It seems that the quarantine has sharply divided people into two groups. This is obvious and striking, and we see representatives of both groups in social networks every day, among them there are our relatives, colleagues and friends.
Representatives of the first group say with gratitude: “Lord, what happiness! Finally, I can finish the story / take apart the books and records / attend an art course that I bought two years ago … ”Isolation does not upset someone who absolutely lacked sleep, rest, communication with a partner, children and with oneself.
If we are fortunate enough to be in the first group, today we experience sensations akin to those that visited us at the beginning of school holidays. There is a lot of time ahead, you can do what you wanted for so long, what you dreamed about. You can, without tormenting your conscience, allow yourself to just have fun.
And all this, of course, causes the envy and anger of the representatives of the second group. They froze, hid in horror! Or, on the contrary, they began to scandal and fight. The worst of all is in quarantine for those who were not ready to be alone with themselves or to be in close proximity with a partner and relatives. Deep dissatisfaction with one’s existence or business, suppressed stress, the habit of meeting the expectations of others go from the unconscious to the conscious level, being realized through fears and anxiety.
The key to peace and happiness is the ability to closely monitor changes, accept new rules of behavior
It may seem that those who are calm today are adherents of positive thinking and simply look at the world through rose-colored glasses. But, in my opinion, their behavior rather indicates that they are better than others capable of adaptation and avoid trying on the role of a victim who cannot do anything, bears no responsibility for anything, is not able to influence their lives and waits when she will be saved.
The ability to adapt is the ability to integrate into a new, different life. Do not adapt to it, do not break from difficult experiences, namely, integrate. In a sense, even surrender, because our freedom is now severely limited. Some are ready for this new life. Others feel like victims of circumstance.
Some are trying to understand what new resources and abilities the “coronavirus test” will give them, studying what is in demand now, what human qualities are most needed now. Others take a childish position: “Give me back everything as it was, let the world change, but not me!”
But the world is more than a single individual. So it turns out that in isolation it is good for those who were able to accept the state of affairs and the inability to change anything, except for their state – emotional and physical. For someone who has accepted what is happening, intuition and the ability to adequately respond to changes work much better than for someone who has fallen into a depressive state and sees only the tragic side of what is happening.
Today, the key to peace and happiness lies in the ability to closely monitor changes, to accept new rules of conduct in the city, in the country. And, of course, in your own home.
Fathers and Sons
When older parents share space with older children, sparks of discontent instantly flare up conflict, even in “peacetime” times. Needless to say: we will need a remarkable tact, we will have to be very attentive to ourselves and others in order to survive the joint isolation of such a composition!
Quarrels arise from attempts to re-educate each other and expectations from others for love: “Don’t remake me! Accept for who I am. ” All these impulses and dreams, most likely, are not given to come true. Indeed, in order to accept the other, you will have to accept the fact that you lived in illusions, but in reality everything is completely different.
Let me give you an example from practice. Elderly parents devalue what their married 35-year-old son does during quarantine. He has some online meetings there. It is not clear what they are doing there at all! It would be better to take a walk with a pregnant wife or fix a greenhouse in the country, since there is time.
Parents enter their son’s room without knocking – just as they did in childhood. They do not know anything about borders, even a hint of this concept insults them.
Our injuries intensify in situations of isolation and general panic. But now we can’t close our eyes to them
Why is this happening? The older generation is now very scared: the world has shown them that everything that they considered safe and stable is not. Instead of solid ground underfoot, there is shaky sand. The client’s parents need to somehow keep their balance. But how to do this if there is no inner support for yourself?
Demanding respect and obedience from his son, the father is trying to regain a sense of significance and value. The mother is trying to leave herself the hope that her son depends on her, that he does not know how to do anything, communicating with the client in the style: “Have you brushed your teeth?” After all, if her child is still “small”, then she is still needed. And if he is an adult, then what is the meaning of her life?
The son, on the other hand, experiences anger, resentment, feels a desire to protest, because he is waiting for “justice”, that they will finally accept him, understand what he went through, what he has already achieved. He cannot see for himself that he is “stuck” somewhere in childhood trauma. He still proves to his parents that he knows and can do a lot, that he has long been “more significant and more mature” than they are. It’s a vicious circle!
