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vikingguy
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I'm sure many of you have had a similar experience with parents in that through childhood and teenage years they perhaps had a thought in the back of their mind that their son might be "different", and so when I came out to them they weren't totally surprised.

 

But I have a friend who is 21 and recently came out to his parents. He was the "typical" boy ... whose interests included rock music, the martial arts and motorcycle racing. His parents were completely shocked when he came out to them. And it's been downhill ever since.

 

From my perspective, his father has been dealing with it as well as possible and is trying to maintain the relationship they had over the last many years ... but it is somewhat strained.

 

However, his relationship with his mother is totally shot to hell. It's been 6 months since he came out to her, but her regular phone calls always digress into "going to hell" speeches. She doesn't want him around his teenage sisters because she doesn't want them to know.

 

It breaks my heart to see the agony he is in. Any words of wisdom out there?

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I came out officially to my parents when I was 19. Kicked that closet door right off the hinges. It's been downhill ever since. For a while, I tried to force the subject, to no avail. I suggested PFLAG, but they had no desire whatsoever to challenge their beliefs. Eventually, I stopped going home about 10 years ago. I've accepted that we won't have the sort of relationship I'd have liked to have had. A couple of years ago, my mother sent me a card apologizing for any pain she'd ever caused in my life. I was happy for her to be able to do such a thing. I realized that this didn't mean we were going to have some sort of functional relationship and that this gesture was more about her assuaging any feelings of guilt she may have had.

 

Words of wisdom? Well, Don't force the issue. Let them know if they ever want to talk about it, you're open to that. I'd rather have honesty and no relationship with my parents to be living a lie and have a sham of a relationship.

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"A couple of years ago, my mother sent me a card apologizing for any pain she'd ever caused in my life. I was happy for her to be able to do such a thing. I realized that this didn't mean we were going to have some sort of functional relationship and that this gesture was more about her assuaging any feelings of guilt she may have had."

 

Now this is sad! Don't know your family, and you know your own better than anyone else, but imo, it seems that your Mom was reaching out to you and trying to connect again, but that you let your own bitterness and hatred shut that down! So who is worse? IMO, you are, for shutting out your Mom and refusing to work with her in re-establishing a functional relationship, especially as she made the first move! :-(

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Your friend should hook up with PFLAG even if his parents aren't ready.

 

Relationships with parents can't be generalized down to to a "One size fits all" solution. Every relationship is different. But the PFLAG folks will help your friend deal with whatever he's dealing with, and they'll be there with open arms if his parents are ever ready for it (some never are).

 

Some people just aren't ready to deal with it. It's sad, but that's humanity.

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>Now this is sad! Don't know your family, and you know your

>own better than anyone else, but imo, it seems that your Mom

>was reaching out to you and trying to connect again, but that

>you let your own bitterness and hatred shut that down! So who

>is worse? IMO, you are, for shutting out your Mom and

>refusing to work with her in re-establishing a functional

>relationship, especially as she made the first move!

 

Sadder than you think Hawk. We got together for dinner 6mos. after she sent me the card. I thought we had a great talk. I'd not seen her for about 7 years. She cried, I didn't. I felt like I'd cried all my tears over the relationship years before and yes, even begun to accept that we'd never have any sort of relationship again. I also know my mother and I knew better than to get my hopes up for any sort of working relationship. Dinner was Dec. '02, her b'day April 1, '03, I called her to wish her a Happy Birthday. She called me on my 40th B'day, June 3, '03. I'd hoped we could get together again, but she's not returned over a dozen calls I've made to her. Most recently, she forwarded some mail to me that had inadvertently found it's way there. It meant so much to me just to see my name in her handwriting

on the envelope. Got my hopes up again. No personal note, just the forwarded mail. Nevertheless, I called and left yet another message and sent a note thanking her. That was 3 mos. ago, nothing.

 

There's no "hatred and bitterness" on my part, at least not anymore. I went through that period several years ago and have forgiven them. Actually, all things considered, they did the best they possibly could raising me. I never wanted for anything growing up, except for emotional support. I internalized SO much after basically being dismissed for trying to seek my parent's help with being bullied in school. It started in 5th grade with the namecalling, "Sissy" in grade school, "Queer" in middle school and finally "Faggot" by high school. If I told the teachers, it only got worse with physical abuse. "Turn the other cheek." So...I took it. Eventually after years of therapy, I was able to forgive those guys in school. I had to allow that little boy in me to be heard, to heal and for my pain to be acknowleged as genuine. But, I had to learn, grow and move on.

 

So, (backstory) when my mom accidentally overheard my end of an explicit phone conversation with the 1st guy I'd ever had sex with when I was 16, it was like every bad Lifetime movie rolled into one. They wanted me to see a psychiatrist, talk to our preacher, file charges against the guy because he was 18 and I was 16. They thought he'd pursued me, but I quickly set them straight that I'd pursued him. They wanted to send me to a different high school. Meanwhile, horrified by their reaction, I retreated to the closet--playing it off as a phase. But, by my sophomore year in college, I was ready to tell them the truth.

