How To Handle A Dysfunctional Family During COVID-19

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COVID-19 has forced many of us to stay at home, and, unfortunately, for some people, that means being in close proximity to a dysfunctional family for weeks on end. That’s enough to make anyone lose it! Having to live with conservative in-laws and having nowhere to go can be extremely tough in covid times. What do you do when you’re forced to occupy the same space as your dysfunctional family, with nowhere to go?

Here, we’ll cover some helpful tips for those dealing with dysfunction during COVID-19. Dysfunction covers a wide spectrum of behavior and issues, up to and including abuse; so, if you feel you’re being abused, you’ll want to read on so you can learn how to remedy your situation.

Know The Level Of Dysfunction You’re Dealing With

The term “dysfunction” can apply to many different situations. If you’re in a family that’s constantly fighting, doesn’t communicate well, or just don’t get along, it could be considered dysfunction. Mental and physical abuse also falls under this category, so it’s important to differentiate abuse from dysfunction.

Many families find that they can’t get along when forced to share the same space for extended periods of time. Some people are simply incompatible, and there’s nothing that can be done for it. Personalities clash, personal beliefs ignite arguments, or the two parties simply think poorly of each other.

First and foremost, understand that it’s ok to not get along with some people. You can’t force yourself to have a functional relationship with someone you simply don’t get along with, and trying to do so may just cause more problems.

Not that you’ve accepted that you can’t get along with everyone, let’s look at some other tips to help you maintain your sanity with your family during quarantine.

Distract Yourself

Finding something to distract yourself is a necessity if you’re stuck with a dysfunctional family. If you’ve been laid off from work or you’re of an age where you’re still living at home, you’ve got plenty of time to pick up a new hobby. Reading, writing, drawing, painting, video games, and many more hobbies can offer a healthy distraction from the dysfunction in your home.

If you have your own room, don’t be afraid to close yourself in it. While confining yourself might feel lonely, sometimes being alone is far better than dealing with the stress associated with dysfunctional people.

Now is also the perfect time to learn a new skill or pursue a hobby you’ve been putting off. This will help you stay busy and keep your mind busy, but more than that, it will provide an escape from the dysfcuntion of your household.

There are thousands of YouTube tutorials, online classes, and one-on-one tutoring sessions available even during the quarantine. People everywhere are taking this opportunity to expand their skillset and gain new knowledge for the post-COVID world. Hang int here, keep your mind busy, and provide yourself with an escape from the dyscunftion of your family.

Quarantine Isn’t An Excuse For Toxicity

COVID-19 has changed our entire world. It’s changed the way we shop, visit one another, and live on a day-to-day basis, and it’s certainly ignited some feelings of fear, dread, and uncertainty in all of us. That being said, quarantine and the uncertain future are still no excuse for family members to be toxic to one another.

You might have noticed a shift in the attitude of those closest to you with the onset of quarantine. Yes, stress can make people less patient and more apt to say things they don’t mean, but you’ll still want to stand up for yourself. Quarantine is no excuse for toxicity, and putting your foot down is an important part of setting healthy boundaries.

Boundaries sound simple, but you’d be amazed at how many people fail to understand what healthy boundaries look like. When someone sets a boundary, that’s their line in the sand; you don’t cross it without seriously damaging the relationship. If you set a boundary with a loved one that they continuously violate, they’re showing you by their actions that they don’t love or respect your needs and wants, despite what they might say.

Boundaries can be as simple as don’t talk to me like that. Don’t be afraid to be firm with your boundaries; in fact, their success could depend on it. With new boundaries, people will forget, and that’s ok, but if someone repeatedly violates the new boundary day after day, there’s probably no memory loss at work.

Let’s Talk About Abuse

Unfortunately, domestic violence calls have skyrocketed during COVID. Close quarters, the stress from the outside world, and a general sense of hopelessness and anxiety have created the perfect storm of domestic violence situations. It’s quite disturbing to think that so many people are trapped in violent relationships or with violent family members.

Abuse victims often find themselves in denial of their situation. This is a natural reaction to abuse; after all, my loved one would never abuse me, right? They love me! Unfortunately, this mentality can lead to further abuse, and domestic violence victims are more likely to end up seriously injured or even killed at the hands of their abuser.

It’s important to remember that domestic violence isn’t just between couples. Domestic violence, as per its definition is “violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.” The keywords here are within the home. This can be siblings, parents, uncles, roommates, or anyone you live with.

Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Out Help

If you think you’re being abused, it’s time to reach out so the abuse can end. There are community resources available to help you find shelter and solace from your tormentor. It can feel like your entire world is falling apart when you finally part from an abuser, but it’s truly just the beginning of a brighter future.

It all starts with making a call, or simply walking away. You’ll thank yourself later on when you’re in a safer place with those you love around you. You don’t have to accept abuse or mistreatment simply because we’re in the midst of a pandemic. Dysfunction doesn’t have to become your permanent norm.




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