Repairing relationships after 2020

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
sky
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Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by sky »

Does anyone have advice on how to repair family relationships which have been damaged by partisan fanaticism?

Alphaville
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by Alphaville »

Biden’s speech yesterday had a lofty proposition in that regard: “They’re not your enemies, they’re Americans.” Indeed they are, although some (Lidsay Graham?) do behave like enemies—but regardless, I do appreciate the opportunity (or the pretext) to quell some passions, and maybe try to find common ground with people in a less polarized environment. Will it be practicable in the long run? I don’t know. Some people seem to be hard at work at perpetuating polarization. So I think it depends on the political climate to an extent. I.e. we can try but still fail, but we have to try anyway? It’s an easy temptation to go neocon and see politics as a struggle of “good vs evil.” It wasn’t always that way, People used to find common ground in spite of their differences.

IlliniDave
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by IlliniDave »

sky wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:07 pm
Does anyone have advice on how to repair family relationships which have been damaged by partisan fanaticism?
Gracious winners and gracious losers. Both sides must refrain from equating a person's moral worth with their everyday political beliefs. Both sides have to accept that the other side is populated overwhelmingly with moral, well-meaning people and there are points on both sides that have merit. Politicians will continue the fight and posture. So will the media. Out IRL both sides have to refrain from projecting some politician they are angry at onto their family and neighbors who might have some political overlap with said politician, even when their favorite opinion host tells them it is well and good to do exactly that.

It's a high bar. Chances are one side will have to be patient while the other side unwinds. The election probably will not result in a mass political conversion.

The good news is that a fundamental trait of conservatives is preserving the basic institutions so they are predisposed towards accepting the ultimate outcome and not towards taking to the streets in large numbers trying to burn the system down. But I think it is reasonable to expect McConnell (assuming Senate falls out as expected last projection I heard) to support Biden about as much as Pelosi supported Trump. Biden and the House will muscle through as much as they can the same way Trump and the Senate did. All the accusations will be flipped. Sadly, that's just the rules of the big game as they've evolved over the last 20 years or so. More stuff not to project on friends and family.

ertyu
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by ertyu »

sky wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:07 pm
Does anyone have advice on how to repair family relationships which have been damaged by partisan fanaticism?
Yes. Apologize and make amends.

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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by jacob »

For me it depends on how the damage came about.

A few people (maybe 5-10% counting both politicians and the general population) saw the era where they held the upper hand as their opportunity to throw shit^H^H^H^Hmud at the other side. I reckon there are always bullies, so I've accepted that although in my ideal world that would not be the case. However, some people just like mud fights and I think there should be room for that. ("Throwing mud is okay as long as it's balanced over time and mainly directed at other mud throwers.")

However, out of that group, I will have very little patience for those mud throwers who suddenly call for "compassion and unity" w/o sincerely apologizing for their previous behavior now that the shoe is on the other foot. That is no longer the behavior of someone who stands up and takes as good as they give but rather that of an abuser and I have zero interest in repairing or maintaining any relationship with those people.

Fortunately, that's a very short list.

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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by nomadscientist »

sky wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:07 pm
Does anyone have advice on how to repair family relationships which have been damaged by partisan fanaticism?
It's possible only if people value the relationship more than the party. Realistically, that won't always be the case.

We live in an age in which loyalty to persons rather than abstract ideals is considered old fashioned or even suspect, but I've found it more functional in practice.

Also, it creates the only environment in which ideas can be discussed (people are willing to listen to things they disagree with without feeling threatened and upset).

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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by jennypenny »

I dunno, if you routinely referred to someone as 'joe sixpack' during the Obama years, then worse (racist, misogynist, Nazi, etc) during the Trump years, I don't see them suddenly asking for forgiveness and/or seeing the light. Biden might be saying the right things, but a lot of other prominent people are vocal about their displeasure that over 70 million Americans voted for racism, xenophobia, etc. (even though most people I know who voted for Trump did so because they are afraid of more lockdowns, or want their schools to reopen, or live in NY/NJ and fear higher taxes). Two different/unrelated family members told me that anyone who voted for Trump is a Nazi and they don't want anything to do with them, ever.

I don't think anything has changed and I think most people still hold the same opinion of those on the 'other' side that they did a week ago. I've personally decided not to engage with anyone (on either side) who feels that a person's political persuasion is their defining quality as a human being. It's going to be painful, but life's too short to waste on people for whom politics is their new religion. I should have done it after Trump was elected but I thought things would calm down. I was wrong and spent the last four years trying to maintain some relationships that I should have let go of back then.

