My husband is far right politically and his brother is far left. I hold my breath every time they get together as their conversations always turn to politics and things get really heated. I know this makes other family members uncomfortable as well so want to know how to stop it or at least tone it down.
Sex, money, religion and politics…the hot button conversation topics where only the brave dare venture! While I welcome these conversation landmines on my radio show, even I know to play them down when talking with my friends and family.
While this intense political discourse may make you uncomfortable, you surely realize that some people enjoy sparring over politics, even if things get heated. The critical issue here is whether or not your husband and his brother can walk away with mutual respect and an attitude to “agree to disagree”. If, in the final analysis, these heated debates don’t turn in to personal attacks that mar their relationship, then I say, “Let ‘em go at it”! If it does mar their relationship, that’s a problem they will need to solve.
Your question seems to point to your personal discomfort, and your perception that other family members also get uncomfortable. Do they? Is that a fact? If so, you can ban together and tell them to go elsewhere to have their debates.
If the discomfort is mostly yours, know that you can choose how to deal with this. Join in on the debate, ignore it, walk away, calm yourself with deep breathing, use earplugs, or take a video of them for playback at Christmas so they can see how ridiculous they get over the politics they have very little personal power over!
Choose your strategy for coping based on how tolerant you’re feeling that day. Notice that I didn’t make a point of your getting them to quit debating politics? Yes, they can be asked to do it out of earshot, but ultimately this is your discomfort, not theirs.
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- Explore your personal beliefs on adults being responsible for their own actions and feelings.
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- What might your discomfort be saying about you and what can you learn from this experience?
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