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Family friction caused by election spikes as holiday season nears

Family friction over politics spikes with holidays just around the corner
Thanksgiving Break

VENTURA, Calif. - As voters try to digest the political season, some of them are dealing with family friction caused by opposing viewpoints.

Musician Mike Henry of Ventura said he chose to block his own mother on Facebook.

"My mother is a good person and I love her, but she is always posting about what a wonderful man Donald Trump is, and this is a man that wants to rip away my healthcare and my children's healthcare, so seeing her posts were very upsetting all the time, and I ended up feeling I had to block her on Facebook, " said Henry.

Henry said other relatives upset him, too.

"My brother-in-law texted me a waving Trump flag on election day just to taunt me, and I ended up blocking him, and it got me thinking about how I just do not want to be around my pro-Trump family at all, and so I think the election is really having a negative effect on families."

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Jim Murray has advice for clients and families going through similar situations.

"I think it is important to remember that it's an incredibly heated and emotionally stressful time for most of us, and that is whether you are talking about the politics or the pandemic side of things."

Murray said people should try to have empathy.

"It is even more important now to try to come at it from a side of empathy even when that is hard to do. So, my clinical advice is assuming the relationship was healthy before families need to focus on the things that connected them in the past, focus on the things that they have enjoyed about each other. That might be sports, that might be music or our kids or our grandkids."

Murray recommends talking about your favorites shows rather than politics.

"Even something as simple as what show are you guys watching on Netflix right now. Sometimes, in order to do this we've got to set the hard limit of no politics and remember that that's healthy, that's okay. "

He calls it a reset.

"We just sometimes have to allow our bodies and our minds to reset and that can allow us to potentially in the future have healthy conversations about these super complicated issues that we are dealing with right now."

College students are going through it, too. Due to the pandemic they are not all going home for the holidays so they communicate with relatives online and sometimes see posts they consider hurtful.

One option is to communicate with relatives in other ways without seeing all of their social media posts.

Article Topic Follows: Holidays

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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