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Hard to believe typing those few words has me shaking.  Is it anger or is it fear?  Anger at my family of bigots or fear over the thought of the friction they will cause?

There's some site called Godvine or something equally assinine, which certain members of my family frequently repost things from onto Facebook. They're usually harmless little videos, sometimes of animals or other heartwarming things.  But today it was on a poor little 11 year old girl, whom I hope will someday feel totally humiliated over what she did.  In the video, she's giving a spiel "in support of marriage", ie opposing equality for gays.  Of course, my family being chock full of religious bigots, they're applauding her "courage".  It's a very positive thing to be brainwashed and stupid at the same time, in my family.

Knowing both the religious and political views of my family, and knowing that nothing I can do or say will make the slightest difference to any but a couple of the younger ones, I keep peace in the family by mostly shutting up.  I did recently "unfriend" a cousin over the horrid language he used about President Obama, but we weren't close and, even though I found it regrettable, it will hold no real consequences for either me or anyone else in the family.

But this time, it was immediate family.  I would have said nothing as I generally do, except that a woman whom I don't know, but apparently this family member does, posted a comment to it that she can raise children and be a good parent just as much as any other person.  Another person posted a comment supporting that person and pointing out that people are born differently and God doesn't make mistakes.

Those posts resulted in a long winded (which this family member always is) explanation of how God is against gays, and they just need to follow God's word, regardless of how they're born and children need two parents (this from a woman who raised her children by herself, with no father in the picture AT ALL from the time the oldest was 3 and the youngest wasn't even yet born).   I just can't imagine how self absorbed and thoughtless a person has to be to post that kind of garbage as a response to a friend.

My family doesn't discuss politics much and there's an assumption that all hold the same point of view.  Unfortunately, they do, and it's some pretty horrid ones.  Guns are good, gays are bad.  You know how it goes.  I can't say I like many of them anymore.  I used to be so close to many of them.  I've always been the black sheep, and lost that closeness years ago.  But I still attend family functions, still keep up with what's going on, still work hard at being friendly and being there whenever anyone needs anything.

Lately, I've been wondering why.  They aren't people I can respect or admire, and I just flat out don't like them very much.  There are a few whom I do still care deeply about and some whom I actively like.  And I don't want them torn.  However, I'm reaching the point at which I'm tempted to just walk away, and leave them to their bigotry.  There are certainly enough of them to keep each other company.  All I know is, I'm simply sick and tired of being so angry and yet being so relunctant to confront them.  If I walk away, I know they'll still continue being bigots and the only thing that will be saved will be my own peace of mind in not having to hear it and getting so upset.

I'm not certain I'm quite at the point of walking away completely, but I'm damn close.

I know this isn't much of a diary, I just needed to vent, and who better to vent to than Dkos?  Thanks for listening.

Originally posted to gustynpip on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:44 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Community Spotlight.


Should I

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's a tough one (14+ / 0-)

    I used to be in a similar situation, but my family has steadily evolved along with the rest of the nation.

    I guess it depends on how much joy they give you otherwise. It was worth hanging on to my family and just saying "we'll agree to disagree." I suppose it was always easy (and still is) for me to say that because ultimately, I know I am right and they are wrong, and it's only a matter of time before they realize that.

    In other words, I have no words of wisdom for you. I love my family, but I've never hesitated to keep my distance from them when I feel they are doing me emotional or mental harm. Survival of the fittest, or something like that, I guess.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:52:26 PM PDT

    •  My family isn't evolving At All. About (19+ / 0-)

      anything.  And I don't get much joy from any but a few of the younger ones.  Who are as uncomfortable with the extreme views as am I.  I think I might just walk away for awhile.  Block facebook, stay away from family functions, and just take a break.  Otherwise, I might end up saying something that will cause a permanent breach.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:58:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that is maybe the best thing (11+ / 0-)

        Don't burn bridges, just make yourself scarce. They are giving you stress and blowing up on them doesn't sound like it will be very constructive.

        Fer gawd's sake stay away from them on Facebook. You can't unsee what you have seen or unread what you have read. It's like you see an unsightly wart on an otherwise attractive person, once you see it that is all you see.

        Because of their ugly views you now can't appreciate any good stuff from "Aunt Louise" or "Uncle Frank" even tho' most people do have some redeeming features that make a family what it is.

