Friday, September 7, 2007

Stages Parents go through when a kid "comes out"

First before the rest of this post I want to say thank you so much to all of you who either in person or in comments here or in emails have been SOOOOOO kind and encouraging.

And now back to the post. While surfing the internet the other night I encountered this article on stages that parents (and maybe all family) goes through when someone comes out. I do appreciate this. And I think I went through these stages just in accepting myself. The stages explained are: shock, denial, guilt, expression of feelings, personal decision-making, true acceptance.

O and also I did a good job taking care of myself and all last night. Although I didn't eat a fried twinkie I did eat a zinger (they are like a twinkie). It wasn't as good as I remember. And I am ready to camp! I hope it doesn't rain.

I've only posted part of the article here so for the other stages and more info on coming out click on one of these links below.
http://www.4therapy.com/consumer/life_topics/article/5532/441/Coming+Out+to+Your+Parents
http://www.outproud.org/brochure_coming_out.html
Excerpt:
Many families take the news as a temporary loss -- almost as a death -- of the son or daughter they have known and loved. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross describes the stages related to the death of a loved one as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Just as in grief, the first reaction of parents of gays and lesbians centers around separation and loss.

I remember one morning when my son was fixing breakfast at the stove, as I sat at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. I looked at him and wanted to say, "I don't know who you are, but I wish you'd leave and send my son Ted back."

STAGE 1: SHOCK
If They Have No Idea About You

An initial state of shock can be anticipated if you suspect that your parents have no idea what you're about to share. It may last anywhere from ten minutes to a week; usually it wears off in a few days. Shock is a natural reaction that we all experience (and need for a while) to avoid acute distress and unpleasantness.

Explain that you haven't been able to be completely honest with them and you don't like the distance that has occurred over the years. Affirm your love for them. Say it more than once. Although they may not initially respond positively to your profession of love, it will penetrate in the hours when they are alone and thinking about it.

Remind them that you are the same person today that you were yesterday: "You loved me yesterday, before I told; I haven't changed since then. I'm the same person today that I was yesterday."

STAGE 2: DENIAL
A Shield from Threat
Denial helps to shield a person from a threatening or painful message. It is different from shock because it indicates the person has heard the message and is attempting to build a defense mechanism to ward it off.

Denial responses take many forms: hostility ("No son of mine is going to be queer."), non-registering ("That's nice, dear, what do you want for dinner?"), non-caring ("If you choose that lifestyle, I don't want to hear about it."), or rejection ("It's just a phase; you'll get over it.").

Their perception of your homosexual orientation will be distorted by the messages they've received and accepted from our homophobic society. The manner in which the denial is expressed can range from a serene trance to hysterical crying or shouting. Many parents take a middle-of-the-road approach; they cry frequently.

We Thought He Was Confused
My wife and I were sure that our son had been caught up in some form of gay liberation activity that appealed to him because it seemed dangerous and exciting. We thought the media coverage about homosexuality probably attracted him and that he lacked maturity to know what he really wanted.

We insisted that he go once to a psychiatrist to deal with the anger that had been building for over a year. We agreed to visit the doctor, too, in a separate session. After two or three visits by Ted, the psychiatrist shredded our defense mechanism of denial: "I've counseled many gay young adults and I'm convinced that this is no passing fancy; to the best of my knowledge, your son is gay."


[go read the rest...]

1 comment:

Jay Cam said...
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