05 Nov 2018

Stopped Talking to Her/Their/Zir Parents

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Erika aka “Devon” Price.

A lot of people on Facebook yesterday were marveling at, and laughing about, this leftie idiot‘s ideological derangement and her absolutely appalling Mount-Everest-sized shrill sense of self-entitlement. Her much-enduring and despite-all-her-bullshit loving family has evidently, for years and years, through what must have been a truly dreadful adolescence well into what-ought-to-be adulthood tolerated her vicious politics and humored her sexually perverse nonsense, but those terrible people failed to climb on board the radical LGBTQ&c.&c. train with her and she, they, zir, or ze is finally fed up.

Every Sunday for the last 12 years, I have called my conservative Republican mom and talked to her for upwards of an hour. I tell her about my work, and try to keep her entertained with cheery, funny anecdotes. I share good news and paper over bad. I keep the conversation flowing and effervescent. In each call, I work hard to come across as someone happy, with lots of friends and lots to do, and nothing to complain or cry about.

I have upheld this ritual through breakups, bereavements, depressive episodes, periods of trauma, and years of acute political turmoil. I’ve only wavered and broken kayfabe a few times — when my dad died, for example, or when Trump was elected. That time, I curled up on a bench and sobbed, begging my conservative mom to understand what her vote had done to me. I shook and sputtered borderline incomprehensible things about how much it hurt for her to vote the way she did, how betrayed I felt as a sexual assault survivor, a trans person, a scientist, or a person who needs birth control.

She believed we could agree to disagree, so long as we never discussed or even thought about our disagreements.

She reacted with the same equanimity she always projects when unwanted emotions rear their needy heads. She wasn’t concerned that her actions had hurt or betrayed me, no, she was worried I was stressing myself out by thinking about it too much. She believed we could agree to disagree, so long as we never discussed or even thought about our disagreements. By refusing to stop glaring at our differences, I was the one hurting myself.

That’s how it’s always been in my family. I am the renegade, the unstable queer one, with big emotions and strange desires that alienate me from my family’s politics. I am responsible for minimizing the conflict that my existence creates. I’m not supposed to express emotion, start fights, or remind anyone of the chasm that separates my life from their traditional, “family-oriented” values.

I’m done carrying that responsibility. It’s been slowly poisoning me for years. …

My mom wouldn’t say she’s socially conservative. Neither would most of my Republican relatives. They like to think of themselves as family-oriented, patriotic, no-nonsense lovers of fiscal restraint, and it doesn’t matter if the reality of the political choices lines up with those ideals. They don’t like to talk about the basis for their ideology, or evidence in support of their views — and they absolutely will not acknowledge the social consequences of their actions. They have always voted Republican, and it seems they always will, no matter the candidate they are given or the abhorrent policies that candidate advances. And for the most part, they don’t want to talk about their beliefs or the reasons for their choices — aside, perhaps, from a few idle rants about the evils of the Clintons. In such a vacuum of reflection and vulnerability, it’s paralyzingly difficult for me to even start a conversation about the harm they’ve done.

In my family, control and invalidation are wielded subtly, and perhaps without conscious intent. Norms are enforced through a gentle blend of selective praise, light mockery, quiet dismissal, and mild admonition. If I take a step toward prescribed, traditional roles, I am celebrated and recognized. If I take a different path, or express a competing desire, I am ignored or ridiculed in a way I can’t quite point to. If I complain about that ridicule, I am dismissed as overly sensitive or told I’m making things up, misremembering them.

I have dozens of memories of family members chiding a teenage me for expressing disinterest in giving birth or having a family. Whenever I expressed a passion for the sciences or a desire to go to grad school, I was treated as though my interests were cute, but fleeting. When I began throwing my adolescent, closeted self into politics — mostly activism for LGBT rights — my mother would tell me, in hushed tones, that it was “okay” that I was doing so, but that we wouldn’t be letting my grandparents know about what I’d been up to.

