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To ask, how much do politics impact on your relationships with wider family?

(22 Posts)
chitchat1234 Sun 03-Dec-17 19:43:17

My job positions me central to current politics in this country, I live and breathe this on a daily basis, and I can’t help but feel a real challenge with how far my families politics and my own apart. My family are quite right, I’m without doubt quite left. They are pro-brexit, I’m against, they are pro conservative neo-liberal driven marketisation, I’m very much against. I’m not arguing either side right or wrong here, but I feel my relationship with my family is significantly affected by these factors. I find it hard to find a moral value base to link the relationship and as we inevitably always end up discussing politics I end up feeling genuinely angry that I feel they’ve played a part in destroying my children’s future. I love my family, but I struggle to understand them. These differences don’t feel surface level, they are the very base of who we are and what we believe. I’m not asking for who is right or wrong here, but would welcome views on how to manage these differences?

BackforGood Sun 03-Dec-17 20:01:25

I think it is always going to be difficult if you all feel passionately about particular issues.
I was going to say that, where you know there are things that you clearly think differently about than someone close to you, then it is perfectly possible to avoid bringing them into the conversation and agree to respect that the others have thought things through and come to a different conclusion from you.
Lots of people live with a husband or wife, or a a parent or a child who holds different political views from themselves, or different opinion about religion, or even a passion for / hatred of a hobby.
The issue here seems to be that you can't leave the subject (s) you disagree about aside when you are with them, and talk about something else instead.

Meadowdaisies Sun 03-Dec-17 20:03:46

I do thoroughly agree with Jo Cox in that we have more in common than that which divides us.

chitchat1234 Sun 03-Dec-17 20:12:11

meadow I entirely agree, but I feel my family are absolutely determined to ‘prove me wrong’. I write quite a few publicly available bits, these without doubt inform much of the debates and in any meeting seem to be the central topic of conversation. I simply don’t know how to steer around it anymore. I’m tired of it and sad.

MaisyPops Sun 03-Dec-17 20:13:27

Since Brexit me and my siblings stopped discussing politics with our parents.

Our folks bought into the 'immigrants come over here'... 'drain our nhs'... 'claiming benefits' and it became quite apparent that over the last few years their views have shifted substantially where they make comments like 'if we went to their country... but they come over here and we have to put up with making all these allowances for muslims'.
It upsets me that 2 people who I love and respect (who were always quite progressive) retired to a typical white british retirement area and developed quite bigoted views in just 2 years. It's highlighted to me how area affects political views.

(Should add i think there were some reasonable arguments for brexit, but not enough to sway me and absolutely zero clarity on what voting for brexit actually meant and i felt it was a cover for people to 'tell it like it is' and the far right to whip uo anti immigratoon hate)

Council Sun 03-Dec-17 20:19:28

My Dad and I are both political animals with opposing views. Nothing we enjoy more than a good "debate". I don't rise to his baiting though, just enjoy discussing the opposing view. My sister OTOH gets really cross with him and you can see him arguing a point primarily to wind her up.

I also have a very old dear friend with whom I am politically poles apart on the face of it, although actually when you delve a little deeper you find we agree on a lot of principles, it's just the execution we differ on. Many a happy hour has been spent putting the world to right

ludothedog Sun 03-Dec-17 20:23:13

I would have no family left if I cut everyone out who has different views from me. The Scottish referendum and Brexit votes nearly broke us. Now we all steer clear of politics around the dining table. This Xmas there will be no talk regarding current affairs. I bite my tongue a lot.

I have hidden a few family members who are always sharing from Britain First sites and the like. I have to confess that every now and again when I'm at my parents I've borrowed my mum's tablet, gone on to her facebook account and have hidden a few sites. So far she doesn't seem to have noticed and hasn't missed them.

That said, we all seem to agree that Trump is an absolute dickhead who is a threat to us all. At least that's something to unite us!

MaidOfStars Sun 03-Dec-17 20:31:50

Brexit appears to have united me and my family in terms of politics. They are right conservative, I am lefty socialist. We all agree that Brexit is a disaster and debates now focus on The Others Who Voted Out.

Swirlingasong Sun 03-Dec-17 20:35:50

It's hard. I feel genuinely very angry with certain relations that they have voted for things which will significantly affect my family for the worse. Avoiding the subject is the best way of dealing with it. I can see if this is your livelihood though that is easier said than done. If they are bringing things up to wind you up, can you work out in advance of gatherings some set questions or remarks for each person that have nothing to do with politics? Then smile sweetly to the bait and respond with your planned question so Uncle Bob says how much he loves that Teresa May and you smile and say 'oh yes, I was meaning to ask you about onion growing - I saw some amazing ones at the village show'. The more unlikely a non sequitur you can make it the better as it will throw them off balance.

TheOriginalNNB Sun 03-Dec-17 20:39:44

Immediate family (siblings, parents, ILs) all on the same page re Brexit - all for Remain. ILs probably different re political allegiance though.

