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Emotional Turmoil coming OUT!


Guest DVS
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I have been missing from the board for a while now. One of the main reasons has been so I could come out to my family. I know there have been some wonderful post here about the whole subject and timing but I don't think they apply to the extreme as in my case.

 

I come from a large family of brothers and sisters and coming out to them was very devastating. I am in my mid 20's and have been closeted the whole time and recently a turn of events made me decide to come out mainly my dealing with cancer and the need for clarity and truth.

 

I guess my questions is how many of you were met with severe problems or coping issues from coming out? To make matters worse I counsel people on this very subject but am having trouble applying my own advise because I do not have the support web.

 

I only have one real life gay friend with whom I have shared everything with not to mention he is an escort and yes he really is my friend. Our friendship is fairly new but strained by the fact that I am dealing with the whole issue of personal attacks from my family for being gay. My friend has given me invaluable advise and for that I will always be grateful. I have brought him down a bit but I am working on restoring our friendship to a happy one. :-)

 

I would like to hear your guys opinions without the obvious nasty responses of screw them (the family) or who cares what they think. These are typical but not palletable since I prior to being out of the closet was very close with all of them. I would also like to know if you had bashers in your family and how did you cope?

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Guest bluboy

DVS

 

Sorry to hear that you are going through this. And your cancer really complicates things to deal with on top of it all. I too had a mixed response from my family and like you I was the darling of the family in many ways. I do not know where you live physically but if it is not a place conducive to gay people you HAVE to move. It is the very first step because if your family does not support you and the tone of the place is such that the town will not support you, you are asking for serious pshychological damage than you think. Moving always appears more dramatic than it actually is. I moved, an entire continent, in that I came to the USA to get away from the family. Then I pursued a very high risk strategy- I witheld my affections and went silent for a long time. I wanted them to assess whether my homosexuality was more of a hindrance than having me. They missed me too much. The risk ofcourse waa that they were happier with me gone. In the interim I built a vast and liberally supportive network. By the way my self esteemed demanded that my netowrk was filed with straight people who accepted me- so New York was a most logical place to live. But I have also never thrown it in my family's face. I have never taken home a boyfriend..and in fact I lost a boyfriend who wanted me to be more political and bring him to my family home and kiss him infront of the family etc. Never. I will bring someone when they invite me too. I also never talk about who I am dating unless explicitly asked. Overtime, I have found that different family members have asked at different times and for different reasons. But I also realized that I had to carve a different space or die waiting for them to come around. On this I know I made the right choice as I have a cousin who is also gay and he has not come out and is living under the familly umbrella and he spends years in therapy and resenting me. Each family member if they really do care will come around in time and in most cases you will never get "I am happy that you are gay"..the best to hope for is "I am really sorry you are gay but I love you nevertheless" or "I am really sorry that you will not be bearing children but we live in strange modern times" etc...and if they do not come around, you do need to say: fuck em but make sure when you do you have already built yourself a support network of straight and gay friends. blu

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Guest WetDream (Guest)

Sorry you are having such a bad time of it. I never came out with my parents, just with my brothers. My family's philosophy is "if you don't mention something it doesn't exist." This is pretty much what happened. My younger brother does send me gay jokes over the Internet from time to time. Oddly enough, the other brother's wife has been incredibly supportive since told them that I was positive. If you can just last through the period of initial shock, things will probably return to their old state. Is there a support group you could join to help you get through this? Also, start looking around for some new gay friends. No that you are out with your family there is no reason to hide it from others. Good luck.

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To DVS-hi this is the first time i have posted anything but your original post connected with me so much that i had to write something .

I am 31 years old and came out when i was 22 my family are upper middle class english i was privately educated and as the youngest member of the family and the only member of my family to go to university was the golden boy as such,this all changed on March 8th 1992 when with all my family present (i have 3 brothers and 1 sister)i told them that i was gay and was seeing someone,this went down like the proverbial lead balloon which led to a screaming match between my father and i .

