So that it’s not WWIII every time you and a loved one discuss politics.
To say that tension is running high after this election would be an understatement.
Elections are always a contentious time, but this one in particular seemed especially divisive to many, mainly due to how enmeshed it became in issues relating to people's identities.
When your identity or values are challenged, it can be incredibly isolating. It can cause you question your confidence, experiences, upbringing, and how you view the world, which can be extremely upsetting and uncomfortable, provoking anxiety and resentment.
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So this is probably an especially difficult time if you and your loved ones have opposing political views.
BuzzFeed Health spoke with Jean Fitzpatrick, NYC-based psychotherapist and marriage counselor, and Terri Orbuch, PhD, psychologist and relationship expert, to find the best tips for navigating those hard political talks with your loved ones who don't share the same views that you do.
Alright, take a deep breath, and let's get into it.
First, allow yourself to feel all of the emotions that this election or your opposing political views are triggering in you.
“Anger isn't wrong and anxiety isn't bad,” Orbuch tells BuzzFeed Health, “It’s okay to acknowledge an emotion and what it’s doing to your body — if you don’t confront it and allow yourself to feel it, it will seep out in passive aggressive actions, which will only make things worse.”
She recommends allowing yourself to feel your emotions and then taking time to identify what exactly is causing it. So for example, is it anger? Confusion? Embarrassment? Once you recognize the root of what you're feeling, it'll be easier to figure out how to best communicate that to your loved ones.
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Try not to ban election talk with a person completely, unless you’ve both agreed that’s the only option.
If you automatically assume that you guys can't handle these conversations without getting heated, you might end up missing out on opportunities to hear and support each other — and maybe even change their mind about something.
“It depends on how destructive these conversations are to the relationship,” says Fitzpatrick. “Ideally we should be able to talk about politics with loved ones, because these kinds of conversations are opportunities for us as a nation to deepen our understanding and challenge our beliefs.”
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