Initially, they put on a good face. For about 6 mos. Then it started going downhill. They refused to pay for school anymore when I switched from Pre-Law to Fashion Merchandising...too gay. Worst of all, my mother was alienating me from my younger brothers and sisters, all still at home. That hurt alot.

 

Eventually, I grew tired of how differently they were treating me from my 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Holidays were incredibly painful. Gradually, I stopped going home. They NEVER called me. My youngest brother and sister have lived in Columbus for several years now and they've never called me once the MANY times they've come up to visit.

 

I realized they were toxic for me. I had no desire for such a dysfunctional relationship in my life. I've not closed the door on the possibility, but I'd tried and been rebuffed repeatedly. I can't go through that sort of pain anymore. I'd be thrilled if we could have more, but I know that if after 23 years, odds are it's not going to happen. I also know that it's alot to ask of your parents to expect them to accept their gay, recovering alcoholic, bipolar, prostitute son. It's definitely alot to ask of parents who I'd never seen hug/kiss or say I LOVE YOU to each other. It's alot to ask of parents who I'd never heard have a conversation about anything serious. It was Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Think It in our family. The good that's come out of all this is how important it is to honestly express your feelings and it's good enough to just be myself and people would love me. I've found some of the most wonderful unconditional-loving, supportive friends who've become my "chosen family".

 

That's probably way more than you wanted to know Hawk and that's pretty much all the "wisdom" I have left to share today.:-)

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Guest zipperzone

>>Now this is sad! Don't know your family, and you know your

>>own better than anyone else, but imo, it seems that your Mom

>>was reaching out to you and trying to connect again, but

>that

>>you let your own bitterness and hatred shut that down! So

>who

>>is worse? IMO, you are, for shutting out your Mom and

>>refusing to work with her in re-establishing a functional

>>relationship, especially as she made the first move!

 

 

>That's probably way more than you wanted to know Hawk and

>that's pretty much all the "wisdom" I have left to share

>today.:-)

 

That was a very touching story and probably not all that easy for you to tell us. I feel your pain and I think that your assessment that it isn't going to get any better is probably acurate.

 

I hope your telling it like it is will show people like Hawk that they shouldn't be so quick to give flip opinions when they know very little (if anything) of the background.

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>That was a very touching story and probably not all that easy

>for you to tell us.

 

Yes, M4M does indeed have a serious and deep side to it. This has been one of the most thought-provoking threads in quite a while… and the postings here have included some of the most sincere and genuine expression of feelings I have ever read on this site… We may not agree with all the solutions but they all seem heartfelt and honest…

 

Hopefully a lot of good will result from this discussion…

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Thanks for sharing your story. Sadly it has been repeated many times by gay persons all over this country. One reason suicide rates amongst gay teens is so high.

 

As far as advice to the first poster. A support group such as PFLAG might help. He needs support from someone or group so he knows he is not alone in the world. He can't make his parents accept him, only hope.

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Guest bighugbearphx

I agree that PFLAG should be the first call, even if you "know" his parents would never go to a meeting or voluntarily meet with them. Most of their volunteers are used to this, and have a knack for "ambushing" parents at home, as kind of an intervention.

 

Many PFLAG groups have someone with a deep religious background for dealing with parents like this. They can match them verse-for-verse on any bible quotations that dictate damnation! If the local PFLAG doesn't have someone like that, they may be able to suggest a local MCC pastor or "straight but not narrow" minister who can have the needed conversation with the parents. They will take the information better coming from a "person of the cloth" so to speak.

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Some parents can learn and grow, others cannot, no matter who talks to them. The fact that your friend is only 21 means that the mother is probably reasonably young and has time to change, but it may not happen, particularly if she gets other reinforcement from her religious friends that tell her the son is going to hell. My best friend was outed to his parents when he was 24, and although his father was fairly reasonable after he got over the shock, his mother maintained her anti-gay stance--buttressed with religious rhetoric--right up to his death from AIDS thirty years later; unlike the movies, people don't always see the light and reconcile tearfully in a crisis. Your friend is the one who needs the counseling more than his mother.

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>unlike the movies, people

>don't always see the light and reconcile tearfully in a

>crisis. Your friend is the one who needs the counseling more

>than his mother.

 

Excellent point, Charlie, and one that we often overlook. I was lucky that (a) my parents were cool with having a gay kid, and (b) I had Derek already (or did he have me?), so I really didn't care about my parents' reaction at the time. Most kids are not that double lucky, and they need all the help and support they can get.

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From another perspective I would submit that the hardships and painful relationship that Jeff has had with his family has tempered his spirit and formed a gem of personality rarely seen in this existance. I have known a few folks whose personal self has been created through great personal sacrifice and great personal sadness. I think Jeff is one of these persons. I know the honesty and brilliance that shines from his soul is one of the joys of knowing him. The young man in the original post may be in the process of developing an inner strength from his family's negligence and mean-spiritedness. If not then I suggest also the PFLAG group to give him a centered sense of his own worth.

