Idler agony aunt Virginia Ironside offers counsel to an angry partner
Social isolation is something I’m very comfortable with, but my partner is driving me nuts with her paranoia and anxiety over this virus and it’s cursing me with an almost irresistible urge to go outside, jump on a bus, rub my hands all over the hand rails and then get off in town and shoot the first person I see.
Is this normal?
Perfectly normal. We all react to stress in different ways. Your partner’s gone into panic mode and you’ve gone into fury mode. You might find it the same if there were an angry mob outside your door. Your partner would hide in a cupboard, cover her head with a sheet and hope it would go away and you’d go out and face the whole group single-handedly, waving a carving knife. You’re angry not just with the threat of the virus but also with the draconian lockdown rules which make you feel utterly powerless.
Yours is in some way an admirable primal response – as is hers – but not quite appropriate for this particular situation.
Try to work off your fury by phoning or Zooming like-minded people – and they exist I know – and work off some of your rage that way. Listen to podcasts and videos that reflect your angry views – they’ll make you feel less alone. And knowing there are others who feel as you do will take some of the potency away from the desperate feelings you have. Try to get your partner to understand, too, that there’s no right or wrong in each of your responses. They’re both emotional and a result of fear. And it’s only if you can each understand and tolerate each other’s slightly unhinged views that you[‘ve got a chance of harmony. I have to say it, because it’s such a corny trope, but if you could both consider mediation together, might it be possible to find at least one point of contact? I hope so.
Now to go out and get my gun…..
Virginia Ironside writes the “Problems” column in the Idler magazine