In the coming weeks i was persona non grata with my family who would not return my calls and would not speak to me,to this day one of my brothers still refuses to have anything to do with me ,my mother tried to calm everything down and make peace but my father would not let her see me and told me in no uncertain terms that if my BF or "that creature"as he called him ever set foot on his property he would phone the police and have him and me arrested.

I spent 18 months in turmoil wondering why they had overreacted so much even contemplating suicide on more than one occasion the one thing in the world i wanted to do was to ask them WHY ,i could understand the intinal shock that such a bombshell would have on them and i honestly believed that in time things would return to some semblance of normality which of course they did,it took 5 years for my mother to speak to me and a total of 7 years before the majority of my family would speak and act normally towards me

By this time (mid 1999)i had a very good job in the city of london earning seven figures a year and by some major miracle my BF was still with me ,yes after everything we will celebrate our 10th anniversary this coming January .I suppose what i am sayiing is that no matter how you feel or how bad a situation you think is happening now you and your family were very close before and i believe that they will be again ,each family is different and each situation will obviously be different there will be many emotions and reactions flying around anger,shock,amazement,disgust,to name but a few but i truly believe that the main thing needed is TIME ,as the saying goes time is a great healer and also i think that you need to widen your circle of friends,as you have done the hardest thing and actually come out if you start meeting people who have had similar experiences then it may make it easier on you to understand..

If you are short of people to confide in i am sure you will find friends on this board who are willing to help you myself included,as one of my teachers used to say "LOOK UP LOOK AROUND BUT NEVER LOOK DOWN ".LOL :)BIG A (LONDON UK)

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Although I had little problem coming out to my family, my best friend had a very different experience; he was forced out during a witchhunt in the military, so his family had to deal with public humiliation as well as private turmoil. His parents (especially his mother) did not handle it well and never really understood or accepted his subsequent openly gay lifestyle. Luckily his siblings were sympathetic and formed something of a buffer between him and his parents.

 

We are always tempted to hope that a crisis will eventually lead to an emotional reconciliation when all will be accepted and forgiven, but it doesn't always happen the way it does in the movies. Even during his long debilitating illness thirty years later, his parents were unable to make the necessary steps to bring the kind of emotional closure that would have healed his wounds, so the relationship ended in a truce rather than peace.

 

It's very hard to accept rejection from one's own family, even if it's only temporary, but sometimes the estrangement becomes permanent and there's nothing you can do about it. All you can do is remain open to overtures from their side, but don't be overly hopeful, and don't put all your emotional eggs in that basket. It's time to make more friends, gay or straight, who know you and love you for yourself.

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Guest andreas

DVS,

 

Coming out to your family can be traumatic. I can only imagine what it must be like when there are other serious issues involved such as cancer.

 

My biggest regret in my life is that my father never knew the real me. He died before I had enough courage to tell him. Even though my mother informed me that he would not have taken it well, I still wish I had told him and had the chance to work through whatever issues he would have had with my homosexuality.

 

Shortly after my fathers death, I decided to come out to my mother. After all the time and courage it took me to be able to confront her, the only reaction I got was "I already knew." Mother's always know.

 

I come from a very small family. I am an only child. Although I didn't have to worry about brothers or sisters, being an only child and being gay has it's own set of problems. My mother will never have grandchildren. I will not carry on the family name. Add into the mix the fact that I was adopted and I start wondering if my parents think they made a mistake by choosing me.

 

The only "words of wisdom" I can share are these - Although coming out to your family and friends can be traumatic and can lead to heartbreak, it is something that I feel should be done. You must allow the people closest to you see you for who you really are and let them make their own decisions rather than jumping to conclusions on how they might feel or react. If you don't, then you will be forced to tell lies, mislead, or simply shy away out of fear of being discovered. The worst thing I can imagine happening is waiting until it is to late as I did with my father.

 

I think you made the right decision. Hopefully, you will be able to work through this with your family.

