Over a year into the pandemic, it’s becoming more evident that the long-term impacts of the coronavirus have been the toll it has taken on relationships. Disagreements about lockdowns and COVID precautions meant that family differences that may have been dormant were now brought to the surface. For those who already had strained relationships over political differences, the pandemic deepened the rifts.

Can the relationship be healed?

Before any relationship can begin to heal, both people must be interested in working things out because nothing can be accomplished unless both are willing. People need to hear each other out, compromise where they are able, and set boundaries in places where compromise isn’t an option.

Fear of not wanting to make an already tense situation worse is understandable, but not creating and communicating healthy boundaries could exacerbate the issue. Both people must be able to listen to one another’s concerns without fear of judgment. In most cases, a neutral third party, such as a therapist, can help guide the conversation and teach the tools necessary for effective communication.

Time can heal many relationships damaged by disagreements over COVID restrictions, but clear boundaries need to be established and respected if safety is a question. For example- many families have members that are at higher risk of COVID complications, and asking that people who will be around them take precautions to keep them safe is a valid request.

Sometimes a relationship is broken beyond repair no matter how hard two people try. In that case, it’s ok to grieve because it’s still a loss.

Start from a place of empathy

Communication is vital in all relationships, and the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way most of us interact with one another. Social distancing and face masks have reduced face-to-face communication. The volatile political climate also adds to the levels of fear and stress that we’ve experienced over the past year.

Empathy is the ability to understand, share, and relate to another person’s feelings, and it’s essential whether you are talking to a family member, spouse, or friend. When it comes to disagreements over COVID restrictions, it’s necessary to make an effort to understand their views. You don’t have to try and convince them that you’re right- just try and understand where they’re coming from.

Tensions have been running high this past year, especially when we’re confined with the same people in close quarters for months on end. Our first instinct is usually to become defensive during any conflict, justify our actions, or get into a yelling match.

As tempting as these responses are, they typically make situations worse and add another layer of stress. If you feel those types of reactions coming on, it’s important to take a few minutes to breathe and center yourself. If you’re having trouble communicating with empathy and need tips to help, consider talking to a professional.

The benefits of therapy for healing relationships

COVID has altered the dynamics of many family relationships. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health treatment, but there is no shame in seeking help to try and heal fractured relationships. There are many benefits to therapy, including:

  • Establishing healthy boundaries

  • Improving communication

  • Defining roles within the family

  • Providing coping tools for family members

  • Focusing on dysfunctional interactions

  • Working to strengthen problem-solving abilities

Serene Health offers individual and family therapy for those wanting to heal fractured relationships and those grieving broken relationships. Call us at 844-737-3638 or visit us at www.serenehealth.com to schedule an appointment today.