My wife laid a rule whenever visiting her relatives that no one would be talking about politics. Her US based relatives are all big Trump supporters, unable to have in depth policy discussions without resulting to insults, save her sister.

That's a hard one, considering my political background, and having written Donald Trump Explained, a Special Education Perspective of the Forty-fifth President detailing how an undiagnosed social and communication disorder impacted his ability to function as a typical adult should. My maternal uncle would no longer speak to me for over two years. Recently he asked one question, what was my book title about. My eldest sister's husband is completely down that conspiracy rabbit hole too, and is driving her and their kids nuts with his fascination. That means he is another relative I have to redirect, a skill I used frequently as a Sped teacher, but now as a MAGA familial whisperer. (hint: come armed with tons of sports and hunting talk)

My sister in law that I mentioned, is leaving her position as a NICU nurse, likely permanently as she refuses to get vaccinated. I am concerned that when she gets COVID (we all eventually will sadly) all her reasons that she decided based on Fox News lies, will be replaced with deep regrets, if she were to survive it. I just see it happening considering that she and her husband think its all made up, no big deal, and that the government can't be trusted.

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Oct 6, 2021Liked by Michelangelo Signorile

I have been slowly trying to come to grips with my brother and the fact that he is a devout Trump follower - something I didn't realize until maybe 6 months ago and also something I would never have thought possible. I am pretty sure he was trying to hide it from me.

He is smart, educated, successful... the sweetest, most caring person you would have ever hoped to meet. I have 5 siblings but he is the one I was closest to. I thought I knew him. But he is different now.

He spouts all of the Trump bullshit and worst of all he is anti-vaccine and also pretty much anti-medicine at this point too. He has an incurable form of cancer that is in remission but he has been warned it will only stay in remission for so long. He is also diabetic and a smoker. Yet he refuses to get the vaccine.

I don't get it. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he wanted to LIVE. That's all he wanted. And so he underwent all the recommended treatments, allowing doctors to flood his body with poison multiple times a week for months. So that he could LIVE. And it worked - his cancer is in remission. He was so grateful - we all were.

Now he hates doctors. And he has become mean. I have never seen my brother "mean". He insults my sister who is a nurse involved in a campaign to get high school students vaccinated in her state. He recently moved to Florida (of all places). He thinks nothing of coming into town from Florida and showing up at my 80 year-old mother's house maskless, unvaccinated. My sisters, mother and I don't understand him. We are so worried and heartbroken. His 3 sons are following him in his actions because they look up to him. My brother, his wife and kids are the only ones in our family not vaccinated. They are the only ones not able to see the damage Trump and the GOP have caused and continue to cause. It's so strange.

I have had to distance myself from him. He is not to come to my house until and unless he is vaccinated. I hardly talk to him on the phone anymore because I just don't want to hear the crap that he spews (which he ultimately will even if you try to change the subject). I have tried to convince him to wear a mask when he visits my mother. My sister (who lives with my Mom) monitors that.

It is a very, very painful situation. My brother and I have always been so close. But I just cannot be around him right now... for my safety, the safety of my family and for our emotional well-being. The last year and a half has been so difficult. We just don't want to hear all the crap anymore, especially from family.

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Oct 6, 2021Liked by Michelangelo Signorile

I have recently had an argument with my SIL over a friend she wanted me to meet who was not vaccinated. When I balked at this, she got really angry at me and words were exchanged and she accused me of being a "bully"! I have never been accused of that and it was very upsetting to me.

I have a "friend" who I was very close to and had a lot of fun with. I thought I knew her until I started reading her Facebook page, which I can only describe as toxic. Full on Q anon, posts from Brietbart, and videos from disgusting sites like Bitchute, hateful anti-Biden stuff and general antivax stuff, with Fauci as demonic, etc. I had to take a step back. The last straw was on Jan 6 when she was describing the mob as "patriots" as I was chatting on line with her.

I really feel a sense of grief, as we are still in touch, but I cant bring myself to hang out with someone who's values are so different from mine. And it makes me sad.

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Thank you Michelangelo. This has been a difficult year and it continues to bring different challenges as we await vaccines for my 7 year old girls. I think it is important that people like me have a place to connect with others who share our unique but not uncommon struggle.