        Stay away, let go of the anger, and when you feel at peace with it give 'em a try. If they still make you crazy let them know and call it good.

        I have a couple of nephews who have gone over to the dark side. They live about 100 miles away and I probably won't see them until summer, I only know about them from my daughter who does the Facebook thing. My nephews will hear about what I think and if they stay on the road they are on, so be it. They'll be on that road without me.

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:07:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just to let you know, you can use an addon (6+ / 0-)

        called FB Purity to make certain things on facebook invisible.  Combine that with unsubscribing (so their stuff doesn't show up on your wall) and you can effectively block them on FB without actually doing so (they can still send you a message and you can still check their page manually).

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:02:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can also make lists (5+ / 0-)

          I have a list I call "Wingers" and when I post a political something on my Facebook page, I pick my audience, "Friends except Wingers."

          Sure enough, when I don't filter my posts, I get some huge fight on my wall, either I hide it or leave it open and let people fight away.

          I have some very fundamentalists in my family as well (can you say Uncle was on the Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for years and years?).  He judged my family all these years.  Told us that he was going to miss us in heaven since we were not baptized properly (full immersion into water) and that God was punishing ME for not being a good Christian (I am disabled from Multiple Sclerosis).

          He now has Alzheimer's and is NOT a nice person and yet here is a family with a lot of money in total denial.  My mom's sister calls my mom in a panic, "Loyd is scaring me."

          Needless to say, they no longer accuse my family or me of being people their God judges (um, they judge actually).

          -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

          by MarciaJ720 on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 06:38:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  A key ingredient of the "evolve" idea (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is to be well adapted to fit in with one's environment.

        So if they remain ensconsced in a totally bigoted environment, evolutionary principles (perhaps ironically) ensure that they will not change.

      •  Keep in contact with those ones. (5+ / 0-)

        They'll be happy to have at least one "cool older relative".

        Cut out the rest.

        The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

        by raboof on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 09:11:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoiseBlue, citylights
      I love my family, but I've never hesitated to keep my distance from them when I feel they are doing me emotional or mental harm.
      I do love my family but they're impossible (as I am to them, I suppose).  Add the in-law thing and OMG, instant team against the black sheep, not a win-win situation, heck that's not even a good mediocre situation.  I tried damn hard, but that gets old after awhile.
      They are who they are, I am who I am.  If they needed me I would be there in a blink.
      We have long distance familial love.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 11:36:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So Sorry to Hear This; But I Wouldn't Give Much (13+ / 0-)

    thought about your ability to influence whether they will stay bigots or might open their eyes. From their point of view these ideas are the Will of God, which is a hurdle very few bigots can clear no matter what information is gotten to them from other sources or even personal experience.

    If my family were like this I would definitely be limiting my contact.

    The only thing I use Facebook for is to point to my business web site, because the business needs internet visibility. For that reason I don't engage anyone because I couldn't afford to piss off half my market, same reason I'm anonymous here and everywhere online except in my business presence.

    Best wishes coping with all this. It's a slow night but I bet you'll get a number of experienced and sympathetic responses.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:53:12 PM PDT

  •  I feel your pain. I have slightly less mean (9+ / 0-)

    religious fanatics in my family but they're still fanatics. I haven't friended a couple of the really stupid ones who are also gunwhacks.

    I just try to breathe out my anger and love them for what they are. Some people are just ignorant and brainwashed.
    Eventually the truth will out. Enlightenment will come. In the meantime, I can only really have power over myself and my actions and how I treat people .

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:53:56 PM PDT

    •  Your last phrase is the one I need to focus on. (8+ / 0-)

      Take a deep breath and focus on how I treat others - even them.  I said what I had to say.  It's not going to sit well, but at least her "friend" knows she's got some support.  I'll leave things as they are for now, take breaks when I feel I can't deal with it anymore, and then reconnect when I have the emotional strength to recognize the truth of only having power over myself.  Thanks.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:01:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is not your fault (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, Eyesbright

        Remember that they are not saying those things just to annoy you, this is what they believe. Trying to change them is like teaching a pig to sing. It's a waste of time, and it annoys the pig.