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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by Hristo Botev »

I get concerned with the team-sport aspect of all of this. DW and I didn't tell our kids who we voted for; and we've been quick to correct them when they start "rooting" for one side vs another, as if they are watching a soccer game (interestingly, DS seems to root for one side whereas DD seems to root for the other). But the tribalism scares me. Politics has just come to play too important a role in too many people's lives; the identification of being on the red "side" vs. the blue "side" as being part your personal identity--it's unhealthy and not leading to anyplace good. To answer OP's question, to the extent I can at least anecdotally: the tact DW and I have taken is just to lean on one another to vent, and to just keep our mouth's shut and our opinions to ourselves around EVERYONE else--at least in terms of Trump v. Biden, or Red v. Blue, etc. (obviously I'm excepting this particular forum; ha!). NO ONE knows who DW and I voted for, though for sure lots of people think they know--from our neighbors and colleagues assuming we voted for Biden, to many extended family members and friends assuming we voted for Trump. I'm a big fan of the secret ballot; and I try and live my life that way as well.

ertyu
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by ertyu »

HB: this is very smart. that was an excellent choice and set a good example for your children.

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Lemur
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by Lemur »

Good question Sky and I don't have a good answer for this. Just ramblings.

I guess if you value the relationship enough to overlook political beliefs, then time heals all wounds. I too had a lot of political fights with friends who shared the opposite positions. The only silver lining to come out of this is that my own ability to 'agree to disagree' improved over-time. And I think that is key. Too many people fight and rely on social media further exacerbating the decline of this social skill and increasing political polarization.

I deleted my social media this year and let go of a lot of friends/acquaintances from my military days. My only good friend left in my inner circle is a Trump supporting / general conspiracy theorist. I learned a lot about myself through the countless debates, disagreements, and arguments over the past year. I learned that I definitely needed to work on patience.

It was very heated at times, and still a little warm in the room too, and I even started questioning a relationship with someone I had known since I was a kid (15 years now). I'm still in this process, but like Biden said, he is not my enemy...he is an American. If this is just Biden being a 'politician' and not really meaning it (like my friend would say), then I don't care because I do think this is a true statement regardless. Lets not split our tribe in 2. That is what Russia wants anyway...and we can't let them succeed.

To my friend, at first frustration. But later, sympathy. Like I started thinking it must suck to live in your head - a place where everything is out to get you, you can't tell truth from lies, and misinformation becomes real information. I think this book helped me a bit understand where my friend was coming from as well: White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America . If you want to spend the time, I guess what I'm saying is try to put yourself in opposition shoes....see where they're coming from. For instance, I spent a good week reading nothing but 'The Federalist' and other right-wing disinformation sites to get a better understanding of the sources my friend was looking at...and then it dawned on me where the paranoia was coming from.

This stuff...easier said then done especially when you know at least half of Americans are on 'your team' so...you could always just swim with the current and not against it and just get friends that share your political beliefs. But that is kind of a lazy way out...but may save your mental health.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

Everything will likely get worse as even in these posts I read contempt, and I would consider the people here smarter than most. The modus operandi is Divide and Conquer. It is working like a charm. Contempt for the other kills reconciliation in the bud.

Jedi mind tricks do not work. If the other person is not sincere, there is no hope of repair.

steelerfan
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by steelerfan »

It used to be universally known common sense to never discuss religion or politics. Words to live by. I think social media destroyed this as it is an echo chamber on both sides that seek to amplify a person’s already held opinions. An interesting documentary on social media targeting is ”The Great Hack” on netflix. I am not on social media other than this forum, if this counts.

Generally, I keep my mouth shut and prefer that others do the same. It obviously is often pretty easy to figure out what side people are on but not always. Invariably there are code words and identity phrases that people carefully throw out to gauge your reaction. Many people on the other side assume I am with them based on things they know about me IRL and in truth, I once was. I try not to probe them directly but some people are so hyper partisan it is out there. As long as there is no crazy talk it does not matter to me.

As I live in Colorado until last election we used to hold caucuses which yielded some surprises as you saw people in your party at the meeting that you would have never thunk it. I have friends that have surprised me but not often. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Other times a statement crosses a line that illuminates to the point where I will no longer have anything to do with them permanently. Some things said can never be taken back.

In an office setting it is important to cultivate as apolitical of a vibe as possible regardless if folks you know line up with your beliefs. Other people will hear your conversations. If the wrong people hear something it could impair or effectively end your job there. But you all know that.

In a way it is a blessing that we will be socially distancing this thanksgiving as things could get pretty raw with immediate relatives! The longer it takes for normalcy to return, the more apprehensive me and my wife get. If the last couple of weeks are any indication, the next month - no make that the next 4 years regardless of what happens can be pretty eventful.

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Jean
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by Jean »

Well, actually, there is a tool formalized by Marshall Rosenberg called non violent communication.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_Communication
It is very good for turning a sincere will for reconciliation into an effective reconciliation.
It doesn't work if people just want to get rid of you, but if there is another need behind it, it can help find it out, and find a better solution than mutual destruction. (basicaly, it doesn't work when the assumption made aren't true, like any theory in fact)
It is also very effective for negotiating with authority or for a payment arrangement, or to solve arguments with SO.
I strongly recomend anyone to look into it.

