Advice needed: Reacting to disapproving parents

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 22, 2011 10:09 AM GMT
    Hey guys...so I told my parents about 2 weeks ago that I'm gay...outcome not so good. They pretty much said I'm making a fool out of myself and didn't really want to talk to me. I know, awesome right?

    So then they call me the other day...I was hoping they would be cool with it. But they called me selfish, immature, and that I only chose this because it's a 'popular' thing to do right now. They even said that if i did start to date someone, he isn't welcome in their house.

    So instead of getting defensive and yelling back, I just calmly told them that I appreciate the honesty but this is my life and this is what i've chosen...only time is going to make you realize that. Other than that, if they choose to reject me, that's on them...not me. I'm a grown-ass man and don't need their approval anymore.

    So the question I have is...did I say the right thing? It still really stings when your own parents reject ya...but right now I think I just need to back off and give it time. thoughts?

    Brad
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    Mar 22, 2011 10:34 AM GMT
    Hey man,

    Sorry to hear about your parents reaction. Do I think you communicated properly to them, "yes". Time will heal their pain and /or anger; otherwise, welcome to your own life.

    Mike
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    Mar 22, 2011 10:44 AM GMT
    Popular to be gay? Fiiinally! lol

    You did way better than most. My response to my parents in a similar situation was incredibly worse.

    icon_eek.gif
  • BardBear

    Posts: 533

    Mar 22, 2011 10:46 AM GMT
    Long ago, I learned the cliche that "anger is fear" is quite true. They called you and were angry with you. But the truth is just the opposite. They petrified at your announcement.

    If you did the right thing? Absolutely. In fact, you handled it like a pro. I wish I could give you more than kudos for that.

    They'll come around. In the meanwhile, hang in there. And you did the correct thing--being yourself before them. Not many men can say that.

    Peace,
    Bardy
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    Mar 22, 2011 10:48 AM GMT
    I'm sure it feels good to finally get that out of the way. You did something that some gay men will never do or lose the chance to. Congratulations.

    It still puzzles me that in 2011 gay men are still suppressed in society. This post makes me so thankful for my family.
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    Mar 22, 2011 11:17 AM GMT
    wow...thanks so much! very encouraging!
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    Mar 22, 2011 11:24 AM GMT
    *hugs*
    Sorry to hear this man. I don't know what to say. I've never been faced with a situation such as yours. I'd be the wrong person to offer my opinion.

    I think you know your parents the best out of anyone out here and only you could be the judge whether what you said is enough or correct.
    If you feel that there wasn't anything else you can say to them at the moment, then you're gold.

    With me, I personally like using disappointment. I'd be disappointed in my parents if they had a problem with my sexuality.
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    Mar 22, 2011 11:30 AM GMT
    You handled it as well as you possibly could. It would be very tempting and natural to raise your voice and lash back in an effort to defend yourself, but you kept cool and calmly explained the situation. Kudos for that!

    I do agree with the other poster about the "this is what I have chosen" phrase. That could allow them to believe you have a choice about being gay when maybe what you meant is you have chosen to be open and honest about who you are.

    In any event, I do hope that they will come around once they've had time to fully process your announcement. I'm grateful that my parents (and family in general) took it very well. Much better than I expected.

    Best of luck and congratulations on your moment of liberation!
  • fitnesshound

    Posts: 36

    Mar 22, 2011 11:40 AM GMT
    Hey Brad:

    I echo what's already been said. You did the right thing and it's inspiring that you were able to hold your ground in gentle way while they expressed their anger and rejection.

    It's been said, but they're still in reaction mode. Let them react. If you otherwise got along with your parents, then I believe they will eventually come around.

    Remember, they probably don't know much about what being gay really means or what kind of lifestyle you'll actually be living...I'm sure they fear the worst. You'll eventually show them through your actions and how you're living your life that you're still the son they remember. Likewise for your future boyfriends/partners, they fear who that person will be, but once they see you in a relationship that fulfills you...they'll see their fears for what they are.

    Good luck and keep the faith! icon_smile.gif

    Rob

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    Mar 22, 2011 11:46 AM GMT
    I'm sorry it worked out that way for you. People can say hurtful things when just don't know what to say.

