Why don't people listen to one another? So many reasons, but here's a snapshot.
The ego, primarily, that self that talks to us constantly, but isn't really very obvious about what it wants or why it wants it. That self, which houses what we perceive our identity to be, is threatened by the suggestions of others, often perceived as criticism.
That ego (for all of us) is born an infant and is supposed to mature over time such that we consider the egos of others, important, too. But occasionally the ego is really slow to mature like that, and will only face itself, reconsider its default construction of life and the way it should be, when forced to mature. Parents do this in enumerable ways. We call it the civilizing of the child.
But it can happen as an adult, personal growth, like when someone leaves, sick of a partner's (or a parent's) immaturity. Even then it is a crap shoot, whether or not trauma will inspire growth, consideration of the other's point of view, seeing it as valid and not a threat to one's sense of self-worth. It is easier for the ego to criticize and reject the person who left. This is why there is so much emphasis upon validation in therapy, inundating that other ego with
You're okay, I totally respect your point of view; you are amazing, I see where you're coming from, I like this about what you said in particular, brilliant, you are such a good boss, father (whatever), could you take just two minutes, sit down with me, and help me with this problem of mine . . .Sometimes that works. Not always.
How does an ego become so sad and reactive? It would be easy to pinpoint it on failure in the past, rejection, learning disabilities, abuse, and all of that doesn't help. But to look at it psychodynamically for a minute (blame the parents), having had parents who didn't listen, who neglected and didn't validate, couldn't have helped a seedling ego grow, and served as a poor listening role model.
If those guardians were controlling or had a children should be seen and not heard world view, that increases the likelihood a person will need to do things my way. They developed an attitude, my way or the highway, probably because they never had their way when it mattered, when they needed to try out their own ideas, make decisions that would have fostered maturity, self-esteem, self-worth. When we make decisions, for better or worse, at least we're living, having a say.
Why do people respond to anger? It is naturally intimidating, scares us, teleological to attend to it. And also, if parents were angry, if they shouted to intimidate, a good shout, amplification of the volume, turns on a time machine. The shouter becomes the angry parent and gets to have a complacent child, if only for a little while.
Thanks Mound Builder,