Every four years when the election season is about to set in, the media often fills with appeals for people to get along. We are told that despite our strong opinions and political parties, we should not allow such differences to get in the way of our unity as friends, family members, and neighbors.
This is true in an ideal situation but in reality, politics often trigger feelings of hatred and division. Chapple Reshawna, a therapist at Talkspace often observes different types of political tensions from the clients who come to see her.
Chapple says she has witnessed families break up because of political disagreements. Some conservatives while some disagree because of President Trump.
She says many people are wondering why their friends, family members, and neighbors continue to support Trump despite his character and behavior.
Political disagreements touch our deepest values
These misunderstandings affect us a lot because they touch our primary beliefs concerning our dignity as human beings. For the minority groups in the United States such as the people of color, those living in poverty, and the LGBTQ, politics is not a mere intellectual agreement.
The people we elect and the type of policies they make affect our lives directly. That’s why it is important to make wise decisions during the election period.
How do you know if you have been affected by politics?
If you feel angry or engaged in heated arguments while discussing politics with your family members or friends, then it is a sign that the discussion is negatively affecting you.
Where do we draw the line?
How do you tell the difference between an opinion and a political disagreement?
If the individual you are arguing with shows respect you are what you are saying, then that cannot be considered as a political difference. But if the person you are talking to is clearly showing disrespect and not willing to hear what you are saying, then it is a sign of deep-seated hatred.
How do you survive political breakups and disagreements?
Develop healthy boundaries
When you realize that it is better to stay away from someone who is likely to cause trouble because of political differences, how do you go about limiting contact?
Chapple from Talkspace advises the following steps:
- What do you need from the relationship and yourself in order to truly feel respected?
- What do you consider to be a deal-breaker? What values really matter to you?
- What are you willing to compromise?
Instead of focusing on the impossible, try to look at the red flags from the person you are arguing with. If you are convinced that your political position is correct, then set boundaries to keep yourself safe.
Take time to mourn
Losing a friend, relative or neighbor is not easy even though they were bad for you.
According to a senior therapist at Talkspace, it is okay to mourn toxic relationships.
In general, politics often bring out the best and worst in people. They can sometimes cause division and painful separations among family members and friends. The best thing to do find better ways of surviving such breakups.
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