I'm here to chat with anyone who wants to talk.

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I've lost 4 decade old friendships over Trump. I cannot compromise my values and have no basis for associating with people who support destroying women's rights, homophobia, racism, denial of climate change and shoveling tax cuts to multimillionaires and billionaires. Life is short and I'm too old to tolerate MAGA.

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Oct 11, 2021Liked by Michelangelo Signorile

The pandemic was the catalyst for my 55 year old brother to fall down the rabbit hole of QAnon and Trump. Prior to that, for his entire life, he was a left leaning, intelligent and accomplished person. He supported Bernie in 2016, but married a woman with conservative leanings and who had been raised in a religious cult. He has become unreachable, initially sharing link after link for YouTube videos and propaganda which could have easily been debunked. He actually went to the Capitol on 1/6, driving from the west coast because he refuses to wear a mask and so couldn’t fly. We hardly speak anymore, mostly because it breaks my heart (and my brain) that he is now flirting with militias and purchased an AR15. The rest of my small family are also trump supporters and I consider myself a “Qrphan”. I don’t have any confidence in our DOJ to expose the criminality of the last administration but also know even if they did, the hardcore supporters wouldn’t believe it anyways. A terrible time for our country and personally for my family.

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I lost my father to the Trump cult, which has now also cost him his health as he also refuses to get the vaccine. A few weeks ago I texted him, as we don't talk on the phone at all anymore, and he told me he was recently released from the hospital after being there for weeks with COVID. My only response was "I'm sorry". I didn't want to beat a lame horse, but I really wanted to tell him that he's a loser for following Trump and all of his sycophantic rhetoric, but I was the bigger man and took the higher road. I'm so upset that I can't have the relationship I once had with him. I'm his only child and it kills me that he chose the path of living within a cult of personality.

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I had one last Trump friend. She’s been my friend for 40+ years. Several years ago she got remarried to a Fox News junkie and I watched as she went down the rabbit hole. So for awhile we just banned politics. She and our other girlfriends from those days would come visit every summer and we did fine just talking everything but politics. I, too, learned how to steer convos elsewhere. But I noticed she was becoming more and more angry about things.

Fast forward to this year. She is a vaccine refusenik. I tried everything from reasonable convo to saying how sad it made me to anger. We told her she was not allowed to come to the gathering this year unless she was vaccinated. Still refused. Her original “reasoning” was the total off the wall Q crazy shit about tracking chips. Then she switched to saying she would get it once it was fully approved. Now she just flat out refuses with any straw conspiracy she can grab. Anyway I told her last week the story of my friend with cancer who can’t get into surgery because hospitals where she lives are full of unvaccinated Covid patients. I thought this might at least elicit sympathy because she herself was once a cancer patient. Nope. She’s pretty much gone so far down the crazy and angry hole I just can’t see a way forward and I just don’t see any of my old friend anymore. I told her I won’t ever see her again because refusal to get vaccinated is a red line for me in terms of getting together and certainly having anyone stay at my house. Haven’t heard from her since. Makes me quite sad, knowing she doesn’t have many years left. Anyway, that was the last straw. I do feel like I have had several years to process this and knowing in the back of my mind this was likely coming so maybe a bit easier for me than others. And we live in different states. So I am fortunately not in a position where I am forced to be around a Q-Anon nut job. Still makes me sad. She’s estranged herself from many people including her own daughter. Anyway that’s my story. Loved hearing others on your show and your continued updates on this newsletter about this very heart wrenching issue.

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Michelangelo suggested that there’re some social support groups for spouses of Trump supporters in his “Secret Lives…” article. Plan to listen to his show but would love to find a support group. I’m terrible lonely and pretty heartbroken after a recent round with my husband. Thanks for any pointers.

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Wise words Joanne. From your lips to the Dems ears! I am worried that they do not seem to be taking this as seriously as they should. I hope our loved ones will come around to the truth. It's all just so surreal to see people actually falling for all this bullshit and getting sucked into the conspiracy theories. When I say "conspiracy theory" to my brother he responds "OR Conspiracy Truth". Ugh...

