香山リカのココロの万華鏡:違ってあたり前 /東京

(Mainichi Japan) May 15, 2011
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: It's natural to react differently to disaster
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:違ってあたり前 /東京

A growing number of patients have been coming to my consultation room after the Great East Japan Earthquake saying, "Family bonds are turning sour."

"Isn't it the other way around? Aren't family ties getting closer?" other people wonder. But that's not necessarily the case.
「逆じゃないの? 家族の絆が強まったのでは?」と思う人もいるはずだが、そうとは限らない。

Why? The biggest reason seems to be the way families are reacting differently to the earthquake and ensuing tsunami and the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

One woman came up to me, saying, "I cannot tolerate my 'difference in the way of thinking' with my husband." ある女性は「夫との“温度差”に耐えられない」と言っていた。

She was deeply shocked by the disaster and considered sending relief supplies and monetary donations and going to disaster-hit areas to do volunteer work.

But her husband gave her a frosty look and said, "You will be of no use at all even if you go there. If you have such energy, why don't you brush up on your cooking skills?"

"It's natural that I feel I want to do something for devastated areas. I question my husband's humanity. I want to divorce him," she angrily said.

Of course, she felt hurt when her offer of goodwill was rebuked by her husband in such a rude manner. But I am not sure what her husband said reflects his real thoughts.

Her husband may also be in pain over the disaster and really feels miserable about his helplessness to do something about it, and that may be why he responded cynically to her remarks.

I counseled her, "Nobody can keep calm right now. Please don't try to judge his human qualities by his remarks."

Then there is another case where a woman, trying to lead "a business as usual life as much as possible," is fed up with her mother who is nervous about fears of radioactive materials, and a family feud ensues.

"The family relationship is getting strained. It's a victim of the nuclear accident," the woman said with a wry smile.

Most people are thinking, "We want to do something for the victims of the disaster." But at the same time, they also believe, "We have to protect ourselves first, too."

But it is up to each individual as to how they think and act.

Even family members behave differently.

Under these circumstances, a difference in individual sense of values comes to the fore, prompting some people to say they are disappointed or want a divorce. I think it's a little bit sad.

It is only natural that people are reacting differently to a disaster of this magnitude.

Everyone should think, "Hmmm, people are different." I don't want you to brand people around you with words like "my husband is a cold-hearted man," or "my mother is self-centered." Don't overly criticize them or try to correct their way of thinking.

There is no need to forcibly unify people's attitudes and the way of thinking of family members.

Disaster-induced divorces are not a laughing matter.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)

毎日新聞 2011年5月10日 地方版

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