Thursday, December 9

My parents voted for Ukip and broke the Covid rules. They really horrify me | Family

The dilemma I am 52 years old, divorced, and have two adult children who live and work far away. Recently, my relationship with my mom and dad has become very strained. They are in their 70s and they voted for Brexit, that has been a hit point since then. Every time we speak, it ends in politics. I was ashamed of my father’s Ukip sign in the window – paradoxically, he had taught me, growing up, to be a socialist, not to be elitist and to treat everyone the same. Both have become right-wing, xenophobic, fake snobs and it really disgusts me.

Along with that, they are Covid law breakers – they regularly have extended family within their home and my mother offended that I only stayed at the door with a mask to visit her. She declares, “We don’t have the plague, you know.” They are comfortably accommodated and I ask nothing of them. My sister has also broken Covid regulations and works in the NHS and that amazes me. I get text messages from my mom and dad and my family in general, they all tell me that I am a shame for avoiding meeting them. I used to have a happy relationship with them, but now I can’t stand them because of their views.

Mariella responds That’s a long list of transgressions. Makes the Borgia family look positively functional. That said, at this point, after a challenging 12 months, I would venture to say that there is only a small minority left who have not committed a Covid violation or two. And at any moment, the wealthy will begin to shyly return after silently sneaking into the tropics at the first mention of the confinement. World-class social skills will be required to navigate reunions when we resurface in the world, with many families and friends put to the test based on how the country’s most recent darkest hour was navigated.

Those super-rich who sneak home from their ‘money can buy getaways’ offer further proof of the gulf that has become impossible to ignore between the haves and the have-nots in the UK. A just society cannot flourish when hard times only hit the already oppressed. And that’s just the toxicity of the last 12 months: When you add to the previous three years of contentious civil war surrounding those who wanted to remain European and those who didn’t, it gets uglier and uglier.

Making emphatic judgments about the decisions of others generally seems to me to be a vain cause and, nowadays, just a way to have fun on social media. It is a regrettable mistake unless you can honestly judge that your own behavior is flawless. “Let the one without sin cast the first stone,” etc., unless, of course, they are giving you hypocritical lectures on behavior that does not think twice about embracing them. It’s an own goal that politicians, celebrities, and those in the public eye seem to be very adept at scoring, but in a family it’s foolish to try to change the way the wind blows. Dodging it is the best option.

Your parents are political “swingers”, like many of their generation, and have navigated the epic political journey from socialism to the middle ground and now find themselves finally resting in their unrequited dream of a frozen Britain somewhere in the middle. 19th century. There is no point criticizing her choices, or judging your sister for hers either; you will not change their minds and you cannot change the world simply by highlighting inconsistencies.

Taking the path of least resistance, rather than cornering others in an attempt to make them see the world as you, may be the best option. Paraphrasing Gandhi, each of us must simply be the change we want to see. If we stick to the path that we think is going in the right direction, others will line up.

You have been consumed by the idiosyncrasies of others to the detriment of your own well-being and that is not a sensible mental space to limit yourself. His parents’ position is clear and Brexit, for better or for worse, is now a closed deal.

Your mom and dad may have chosen to fossilize, but treat them with the respect they deserve for surviving so long and against so many odds. You can love them for what they have given you instead of what they now bring to the table. The same can be said for his sister, who has undoubtedly experienced extreme stress over the past year of mounting pressure on our undervalued and overworked NHS staff.

You are free, you are in your early 50s, and your children are moving on with their own lives. Perhaps it is time that you also let go of the ties of the family circle and look for new adventures and like-minded companions with whom to share ideas and inspiration. It’s definitely better than being on your parents’ doorstep trying to track down the rabbit hole where Nigel Farage has disappeared!

If you have a dilemma, please send a short email to [email protected] Follow her on twitter @ mariellaf1

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