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Shame

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Hi. I accepted the fact that I'm gay around last summer and since then I've noticed that I feel an unbearable amount of shame whenever I think of starting a relationship with someone I like. I've thought about this a bit and I think that the main reason I feel ashamed of myself is that I'm scared of my parents finding out about my not-so-acceptable love life. I guess that in some subconscious level I still have some remnants of internalized homophobia (towards myself) and because of that I just won't let myself fall in love, fearing disappointing and disgracing my parents and losing their love. I suppose I would someday eventually be able to move on from that fear (probably after their death) but it's not fun waiting.... Any advice?

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  • I am in the same boat as you, except that I am past the shame but not past the fear. If you're still feeling shame then in my opinion there is a part of you that hasn't fully accepted who you are. I know it makes it so hard to constantly do things in the shadow of our parents and stressing about their opinions, but this is who you are and for anyone else to love you for who you really are then you need to have full confidence in your actions and to live the honest life that you deserve to experience. If you feel shame it might justify any implications that you are doing something wrong, which isn't true.

    Apart from shame what else do you feel when you think of starting a relationship with someone?

    • 17-24_m_w_h1_f3
      Comment

      When I said that I accepted myself, I meant that I admitted to myself that I am gay, not straight/bi/transgender/queer/asexual... end of story. I think parent-shame concept is a little bit more intensive in my case since I've always had a very limited social life (a self-titled loner) and so my parents have always been that constant facet in my life. I'm not saying I'm closing to them in terms of sharing my opinions with them or expressing myself towards, but close as in dependent and accustomed to them. So I think that my shame isn't from me thinking that I'm doing something wrong by being gay, but by disappointed and devastating my parents by trying to live my life to the fullest (in both a platonic and romantic sense) and possibly destroying my current relationship with my parents. I don't think it's a matter of confidence in my case but more like a giant fear of not living the life that my parents want for me and disappointing them. Growing up in a conservative Evangelical family as an only child, I just became the center of attention for my parents and I guess that if I simply try to be happy then it'll just kill them. :/

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    • 17-24_m_w_h1_f3
      Comment

      I don't want to seem like some Simpsons' addict but I have the most appropriate sentence for my case :P. Maude Flanders (a conservative Christian) taught us the joy of shame and the shame of joy
      Appropriate huh?

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    • 17-24_m_b_h3_f1
      Comment

      I'm a bit of a loner myself. It is difficult. I don't know how I got past the shame issue. But at some point I think I figured out that I need to persevere through difficult times.

      With me, I hide my secrets from them in most things. It isn't easy, but with some things they don't need to know, at least in my case, if it will hurt them, why I should I bring that hurt to them?

      Sorry if I sounded like a rounded ramble.

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    • 17-24_m_w_h1_f3
      Comment

      Hiding secrets, I'm okay with. I don't even care if I never come out to them. But, still, shame... Right here :)

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  • 17-24_f_w_h3_f2
    Experience

    I can very much relate to this. I do also feel ashamed of myself sometimes when I think of the people I might disappoint or the actual homophobia I might experience if they find out. It's the fear to disappoint, of being rejected, and of how they would judge who I really am.

    I've had experiences where fear of this and that has prevented me from going on with my true feelings towards my girlfriend (when we first started dating). Things were going great at the beginning until one night everything started sinking in (it's my first relationship with anyone and that was when I also accepted or came in terms with my sexuality). I basically had a this-is-it moment which absolutely terrified me. Told myself that this should not go on and just had to end it. Rough night as you would imagine and a miserable day came next. During the time I wasn't with her, I realized how I'm letting these ridiculous things get in the way of what is really making me happy, being with this person. So I overcame this fear of disappointment and became aware of the fact that what I had done was wrong. Right when I thought it was too late, I get a call from her! Told her everything, apologized, and have been together ever since.

    I'm not trying to advise you but sharing this experience and hoping it will be helpful in some way.

    Reply to Awktopus
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  • Default-avatar
    Advice

    Shame is a useful thing when it comes to restraining ourselves from doing things that are wrong. For instance, if I am cruel to someone, I should feel ashamed, that's a healthy manifestation of shame.

