127: How Can We Communicate with Loved Ones on the Opposite Side of the Political Divide?

Can the Five Secrets of Effective Communication Help Us in this Era of Intensely Polarized Politics?

Clearly, the nation is intensely divided, and passions on both sides of the political divide are characterized by hostility, frustration, and mistrust. Can the Five Secrets of Effective Communication help us communicate with colleagues, friends and loved ones who may have radically different political beliefs?

Find out on this edition of the Feeling Good Podcast, as the David and Fabrice respond to Eileen, a podcast fan who kindly allowed us to share her intensely painful conflict with her mother with all of you. Eileen’s mother is an ardent Trump fan, and Eileen is an equally ardent anti-Trumper, and there have been plenty of tears on both sides of the aisle!

Eileen wrote:

“How can you talk to someone with whom you fundamentally disagree? My Mom is a big fan of the current regime (Trump) and I’m horrified by what’s happened in the past two years and what’s coming. It’s hard for me to get past my rage at her. . . intensely distorted and not-reality based beliefs, fed by right-wing media. To be clear, she thinks exactly the same about my beliefs and information sources. I feel so stuck. . . and I would love to repair this relationship with her before she dies.”

Can you identify with similar conflicts in your own family or circle of friends? I know that I can, and it’s quite painful. Fabrice and I will give you our take on a new approach to this widespread problem this Sunday!

While you’re listening, you can take a look at Eileen’s Relationship Journal. You may also want to review the Five Secrets of Effective Communication as well as the three advanced communication techniques we discussed in last week’s podcast.

Let us know what you think after you’ve listened to the podcast!



Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

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2 thoughts on “127: How Can We Communicate with Loved Ones on the Opposite Side of the Political Divide?

  1. Hi Fabrice and David,

    Another great episode! I really liked your examples of responses using the 5 secrets and, as if I’m anyone to be grading YOU, I’d also give you both As!
    Also, I thought maybe I could add one other thing… In the mom’s response when she said “do you know what it’s like to live with someone who hates you”, I thought it would be nice to include in the inquire portion something to the effect of “…and yeah now that I think of it, I haven’t really been in that situation, living with someone that I feel such tension between. If you want to share, I’d like to hear more about what that’s been like from your perspective.”
    I’m sure it could be done better, but yeah I just thought to myself in the mom’s question, it could be an opportunity to gain more understanding and empathy by inviting her to share more about that. Maybe she would like to get that off her chest and she would feel heard and loved and valued.

    Thanks again guys! I’m hoping to come to an intensive this summer. Can’t wait!

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