 

-Andreas Mikeals

[link:www.andreasmikeals.com|http://www.andreasmikeals.com]

703.304.2966

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Guest Theron

Hiya -- BIG SMILE!

 

First, congratulations for developing the self confidence to be honest with the people you love.  I feel you have made a very important step that supports your dignity as a human being.  Secondly, I am sorry to learn your family is not being as positive as they could be.  I still think you made an excellent decision.  I believe we tear ourselves down when we hide who we are from those we love in fear and shame. Just by coming forward you have come to an important realization, whether you realize it now or not, and that is an acceptance of yourself for who you are -- once you have that you don't really need anyone else's approval or acceptance, although I will admit it is nice to have.

 

My own personal feeling is those who love us love us for who we are.  It also becomes a matter of honor and respect.  I am certain members of your family have all made decisions, from time-to-time, that are different than you would have made. In doing so they were expressing their individuality as a person, and are doing something they believe would bring happiness into their life.  This is the nature of life, and as long as someone is not going out of their way to execute decisions with an intention to deliberately hurt someone else, I feel we must always be respectful of the decisions they make, especially of we love them -- even if the are different than the decisions we would make for ourselve.  I feel how your family is behaving is unkind and disrespectful to you as a person, but this is all still new to them.

 

Someone else mentioned they would never bring a partner home with them unless they were invited to do so. Without disrespecting the choice they have made, I have a different opinion. If your sister is engaged or gets married her partner does not require an invitation to accompany her to a family gathering. She should be able to reasonably expect, unless her partner has done something bad to one of her family members, that when she does bring him others will treat him with kindness and respect, and be happy for her.  The same principals apply in gay relationships. When people make choices to ignore the person you love, just because they would have made a different choice, they are being rude, selfish and totally inconsiderate, and are treating that family member like a second class citizen.  This, in my opinion, is never acceptable. How many of our brother's or sister's ask our permission to be with the people they love? The point is they don't, and they need to give others the same respect they expect to receive.

 

All this said, it is also important to remember that denial is perhaps the greatest weakness of our society.  If something makes us uncomfortable many of us will try and block it out and not deal with it. We will even become angry if we have to deal with something we would rather avoid. Denial as a method of coping really accomplishes very little, because the conflict is never resolved, it is merely ignored.  

 

It is also important to give your family some time to adjust to this news.  My suggestion would be to act as you always have -- but do not compromise your dignity to support their denial by not living your life, and do not allow anyone to openly disrespect you. Another poster basically suggest that you get on with your life.  I believe they suggested moving. I'm not saying you necessarily have to move, but now would be a good time to focus on yourself.  Now that you have come to accept yourself for who you are explore that, and work on building positive friendships and a network with others.  It still will not cause your family to support you, but it will support your growth as a human being, which is even more important.

 

In time things may get better with your family, but for now do not allow that to be your focus.  It is their responsibility to resolve this for themselves  You have not done anything wrong.  All you can do is continue working to build yourself up, and offering them the same type of love and support you always have.  In the end, if things do not change within your family unit, you may have to make some difficult decisions about how to deal with certain family members -- but now there are other things to focus on. AND if it comes to that, if you focus on building yourself up now...you will have the strength, pride and dignity to deal with it, if you have to.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Hugs,

 

Theron

Based Out of Chicago

http://theronb.homestead.com/files/home.html

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This isn't a horror story. I have never had a negative reaction from a single family memeber, friend, or employer...without exception. So while it may be good to be prepared for the worst, it doesn't mean you have to actually expect it.

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Guest spendlove

I have chosen to deal with the matter by saying as little as possible about it when with the family. My relatives aren't stupid, and they are capable of figuring out that if I'm not married and never talk about dating women I must be doing something else. I'm not suggesting that other people's relatives are stupid, on the contrary I often wonder whether some gay men who have never come out to their families are right in assuming that their relatives don't already know.