        The Democrats create jobs. The Republicans create recessions.

        by Tuba Les on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 02:15:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure what you mean by "walk away," but (5+ / 0-)

    I'm pretty sure I'm personally against it. Your love of these people -  I'm not wrong in assuming you love them, right? - isn't a mistake. Your love doesn't go to some bad place inside them and get fouled, if I can put it like that. Hang with them, smile at them, love them - don't worry about the other stuff. That's their trouble to sort out. (And maybe you can be there to help them when it does get sorted. I was there for my departed sis when she had a very, very unhappy, confrontation with herself about a friend she had spurned years earlier because she found out she was gay. I cannot tell you how much pain I feel saying this. My sis was a deeply generous, deeply loving person - but she hurt that friend very badly, and she realized it in her final days. She did make it right, and talked to me about it a lot during that time. Fuck.)

    You are at a disadvantage if they don't know your views. I think you should make them known. Just my thoughts. Good luck.

    •  Most of them do know at least some of my views. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Little, ladybug53, blueoasis, commonmass

      I used to be very outspoken and have arguments all the time.  But that's what they always ended up being - arguments.  I decided I was tired of knocking my head against a wall, and just started zipping my lip.  I need to take a break, and I'll be ready to deal with it again, I'm sure.  I just was so disgusted that a person would respond to someone they claim to care about in such a heartless, self rightous manner.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:19:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can't vote in your poll or tell you what to do. (7+ / 0-)

    Only you can determine how to best interact with your family.

    Can say, I wonder whether using Facebook is a blessing or a curse?

  •  What is seen on Facebook cannot be unseen. (10+ / 0-)

    One wonders if Facebook is really healthy for sensitive souls. For me, it's way too much information.

    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:19:36 PM PDT

  •  I have many relatives but no family (4+ / 0-)

    other than my spouse and friends.

    My relatives aren't horrid, and many claim to be socially liberal. But none of their views actually coincide with mine, and I believe that for the last half century each and every one of them has voted against the candidate who was stronger on civil rights, women's rights, workers' right, GLBT rights - you name it.

    And since I'm gay and they know it, they vote against my rights - against me - without a second thought.

    There's no pint in talking with them about anything other than sports. Can't even talk about the weather, because ... you know.

    It's a shame, but that's the way it is. Still, I won't vote in your poll, because each of us has a different ratio of attachment to distance and of love to hurt. Life ain't easy, and nasty ideologues don't help. Some people are just too fucked up to know. But that's up to you to weigh, and up to you to handle.

    If you need strength, though, you can always find it here.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:22:38 PM PDT

  •  if they are toxic - let go (7+ / 0-)

    Stay close as you want to the ones you care about, cut ties with the rest.  But FAAAAAAMILY is not an excuse to accept hate and abuse as normal behaviour.  It's not. So don't make excuses for them, hang up when they start spewing shit and let them live with the results of their hate.

    You may very well find you feel better without it in your life.

    And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

    by Mortifyd on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:23:03 PM PDT

  •  You might want to fix (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the typo in the title :)

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:15:22 PM PDT

  •  Courageous conversation, maybe? (5+ / 0-)

    You might feel better if you did say something, perhaps you might even pick a relative you like and set time to talk about one issue, not to argue, but just a respectful exchange of views. You have, after all, been listening to them, it should be two-way at least once.

    Or not , in which case I think I would detach, on the theory that something that makes me angry a lot can't be healthy.

    This is from training on having honest conversations about race, but it might also be useful in other contexts:

    Stay engaged.
    Expect to experience discomfort.
    Speak your truth.
    Expect and accept a lack of closure.

    I think you have some options to consider, and whatever you choose to do, it should feel RIGHT to you. And I sure don't mean to suggest that dealing with bigots in the family has any easy answers!

    We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

    by Urban Owl on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:35:34 PM PDT

    •  From a lonnnng experience, I'd agree that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gustynpip, Eyesbright

      speaking out is the usually the policy.  They may react hostilely (in fact, probably will), but that could make it easier for the OP to detach.  

             In fact, I'm in the midst of doing this with the only other survivor of my family of origin, my sole sibling, my brother.  I will regret it if we become totally alienated, but I'm tired of being the only one who makes the effort to keep things on a relatively civil level.  Besides, I've become totally sick of his Randian, condescending, Romneyesque social attitudes.  (My wife & psychology practice partners used to joke about his CEO-personality disorder.) What makes it difficult is that, otherwise, he's a nice guy -- devoted father, faithful husband, charitable with his money, socially tolerant (except for some residual sexism -- he grew up in the 40's & '50's), and good sense of humor (more than occassional sacriligeous) except when it comes to economic and business issues.  And we have a lot of other things in common.  But I just can't take his shit anymore.

