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Dear PoPville – Advice for Dealing with a Family Divided by Politics?

by Prince Of Petworth November 8, 2012 at 11:00 am 38 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user JoshBassettPhotography

Dear PoPville,

Is there therapy for families with differing political views? Don’t laugh – I’m actually serious. Does anyone have sincere advice for how to handle tensions in a family that’s divided on party lines? My situation is this: my mother is a Republican, while my father, siblings, and I are Democrats. Many of us even worked or volunteered for one or both of Obama’s campaigns. Over the years, it’s gotten harder and harder to even have a discussion with my mother about politics. Four years ago, we engaged in spirited discussions in which one or both sides would eventually get angry, but at least we tried to air out the issues. This time around, no matter how hard I try to be calm and respectful, she gets defensive, angry, and shuts down. I have also tried avoiding the topic altogether, but she often brings it up herself, plus it makes me sad to just give up. If we can’t make it work in our family, what hope is there for Congress to talk frankly with one another?

I would love to have lively debates and agree to disagree, but it just feels impossible. If we didn’t get a reprieve from the election cycle, I really feel it might destroy the family. What do I do?

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