I wasn’t beaten for being who I was. Usually, I wasn’t even directly berated. The problem wasn’t a specific act of mistreatment or abuse, but rather the emotional and political climate that surrounded me. My family consistently listened to conservative voices that branded me, and people like me, as perverse, immature, deluded, and mockable. My family voted, without relent, for politicians who wanted to curtail abortion rights, LGBT rights, educational access, and intellectual freedom. They unilaterally advanced and rewarded a life path that was traditional, deeply gendered, and rooted in devotion to the family unit, often to the detriment of connections with the outside world. They couldn’t see how these actions wore me down and slowly, quietly, left me feeling broken, incapable of appropriate adulthood, and totally alone.

RTWT

Her family sounds very nice. It’s a shame that parents like that had one child that obviously long ago landed the wrong way on its head.

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6 Feedbacks on "Stopped Talking to Her/Their/Zir Parents"

Schill McGuffin

I wasn’t beaten for being who I was. Usually, I wasn’t even directly berated. The problem wasn’t a specific act of mistreatment or abuse, but rather the emotional and political climate that surrounded me. My family consistently listened to conservative voices that branded me, and people like me, as perverse, immature, deluded, and mockable

It’s striking to me how the likes of “Devon” seem so utterly blind to how well statements like the above could apply to someone from the other side of the political aisle. Except maybe the part about not being directly berated.

It’s deeply ironic to me that the very group that has prided itself on taking contrarian “people’s” views of history is so singularly unable to appreciate the perspective of those it perceives as its oppressors — That it tries to restructure language (e.g., blacks/hispanics/”oppressed classes” can’t be racist) to legalistically relieve itself of the obligation to do so. That it truly has, in Nietzsche’s words, “become what it beheld”.



GoneWithTheWind

The left plays a game. It goes like this; any conservative who speaks up or any conservative group (like the tea party) gets attacked by the left wing talking heads and the MSM and they are accused of being racist, homophobic Nazis. This drumbeat is kept up as long as it takes to destroy them. Meanwhile leftist activists beat them up, destroy their property and reputations. When ever a lefty is confronted about the violence t is “justifiable” because they are fighting Nazis. Almost everyone on the left knows it’s a game (some are stupid and actually think they are Nazis). But the rules of the game is you never talk about the game. Just keep attacking the Nazis and justifying it because you are after all the worlds greatest Nazi fighter. It becomes a legal excuse to commit assault or if not exactly legal at least generally unpunished. This is the mindset of the left. This young lady/man (I don’t know which) went one step further and expected her mother and family to play out the game just because. They were supposed to act like Trump is a racist homophobe and they were supposed to hate him just because. But in fact it is all a game. If the left doesn’t call you a Nazi than you aren’t being effective against them.



Steven Wilson

I remain unconvinced that homosexuality is not a mental disorder nor do I consider that it travels alone. But the one thing that separates this young woman from her mother is emotional stability. To confess that she was curled up on a bench sobbing when Hilary lost and not to see the wisdom of her mother thinking that they could agree to disagree is simply the measure of stability in the one and the absence in the other. I do blame the mother for one thing though, choosing to name her daughter after a an English shire may have triggered the development of a drama queen.

I believe these people do experience considerable emotional pain, but I fail to see how I am to regard their reactions as the path to wisdom. Samuel Johnson it was, I believe, who said the wise man shows you the grounds of his convictions, the fool the strength of them.



Steverino

This is a splendid illustration of the Lefty mindset: Everyone who does not agree with me is my enemy, even my family. They are like mad dogs biting everyone they see and demand you join them.



Surellin

She is full of very big feelings. Why won’t everybody endorse and validate them?



randy

She has chosen the path of bitterness and disappointment. If Clinton had won, she would be equally crushed that her Mother didn’t share in her joy of defeating the oppressors. I wish her well, knowing that is very unlikely to happen.



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