The Stages Of Grief When Your Loved One STILL Supports Trump

I feel like it’s been about a thousand years since inauguration day. It’s as if this administration is literally like Russian (cough cough) nesting dolls and one horrible thing after another just keeps popping up in my news feed every day. I know more about the White House and its inhabitants than I would have ever wanted to know — the names, the faces, the firings, the drama, the downward spiraling, all of the nasty words said off-record that somehow become on-record.

And the tweets. Dear God, the freaking tweets.

And through it all, seemingly oblivious to the outside world that shines a spotlight down upon all the hate, my loved one still sits in silence and supports.

Well, they sit in silence around me, at least. Probably because I have a tendency to turn into the girl from the exorcist when our president’s name is mentioned. I just cannot anymore. I cannot. I cannot sit and listen to the whitest man in the world say that white men are the ones who are really discriminated against. That only English-speaking immigrants can enter our country. That hardworking, life-sacrificing, proud military personnel who happen to be transgender can no longer be in the armed services. That a lot of people don’t actually need health care anymore. That all news that isn’t overtly favorable to him is fake. That we need a see-through wall to keep “them” out. And all of the other things.

That everyone else in the world is less-than by his standards. I’m not here for it, folks.

So, my loved one and I don’t discuss politics, but a tiny voice inside me still mourns — for our relationship, for the millions of relationships being affected. It’s as if we’ve seen an ugly secret inside our friends and family members that we never knew about and it breaks our hearts with every tweet.

They are afraid of something. I assume supporters of his are afraid of something. Of minorities. Of women. Of anyone who is different. Oh wait, perhaps they fear the dismantling of white supremacy and the heteronormative patriarchy?

So in my grief (and bewilderment) at my loved one’s continued support despite the crazy world we now live in, here are the stages I’ve gone through:

1. Shock/Disbelief

Earlier this summer, I was driving through Las Vegas with my loved one when they said, “Look at that, Trump tower! It’s made of all gold y’know.” And I should have really won an award for the tremendous amount of self-restraint I showed in the next moments.

Because I did nothing.

I said nothing. I didn’t drive us off the road or start word-vomiting all of the facts and tweets and plummeting poll numbers. I just drove — not only because I was so shocked, but also because I knew I had to drive 12 hours longer with my loved one and nothing good would have come from me detailing a list of offenses.

2. Denial

Every piece of news I hear or read, I think, that’ll do it. A person couldn’t possibly support that. And my loved one keeps supporting. I can’t think too deeply about this because acceptance of the policies coming out of the White House says something fundamental about you as a human being. I’m in denial that I share blood with someone who can accept and support these things.

3. Anger

Once, in a low moment as I cooked dinner for my loved one and Fox News was blaring in the background, I said, “You know they are lying to you right now?” And my loved one said, “All of those other channels are fake news.” REALLY?! ALL the other news in the whole world is fake? How?! Why?! What?! And then my head exploded all over my freshly layered lasagna.

4. Bargaining

Please, please stop tweeting. Please?

5. Guilt

My 5-year-old crawled into bed with me one morning when we were at my loved one’s house. She said, “So I asked [our loved one] why they voted for that bad man.” My heart sunk a bit because I don’t want this to affect their relationship. Yes, I believe that he is a bad man. With horrible ideas and no self-awareness. But my kids are too young to worry about all of that.

6. Depression

My loved one and I used to agree about a lot of things politically. We both love our country. And I believed we agreed on the basic humanity of all people and in the underlying structure of America — that we welcome all, that our rights as Americans are everything and for everyone. But it feels as if Trump’s rise to power has let those who hold little black holes of hate and discrimination in their hearts speak freely with such vitriol. That, yes, America is the home of the free, but only for some people. Not those people. And that makes me unfathomably sad for our world, for where we are at.

7. Acceptance (and Hope)

My hope lies in a man’s hands named Robert Mueller. The truth is going to come out, and we are just going to have to wait for it.

I know I’m not the only one who has a loved one, a friend or family member, who has boarded the Trump Train and is unwilling to get off despite its inevitable drive toward destruction. Never have we been this divided, this ideologically far away from each other, this torn. People have divorced over this man, families have been split apart, holidays have become uncomfortable. There are those who simply can’t get past it. Those who’ve had to draw that “no contact” boundary because the divide is just too great. The hate that he doesn’t condemn is just too real.

But the pendulum will always swing both ways, so with hope, I try remember this and look forward to 2018.

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