Home » Blogs » Therapy Soup » Why I Don’t Talk Politics

Why I Don’t Talk Politics

I pretty much stopped talking politics a few years ago.

For a good part of my adult years, I’m ashamed to say that I viewed people who didn’t care about politics as not quite three-dimensional, not quite deserving of serious attention.

*Then I met Richard who just about never talks politics. I thought that was just strange.

But after awhile, his reasoning won me out. There are many important spheres of life, many serious, even urgent topics to talk about. Life. After-life. Spirituality. Relationships. Health. Emotions. Morals. And he preferred to talk about those things.

Now, sometimes these topics may actually overlap with politics, but way back when, I was unknowingly engaged in political determinism–at some level I believed that politics (and to a large extent government conduct) determined how we live our lives, down to the very personal.

But I now believe I was wrong.

Politics and government don’t control you, except if you’re living in an extreme dictatorship or impossibly corrupt regime, and even then, it depends. A culture and society are surely influenced by its government, but in a democratic republic such as the United States, the culture and society greatly influence, and in many areas control, the government and political expression.

Fear and Loathing

I’ve lived in quite a few states (and also some other countries) and until the late 1980s I felt quite comfortable, wherever I was, of speaking my mind. Politically most of my friends thought the same way I did (or at least, the ones who spoke up did), but I always was an outlier on certain issues. I didn’t toe the party line, fully. In the 1990s I finally learned to be quiet about these one or two issues that were at odds with others. I largely agreed with everyone I knew pretty much about what was acceptable beliefs politically and socially, but even then I knew I was mouthing a party line–inside, something wasn’t sitting right with me.

All it took was a bit of self-examination to realize that a lot of what I thought were my authentic viewpoints were mere talking points I’d been parroting. Pretty embarrassing.

Finally, in the early 2000s, I realized that I had real moral and ethical qualms about the politics I’d been supporting all these years. So, I tested the waters of dissent by gingerly sharing some thoughts I had, some reasoning that differed from what my friends thought.

I was unprepared for the vitriol I ended up on the receiving end of. I wasn’t merely disagreed with, I was attacked. Three people I considered my closest friends, one who had been my dearest friend for over a decade, dropped me. She gave me several chances to “come back to my senses” and when I asked her to allow us to agree to disagree, and for her to respect my opinion the same way I respected hers, she told me I was “evil.”

The emotional pain I felt was real. So was the stress of being ostracized for speaking my mind. But I made peace with the situation and accepted that this is simply the way things are.

The State of Free Speech and Tolerance in America“, is a recent study by the Libertarian Cato Institute. Their findings show that “58% of Americans believe the political climate today prevents them from saying things they believe.”

It’s good to know that I’m not the only one.


*C.R. is blogging at Therapy Soup today.

Why I Don’t Talk Politics

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2017). Why I Don’t Talk Politics. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Nov 2017
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.