      "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

      by Oliver St John Gogarty on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 07:54:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In years past, I tried many times to have (3+ / 0-)

      discussions.  It can't be done.  They have God on their side, don'tcha know.  And that means they're right and, not only am I wrong, but I'm going to hell for it.  There's no reason for it to be a two way street, because they're right and I'm wrong.  

      Really, my choices are to stick around and occasionally voice a concise, calm statement when I hear something too horrible, but then not pursue it further, and stay away when I can no longer handle it.  Lousy choices, but they are what they are.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 08:48:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is no need to burn bridges or cause pain, (5+ / 0-)

    but my own experience with bigoted family is that it is best to avoid them. As you noted, you aren't likely to change many minds. I plan to spend as much of my life as I can with company I enjoy.

    It is sad, but we don't get to choose family. I wish you the best of luck with this difficult and delicate situation.

  •  No one gets to pick their families, especially (6+ / 0-)

    the parents. My biggest personal enemies are my mother and a sister-the biggest, phoniest, most bigoted hateful xtian women that I know.

    What I have learned in 60yrs on the planet is the biggest most destructive heart/soul hurt, come from someone you 'love and trust' who hurt you On Purpose. It's like a premeditated murder-planned personal attacks due to envy, jealousy, greed whatever motivates the Liar, Cheater, Thief, manipulator control-freak family members
     etc., etc.

    There are random acts of kindness as there are random acts of harm. Those random acts of harm are seldom of a personal nature, just being at the wrong place and wrong time. The Very personal directed harmful acts come from those we Know and loved and trusted the most.

    My mom and sister are the most negative and toxic people I have ever known and I stay as far away from them as I can..

    We can pick our friends, thank god for that!!

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones." "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 02:35:00 AM PDT

  •  As my brother says,g (5+ / 0-)

    "you can't choose your family, but you can choose the relationship you have with them."

    Many in my husband's family are bigots.  He makes choices about his relationship with them.  You can do it, too.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 04:44:27 AM PDT

  •  This anti-gay stuff has to stop. (4+ / 0-)

    We will always have people who use religion to justify their bigotry (for some people, their religion IS their closet) but what we need is more John McCain town hall moments. Remember when some woman called Obama a "muslim" and spouted birther rhetoric at a McCain town hall back in '08, and he immediately corrected her misconceptions? That's what we need more of. We need Roman Catholic Bishops who say "OK, here are some teaching of the church on homosexuality, and this is what the Church says you're supposed to believe. But we're going to leave non-Catholics alone, and let them live their lives. The secular law doesn't impact us". We need evangelicals to say that.

    I wonder if it has ever occurred to fundamentalists and Catholics (you can't be both!) and scriptural literalists that if they want political power (which they're not supposed to have while pushing a religious agenda) they can have it by insisting on supporting policies that support the kind of social justice Jesus calls us to in the Gospels. Of course, that's not as much fun as being a bigot, where you get to feel right--and self-righteous.

    I'm glad that the only bible thumping relative I have--as far as I'm aware--is my mother's half-brother who lives in North Carolina and has a lesbian daughter.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 05:26:09 AM PDT

  •  This is a herd mentality, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevej, citylights

    this is only what they hear and regurgitate. Their views can usually eventually be changed when they are exposed to information that makes them stop and think. It is a slow process but I guarantee you that the more intelligent ones that
    "see the light" can become rabid activists. After they grieve the fact that the "American Dream" is a big f&*$king joke, they are usually really pissed off. May I suggest posting charts on your facebook page from the connectthedotsusa website? I live in redneck land and get discouraged sometimes, but people are coming around to reality. Yesterday, one man who was very right was wailing about private companies taking over schools and prisons (the kids denied lunch set him off) and being all pro union and believe me, this is a HUGE step. He realizes that our property taxes will still pay the private companies and now that it will be profit driven, our taxes are going to go up. On the other hand, the last customer of the day laid this little nugget of Rushlike wisdom, "Like my preacher says, You go to the inner city and give half the people $100 bills and give the rest guns and the next day give the ones left $100 and so on."  So for the sake of the younger members of your family, don't cut them off completely. Remember, that everything the R's do, gets blamed on Obama, so it is very confusing for the older ones. The only way anything can change in this country is for progressives to get elected as dems and push for change. We need all the voters we can get and that includes your family, even if it is just one. PS, Can you believe his preacher said that? This is what we are fighting.

