Articles and Other Reading

What to Do When Politics and Family Collide

New brains research reveals key differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Tiffany McLain LMFT

Living Between Worlds

Posted Oct 31, 2016

“It can be difficult when splitting goes on. When people start talking about ‘crazy republicans.’ I love my dad and my brother. They are lovely human beings. I see them as human beings, not as republicans first and foremost.”

Tegan is a liberal surrounded by liberals, but growing up, the political climate in her home was not nearly so homogenous. Her father and older brother are staunchly conservative, while she, her younger brother and her mom are dedicated liberals.

 

As children, many of us are surrounded by a like-minded political community, but this wasn’t the case in Tegan’s household.

“Dad’s best friend from childhood was a raging liberal,” Tegan tells me. “And I always remember these long political conversations going on for hours. Seems my dad really enjoyed this. Many of his friends were liberal.”

Conversations between Tegan and her conservative relatives can be loaded. When she’s around her liberal friends, their tendency to demonize conservatives is equally challenging.

 

“In the past, they made me feel ashamed and want to hide a part of my upbringing or self.”

While we can choose to surround ourselves with peers who share our viewpoint, we cannot choose our relatives. Unless we’re planning to cut off family members who disagree with us, we must find a way to navigate a divisive two-party political system while remaining under one roof.

 

Tegan got experience with this divide early on. But watching her parents negotiate this difference has been a painful transition for Dev that started when he began to adopt more democratic beliefs.

“It goes nowhere,” he says when describing political discussions with his parents. “We just scream at each other ultimately. We try to talk calmly at first, but it digresses very quickly.”

 

Unlike Tegan, both of Dev’s parents are conservative or, as he puts it, die-hard republicans.  

 

Read the full article HERE on psychology today.

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