It is incredibly sad that we are seeing a sharp rise in domestic violence amidst the Covid-19 lockdown and quarantine times. For couples, being holed up together in close confines for long periods may seem unending, and are getting at each other and venting their frustrations at each other.
But in these times, when life itself is tenuous, to add to one’s trials by creating additional angst is so avoidable. In the lockdown, my opinion was that this time is such a valuable gift for us to spend time with loved ones and maximise this ‘me time’ with family in our homes.
To bond and make up for all the times we pined to spend more time with our family but work pressures pressed upon us and took us away.
This is the one time in our lives, probably, when we won’t have the rush of work, errands, and duties hanging above us and we can actually converse, connect, and grow with loved ones.
What saddens me is that instead of the joy of bonding, this period is turning into a nightmarish dark tunnel for many couples, going for each other’s necks both literally and metaphorically.
Oftentimes, this goes beyond fights and unpleasantness into domestic violence which includes humiliation, intimidation, threats, and verbal abuse, apart from physical abuse.
When angst, acrimony and antagonism turn into violence, it is important to reach out for help from the outside, which includes the police, a counsellor, parents, and doctors. But if it hasn’t reached that stage and you can salvage your relationship, I urge partners to consider recounting the reasons they got together in the first place.
You went into the marriage for reasons that were strong enough to make a marriage, so don’t be so hasty to break it up so easily.
You have come this far together. Yes, the confinement and being in each other’s space is getting to many people; small idiosyncrasies morph into large turn-offs as tiny faults get magnified with more exposure to each other. It seems true for these cases that familiarity does breed contempt.
Today’s wife too needs her own individual space and sense of comfort and identity, as much as the husband. She could also do with some assistance at home, now that her partner and maybe even kids are at home and the workload has multiplied. She is absolutely entitled to her free time too and is not the designated slave of the home.
Shared responsibilities are the need of the hour. Even just procuring and decontaminating the groceries is such q production in these times, isn’t it? These are troubled times and an impulsive egoistic decision may be a reason for regret when things get back to somewhere near the times that were.
What concerns me here is that all the people I advise even those considering the extreme step of divorce already know all that I tell them about creating boundaries and allowing for differences in nature, in walking away when in the heat of the moment, and also counting to 100 when wanting to rant.
But a prevailing compelling surge of words spewed in anger ensues before any rationale can kick in. Momentary hate takes over and clouds all judgement, and then starts the ‘viral effect’ of allegations, hate, and having the last word instead of the desire to work it out. Animosity breeds animosity and rage breeds rage and recrimination.
One might need to shake oneself into perspective! They do say tough times don’t last, tough people, do. And these are unusually hard-hitting circumstances in our lifetimes by any definition.
Confinement of two people in a space without any relief or respite can sometimes be a reason to breed intolerance and conflict if one does not school oneself to be reasonable and allow for personality differences.
Avoid extreme reactions, because the consequences of one’s extreme responses and outbursts are often likely to be severe loneliness and often a life that loses its moorings. There may even be children to consider.
But the persons in the throes of this moment often know these things. I almost always beg partners to consider empathy, understanding and sensitivity of the other rather than the self.
Better sense must prevail, and with distance the edge of anger gets dulled. You begin to see the joys of companionship, bonhomie, sharing and selflessness within your relationship. The person you chose to marry is still the same individual.
The cares of life and the current situation may create irritation and stress, but a little effort on your part and then theirs will transform the nature of your responses and consequently you restore your relationship gently. And at the very least, you will stay friends.