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I'm a firm believer in What doesn't Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger. Hopefully Vikingguys's friend has more of a support system of friends and other family that will be there for him. He should also be the one to tell his sisters, who most likely already have a clue. I remember when my youngest sister was 14 she sent me a letter telling me that she had been wondering what was up between me and our parents and she'd figured it out. She said that she knew I was gay and that it was no big deal to her. She then went on to say that clothes would make a great gift for her upcoming birthday, lol. Twenty years later, I still have that letter and recently read it to her on her 34th birthday.

 

Thanks and Hugs to all of you for your kind words.:-)

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>I was clubbing one night and unfortunately ran into a fellow

>coworker (lesbian). The next day everyone at work "heard the

>news."

>

>I couldn't handle people looking at me as "the gay guy" so I

>quit.

>

>I can't even begin to imagine coming out to my parents. The

>closet is safe for me :)

 

I feel sad that Society forces some of us to act like you twinkbolover, but of course your life is yours and I respect totally what you decide to do with it.

Nevertheless NOONE should have the right to make you feel bad for what you are.

 

JeffOH, I really appreciate your way of sharing such a painful story, but I see in a way you survived quite well it and matured from that.

I came out when I was 20 (22 years ago)in Italy, and apart from an initial shock from m parents and one of my sisters, my family and myself worked it out and I have had for years a totally relaxed relationship with them.

 

I wish that the mother of vikinguy's friend could read Jeff's posting...

 

PAOLO

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I've been around M4M for a long (looooooong) time, but seldom feel moved to express myself in the forum.

 

However, for some reason JeffOh's response really affected me. I'm actually sitting here crying for his pain and rejoicing in his realizations that he could do something to make it work for him. My sincere congratulations to him for his handling of his situation.

 

My own parents greeted my coming out with the realization that they could introduce me as their "gay son" so that they would look more liberal and accepting to their friends. It was all about them and very little about me. I didn't speak to them for years because they would not accept my partner as a family member.

 

I forgave them many years later because I did not want to carry that particular baggage any longer.

 

My suggestion is that you remain a friend to your 21 year old friend and reassure him that it is nothing he did. Some of us win in the parent sweepstakes and some of us lose. As he grows older, if he can keep this from coloring his behaviour, he can, as I have, draw a loving network of 'family' - both gay and straight - around himself.

 

I think we cause ourselves over our lifetimes, enough hurt that we don't need to take on the burden of someone else's cruelty - even if it is our parents.

 

His friend should also take the control out of their hands and tell his sister - then it is her choice how she chooses to react.

 

I once had a close friend (?) tell me that "God does not approve." There is no reasoning with this kind of bigotry. Drop them and move on.

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Fear and ignorance are very difficult things to change and overcome. It takes a lot of time and requires much patience, compassion and perseverance, more so for the individual who opted to "come out."

 

Parents rarely meet their children's expectations, whether the children are gay or not. Love demands a certain acceptance for limitations and a willingness to endure some pain and heartbreak. Hopefully, if all goes reasonably well and a lot of time passes, the young man will one day have a relationship with his parents. Most likely it will never meet expectations. But a "little" relationship can offer more than no relationship at all.

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Guest jeffOH

N13 and xafnndapp, Thanks! I do appreciate the comments. I suppose I decided years ago, that I could either live a "Safe" life or an "Authentic" one. I chose to live my life openly and honestly and let the chips fall where they may. I couldn't imagine continuing to live the LIE that I had been living from ages 16-19 for the rest of my life. Some people have an easier time than I did coming out and some have it even worse.

 

Having worked as an escort for 14 years, I've seen firsthand the damage living in the closet can do. Societal pressures were even greater for many of these older married guys to be "normal". I understand more than ever the situations many of these men are in, and I sympathize with them. Coming out is never an easy thing to do, at whatever age. I'm glad I came out at a relatively young age, because I think it's something that gets harder to do the older and more entrenched you become in your closeted ways.

 

I do respect someone's decision to remain closeted, unless they're actively working in the political arena against equality for gays. For example, that disgusting pig, (R-CA) Rep. David Drier who was passed over as a replacement for Tom DeLay, or the creepy Ken Mehlman RNC chair, both cowards who have REFUSED to answer direct questions about their sexuality. They want to enjoy their political power and enjoy their gay "lives" in private, while actively working for a party that would use gay people as a political football. Or, as in the case of Drier, voting for legislation that would ban gay people from adopting children. That's where I draw the line on respecting someone's decision to remain closeted.

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>I'd rather have a relationship with my parents than PFLAG.

>

A more precise statement would be that you would rather have a dishonest relationship with your parents than a potentially hostile one. That's certainly your decision to make and not for me to judge. I thank God (well, not really }( !) that I come from a good atheist (and scientific) family, so I wasn't really afraid of rejection. My own personality is that I would rather be accused of being anything other than dishonest. I believe that if I had fundamentalist or ignorant parents, I would prefer to risk complete rejection rather than live a lie (and people are living to pretty ripe ages, these days--my parents could live until I'm 60!).

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