Tearing Families Apart
I was reading around today and came across this. It is an ongoing advice column that I would normally avoid. The headline caught my attention.
My Sister-in-Law Says I’m “a Communist Who Wants to Kill Babies”
So I Read it and it seemed all too real.
My sister-in-law and I have very different political views. Actually, my entire family and I have very different political views: I’m liberal, and they aren’t. My parents and I had a very intense argument before the last election, such that we’ve mostly avoided discussing politics ever since. I usually only see my sister-in-law with my parents, as we’re not very close. During the most recent election, my brother told me that my sister-in-law and my mother spent a lot of time sharing conspiracy theories. She left our family group text and unfriended all Democrats on Facebook. She told my brother and mother that she wants nothing to do with me because I am “a communist who wants to kill babies.”My brother says she has lost her mind and told her that I am no such thing. My mother, to her credit, told her to get a grip. If it were just my brother, I could deal with avoiding my sister-in-law and be fine. However, they have an 18-month-old daughter, whom I love as if she were my own. I have no children, and I am her only aunt. I would be devastated if my sister-in-law prevented me from seeing my niece. My brother wants me to “talk to” my SIL. I’m at a loss. She is already pretty irrational, but this is taking it to a whole new level. Should I try to talk with her? What in the world can I say? I know there is a real possibility that she wouldn’t even speak to me, much less listen to what I have to say.
—Not a Communist
That was my first concern, too : You say your brother wants you to talk to his wife, but it’s not at all clear that she shares that desire. It certainly wouldn’t do your relationship any good if you tried to foist a conversation on her that she didn’t want to have. I’m also not too sure you should be giving your mother much credit here. She apparently drew the line at calling you an infanticidal communist (a low bar to clear, but one she cleared nonetheless), but up to that moment had been a regular confidante for your sister-in-law, encouraging her to invest in various conspiracy theories and to demonize people like you. She’s more than a little responsible for this situation, even if she finds its current iteration slightly distasteful.
If you want to maintain a relationship with your niece, I think your present strategy is probably the best one. Give your sister-in-law a wide berth, be polite when interactions are unavoidable, focus on your niece, and decline any suggestions that you give her a call to say, “Hey, just so you know, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Communist Party.” That’s no guarantee that she won’t ever try to keep you from seeing your niece, I’m afraid, but there’s nothing you can do to guarantee that. Hopefully, in such a case, your brother would be willing to do more than say, “Hey, you’re nuts” to her and ask you to try to fix the situation. But I think you should prepare yourself for continued volatility on her part, and continued cravenness on your brother’s, sorry as I am to have to make such a prediction.https://slate.com/human-interest/2021/02/dear-prudence-sister-in-law-says-im-communist-kill-babies.html
It made me wonder how many families are dealing with something similar. As polarized as we are, it seems to be hitting the homefront. Creating animosity and even distance as some family members will not even speak to each other over political bend.
It seems we have gone so extreme that we would allow politicians and their rhetoric destroy family units.
In my humble opinion, it is time to tell the devise politicians to pound sand.
We have seen with donald how hateful rhetoric and demonizing opposition can create actual hatred. If anything all of this should be teaching us to come together against the kind of extremes we are seeing yet it persists.
I heard just yesterday someone say that if so and so is elected or gets power it will be the end of the US as we know it.
That is the kind of hyperbole we should rise up against and let it be known it is not acceptable to rational thinking adults.