 

I have seen a thread on this board about whether escorts tell their parents what they do. I think a couple of them said that they have good relationships with their parents and for that very reason they don't want to confront them with something that would upset them. I feel the same way about this. My duty to my parents is to love and help them. I can't pay them back for everything they've done for me by hurting them, so I won't if I can help it. I'm not saying that this is the right solution for everyone, but it is for me.

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Guest albinorat

This is none of my business. And on your behalf I resent some of the advice. No one can know precisely what it's like to be someone else. How dare anyone try to create an equation for you? Mother and father's love equals x, "being an uncloseted gay man" equals y, and y has more weight than anything else in life.

 

I know that mentality and I think it's horseshit. No one is ONLY GAY, no matter what the political types say.

 

I am very sorry you are ill, and at the same are confronting negative reactions in your family, to which you say you have been very close.

 

You hardly need more trauma than your illness, and there is a connection between "wellness" in spirit and mind, and wellness in body, even if the precise workings of that are elusive.

 

I suppose, being gingerly about it, I could say since you are in your mid-twenties you may be more sensitive and have less perspective about how they are reacting than someone older. Perhaps you have to give them the space to feel hurt, angry, mystified or betrayed by what you told them. It probably has less to do with the you they love, than with whatever feelings they have about homosexuals, and "the homosexual lifestyle".

 

They may very well get over it and if their love has been genuine they will. You have not changed. What has changed is they know for certain something that was not spoken of before.

 

In the meanwhile, you might try continuing to be available to them. You might try seeing what you're experiencing from them as anger or negativity as confusion, surprise and hurt. Sometimes people express those things as anger. Perhaps the more they realize that you are still you, the less they will be uncomfortable with an aspect of your life.

 

Though I don't see how it's helpful to push "gayness" into their faces, you might try seeing if there are one or two people in the family you could talk to about how you experience your own homosexuality. That is a need to love and be loved, period. You might find out what that person thinks homosexuality is. If that person can understand that the "lifestyle" TV has (selectively) made over-familiar (promiscuity, drug use, irresponsible sex, shallow trendiness) is hardly inevitable (those "bad things" have their heterosexual equivalent) they may start to feel better about what you are telling them.

 

I also think stressing your ongoing love and need for them (if it's genuine) is a good thing to do. You can show them that your love is unconditional. Their love should be as well.

 

If you find them intractable and nasty, you may for a time have to define yourself away from them. As someone else suggested look for support systems. There are a surprising number, from churches to gay centers to even on line discussions.

 

Nothing can replace your family, but you need to keep centered in your good self-image with a strong understanding that you must live your life. You want them to be part of it. If they won't be (and that's the right word, 'can't be' isn't) you will eventually have to find your way without them. Loving yourself as a whole person (not just a "gay person") will give you the strength to live and fight on, if it comes to that. But I hope it doesn't.

 

Al

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Guest Theron

>I have seen a thread on

>this board about whether escorts

>tell their parents what they

>do. I think a

>couple of them said that

>they have good relationships with

>their parents and for that

>very reason they don't want

>to confront them with something

>that would upset them.

>I feel the same way

>about this. My duty

>to my parents is to

>love and help them.

>I can't pay them back

>for everything they've done for

>me by hurting them, so

>I won't if I can

>help it. I'm not

>saying that this is the

>right solution for everyone, but

>it is for me.

 

Hi :-)

 

I do not want to disrespect your opinion, but would like to offer another. There is a difference between one tellng their family they escort and that they are gay --escorting is something an individual chooses to do, but being gay is a sexual orientation, not a choice.

 

I do not feel it is necessary to go around telling everyone your sexual orientation, but in certain situations believe it is wrong to hide it. You mother, for example, will probably never tell anyone she is heterosexual, but at the same time she won't hide it, pretending to be single and never bringing your father with her to family gatherings. It is a natural expectation within families when you meet someone special that they become included. Gay people are not second class citizens, and are entitled to the same degree of respect. It's kind of hard to live openly, even if you never say you are gay, if you hide who you are to appease someone else. It is, in my opinion, not fair -- not to you, or your other half, if you have one, and not to your family because they are missing out on a big part of your life. Being gay is not just about having sex, it is also about building partnerships with a person you love, and to hide being gay you cut you family out of ever experiencing that.

