Reverend Stucky is a UU Santa Fe affiliate minister and author of The Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God.
In response to COVID-19, many people are cooped up with family or friends. This situation gives us opportunities for reinforcing or changing relational patterns. We can learn more about each other – with intimate and humorous conversations and delightful ways of sharing together. If our relations involve difficult and stressful patterns, we can work to change our responses to those we try to love. Here are a few simple suggestions to consider if you are in close proximity with intimate others.
Find creative ways to engage your curiosity about the people around you. Look beyond the roles you play with each other. hat was life like for your parents before they became parents? How did your siblings relate before they entered school? What key events altered the thoughts and plans of the people around you? How do they know what they think they know? Numerous games on the market today pose interesting questions which can become occasions for sharing thoughts and feelings.
These kinds of curious explorations require patience, thoughtfulness and reflective listening without judgment. Honor whatever your people say, including those things that drive you crazy, not for the content necessarily, but for the effort to communicate. Pay attention and care. Let speakers know that you are trying to hear their intent as well as their words.
The anxiety feelings engendered by pandemics are difficult to bear. We sometimes take that frustration out on the people with whom we share space. It’s crucial to pay attention to our intentions and to modify them toward kindness.
Domestic violence and abusive emotional expressions are serious distortions of normal distress and are more prevalent and impactful in these fearful environments. We already see this happening in numerous states.
If you are in danger, seek help. Each situation is different, and you can help experts see what is most salient about yours. Hotline numbers include this national resource: 1-800-799-7233. When in danger you need specific support that is keenly geared to your circumstance.
If you are the one who is likely to blow-up, consider a couple of suggestions that might help avert rage responses.