COVID-19 RELATED VIOLENCE: THE CONCLUSION

I started this conversation about COVID-19 related violence a couple of days ago. Since then I have received some feedback and I believe I need to properly address how to cope with the emotional challenges that can result from being stuck at home or anywhere else where you can be prone to experiencing violence.

To be able to understand the strategies that can help you avoid violence at a time like these, we have to briefly outline some of the triggers of violent acts during this period.

From available scientific evidence, there is no reason to conclude that this coronavirus strain has any direct effect on the brain or behavior. However, the resultant social circumstances from the global economic and individual restrictions have the potential of triggering emotional problems in everybody. Individuals who have problems coping with their emotions before this time are likely to breakdown first.

Some of the circumstantial negative emotions that can potentially result in violence include Irritable mood, feelings of sadness, and anxiety.  For instance, a previously active, upward and mobile middle-aged man who spends a greater part of his day making money outside his home, and is now stuck up 24/7 with his wife and kids at home can get easily irritated by his kids’ running around and yelling. His drop in income will be a source of concern to him, making him feel sad and anxious about the future.  Also, his wife who previously had a routine that is centered on the children, excluding him will have to factor him into all decisions taken without him previously.  If this situation is not properly managed, there will be constant frictions that could become volatile.

The worries about the need to stay at home and the scare of getting infected with a life-threatening viral infection are enough reasons to develop negative emotions. 
The negative emotions are not enough reasons to exhibit bad behavior, because the outcome of your momentary bad behavior can result in long-lasting negative outcomes with results that will last longer than the pandemic itself.

 The worries about the need to stay at home and the scare of getting infected with a life-threatening viral infection are enough reasons to develop negative emotions.  The negative emotions are not enough reasons to exhibit bad behavior, because the outcome of your momentary bad behavior can result in long-lasting negative outcomes with results that will last longer than the pandemic itself.

Nearly all violent acts are preceded by none violent exchanges. Spontaneous violence is not common in domestic situations.  Situations of spontaneous violence are mostly related to loss of touch with reality as a result of psychotic experiences of major mental illness or behavioral problems from psychoactive substance use.

The physical fights between persons start from verbal exchanges; graduates into threats, shoves before outright punches and other stuff are thrown. If one of the two persons decides to back down at any of these stages, the situation might not become violent. Situations that are escalated into actual acts of violence are mainly as a result of a gradual progression due to continuous exchanges between the two parties.

Some helpful tips that can help you avoid getting violent or experiencing violence during this lockdown and beyond include:

  • Avoid arguments.  The concept of “6/9” helps us understand that the same object can be perceived by two people differently due to their relative positioning to the object. Two persons might have different views about the same thing with both views being factual.

  • Accommodate alternative viewpoints even if you have a strong position.

  • The good you want from your partner or other people, always do to them. Also, whatever you don’t want your partner or others to do to you, don’t do it to them!  If you don’t want your partner to physically assault you, don’t assault him or her. If you don’t want your partner or others to shout at, abuse, or argue with you, don’t do the same to them. If they do it to you and you don’t do the same to them, they will naturally stop doing it (trust me). It is a principle of nature.

  • Don’t strike the first blow. If you and your partner decide not to be the one to start the assault, then no one will!

The general principle of distracting yourself from negative emotions is to redesign your schedule with the realities of your current state.

  • Accept your partner and other members of your household. Practice a daily routine that includes time for personal activities and joint activities with family members. All these routines must be focused on the goal of what you wish to have accomplished positively at the end of the pandemic. These goals should include personal (health, career, etc.), and family (spouse, partner, children, others). You can read more about productive living during this lockdown from this previous article.

  • Maintaining a focus on productive activities will definitely distract you from negative emotions which can trigger negative behaviors like violence. Deliberately create a peaceful productive atmosphere in your home today, its effect will last longer than this pandemic!!

Remain safe and sane; help others do the same by sharing this!!

 

 

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Ola Ibigbami

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