    We(my bf and I) got it both ways when coming out. My parents accepted us not problems, well a little mother crying, but hey that's not bad. By my BF's parents, well that's a different story. After telling them, it took over a year for them to believe at all. He had to have that second conversation with them that sounds like it went similar to yours. He called to tell her it was not "a Phase", that I didn't have him trapped and confused and that we were engaged. She lost it, laughed like an insane person. She Disowned him, asked him to change his name and never speak with anyone in the family again. Told him we were going to hell and quoted some bible passages. My Bf was very calm and clear with her. We are together, I'm his mate, I will be his husband. He told her if she made him choose between her and I, she would lose and he would choose me....
    What the point of all this... it's been 9 month since it all went down. She has called to say she wants her family back. She has sent letters and apologized, she's invited us to come to dinner. She says she really didn't understand. So people can come around in time. And being the one that stays calm and sticks to what you believe and need to do can come out a winner in the end!
    Best of luck.
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    Mar 22, 2011 11:46 AM GMT
    Your reply was very well put. Give em some time to cool down and get used to it, (it might take a few years).
    so... patience my young padawan...
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    Mar 22, 2011 11:49 AM GMT
    Brad: Sorry to hear this, but good response to them. Little else you could do without having a screaming match, which usually makes matters worse.

    Interesting side note: I'm increasingly hearing this "popular" or "fad" explanation from the Right to account for the growing acceptance of gays in the US. Not sure of your parents' political or religious persuasion, but this reply is being given by that camp more & more, going back about 10 years now

    As they perceive they're losing ground in this cultural war (and hence becoming more desperate & dangerous, and trying to quickly pass more anti-gay legislation) they refuse to abandon the discredited notion that being gay is a choice. And in order to explain-away this growing trend in the population they portray it as merely a fad, like a clothing style, or the use of words & phrases that come into the language for a brief time. This may be the first time I've heard it used on an RJ member.
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    Mar 22, 2011 11:57 AM GMT
    Hugs.

    You handled the situation extremely well, and there was very little you could do to make them react any differently. Give your parent some time, it's not exactly easy on them either, they were obviously very emotional about the whole thing still. Hopefully as time goes on, their emotions will subside and become more open to your sexuality.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Mar 22, 2011 12:01 PM GMT
    Brad,
    Good response, always make a reasoned response. Definitely don't escalate the argument whenever you happen to have it with them on the subject. Go on about your life. I hope they will eventually come around,
    especially when they see you are living your life in a quality, successful and
    "happy" way.

    Sorry you had this happen, but give it time....
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    Mar 22, 2011 12:08 PM GMT
    I have nothing to add, but I want to put my support in writing for you.

    On some level, you have to be hurt... you cannot avoid the hurt of being rejected by your parents. But feel sorry for them; while they did something hurtful to you, it is because of their fear. It may not get better with your relationship with them, but your relationship with YOURSELF will be very good and you will be stronger because of it.

    I want to give you a big cyber-hug. You deserve it, big guy!
  • sea_buddy

    Posts: 143

    Mar 22, 2011 12:19 PM GMT
    Good job on making it over that mountain, man. The rest is a downhill slope that I hope your parents join you on.

    I think you handled yourself well. I think that it's important to explain that it's not quite a choice (unless it somehow is for you, then congrats on that ha). Also, it's important to understand that this is a grieving process for them like it is for anyone in their situation. When you were born they had all these hopes and dreams for you and they carried those dreams with you throughout the years. Give 'em some time to collect themselves. Try not to take this period too personally (which is easier said than done). After a while, approach it again and let them know that you're still the same son and that you're proud of who you are and you care about them.
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    Mar 22, 2011 12:37 PM GMT
    How long did it take you yourself to accept and come to terms with being gay? Years, most likely.
    How long have your parents had to process this? Two weeks.
    In most cases it won't take them as long as it took you to understand and accept. Just from observing you as you grew up they must already have had some inklings.
    Now they are connecting the dots and asking themselves the time-honored question "Was it something we did wrong?" Sooner or later, most likely sooner, they'll realize the answer is no, make the necessary adjustments, and love you even more for your efforts to make your relationship an honest one.

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    Mar 22, 2011 12:43 PM GMT
    First off, congrats on coming out to your folks. I'm sorry they're so resistant and unaccepting.