 

Being someone's parent is a job that never ends. Even after your children become adults, they are still yours. Parents are charged with the responsibility of loving, supporting and helping their children to live happy well adjusted lives. They took on this responsibility when they elected to have children. Hiding who you are, which is very oppressive, to please your parents is about as silly as parents who live unhappily together and do not separate because it might upset their children. This is your life, and to hide that because it might be upsetting to someone else is too high of a price to pay, in my opinion.

 

Hugs,

 

Theron

Based Out of Chicago

http://theronb.homestead.com/files/home.html

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Guest Theron

>Though I don't see how it's

>helpful to push "gayness" into

>their faces.

 

Hi, Al :-)

 

I find this statement interesting. If you are inclined to tell us more about how one "pushes gayness" into he face of their family,I would be interested in hearing it. May I ask, if your sister shows up with the man she wants to marry at Thanksgiving is she pushing her heterosexuality into the families face? Maybe I'm reading a lot more into this than you imply, and that is why I am asking for more information. I believe being gay is a sexual orientation, not a choice, and that it develops in people as naturally as heterosexuality, just not as frequently. If that is the case how can anyone push anything in someone elses face simply by being who they really are?

 

Hugs,

 

Theron

Based Out of Chicago

http://theronb.homestead.com/files/home.html

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Guest 7Zach

I think the point was that, to the parent, in this case, the gayness of a child is hurtful and a disappointment. that said, he suggested that the son give some space to the parents to adjust, i.e., not just flaunt it in their faces, or to be confrontational. I understand ur point, but to me, respect and consideration of the feelings of the parent in the short run is a small price to pay for not behaving as the son would perhaps prefer. after the "short run", again it is a personal choice for each child to determine how to interact with the family, and is amply stated in the above posts. orientation or persuasion, that's not the issue here...either way, it is a fact that the son is gay.

i disagree with the analogy of the daughter bringing the boyfriend home, and just don't think it is on point at all. to me strength lies in courtesy; if the parents don't accept or adjust after what the son feels is a reasonable time, then consider other options.

on a personal note, my parents both died when i was in my late 20s/30s. there are regrets for the way i handled some things, and i suppose u only get that perspective with more age, together with their death...

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Guest EWC (Guest)

So many of these posters make the bland and absolutely untrue assumption that if your sister brought home a boyfried or husband that he would be accepted as a matter of course. I have personal knowledge of many cases where the rejection of a sibs or childs mate has nothing whatsoever to do with their gender. I have also known many cases where the family accepts the "life partner" because he/she is a great person even though they are personally appalled by the relationship. Judgemental people will continue to be judgemental, however sometimes they are willing to set the judgement aside in order to be happy.

EWC

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First off Thanks to everyone who has expressed their opinions on my situation. In my family gay is accepted only outside of the family. The only relavent thing to them is the sexual part of the relationship which probably was a big deal for me several years ago.

 

However now that I am more mature I am not just looking for a romp in the sack. I am no Angel though }> I led a very straight life much of my life even in dating to conceal my sexuality. The bad part is the guilt and shame that has been added to my life when I am try to cope with being gay.

 

I live a very successful life and am happy in at outward way. I am not personally happy since my life is void the presence of other gays. I recently as I mentioned in the 1st post met my 1st gay friend happened to be an escort I came to know.

 

I had another thread about being friends with escorts and just for the record I think things worked out fine so far but it is still early on in the getting to know each other time. I live my life based on the old concept of treat people how you would like to be treated. It has worked for me even til today except in the case of my family.