  •  Religion is all Fear Based. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gustynpip, Eyesbright, citylights

    As practiced today in America, a significant portion of the religion-based belief system is based on fear - primarily, the close-minded, bigoted components.  And it is unfortunate but true. I do believe that religion in general can add value to peoples' lives, but when it is bastardized to prop up outrageous personal beliefs, it is no longer religion.

    I have a sister that lives in a very hard-core conservative red city, Jacksonville.  She worked for a 'family-oriented' family owned conservative company, the owners used to bring in local ultra-conservative politicians to speak, and employees were told it's important for them to 'vote right'.  My sister bought completely into it - - until she got laid off.  And her husband was laid off in the same week.

    All of a sudden, they were both transformed overnight.  When they had need of social 'entitlements', they woke up and came around, in fact I was totally gobsmacked at the transformation.  All those years of harsh disagreements, with me resigned to not really liking the sister I loved, was completely changed.

    People can and do change, if circumstances permit.  You just need to be there for them when it happens.  And don't - ever- buy into their emotion-based arguments, their opinions are based on fear and not logic.  Always take comfort in the fact that you are a rational, logical human being, and your core beliefs are based on a rock-solid base of facts and intelligent analysis.

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." - Janis Joplin

    by Uncommitted on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 06:34:17 AM PDT

    •  I could be wrong, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but if that employer was bringing in local politicians in an attempt to influence the votes of the employees, I'm pretty sure that's illegal.

      Granted, they got laid off, so it doesn't matter now.

      But I'm also the kind of person who, once I no longer worked at a place like that, would be more than happy to expose practices like that.

    •  Of course, the real test for someone like that (0+ / 0-)

      is if they continue being on the side of the angels once they're working again and don't need the "entitlements".

      The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

      by jayjaybear on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:04:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't just walk away (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you are leaving, they need to know why.  I am certain they all talk about you, the black sheep that you are.  I would leave some very clear refutations of their views on their facebook pages.  Point out that your family member raised 3 kids with only one parent, how ungodly of her.  Point out that there really is no evidence that straight families do a better job than gay families.  Give links, perhaps to diaries here on DKos that will be evidence based (hopefully).  Make them either listen, perhaps learn, or make them block you and reject you. Be a lesson in tolerance and turning the other cheek if you can.

  •  I didn't vote because no choice appealed there; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ironic considering the message of the diary, eh? Do you want to burn bridges? If so, pick a time to calmly, decisively lay out your views and objections to theirs. If you're ready to give them up completely, then do so by letting them know why. Another action could only singe the bridge by holding back, instead explaining that several opinions they hold are driving you away and requesting those be avoided when you're around, and on FB place limits on what postings show on your page. You are feeling impotent; take an action that restores your sense of self and control. Walking away silently, after the frustration vented here, would bring no resolution. A confrontation may leave you shaking, but your open honesty will hold you up.

    If you decide to confront, I also suggest researching facts to back your statements - most do not on either side and many ignore or shout over them - sources, not feelings, may add a sense of vindication.

    "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." Mohandas Gandhi

    by cv lurking gf on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 06:41:16 AM PDT

  •  Bigotry is the haute couture of haters. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It can shock the senses, but has no practical use in life.

    I traded it in for a whole 'nother world...a pirate flag and an island girl.

    by glb3 on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 08:50:24 AM PDT

  •  Walk away. (4+ / 0-)

    You can still see the relatives you actually like. Just make your own "family events".

    I don't see my toxic relatives any more.  Good luck to you.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 09:10:27 AM PDT

  •  I feel for your dilemma (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have some cousins in Alabama who I dearly love, but who I avoided coming out--until recently. I'm still not sure how that's going to affect our relationship, but I felt dishonest--and I was out to other, more progressive cousins in Bama.

    And having grown up in the Deep South during the Civil Rights era, I had to struggle with how to reconcile my love for many of my elders with their racism, which was and is repugnant to me. It ain't easy. But I've learned that when you make it known that you object to racist jokes and racist observations, 99% will at least respect you enough to keep their mouths shut around you--and the 1% who don't are just assholes who aren't worth worrying about, kin or not.