    You mentioned having told them that "this is the path I have chosen" when in fact -- it chose you. Unless you were truly BI and decided to stick with men only, it is seldom a decision one actually makes. Perhaps consciously you decided to be honest with yourself and others, but I suspect that if they knew that you didn't chose this, but are coming to grips with who you really are, they might at least listen.

    Of course, far be it from me to tell you what to do. It's scary and you're through the worst of it.
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    Mar 22, 2011 12:44 PM GMT
    TexDef07 saidHow long did it take you yourself to accept and come to terms with being gay? Years, most likely.
    How long have your parents had to process this? Two weeks.
    In most cases it won't take them as long as it took you to understand and accept. Just from observing you as you grew up they must already have had some inklings.
    Now they are connecting the dots and asking themselves the time-honored question "Was it something we did wrong?" Sooner or later, most likely sooner, they'll realize the answer is no, make the necessary adjustments, and love you even more for your efforts to make your relationship an honest one.



    Well put. I agree with this.
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    Mar 22, 2011 12:52 PM GMT
    i think their reaction will change in time, especially when they learn more facts about what it means and feels to be gay. but it will become your resposnibility to teach them, epspecially if they dont have any other gay people close to them to look to. people are naturally scared of what they don't know.

    but the key of the game is for them to see that you are the same person when they thought you were straight and that you are not ashamed of who you are. if you show any signs of shame, they will feel that they are on the "right" side and that you are doing wrong. you never win them over. confidence will,

    but one thing in your description that has me thinking is that you wrote "this is what i have chosen". not sure exactly how you meant it, but if i'm confused, so could your parents and they need to understand fully. i don't know anybody who chose to be gay. we just are. you may have chosen to come to terms to it, but be very clear with them.

    good luck, and congrats for taking that difficult step!
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    Mar 22, 2011 12:53 PM GMT
    go_vols saidSo instead of getting defensive and yelling back, I just calmly told them that I appreciate the honesty but this is my life and this is what i've chosen...only time is going to make you realize that. Other than that, if they choose to reject me, that's on them...not me. I'm a grown-ass man and don't need their approval anymore.

    So the question I have is...did I say the right thing?
    Yes.

    And congrats! *hugs* icon_biggrin.gif
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    Mar 22, 2011 12:57 PM GMT
    chosen to be gay? i think you should have told them this is how you were born
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 738

    Mar 22, 2011 1:01 PM GMT
    Big hug Brad. You did what you needed to do and you've accepted the consequences in an honorable way.

    Your parents should be proud. Unfortunately, they are hurt by the fact that their son is not who they thought he was. As was posted already, remember that this is the beginning of their journey.

    They're processing this news for the first time so give them time. Were you cool with being gay when you first starting to come to the realization? Compound that with generational differences and probably a lot of misinformation on their part (I'm guessing from the "it's popular" response they gave you); and it is understandable that they are hurt and scared (and perhaps guilty with "what did we do wrong" scenario racing through their heads) and projecting that as anger.

    Give them time, be patient and remember two wrongs don't make a right...so continue to love and support them without compromising who you are. Show them by your words and actions that you are still the son that they love and respect and eventually they will come around.
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    Mar 22, 2011 1:02 PM GMT
    go_vols saidHey guys...so I told my parents about 2 weeks ago that I'm gay...outcome not so good. They pretty much said I'm making a fool out of myself and didn't really want to talk to me. I know, awesome right?

    So then they call me the other day...I was hoping they would be cool with it. But they called me selfish, immature, and that I only chose this because it's a 'popular' thing to do right now. They even said that if i did start to date someone, he isn't welcome in their house.

    So instead of getting defensive and yelling back, I just calmly told them that I appreciate the honesty but this is my life and this is what i've chosen...only time is going to make you realize that. Other than that, if they choose to reject me, that's on them...not me. I'm a grown-ass man and don't need their approval anymore.

    So the question I have is...did I say the right thing? It still really stings when your own parents reject ya...but right now I think I just need to back off and give it time. thoughts?

    Brad


    You did the only sensible thing to do. It's not your problem. They'll either come around, or won't, but, either way, it's not in your control, nor should you worry about it.
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    Mar 22, 2011 1:03 PM GMT
    Metamorphosis saidchosen to be gay? i think you should have told them this is how you were born
    To me, it sounds like he's referring to the choice to live openly rather than closeted.