Updated: Jan 10
With friends like these...
When your friends, classmates, coworkers or family will not accept you for who you are because of your sexual orientation or gender identification, it can be very painful and sad. Some people get angry and feel rejected, which is normal in that circumstance. However, when people feel unacceptable as a whole because of this experience, it takes a dark and ugly turn. This is probably the most hurtful experiences a person can go through in terms of the interpersonal realm of belonging to the LGBTQQIA+ community.
What do you do when this happens? A lot of it depends on the people with whom you're interacting. Sometimes, people just need time to accept the new reality. Other times, it can be very painful to interact with the same people, especially if there is no room for empathy or trying to see things from another perspective. Sometimes family therapy can be very helpful because they will hear it from a stranger who is neutral, whereas they might not hear it from their family member. I have seen families come to accept this over time and see that they are not losing anything by accepting their LGBTQQIA+ family members.
The most important thing to remember when coming out to the people closest to you is that you have done nothing wrong. You are not wrong. You are merely trying to be honest and authentic with people about whom you care.
Don't Take on their Shame!
Do not take on the shame or blame that others may try to impose on you because they are not ready to hear your truth. Stay grounded and realize that the conversation may take several instances of communicating.
When things get tense or people shut down, give them the space to process whatever they may be feeling. However, that doesn't mean that they get to reject you and sweep it under the rug. I have seen families do this and it just creates alienation and pain for everyone involved. The last thing you want is emotional estrangement from the people you need and want in your life.
However, if people refuse to treat you with respect or dignity, it is important to recognize that as well and not allow yourself to be emotionally abused by others, no matter how much you might love them.
I hope that this has been helpful and if there is anything that I can do to help you, please call for an appointment at 661-233-6771.