A Thanksgiving Guide to Fighting With Your Family About Long Buried Secrets and Stewing Resentments

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I know that there are a lot of guides out there suggesting otherwise, but it is possible that you may not get into a political fight this Thanksgiving.


Perhaps you and your family all voted the same way and watch the same cable news shows. (“Uncle Kevin, did you see Hannity absolutely nail the hypocrites trying to say it’s bad for President Trump to grind up child bones for his strength tonic?” you ask. “Why yes I did, Kevin. Ha ha ha ha, I loved it,” he responds.)

Or maybe you have already been engaged in a productive, if sometimes painful, longterm discussion with your loved ones because you recognize that these conversations are a commitment, not a fight you can win through cunning and one-liners. And because your aunt has probably already heard many of your prepared talking points through the lens of Tucker Carlson’s crude mockery, you have concluded that earnest engagement and checking in every so often about current events, your lived experiences, and the policies that support the values that anchor you is the best way forward.


Well I am here to tell you that you can still fight tomorrow if you stick to the more traditional topics of wounds from your childhood, simmering resentments, projection, and long buried family secrets. This is a guide to help you do that.

Some ideas:

  • You should have gone to live with your father when you had the chance.
  • Did Uncle Charles have a secret family or not and why won’t you tell me I’m an adult now.
  • I know Tom losing his license after his DUI made getting Aunt Cindy at the train station another job you had to take on, but he offered to start the sweet potatoes and vacuum while you’re gone so when will you stop punishing him for something he so obviously regrets and is remorseful about?
  • Your mother loves your sister more than she loves you and it’s so obvious so please just do us all a favor and fucking admit it.
  • Look, I didn’t mean to make cousin Suzy cry, but massage school is just not a career.
  • Wait, you put the dog to sleep? Then why tell me she died of a heart attack?
  • It is insane to me that you remarried so soon after dad died and no I don’t care that Carl can hear me say this.
  • I have been vegetarian for 12 years now and I swear to god I will die a fucking vegetarian so please back off?
  • You can’t just cancel plans at the last minute and then drop in to see your grandkids whenever you want.
  • Yes Lisa and I are getting a divorce and no I do not believe “staying together for the kids” is a useful suggestion, dad.

Have a restful holiday.

Senior editor, Jezebel