    These days, the big shift in public opinion and public policies on LGBT equality is massively threatening to bigots, especially those who've propped up their bigotry with their theology. So they're pushing back. And it's ugly and depressing to see. But there is no way to argue with most of them.

    To end on a more hopeful note, however, my older brother was a conservative minister who opposed marriage equality until recently. Now, on Facebook, he shares posts that support equality. I'm really proud of his evolution. He got there from long reflection and engaging his own empathy.

    People do change. But all we can do is make it clear where we stand and hope that if they don't agree, they're respectful of our difference. If they aren't, well, who needs disrespectful people in their lives?

    But if we don't let them know where we stand, we don't know how respectful of our difference they can or cannot be.

    "This is a center-left country. Democrats can act that way and win. In fact, they must." -- Markos

    by cassandraX on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 10:54:05 AM PDT

  •  Sounds familiar (4+ / 0-)

    My family is composed mostly of fundamentalists (Southern Baptist and Missouri Synod Lutheran) and are all Republicans. I am a UCC and happily married gay man to my husband for 6 years and a proud liberal Democrat. Whenever anyone in my family makes the typical right wing comment (food stamp President, big government is bad, you all know the drill) I ask them to stop.

    One line I use frequently is to tell them that to believe their line of reasoning requires one of us to be stupid and since neither of us are stupid, please stop now.

    Whenever someone is offended by being called a bigot I tell them how encouraging that is. At least they know being a bigot is wrong. It is a start.

    The wealthy are not the cause of a robust economy, they are the beneficiaries.

    by weddedgay on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 12:43:37 PM PDT

  •  Sometimes the long view helps (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Family differences are the worst, because they're differences that are hard to accept and even harder to walk away from. Family is family, and in any but the most extreme cases there are ties that keep us bound in spite of the strains. I don't envy your situation a bit.

    For what it's worth, I'd suggest taking the long view on the situation. Yes, many of your relatives sound like major pains in a host of ways, and there would likely be some real benefits to walking away -- in the short term. But the long term is all too often a very different matter.

    I worked for several years as chaplain to a retirement community -- folk generally in their 80s, some into their 100s -- and I can tell you that, without exception, the most common regret for those folk was that something had broken the family bond long ago, and they couldn't find a way to fix it. Over time our priorities change, and the hard-fought battles of earlier years become far less important than the common bonds of our shared humanity, common experience, and family history.

    There is something about the continuity of the family across time that speaks to us, and (I think) particularly to those of us who are LGBT. I will never have kids of my own, but over the years find increasing joy in my sisters' progeny. And for many folk of any orientation, family provides a touchstone that keeps us grounded as the world changes around us. At some point, we begin to realize that we are no longer driving or even keeping pace with the changes -- and family helps us keep up where we want to and compensate where we can't.

    So, I'd keep the lines open. Definitely use some of the suggestions to limit what you're seeing on Facebook, but don't cut folk off if there's another choice. Over time, you will all change, and it's all but certain that your differences will become, if no less substantial, at least less definitive of your relationships.

    It's never too late to tell someone to jump in the lake, but once you've done it it's surprisingly hard to get them back. I've seen a lot of heartbreaking things, but regret that's aged over decades is one of the worst.

    "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

    by pragmaticidealist on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 02:29:41 PM PDT

  •  I walked away from my family long ago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But to be honest, I did so with their encouragement. Now, decades later, some have tried a bit of bridge (re)building. But I will never forget their reactions when I came out as trans or how quickly they wanted me out of their lives or how it was all about them and I should just shut up and be what they wanted and expected me to be or I should just leave and stop "embarrassing" them. You weren't meant to live in misery and if your family is keeping you miserable, you need to sever ties. You only go around once and it sounds to me like you've done more than your fair share of trying to get along and they probably don't even realize it. You should be clear why you're done and make it known that the door to reconciliation is open but that effort will have to come from them. THEY are the ones who hate and THEY are the ones who can heal this rift by stopping their hating. There is no way that you are obliged to begin to hate just to keep them in your life. Good luck.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 02:41:23 PM PDT

  •  I got rid of toxic people in my life. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, citylights, avamontez

    As I age, I find that I do not care if people like me nor do I feel the need to keep toxic family members close.  Why should I be subjected to anger and stupidity?  I have tried to correct their misconceptions and point out how they are voting against their own self interests.  But to no avail.  I read a lot about policy, economics and politics.  They do not research in depth but listen to hate media.  When I point them to the truth about an issue it's met with anger, disdain and ridicule.  I have given up on them.  They continue their downward economic spiral due to to republican policies.  I have been much more fortunate.  At least I tried but I no longer have the desire to keep such miserable people around.  I vote and work on campaigns because I know things could be better for everyone.  That is all I am willing to do.

