works well is to avoid authority figures who act like that. When I’ve been in school I’ve, as much as possible, selected classes largely on the basis of who was teaching them. I make this a priority because I know that I can learn better from people who treat me well.
I understand that this is not always possible (although, keeping in mind that it’s ok to make it a priority makes it more possible than it might seem if you haven’t approached it that way before).
When it’s not possible to avoid bad authority figures, what I do is avoid interacting with the problematic person as much as possible. In particular, I avoid depending on them. If I need help, I ask someone else. If I can’t understand their lecture, I try to learn out of the book. (Likewise at work. If I have a boss who treats me poorly and obstructs my work, I try to avoid relying on them to get things done.)
That sometimes works. Not always.
One suggestion for your particular situation – might earplugs or headphones be an option to reduce the intrusiveness of his loud voice?