I Just Want to Live in Peace

Hi Jay,

I came out to my family as gay last week.  I was so nervous about it because I felt they would disown me and treat me badly.  Well, my worst fears were realized somewhat.  Surprisingly, my dad was very accepting and encouraging and so were my siblings, but my mom, man, she was livid.  She went through this rant about how she can’t believe that I would drop this on them like this and she said so much, she may as well said that I didn’t mean anything to her.  Now, I am one, I don’t allow people’s feelings or opinions get next to me, but my mom means a lot to me.  Her guidance has always mattered and I’ve never wanted to be the one to disappoint her.  However, my life is moving forward and I can no longer live in that realm of fear anymore.  I want to be at the least cordial with my mom, but I will not take disrespect.  I don’t care who it comes from.  I won’t stand for it.  Tell me how to handle this without creating undue drama and other issues.

-Just want to live in peace

Hi Just want to live in peace,

You have a lot on your plate.  Just like a plate of food, you have to eat it or do something with it but what you cannot do is allow it to just sit there.  This means you have to address it or it’ll turn spoil and just stink up the place.  You are in the same situation that many, many other people in life are in.   Many people are trying to reconcile their desire to live for themselves with the pressures of society on them.  They just want to live in peace, too.  This is not just LGBT people but for Heterosexual people as well.  I talk in length about this type of transition in my book, Turning 30, 40, 50.

You sound like you have your head together for the most part, but this situation with your mother is weighing on you and while you have your head together now, just like with a plate of food, if you don’t eat it, it’ll spoil and create a bad situation.  I would hate to learn that your strength in the matter has taken a turn for the worse because you failed to confront the issue.  Take it for me, never let wanting to avoid drama stop you from addressing a situation.  If you don’t, then the way you feel about it will fester and you will become passive-aggressive towards your mom and it’ll just cause your relationship to break down even further.

I was not able to discern if your coming out was done with the whole family or one member at a time.  If it was with the whole family in one setting, what did your father or your siblings have to say to your mom when she reacted the way she did?  I would ask your father and your siblings to join in on the discussion to help your mom come to terms with her disappointment.  It will be very important for you to pull on the support system that you have been given through them.  You said you did not want to disappoint her.  Listen, you cannot be responsible for her feelings of disappointment in this situation.  Consider this excerpt from Turning 30…,

[beautifulquote align=”full” cite=””]It’s not good to make personal decisions to cater to the desires and wants of another person if your decision has nothing to directly do with them and especially if it will in no way directly affect them outside of their emotions about it.  Let’s understand that their feelings about your personal decisions will be directed towards you and they are their feelings to have but they should not weigh in on you determining decisions that will ultimately make you happy as an individual.[/beautifulquote]

You and your mom are having a breakdown in communication with a misappropriation of expectations.  What you two need is to seek counseling from a professional therapist to help sort out your issues, individually and collectively.  This will also help your mom come to terms sooner than later with who you are.  Your mom is your mom forever and always and you have shown how much she means to you.  I would definitely take a step backward so that you do not say anything or do anything you do not mean as it concerns her.  This is another reason why a therapist will work best.  Even if you start therapy alone, at most, it will teach you how to deal with your hurts and how to not use those hurts to communicate with your mom.

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