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Isolation Stories: Family Breakdowns during COVID-19

I enjoyed all four of the Isolation Stories in the series shown recently on ITV1, a couple particularly resonating with the work that I do. I have already offered my thoughts on one of the stories and would just like to consider the final episode. It told the story of a separated family where Dad’s emotions were strongly influencing his behaviour regarding his two son’s contact with their Mum, maternal grandfather was endeavouring to play a part in reuniting the two boys with their mother. The two children involved were currently living with Dad and the Covid-19 lockdown was providing a useful condition that allowed Dad to restrict contact with Mum or indeed anyone he felt might be a negative influence on the boys.

We weren’t offered a great deal of background history but it appeared Mum had left Dad and was now living with a new partner after an affair. Dad, understandably was experiencing all sorts of feelings regarding this situation; anger and hurt being at the forefront of these feelings. His state of mind allowed him to feel completely justified in making it extremely difficult for his sons to have any contact with their Mum and they were missing her.

It is so difficult when you have been left by a long term partner, particularly, one might argue, if they have gone straight into a new relationship, a person would have to be made of stone not to be affected by this. When children are in the middle of all this and you hear ‘experts’ saying their needs have to be put first, what can parents do with all the surfeit of negative emotions they are experiencing? Firstly, don’t ignore them but try and find a trusted friend, relative or professional to talk to about the emotions. People feeling a wealth of negative emotion, be they adults or children, need to try to find some way of purging themselves of these emotions, of course it will take time, but if the process is allowed there are huge benefits to wellbeing.

In Isolation Stories it was Grandad’s perseverance that finally led to Dad being able to allow his boys to see their Mum. By sharing details of his own personal experience, Grandad was able to encourage Dad to consider whether holding on to the bitterness and resentment he felt towards his ex-partner and her behaviour was helpful and useful to him and by association to their children. Dad may never be able to forgive his ex, but by letting the feelings go as best he could, he could then devote more time to his own wellbeing and eventually move on.

Bretherton's Family Team have great understanding and empathy to all those who have experienced family breakdown, please call them on 01788 557588 if you have any questions.