One additional difficulty, is of course that both side opperates from a very different set of observations, to the point where the other side won't believe them when presented with the conclusion those observations command.
Being open to the other groups observation, is probably a part of the key here.
Last edited by Jean on Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I hate not having access to information, so I always like to have some friends from all the different lunch room tables, but it has been damn hard lately. I have to really repress my internal obnoxious debater in favor of my external pleasant Beatrix Potter like character.

Lately, I am in pretty bad fail mode because my soon to be ex BF kept going on about how MY vote was going to cancel out HIS vote, which eventually led to me saying something like “not even worth talking to an idiot who hasn’t read science since engineering college.”

OTOH, when my extreme left youngest sister was getting on my case for being friends with a multi-millionaire and quoting stuff from Piketty, I said “ Well, if you don’t want him to get any richer, you ought to stop shopping at Costco.”

I will likely be eating turkey in solo Covid seclusion this year anyways, so wtf.

IlliniDave
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by IlliniDave »

Jean wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 5:42 am

... One additional difficulty, is of course that both side opperates from a very different set of observations, to the point where the other side won't believe them when presented with the conclusion those observations command.
Being open to the other groups observation, is probably a part of the key here.
Actually, I think it is the main difficulty. Sort of what I was alluding to above by saying both sides would need to recognize that both sides bring valid points to the discussion. You got to the core of it more efficiently than I did. Dehumanization of opponents is traditionally associated with violence, commonly used in propaganda during wartime, but now is an everyday occurrence in the context of honest political disagreements (which tend to be about the extent of the government's role in peoples' lives).

Also, I've observed that it is often the relative ranking of fundamentally shared beliefs that set people in ferocious opposition. "If you don't shout from the rooftops as loudly as I do on topic X, or speak a word of compromise, you are bad" sorts of things. Operating between the red world and the blue world makes that very apparent.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Focusing on shared vices sometimes works.

sky
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by sky »

The recommendation to never discuss politics or religion (except among those close to you) is a good one. I will look into Nonviolent Communication, which also looks useful.

It is difficult to discuss this subject without immediately getting political, which I would prefer not to do.

With regard to the family members, I think that I want to resume a normal relationship only in a relationship of mutual respect. My only "fault" in the relationship is to have severely limited communication during the past few years. Previously conversation from their side seemed to be talking points parroted from partisan and conspiracy media sources. I have no wish to be evangelized to their religion or politics, all of which appear to be a weird cult to me.

Part of the communication problem is on my side, because I have very little respect for the beliefs they are pushing. I am not willing to compromise my core values (anticorruption, election fair play, truth not lies, integrity of candidates) just to get along. So there is a lack of respect from my side which makes relationship repair difficult.

Then there is the fact that I am part of a class of people that received hatred from the witch hunt mob as directed by the great leader. My freedom and perhaps survival depend on my opposition to the political movement. The family members did not recognize or understand this, despite a clear discussion that ended with a decision to limit communication.

Its not going to be easy to repair the relationships, if they even can be repaired.

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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by IlliniDave »

sky wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:52 am
... Its not going to be easy to repair the relationships, if they even can be repaired.
Some things to keep in mind that might be helpful in your endeavor. It's likely your relative(s) feel your side of the conversation "seemed to be talking points parroted from partisan and conspiracy media sources" as you did theirs. That statement itself is among the partisan talking points employed routinely by both sides. Given the reference to the election, I'm assuming this is basically a blue vs red divide. It wasn't so long ago that the other Great Leader delivered an exhortation to his followers to get in the faces of their relatives over the Thanksgiving Dinner Table over politics. I obviously don't know the specifics about how your survival depends on opposing some political movement or what "mobs" you refer to. But it's also possible, maybe likely, your relative feels like a class of person targeted for partisan hatred, and think that those who behave aggressively, or passive-aggressively, towards them behave in ways that seem weird and unfathomable, and potentially menacing. Aggression towards what I'll assume is your relative's side of the spectrum has ramped up considerably over the last few years.

It's obvious you are still very passionate about your position, which is understandable but will further make things difficult. I don't know the urgency of the reconciliation, but it sounds to me like it's best approached slowly. Hopefully in time you'll be able to come to the conclusion that politics, specifically their politics, is not a de facto life-and-death threat to you (and possibly vice-versa, they'll come to understand yours are less threatening). Otherwise, reconciliation arguably becomes illogical. The perceived threat posed to each other via respective political beliefs probably has to be the first thing to go. Simple differences in opinion are surmountable. When the differences are perceived as existential threats, not so much.

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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I’m just saying, there are both Red and Blue folk who like pie, legal weed, and/or threesomes.

sky
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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Post by sky »

It is more of a difference in core values than politics. I personally avoid political discussions if possible.

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