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Clashing with Grandmother’s Beliefs

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My grandmother was an anti-war / anti-nuclear power activist and protester when she was young, and these beliefs and religion have been a major part of her life. She is 86 now and has become even more religious in the past year because of many deaths in the family and also news of the nuclear disaster in Japan. She gets very emotional to the point that others cannot reason with her or get her to calm down easily. I live with her, and although I agree with her on some things, I can’t handle hearing her talk about religion and politics or watch the news on tv all the time. It has left me feeling very burned out and worried about her health (she has high blood pressure). I have had anxiety all my life and I don’t feel like I can leave her alone for very long, because she may get upset and get hurt. She has not been diagnosed with alzheimer’s or dementia, but she can get very agitated and had to be hospitalized twice in the last year. How can I handle this? I don’t have family close enough to help.

Clashing with Grandmother’s Beliefs

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This isn’t an opportunity to change your grandmother, but rather a time to find forgiveness and compassion. She obviously cares deeply about the world’s issues and has given her time and energy toward bringing about positive changes.

It might be an opportunity to have her reflect to you stories of her life as an activist. Some studies have suggests reminiscing about the past is a very comforting and soothing activity for the elderly. This form of redirection might allow her to feel pride and empowerment rather than frustration over the current events in the world.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Clashing with Grandmother’s Beliefs

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Clashing with Grandmother’s Beliefs. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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