Latest report from my city reads,”cases of domestic violence on the rise, 30 cases reported in last two weeks of corona lockdown”. My city may not be the only one to report that. Family and couples disputes, domestic squabbles and arguments have definitely been on the rise and there have been regular incidents of physical violence taking place among some of the couple’s.
It’s true that during the corona pandemic every individual is struggling with the apparent problems of feeling stressed and suffocated on account of many restrictions being imposed on his or her free movement .But it is applicable to all countries across the world .The world needs to save its humans from the deadly clutches of coronavirus. During such crisis we all feel insecure, scared and lonely whether staying alone or living with family. But those of us who are with the families should be happy that they have the feel of human and that too of a family member around them. Just think of the millions who are locked up alone within their single dwellings, hostels or outside on the roads.
There are many among us who feel lonely despite the fact that they are living with their spouses, partners and their families .These people are not only lonely, they also seem to generate tension, negativity and resentment in their minds and behavior. Is that the reason for the domestic complaints and violence going up and if so what should we be doing to contain violent outbursts in our day to day survival. Let’s understand what has been happening.
- Why is the connection missing?
We need to explore within ourselves. We have always been complaining of not giving enough time to our families, spouse, and children and have wished we could find time for them. Now that we have so much time, why is the connectivity missing. Was it on account of the fact that you both have been leading a life different from each other even though married and couldn’t develop much connection? The average time a couple spends with each other on normal times have been no more than 4 to five hours in a day’s time. When you take away the time contribution to other daily routines of life e g. dropping kids at school, going for kitchen shopping, working in the office and the commute time deducted from the awake time of 16 to eighteen hours after six hours of sleep time. Many of us have been putting off a family holiday on account of kids’ education, lack of finances, the difficult boss or just being too committed to responsibility at work place. The much needed connection between us could never be established in all these years hence now it appears too late to do that. But trust it, now is the only time to find that connectivity,
Are we falling for the perception bias?
We all form perception based on our cognitive assessment of the person’s’ behavior and our relationship experience with the person. Such a perception bias is a little difficult to go away .It becomes the unbreakable thread of our future dealing with the people. Such perceptive bias can be either be positive or it can be negative too. Your spouse’s behavior in normal times could have helped you form such a cognitive bias towards him or her .for example one cognitive bias could be, “my husband doesn’t contribute anything towards household work”. This becomes a pattern of thought during normal times and even when he does try to extend some help in this area you would have told him,” it’s not your job. Let me handle it you go and watch T.V.”.It could have been okay during normal time to do so but now when the household help is away, the same cognitive bias has become a source of irritation for you, when you notice him enjoying in bedroom and you slog in the kitchen.
There can be many such perception biases between the spouses, amongst other family members on account of earlier events and we find it difficult to overcome such perception biases.
Are we falling for the confirmation bias?
Often it happens that we tend to follow the confirmed pattern of life. A life that has been lived by our parents becomes one such confirmation bias. If we witnessed our father being rude to our mother or we saw the fights in the family while growing up, it becomes a pattern of life for us when we grow up. Unknowingly we end up indulging in to a similar kind of behavior with our kids and spouse whenever there happens to be a little stress in the family. You can fathom the intensity of the yearning for violence in the corona distress. We end up fighting each other rather than being with each other in these difficult times.
Similarly, it kind of becomes a pattern confirmation for the housewife too who after every banter from the husband would say,” He is like that only. Nothing can be done about him”.
Do you really think he is like that or that nothing can be done about him? Or is it that you are falling a victim to your own confirmation bias.
Are we falling for illusion of authority?
It has generally been a belief over the ages that the male member of the family holds complete authority over all decisions concerning the children and wife because man was considered the bread earner. But do you as modern housewife would still subscribe to that theory. The illusion of authority needs to be broken with the realism of truth. Modern woman is no less placed in education, position and authority .You will help yourself and him by coming out of this illusion of authority.
How do we come out of these traps and spend better times in difficult period?
That’s a very obvious question.
Remember that we neither have to perpetrate violence nor do we have to take it. Take the first step to stop it. Tell the partner,”no more of this .If you do. I will report. Raise your voice firmly without tears.
Find total connectivity by involving children .In case of couple without kids find out what connects .It could be food, television, friends or plain small talk. Drop your biases and resentment. Drop remorse, instead bring about approach. Begin small, begin positive .Things will change.
Express expected behavior from all by being specific during corona lockdown. Don’t just become a victim by owning up the entire household chorus. Call out for help from him and the children. Make them part of every work .Active mind and body will keep everyone away from resentments .Make a community at home helping each other .It can be a good beginning even in tough times.
Keep trying. Tomorrow will definitely be better than today but we all have to work for it. Make everyone do that by love affection and by being firm.Avoid emotional outbursts, rather take charge. Tame that beast now. You know you can do it .Kudos to you.
If you have such domestic violence situation You should come to us at Family Therapy India and we will help you resolve all issues of your marriage in more amicable manner .Find us @ http://www.familytherapyindia.com.
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–Ramneek Kapoor – Family Therapist, Psychologist Counselor and Science of Living Expert.