Our injuries intensify in situations of isolation and general panic. But now we cannot close our eyes to them: we will have to notice our “unlived” experiences, which are still sitting in the body and in the depths of memory and are waiting for their time to come. Now we won’t be able to hide at work or play violently in sports to hide from ourselves. Everyone “adapts” as best he can – including through attempts to re-educate others.
Husbands and wives
Since the beginning of the quarantine, I have observed an interesting trend: most men watch the news about the crisis and the virus without stopping. It seems to them that this is how they keep their finger on the pulse, but in fact they simply deny reality. They themselves are in constant stress – and break down on loved ones. This is how their fear of losing control is expressed.
Men often do not know how to cope with crises and uncertainty, because the first step to “victory” in this case is to accept that we cannot control what is happening. But for many it means losing and admitting oneself weak … Better to exterminate both yourself and those around you!
Relatives will get to know each other again, revise the “agreements” on borders and ask each other uncomfortable questions
Very often women in such couples raise a riot. They take care of boundaries to protect themselves and their children from other people’s anxiety. Let it cause discontent of the spouse or even a conflict, but it is better that way than endure and be depressed …
Which families will not face similar problems and successfully survive isolation due to the coronavirus? Those where there is trust, where they know how to hear each other. In such couples, people give their partners space, air, do not try to self-actualize and assert themselves at the expense of the other or throw their stress on him.
Perhaps such couples and families will “squeeze” out of the quarantine all the best it can give. Relatives will get to know each other anew, revise the “agreements” on the borders and ask each other uncomfortable questions that were previously lacking in spirit and strength. All this undoubtedly contributes to the fact that we will come out of the crisis with deeper feelings for each other.
How not to spoil relations with family in quarantine
Now, when we are forced to constantly share space with our relatives, in no case should we:
Suppress stress, suppress irritation
If you are annoyed by dirty cups and glasses placed all over the apartment, it is better to ask them to clean up several times than to break loose and shout that you have long dreamed of a divorce (although this is not at all true!). It’s time to learn how to talk about yourself and the little things that are important to you.
Forget about your own boundaries
You don’t need to chalk out the sofa, but it’s great if you can discuss your schedule and tell each other when you need some silence. You can even agree in a small apartment that if your dad sits with headphones in this corner, no one touches him. Let the children designate such an area for themselves.
Leave yourself alone
Working does not mean being with yourself! Take time for yourself, this is especially important now.
Learn to listen and ask questions. The more often you dismiss others now, the more chances that the accumulated claims will “explode” at the most inopportune moment.
Hush up fears
Today it is more important than ever to talk about what really worries you, if, of course, you trust each other. In the case when there is no trust in the relationship, it is worth asking yourself: “Why am I still with a person whom I do not trust?” During quarantine, for many, this issue will become especially relevant.
Require undue attention, body contact
If you want to “stick” to your partner, observe yourself: what void do you want to fill in this way? Doesn’t this desire to “seize” stress? “I want to have pens” you can afford sometimes, but not every 10 minutes!
The fear of death is often expressed in an increased desire for sex. It’s great if partners handle it in the same way. But sometimes this is not so, and then it would be good to talk about fears: perhaps you will be able to find balance, better understand each other.
Overly patronizing others
Thought “It’s my fault that I didn’t give you my full attention before. The moment has come: now I will give it! ” extremely dangerous. Feelings of guilt are a bad clue! It will not lead to anything good. Give as much as you can easily and joyfully. Hyper-care is also a way to escape from yourself, not to deal with your problems. And those around you, most likely, will feel it, and in return you will receive not gratitude, but irritation.
If you don’t start to deal with yourself, if you don’t look at the situation through the eyes of each participant, the conflict will only escalate. After all, it is impossible to hide from each other and your expectations within the same apartment.
Today it is more important for us than ever to be able to give and receive support, to share warmth, to enjoy the moment. We are saved from melancholy by mental flexibility, adaptability to inaction and uncertainty, and care for our internal processes. We do not know how to do it, the world has not yet experienced such a pandemic, but we can learn this in the same way as babies learn a new thing.
About the expert
Ekaterina Primorskaya – integrative psychotherapist, body-oriented psychologist, phototherapist. More on her…