The Pandemic brought out a lot of anxiety for people. I saw sides of people I had known for years that I had never seen before. It was heartbreaking to experience people totally falling apart due to loss of control.
I now understand more and more that people have many different ways to cope with stress/anger/frustration. I also understand now that some people simply don’t have the tools at all to cope. People need to have understanding and need to make sense of the world around them. When they can’t easily do that – some lash out at everyone. They want everyone to feel what they are feeling. Their anger and frustration become your problem. They make their problems your problem! I saw this happening all around me in 2020 and even more so in 2021.
It was disturbing to watch people have complete meltdowns all around me. It affected me too. I struggled too. Yet, I think what keeps me balanced is my belief in God and that I know at the end of the day I only have control over what I do. I can’t make anyone do anything. I don’t try to make people bow down to me.
Families and Issues
What really stuck with me after reading the mentioned article in his post: being a “coper means to have skills in” – problem-solving and decision-making. This stuck out to me because I know some people close to me that showed so much anger during 2021. I just didn’t understand it. I had never experienced this from them. I had to do a lot of soul-searching myself. The research I found helped me understand that some of these individuals had never had proper coping skills. Their immediate reaction to stress/frustration was anger. They immediately become irrational and thought with their fists instead of handling things in a more logical manner. It was the first time I realized these particular individuals had never been taught to talk things out.
They had never been taught to hear other people out and to be respectful of the thoughts and feelings of others. They came from an environment where they were in competition even with siblings. The siblings had been pitted against each other and it created a great divide among them. The parents created that division. There was no sense of unity. The only time they came together was to fight “outsiders”. When I say fight I mean it literally and figuratively.
None of these individuals had ever questioned their behavior. They grew up around so many people who thought like they did. It was a HUGE lesson for me. I took it for granted that families look out for each other. I took it for granted that siblings show love and support. I took it for granted that I can be completely vulnerable with my siblings and I know they are not going to come back and hurt me. They won’t use those moments against me later. I took all that for granted. I thought everyone had it like that with siblings. You are going to fuss and argue with siblings – but you wouldn’t tear each other down. You wouldn’t literally fight them. You wouldn’t bring others in to hurt them. How do you hurt people you claim to love?
Develop Coping Skills
John Hopkins Medicine has a wonderful site here that explains more (referenced above): https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/about/community_health/johns-hopkins-bayview/services/called_to_care/develop_battery_coping_skills.ht
Well, I witnessed a lot of hurt in 2021. This post is not me trying to talk bad about people, but to help people heal from the hurt. I want to see people gain the confidence to heal the hurt from the past 15, 25, or 50 years of their lives. My hope is that people will start seeing the signs, recognize themselves or recognize loved ones who can be toxic, and want to fix the issues.
How to Help Family Who Don’t Have Coping Skills
- Meet and discuss issues in a neutral environment
- Have a mediator present
- Make sure everyone involved gets a chance to speak with no interruptions
- Keep everyone calm. Let everyone know this is not about choosing sides. It is about helping everyone heal.
- Find out what everyone learned from the experience: maybe someone learned patience, maybe someone learned how to be calm before having a conversation, maybe someone learned how to ask more questions before assuming and jumping to anger.
The biggest part of not learning coping skills is putting the responsibility on others to deal with your problems. You never learn to solve things for yourself. Again, this goes back to what I discussed from the beginning about problem-solving. A lot of confidence comes from learning how to solve problems for yourself. It is the best feeling to work something out on your own without running to others to fix your mess. I want to help people build a bridge to the other side where they can manage their emotions better, think logically, and react in a more considerate way.
I hope sharing some of this information will help some of you!
Peace and Blessings!