 

Lastly being part of the message board has given me more insight and experience from all the posters here. You guys for the most part have been a great support web and I hope one day I can be of service to you in something you post. For now thats it Thanks for your help and support.

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Guest Theron

>So many of these posters make

>the bland and absolutely untrue

>assumption that if your sister

>brought home a boyfried or

>husband that he would be

>accepted as a matter of

>course. I have personal

>knowledge of many cases where

>the rejection of a sibs

>or childs mate has nothing

>whatsoever to do with their

>gender. I have also

>known many cases where the

>family accepts the "life partner"

>because he/she is a great

>person even though they are

>personally appalled by the relationship.

> Judgemental people will continue

>to be judgemental, however sometimes

>they are willing to set

>the judgement aside in order

>to be happy.

>EWC

 

Hi :-)

 

I agree with you, not in all cases does a family accept the parnter of someone who is hetro...but usually they do, or at least try to -- BIG SMILE. Most gay people, at some point, do experience a conflict, (what will I do, how will I handle this, how will other people in my family handle it), when they first start thinking about bringing home someone they are dating for the first time. Some hetro people also experience this conflict, but not as frequently. If you are hetro most families will ask, who are you dating, when will we meet them? This is not always necessarily true if you are gay...well they might ask, if they do not know you are gay, but they will be expecting you will reply by telling them about a member of the opposite sex.

 

My point is, concerning sexual orientation, homosexuality, just like heterosexuality, is not a choice. Both are natural expressions, and one is not more correct than the other, even though one is expressed more frequently. As a result, people should be treated the same. If your sister can bring home her boyfriend, your son should be able to do the same thing. When you consider than any family can be affected by homosexuality, and that it is a natural development, I believe parents should be asking themselves the question early on, what is the sexual orientation of my child -- just like they wonder before they are born, what color will their eyes be, and what color of hair they will have. Probably what we need to cause this to come about is more education. It has not always been understood that homosexuality is not a choice, and that any family could be touched by it. Heck, I think they should address sexual orientation in every book for expectant mothers that tell about parenting, to help parents understand these are natural expressions, and that part of their role as a parent is to help their children feel comfortable with who they are.

 

Hugs,

 

Theron

Based Out of Chicago

http://theronb.homestead.com/files/home.html

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I would like to reinforce the point that parents don't automatically treat their gay children differently from their straight children. Many parents are as appalled at the thought of their child bringing home a partner of a different race, religion or ethnicity as someone of the same sex. If your parents love you, they want you to be happy, and if they see that the partner is a good individual who also loves you and makes you happy, they will probably eventually accept that individual even if they continue to reject his/her race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation in general.

 

However, it is worth remembering that not all parents do love their children--hard though that is for most of us to accept as a possibility about our own. If your parents see you as simply a possession or a projection of their own egos, then they are not likely to accept anything about you which contradicts their own desires. I wouldn't rush to that conclusion if they react at first with horror and condemnation--as several posters have said, they may need a lot of time to get their own emotional reactions under control--but if they remain adamant for a very long time, then you must consider the possibility that you can only find your own happiness by separating emotionally from them.

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Guest WetDream (Guest)

Theron: Can't fault you on your theories, but wonder how they play out in your own personal life. Were you close to your family before you came out? What was it like coming out to them? Were your parents supportive? How about your sibs? Has your relationship with your family improved? Do you bring boyfriends (or other close gay friends) to family functions? How are they received? Just curious. HUGS!

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>...but if they remain

>adamant for a very long

>time, then you must consider

>the possibility that you can

>only find your own happiness

>by separating emotionally from them.

 

Agreed. In my own case our family was made dysfunctional by religion, and breaking completely seemed the only way to get on with my life. Years later, a brother was in a terrible accident and, virtually in an instant, all our mountains of upset and anger were reduced to a handful of dust. It still amazes me when I think of it. We'll never be as close as we might have been, but, still, it's miles better than it was.

 

The moral being, make damn sure what you think is important really is important. Because values, it turns out, are context-specific.

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