  •  This is a hard place to be.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, citylights

    I can't tell you what to do or take your poll because this is something only you can decide.  Take a break from Facebook by all means.  Right now it must be like eating poison to read some of the things your family writes and to listen to what they say to you.  Make yourself scarce from family gatherings and do a lot of thinking.

    It is not good to live with the caustic feelings you are describing.  Take a break.  When you are feeling calmer and less hurt go for a visit.  Then do what your gut tells you to do.  Trust yourself.  I agree with you on your views and ideas.  Mine might be further left than yours, but I bet I could talk to you and you to me and exchange ideas with kindness and grace.

    Let me give you a bit of my story.  My grandmother was in charge of my religious training when I was  growing up.  My siblings and cousins were raised as Mormons.  I am not sure of how they teach now and I don't have a desire to know.  I left the church when I was about 14.  My immediate family accepted my decision, but my extended family shunned my.  They would not even speak to me.  This sounds bad, but I acquired so much peace that I was able to decide without too much effort what I wanted from life and to pursue it.

    I was always there for my Grandmother when she was sick, but it was with the understanding that the religion that gave her peace and happiness was not for me.  I was the one she chose to tell about how she felt when she was dying of cancer.  Her own daughters kept giving her religious platitudes and brushing the discussion of.  It was hard to listen, but it gave her peace and it was something that could pass between us and reassure her.

    I truly hope this goes well for you, it is a hard situation to be in.  Mormons at that time were as conservative as they are now and that was between us too.  To the commenter upstream with MS, I have had it for over 30 years and I cant tell you how many idiots have tried to tell me that I am being "punished" for something I did or for something someone else did.  Eventually I resolved those conversations by telling them to f*** off.  Crude but effective.

    Good luck and take care of yourself.  You are not wrong in this and you are not alone.  Kos is a good place to share your troubles. We all have some. They may be different but at least they care for you here.

  •  Very sorry. Terrible quandary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Think of MLK. He resolutely loved those he confronted. Be firm; but be firm and loving.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 08:44:01 PM PDT

  •  You are not alone. It's so sad when families are (0+ / 0-)

    the ones causing the pain instead of being the shelter from harm. And those fundamentalists who tear you down and use God as a reason are the worst kind of self-righteous and self-deluded hypocritical bigots.  In my experience, once God or the Bible is being wielded like a cudgel, you can't win, and the situation only goes from bad to worse.

    When I put some distance from some family members I told them that I didn't need them to agree with everything I thought, but I did need to be treated with respect.  Sometimes putting it in those terms will make people take a second look at how they've been acting, and you can agree to disagree. If they can't treat you with respect, then I would put some distance between you and the offenders. Maybe just a phonecall or card on birthdays and holidays is the way to go for now. Maybe they will eventually come around, but until they do, you don't need their intolerant and frankly hateful message in your life

    Stay as close to the youngsters as their parents will allow. Let them know they can come to you. And I wholeheartedly agree with those who have said to stay off facebook. The pain and frustration isn't worth it.

    Bottom line.  You are a person of worth and a valueable member of society. You wouldn't let a stranger treat you badly; don't accept it from family.  And remember you have a family here at dkos.  Good luck to you.

    "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

    by citylights on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:00:20 AM PDT

  •  It's REALLY hard with family, but I really think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Batya the Toon

    that family needs to be put under the same microscope that we put everyone else in our lives under: "Does this person enrich my life in greater proportion than s/he impoverishes it?"

    Just because you're connected by genetic ties doesn't mean they have the right to impoverish your life by exposure to their hate. You have to do the calculus whereby you decide if they're adding more than they're subtracting, and if the you're willing to tolerate the degree to which they're subtracting.

    It sounds very cold-blooded, but without it, you're basically baring your throat to the wolves. Having to deal with people like that with no choice and no hope of escape will grind you down faster than you can even imagine. Your quality of life is really worth more than imposed guilt over cutting off relatives.

    The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

    by jayjaybear on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:10:53 AM PDT

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