    However, people can feel shame for things that they consciously understand to be the right thing but still have unconscious inhibitions about or don't have a sound understanding about, or about sociological things. I've felt ashamed of liking a song, for instance, not for moral reasons but stupid social ones.

    I may be sounding like a broken record the amount that I say this, but you need to investigate for yourself and determine the basis of your inhibitions. You need to have a sound understanding within yourself of what you believe to be right and wrong and WHY you believe that. The why is essential! It is so essential that I cannot emphasize it strongly enough, you cannot base this on endless assumptions or unsupported conceptions.

    As for your parents, it is natural and healthy to not want to disappoint them or bring them sadness. That said, you need to have a foundation of truth for yourself, and when and if you determine sincerely what is right to do you must forge ahead and not be deterred from that path by social discomforts. As always, strive to preserve unity, but at the same time you must be truthful to yourself.

    Reply to Peter
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  • 17-24_m_w_h1_f3
    Comment

    Seriously? The best answer I get is: I have no idea how you can get rid of it but it eventually goes away on its own when my emotional wire gets excited? This site seriously needs some certified couselors

    • 17-24_f_w_h2_f1
      Comment

      I read through the post and you seem to know exactly why you're feeling guilty and what the problem is. You're the only one who can really help yourself. You asked for advice and you got it. I'm sorry if we were unable to provide a switch you could use to turn the guilt off.

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  • 25-34_f_b_h2_f3
    Comment

    Seriously, your parents could get angry and hate you. But if you allow yourself to feel shame, the moment they do feel regret in not letting you be whoever you were going to turn out to be, love whoever you are going to turn out to love, the feeling of regret will then be too immense for them- do you want to put them through that? Put yourself in their shoes, imagine you were homophobic and your child is gay and he feels shame before he even tells you. Wouldn't you hate to have caused him to belittle himself and prove you right about him leading an unstable and wrong life? Wouldn't you feel so much better- even if you don't show it to him- that he's strong, shameless, proud to have been honest with the people who have loved and raised him? Feel guilty, it's normal to feel guilty. But acknowledge that it shouldn't be there. The guilt is always normally there but eventually you'll have to remove it because it just shouldn't normally be there! We live once, we are given a chance to look deep inside ourselves and find out what makes us happy in this world. No matter what religion says it's wrong, it's God will understand you.

    Reply to Naima
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  • HI justthat
    the simple answer is :
    keep yourself in shadows until you be able to support yourself financially, then you can come-out to your parents (if you insist) with no fear of living in poverty. and please don't label yourself just as a gay person, because the real life is much bigger than the sexual life so you must develop your skills to play an important role in your society, so that you will feel good about yourself.

    • 17-24_m_w_h1_f3
      Comment

      It has nothing to do with my financial situation at all. It's about internalized shame and fear of losing my parents' love.

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    • 17-24_f_b_h1_f2
      Experience

      i thought family would love us for anything no matter who we are. after they found out i led a miserable life full of their disrespect and rejection. i did everything to earn their love back. nothing. sometimes i wonder if i did the right thing by being honest. all that talk about how you're their kid and they'll love you no matter what is just lies. the moment they feel you dishonor them they will let go and forget you ever existed. it hurts me but i wonder if it ever hurts them too and if we can be reconsiled in the future. its sad but you need to make wise choices about what you decide to tell them. if they find out in a different way, well, thats a different story. i secretly pray that they feel so guilty for what they put me through. i deserve better. not asking for anything more than their love and acceptance of who i really am.

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    • 17-24_m_w_h1_f3
      Comment

      Actually, I think the dishonor my parents would feel if they knew wouldnt be classified as dishonor but more like the realization that their son is possibly for eternity within the infernal fires of hell... Yup, its more of that than what the neighbors will be thinking

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  • 17-24_m_w_h1_f3
    Comment

    I already know the why and the why is actually not unsupported. I know that if my parents even felt a hint of non-heteronormativism within me, then they will probably go ahead and kill themselves or have a heart-attack,literally. Knowing the amount of pain I will undoubtably cause them through discovery and the high probabilty of losing they're love, I can neither out myself to them or build healthy relationships with other guys for fear of the worst of the worst (which is the most probably result). Truth and social discomforts? My situation has nothing to do with truth and society (I don't feel myself as a part of society and I love to lie except to myself since it's just futile:P)

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