This is quite an unprecedented time where we could potentially experience more conflict in the home. Being inside near your partner or children may lead to fertile ground for being edgy and irritated. I personally have experienced more ups and downs emotionally where my feelings get splattered outward more than usual.
Conflict is a natural part of being in any human relationship. We tend to feel more intensity with those we are closest to. However, when emotions aren’t dealt with effectively due to feeling out of control, we may find them hard to contain. It may show up as emotional battering, physical hitting, or even uncontrollable anger that leads to domestic violence. There has been an upsurge in addicted behavior as more people are using alcohol to cope with their feelings of isolation and separation from their physical pleasures.
Some of you may be surprised by this type of behavior as you haven’t experienced this before. During this pandemic, it is estimated that in some places domestic violence has increased 50% with one out of four women and one out of seven men. It is predicted that more people will be searching for help after the stay-at-home order is lifted as people will feel safe enough to seek out help.
There is a concern that more children will experience the effects of violence in the home. Seeing violence as a child can be traumatizing leading to issues with learning, ADHD, or behavioral acting out. Also, it may show up as anger outbursts, hitting, crying spells, or physical hitting with siblings or parents. When a child experiences conflicts between parental figures between the ages of one and six they tend to feel like they are responsible. They may also feel like they will be abandoned as the parents may divorce and they will be left. That emotional experience can be devastating for a child.
You may have more difficulty emotionally disciplining your child. When the child at these ages experiences trauma, their ability to reason and use logic diminishes and their feelings show up in their body through various behaviors. Pretty soon the whole family is impacted by the distress going on. Finding outlets for your emotions is critical during this time. Processing YOUR emotions can also be helpful. It’s probably not a time you feel like forgiving, but working through your pain by allowing you to expose these feelings will be so valuable. Also, discover how to help your child with calming methods to deal with feelings in more healthy ways. Practice deep breathing, drawing out their feelings, or timeouts can be helpful to calm them down.
Typically, the emotions we have may go back to earlier times when we have experienced the same triggers from events in our history. We may have formed a narrative about what happened to us, and this present circumstance or person brings up the same old feelings. That’s important to identify. I know when I experienced some extreme anger toward my spouse, it was tied in with feelings of powerlessness that I was not wanting to face in myself. My husband was just a mirror for me to see my own pain.
Take advantage of this quieter time to refocus your attention inward. It will be valuable as you learn to release whatever you are holding onto that is impacting your health and wellbeing. Then, you may be able to come through this emotional distress much more peaceful. Also, you may be more available for your children who can’t seem to understand the events and all the emotions that are a byproduct. Check out this video I have on my website on how to deal with marital conflict: http://youtu.be/5gf6QHDSW-c.
Here’s to creating a safe haven!