Holidays and Mental Health: My Family After One Year of Trump

The majority of us acknowledge the world’s precarious state. In fact, according the APA, a survey of 3,440 American found that 63% feel the “future of the nation” is a very or somewhat significant stressor in their lives.

Election Night 2016 was an intense and polarizing event for the vast majority of Americans. Last year many people saw their holidays soured by the state of the world and their fears for the future. Others were frustrated with their families for not giving then President-elect Trump a fair chance to prove himself and provide for the country. Most were simply exhausted from the politics of the past couple years, hoping for a reprieve from the constant arguments.

The political climate rapidly tore my own family apart. My mom has always been pretty socially liberal and compassionate — and raised me accordingly. Social issue voters seemed to have a clear option: Hillary Clinton, who I support wholeheartedly to this day. My mom, however, voted for Trump.

Last year, as the holidays came around, I was angry. I think a lot of us were. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I was afraid. My friends were calling me to ask for help, advice, guidance — the “How are we going to survive the next four years?” sort of conversations. In my mind, supporting someone who chose the incredibly homophobic Mike Pence as a running mate makes you anti-LGBTQ, no matter how much you pretend to be an ally. My mom, however, believed Trump would take care of our community.

When she came to visit, we ultimately found ourselves in an argument. As I tried to stand up for my community and she continued to insist we’d be OK, my heart broke. I felt unheard, unacknowledged, and even unloved. It’s hard to listen while your parents support someone who has passed legislation against you. Our argument ended her visit after only a couple hours. She walked out the door and got a hotel room for the night.

Balancing Activism with Family

Now, one year later, 10 months into Trump’s presidency, I wonder what I’m supposed to do for the holidays. I can barely talk to my mom about anything other than how our days are going and the weather without it turning into a fight. We’re both outspoken and opinionated people.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to approach conversations with my family. I can’t sit by idly and fail the communities most in need by simply avoiding politics. Most of us don’t have that luxury in today’s social climate.

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