Episode 235 S6-35
Couples Disaster Survival
The Endless Night Ch 35
People often say, “you don’t truly know a person until you have seen them under stress. Disaster, whether human-made, natural or personal, can have a profound effect on an individual. Often these situations will cause people to rise to the top or sink to the bottom of the barrel.
There has been conflicting evidence on whether a disaster causes relationships to improve or dissolve. Long term, natural disasters tend to break bonds apart. After this type of emergency, things don’t just go back to normal. There can be many physical and emotional problems to overcome. The recent hurricanes of the past, including Hugo, Andrew, Katrina and Sandy, have leveled more than homes. They have annihilated many relationships as well.
Disasters composed of human-made, intentional acts of violence often cause relationships to strengthen. For some reason, tragedies like the Oklahoma bombing and World Trade Center destruction, tend to bring people together. There is a short term, heroic phase that individuals enter. However, as time ticks on and the stress of the event have a chance to simmer in someone's thoughts for a while, they often experience post-traumatic stress disorder. This emotional distress will test relationships again.
It seems couples that survive have a “Magic Ratio” known as “5 to1.” The partnership must experience five positive moments for every negative one. Maintaining this ratio can be a challenge to achieve as many people will turn into an exaggerated version of themselves when stressed — another side effect of stress the tendency to act impulsively.
In general, human-caused events will draw folks together. If a child dies or is injured, it causes significant relationship strain. Disasters that occur over and over cause feelings of hopelessness and test the resolve of relationships. Any betrayal between the individuals forming the relationship will erode trust.
Relationships are either growing together or growing apart. When disaster strikes, try not to take the disaster personally. Many times, they are just as trapped as you are. If you have a significant life decision to make, try to delay a final choice. Remember that whatever you are facing is temporary. The years go by fast and when you look back, how significant are the quarks your partner is displaying? Respect for your partner and understanding of their needs can go a long way. Your partner should reciprocate the behavior. Talk with them. Let them know how you feel so they understand they are not alone. Support them.
In a longer-term disaster, remember, it is going to take time to heal and rebuild your life. Try to tackle challenges together. When you are tired and frustrated, don’t take it out on your partner. Lean on the strengths of your partner and communicate that you respect that about them. Listen to their concerns and try to develop a mutually beneficial plan. Be affectionate. Humans are group animals. Sometimes a heartfelt hug can be better than a million words. Remember that please and thank you go a long way. If you are appreciative and notice how hard they are trying, people feel as if their efforts are worth the stress.
Take a break from work now and then. It pays to take time to enjoy the company of one another. Try to develop some a routine but remain flexible to the unexpected obstacles that may challenge you along the way. Keep yourself as healthy as possible. Don’t use your downtrodden feelings as an excuse to overindulge in intoxicants or eating. Try to get some exercise and engage in group activities. When things are stressful, watch a humorous movie rather than a dramatic one. Humor is a great way to improve your mood.
Relationships take careful maintenance, even in the best of times. When stress increases, it tests even the closest of individuals. Understanding the effects of these disasters and communicating through the event with your partner increases your chances of surviving and thriving.
Featured Quote From Today's Chapter:
"He watched the patchy roads, pieced together from yesterday's highways, pass by in the distance."
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Pair of Midland Walkie Talkies
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