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30 Mar 2020

Healthy Communication During Lockdown

Article . Written by Helen Aish, relationsihp counselor

Suddenly life has slowed down.  Time has become a different dimension.  Those hard jobs long put off become feasible.  We get to hang out with our family.

And therein can lie the rub.  As a relationship counselor I am privy to all kinds of simmering tensions happening below the surface.  Those for whom home has been the place to escape from, must now sit it out and find a way to survive.  The internet has become full of helpful suggestions on how to constructively fill in the days, but what to do with those resentments, hurts and frustrations which can be triggered by our partners, children extended whanau who may all be in our bubble.  Those emotions will not simply go away because the world has changed.

Escape and the distraction of work, sports, hanging out with friends no longer being available to us I would like to reflect on an alternative mindful approach.  It is quite simple.  It is also quite challenging.  This is about keeping our reactive self in check.  It requires being still and remembering to breathe when the tensions are high.

In terms of relationship it means finding the generosity and courage to say ‘can we find a time to talk about this’ and then helping constructively to make that happen.  It means listening openly to what our partner or family member has to say, and ensuring you acknowledge that as fully as you are able.  It will be very hard for them to hear what is going on for you if you have not been able to listen first to them.

Resentments and hurts have a way of accumulating in our emotional being, and can make it very hard for us to hear what is actually being said. They tend to put a spin on the words and we hear them through distortion.  We tend to stop listening and start avoiding.  Avoiding is not an option under lockdown.  The gift of listening is.


This article was kindly written for Village Kiwi by Helen Aish, relationship counselor and play therapist.