Self-quarantine: parents, work and so many other problems

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    Hello, I am new here, so nice to meet you all. I am a physics grad student in self isolation with my parents and boyfriend.

    I am struggling a lot during the self quarantine, for a couple of reasons.

    1-My father is been very difficult. He has always been cranky, but it is been unbearable right now. First of all, he belongs to the risk group and insists on going out. We have to talk to him every day about it. He is constantly complaining about everything and been especially mean to me. He is asking for things that I already do (like chores at home – to the point that my mother had to intervene and explain that already does all of that – which is funny because he barely helps at home). He also complains about me staying up later than him, even though I am not noisy. He only does that because it is my alone time with my boyfriend.

    2-I am continuing to research at home, but my parents don’t respect my study time too much. They are always asking for me to do chores, even though I am the only one that still working (I get paid for my research, just to clarify). Also, since my work is theoretical, I have lots of calculations and readings to do. Sometimes I need to take a break, and that is where they think I am not studying. I am tired of trying to explain and I gave up.

    3-My boyfriend is also a physicist. His work is more computational, while mine is more mathematical, so he needs less concentration to do. He works (or appears to be working) more hours than me, which does not help me with my parents’ situation of not understanding my work. Despite knowing that our work is different, I still feel bad because I wanted to work more. I do study an adequate number of hours, enough to get my things done to my weekly meetings, but he works even more.

    4-I feel very alone. I have always been kind of distant, because I’ve been hurt by so-called friends in middle school, so it was a way to protect myself. But now I am feeling lonely because no one reached out to know how I am during the pandemic. I do have my mother and my boyfriend to help, but I feel bad for not having outside people caring about me.

    I feel like since my parents were difficult and very hard to please (my mother got better after lots of talking, though), I’ve been raised believing that I should have accomplishments to be worthy of attention and affection. That’s part of the reason I went to physics. But now I cannot dissociate this to my self-worth. I feel like people admire me because I am quite young, female in physics and because my work in science communication, but I don’t quite have good friends. I’ve constructed my whole persona to be admired, but I struggle to actually connect to people.

    I don’t know if this post is making sense, it is just a bunch of things that I am feeling. Thanks for your attention.


    Dear Hannah:

    If you significantly contribute financially to your parents’ home, being the only one working, let your parents, particularly your father, know that you need not be disturbed during your at-home working hours. If your father cannot respect you as a human, and as his daughter, maybe he will respect you as one who brings in money.

    During a quarantine, it is crucial that all individuals sharing a household arrange for individual alone times, occupying private areas within the home, respecting each other’s privacy, determining “do not disturb” times during the day (having a sign stating that outside your room, is a good idea. It is a good idea for all participants to have a meeting and come up with rules of interactions during this quarantine.

    Regarding no one reaching out to you to ask how you are doing during this pandemic, I don’t reach out to people either, to people who don’t need me, that is. I can’t explain it at the moment, but I am significantly less likely to call people I have met in person now than I did before the pandemic.

    But as you can see, I am okay communicating here with people I have never met. Do post anytime.


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