Like you I am not okay with certain types of guns but am a gun owner. My family are all ranch people from the west. They had guns for a reason, we were taught how to use them (at a young age) and we were taught to use them safely. We were taught to respect them. My brother and I couldn't point a TOY gun at someone else or we would get punished. Most people don't have that education or respect for guns. I am all for stricter regulations when it comes to this.

You're right... we are the majority. Fingers crossed that our Democratic leaders will start acting like we are!!

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Thank you for this discussion. It is helpful to commiserate and validate! I have been fortunate to have my family and friend group intact during the Trump era. I do have a close friend that is in the cult. It was quite upsetting to discover because we never discussed politics. The worst part, her and spouse live in a blue New England state that is sparsely populated and 95 percent white. It’s really brave to espouse conservative libertarian views while living and benefiting from blue state governance. Maybe try living in rural, red America.

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I was pretty conservative until around 2014. Seeing 45** come down the pike as the future of the GOP sent me sprinting for the exits. My parents, who, over the course of time up til that point, hadn't been shy in saying they thought he was a repugnant joke, embraced him wholeheartedly as a candidate.

They suddenly didn't care about his sordid profligacy and philandering, his many failed businesses or his refusal to divest from those still standing.

He could literally do nothing wrong. He was being bullied for ~telling it like it is~, despite the numerous clarifications required for nearly everything he said. No matter how hateful his rhetoric, it was everyone else being uncivilized.

I hung in for a long time, hoping that forcing them to interact with someone who despises him but was previously the staunch party line following daughter they raised, might at some point give them pause.

We reached a compromise of no F*x when I was around in common areas like the kitchen, or politics at all when meeting for meals and such. They could never quite manage to not push those boundaries, and we haven't spoken directly in months.

I hate it, but I just hit my absolute limit of being able to coexist peacefully with them when suggestions that perhaps 45**'s non-policies wrt Covid were not helping were met with, "Well if that's what you think, then leave!" (They were/are, despite all the complaining, very vigilant about masking and distancing and the like, because where they live was very proactive about it, and I live close enough it made sense to lock down together so we could all keep an eye on each other. They're both vaccinated, though made a lot of noise about mask burning parties ~someday, then greeted me over the holidays saying they were sick of lies - implication being Biden hadn't *actually* won.)

So I left. ✌

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Both I and one of my sisters live in Europe. The other 3 siblings, and our ailing 83 year old mother, are still in rural NY, PA or Tenn. They are full-throated Trumpists but actually their transformation predates Trump.

I tried this tactic: first, I asked them to name one time when they had changed their minds after learning something new, and negative, about Trump. Then I asked to think about something that Trump has done which they knew others to perceive as a transgression but they defended Trump. Now, write down what would it take to stop defending him - what would he have to do that would mean he passed some threshold of human decency?

Blank stares. Silence. Like asking a fish what life is like outside of water. “The Dems are even worse!” Not one agreed to play this game (note that I’m no water carrier for the Obama admin - I could talk for days about the faults (and pros))

It is a cult. 15 years of Fox-induced fear-mongering is a powerful drug.

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Well my comment disappeared so I am posting it again in case anyone has some input into this plan I have. My sister and I have barely spoken since early 2017 when I learned she voted for Trump. In the few times since that I have spoken with her she has sung his praises, sees him as kind of a diamond in the rough, but otherwise very good for this country etc. When I pointed out the atrocities of his administration she would shut down and refuse to speak. A few weeks ago she reached out with a family update, so I got the impression she wanted to speak again. I told her I wanted to ask her two questions: 1) Was the election stolen; and 2) Was January 6 a tourist visit/ BLM/antifah? I was hoping for a "No" on both, but instead I got an "I don't know." I told her that she was denying an objective reality and it became another scene of "I refuse to discuss this." A couple days later I asked if she would be interested in doing family counseling via video. At first she resisted but now she is game, if I pay for it. Right now I'm running into problems with licensing as I am in NY and she lives elsewhere. But I see this as the only possible way for us to repair our relationship, through a neutral arbiter. I have no knowledge on how to deal with a delusional person so I need help.

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