Why isolation is bringing out the worst in some people

I fear that as these weeks of lockdown drag on, this sort of surprise misbehaving and mistreatment of others will only get worse. Not only by those loved ones who we are in quarantine with, but neighbours, colleagues, and other acquaintances that wehappen to cross paths with through email, Zoom, etc. The first thing dozens of spouses did when they got out of isolation in Wuhan was file for divorce. I think a lot of us are afraid that isolation might cause this kind of collapse in our closest relationships. Usually we can put off emotional things until we feel better – until we’ve slept, eaten and exercised – but this foul mood won’t be so easily lifted. Keep contempt out of your home and you’ll have a difference in the kind – not just degree – of your fights and the curdled sprawls that ruin families. Another place to start is something that can sound naff but I promise works: focus on the ways differences can be strengths. We’re not very good at understanding other people’s reactions to crises, and we don’t feel understood when they don’t share ours. We are all going to find ourselves and the people we love behaving in some profoundly unlikable ways.