Can’t/won’t talk politics with extended family as they are all UKIP nutters. It’s utterly depressing.

anothernetter Sun 03-Dec-17 20:40:12

My inlaws (mil, her partner, SIL & bil) used to subject us to heated political discussion every time we went round MIL's for dinner. They are definitely more left leaning than we are. We just wanted to relax after a hard week at work and we found their conversation nauseating to be honest but couldn't be bothered (or want) to get into a heated political debate. They were up in arms over the Brexit vote and both SIL and BIL were writing ranty posts on Facebook on an almost daily basis at one point. I found it really annoying.

Oldbutstillgotit Sun 03-Dec-17 20:44:24

I have relatives ( DH’s side) who still don’t speak to me as I voted No in Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014.......

kaytee87 Sun 03-Dec-17 20:47:03

My close family members have similar political attitudes as me and where we differ we can do it without debate. I don't tend to discuss politics with anyone else as it can lead to falling outs.

kaytee87 Sun 03-Dec-17 20:49:15

@Oldbutstillgotit I lost a few friends / acquaintances from voting no also. That's why i now tend to keep shctum

GoodLuckTime Sun 03-Dec-17 20:59:13

OP, are you saying that your family look up the pub,icky available things you write for work and then try to argue it when you see them socially?

If so, refuse to debate it / discuss it with them. Close down the conversation. 'I know we disagree, but what you are raising is part of my job and I do not want to talk work at the weekend' etc.

I'd consider writing to them saying a version of what you've said here.

Tell them are entitled to their views, you are entitled to yours but you don't want every encounter to be shaped by this. Tell them it is damaging the relationship, and you want to agree a break of at least six months when you do not discuss it at all.

Possibly, point out to them they can respond through the professional channels to articles you or others write (if that is appropriate). Eg if you write for a newspaper, they can write in to that paper and the letters editor can decide whether to run it.

It sounds like they can't accept your disagreement. Maybe if they won't agree to park it you need to distance yourself for a while?

WanderingJules Sun 03-Dec-17 21:07:24

It always happens at the table for Sunday dinner.

I keep Schtum, and keep my head down most of the time. Or I say B O R I N G very slowly. Sometimes that works, as the speaker shuts up suddenly. And then somebody else changes the subject as soon as that happens, because they’re fed up of it as well.

I agree it can lead to falling out, as it’s one of those subjects that can get quite heated/passionate. And it’s boring, IMHO

GoodLuckTime Sun 03-Dec-17 21:07:57

Though actually, it also sounds like you can't accept their disagreement?

Can you reflect that they have genuinely voted and believe what they think best, even if you think they are mistaken / misinformed?

None of us know what the future holds. If you are right, time will show that and we'll get back into a closer relationship with the EU.

Yes, there will be damage meantime, and that is non trivial, but your immediate family's votes will not have made that happen.

It's both a bigger aggregate (though it was close) and also still open how exactly it will pan out.

I personally think a single market like deal is still the one most likely to get done. And most brexit voters won't care / will be happy with that.

To fulfil the referendum, we just need to say we left. Most people are not interested in the details. If immigration drops for a bit, which it already has, vote fulfilled.

Bide your time. You may yet be proved right, and things may not be as bad as they seem.

Stop discussing it with them if it is upsetting you as much as you say.

dinosaursandtea Sun 03-Dec-17 21:11:56

There’s a whole side of my family I don’t speak to because I find their political views repugnant. I think it’s acceptable to cut ties if it’s something you feel quite strongly about - especially if it’s your job!

scrabbler3 Sun 03-Dec-17 21:13:41

If the debate is no longer enjoyable and thought-provoking, it's probably best to acknowledge that there is no "right" or "wrong" opinion, and to stop discussing it.

WatchingFromTheWings Sun 03-Dec-17 21:20:08

My DM joined UKIP a couple of years ago and developed some pretty nasty racist views. She got more vocal about it too. Brainwashed my DSis to believe the same. I'm slightly left.

Because I didn't believe the same things as them (all Muslims are evil, etc etc and should be deported) they reported me to the police for being a terrorist supporter. Not even joking. Twice I've had police (local bobbles the first time, Detectives the second) knocking my door. I'm NC with both of hem now.

sparechange Sun 03-Dec-17 21:29:58

I sympathise, OP

Politics has also integral to my career for years (public affairs and central government) as well as my academic past, so I also have a fairly comprehensive working knowledge of the machinations of government and Government, policy and parliament

The main problem is that people who are politically active and savvy still don't have much of a clue about the bureaucracy and workings of the political system. Which tends to result in an unfortunate combination of conspiracy and unrealistic expectations

After years and years of patiently explaining how and why thinks work the way they do, I still end up being on the receiving end of things like 'Harry and Meghan's engagement announcement was timed by May to distract us from welfare cuts/Brexit/inflation' or complaints about why their local MP/a minister/a party is a disgrace for not being able to wave through a law on the back of a change.org petition

I've all but given up now. I tend to go with 'oh, Paxman is on the room' or 'this is turning into a busman's holiday so I'm making my exit' depending on how well I know them.

shhhfastasleep Sun 03-Dec-17 21:39:39

I have a couple of Brexit voting relatives. One was a surprise; the other wasn't. We just don't talk about it. Even a bit of light hearted banter gets killed off quickly because we cannot agree. Safer not to even try.

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