Email to get the advice you need!

HELP! My family member is a racist, Trump-maniac!

Dear Armchair PsychologistMy cousin Lisa is married to a sometimes generous and helpful guy named Kevin. They have small children that I adore and often babysit. Kevin wears the pants in the relationship and my cousin Lisa is a very sweet, non-confrontational type. Recently, I've learned that Kevin is a staunch Trump supporter and wants to buy a gun. He posts obnoxious, angry, and racist rhetoric on social media such as "keep out Syrian refugees" etc. My family (and thus Lisa's), come from a long line of hard-working immigrants who have thrived in America and his posts are therefore beyond offensive to me. My cousin is sad and scared, but she is not speaking up for herself. I also am worried about their children living with a gun in the house and Lisa is equally worried. I am sure the recent events in the world have left everyone discovering something ugly about their "friends" and family. I really don't know how to logically approach the situation without making our relationship worse.- Anti-Trump

Dear Anti-Trump,

I am sorry to hear about this troubling situation. Also, Dear Readers, let this be a warning that before you marry someone one — no matter how rich or funny or attractive they may be — if you don't share the same values and ideals, your marriage is going to suck.

So now on to the question, let's first establish what you're worried about. I suspect it's not necessarily his political views, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but rather the anger and aggression behind them? Are you (or your cousin) worried about the politics, bigotry, and impact on the children or her social standing, or is the worry for her safety and her freedom? If it is the first, that's understandable. Having your children under the influence of a typical "angry white man" can be devastating to the family. I would recommend a two prong approach:

1) Engage the children in a safe setting away from the husband and have an open discussion about people and bias and let the children know they have role models who strongly disagree with this view while letting the children know that good people who they love can have horrible opinions. 2) You have to begin to create a firm dialogue with the husband, in conjunction with your cousin, about how personally you take these negative racial and bigoted statements. This problem is discussed in quite a bit of literature online about how to deal with a parent when one parent is a racist. Trump just happens to be a new, special phenomenon but the effect is the same.

Now, if you are worried about the safety of the family, that's an entirely different recommended approach then the above, which can take many months or years to affect change. Safety is priority #1! Make sure any firearms are equipped with the extra firearm locks and that all ammo is safely hidden away (yes, convincing the angry white male that having a gun lock and remote ammo might delay his response when the inevitable mob of foreign Muslims led by Obama sneak in to take his gun at night will be hard but it's doable). Furthermore, make the issue about safety and immediately tell your cousin to seek counseling with someone who can Q&A her (a therapist) and monitor the danger signs of abuse or swings in temperament. Lastly, of course, save the day by deleting the husband from your social media feed, because hate never trumps love.

- The Armchair Psychologist

HELP! Am I running from my life?

Dear Armchair Psychologist,Lately, I've heard the same question over and over again. Now it's almost ringing in my head: "What are you running from… What are you running from? What are you…?" I'm hooked on working out, I run marathons, I go skiing for hours, and tomorrow I'm heading to bicycle around a lake (300K). I don't do it to look good (lost hope of that long time ago), and I'm not an elite athlete, so there is no chance I would win anything. And it's far beyond the feel-good because I'm healthy as can be.Frankly, I have no idea why I do it and it's getting out of control. I used to sign up for races to have a goal so that I would get my butt out of the sofa and my hand out of the candy bowl and go out to run. I signed up for a few races every year and those races were my goals. But now I'm so fully-booked that it's getting in the way of my family life and I don't have any friends left because I don't have time to be with them. I have to cancel dinner plans and I would rather join a 10K race than my brother's engagement party. Am I addicted or just really healthy?- Running Woman

Dear Running Woman,

I am sorry you're conflicted about your running activities and I can imagine that it must be difficult for you to learn that you may be alienating your friends and family. It sounds like you sense it's out of control and you're struggling with that notion. I think the question that you really want to explore is: Are you running TO something or AWAY from something?

For example, do you dread going to your brother's engagement party or do you simply think a 10K is much more fun? If you find that you dread going to the engagement party and these things generally cause you social anxiety, you could be running away from something. Understandably, life is complex and, at times, overwhelming but taking a break to examine one's life is a positive direction. If you find that you simply have much more fun running a 10K that you forget all else, including your friends and family, it's simply a matter of re-prioritizing what's important to you and developing better time-management skills. I recommend picking up a new exercise of exploring with a qualified therapist what it is you may be running away from if that is indeed the case.

- The Armchair Psychologist

Need more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out the last installment or email to get some advice of your own!


Ubah Bulale