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Scared for my life due to family threats

Discussion in 'Family, Friends, and Relationships' started by waywardchild, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. waywardchild

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    Sorry for the long rant, but this is a really serious situation. I'm 23 and I told my family I was gay a few weeks ago and I expected their reaction to be bad as I've always known they're homophobic, but I never expected it to be this bad. My parents and sisters all said I was selfish for being willing to put them through this misery and when I said I wanted to move out, they said that I didn't appreciate anything they had done for me in the past and that I had no respect for them. I tried telling them I appreciate everything they've done, but I need to have a future and it was never going to be with a girl, but they wouldn't listen and said that I would lose them if I chose to act on it. When I said I needed to move out, they threatened to take me to Lebanon (which is very conservative) against my will. When I said I wasn't going, my dad said he was going to confine me to my home and he actually grabbed my phone to call my job and tell them that I was quitting so that he could keep a constant eye on me, saying he would never let me out of his sight. He then said that I would never be allowed to see my supportive friends and he threatened to take my phone and laptop away from me so I would never be able to communicate with them. My family is under the impression that the few gay people in my job influenced me to come out and be proud so I'm forbidden from seeing any of my friends outside of work any more. The only reason I'm allowed to still go to work is because I said that I wouldn't act on being gay and two weeks ago my dad said that I would have to try being straight (as in get with girls) until I liked one of them because he thinks I just haven't found the right one. I had to agree to this as well because I was worried if I didn't, he wouldn't let me leave the house like he almost did before. I've told my co-workers my situation and they're suggesting that I move out. I'm 23 and can easily afford to rent a place, but if I do this I know I will lose my entire family and they will be so hurt. My mum had a panic attack when I told her I couldn't change and my dad started shaking. I don't want to hurt them, but I can't stay like this because it's making me so miserable. I've told them I've often thought of killing myself and my dad keeps saying if I kill myself he'll kill himself. I've also told them I'm depressed but they all think I'm being selfish and ungrateful for what they've done in the past for me and that if I act on being gay I would be forever miserable and get diseases. The only way I'd be able to move out is if I had police escort me out safely but that would completely damage my relationship with my family who already have a hard time trusting me since I came out. My dad always says things like why would you wan to be in the minority when you can be normal and that gay people are brainwashed into believing its okay. before comparing them to suicide bombers who are also brainwashed into dying for what they believe is right. My family's also under the impression that all I want to do is have sex with people, but when I tell them I want a romantic relationship, they keep saying I can have that with a girl if I don't care about sex. They think I can still have romantic feelings for girls even if I'm not physically attracted to them. My family and myself barely talk any more and when we do it's very forced, but they think that I'm just distracting myself from acting on being gay so they accept that. I'm so scared for my life and I dread coming home every day. I also worry that if I move out, they will hunt me down and never leave me alone and I'm also scared what they might do to any partner I have. They've made threats like if they ever see me with a guy they will kill him and they say they're willing to commit murder because they care about me so much and want me to follow the right path. I think that might just be threats but I'm still scared. I'm so confused as to what I should do. I don't want to lose them but I'm hating my life at the moment. I have no freedom at all outside of work. Should I move out and completely lose my family? I'm also worried it might destroy my family forever and they'll spend the rest of their lives miserable. Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. Aspen

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    Leave. Do whatever you have to to make it happen and keep yourself safe while you do it.

    You are neither safe nor happy at home. If your family is hurt by your leaving, that is their fault, not yours. They forfeited the right to be in your life when they refused to accept that you are gay, tried to control you, and threatened you with violence. Your safety is far more important than their comfort. Unless you're willing to put on a front for the rest of your life, I don't think it's possible for you to remain with your family. What they've done is disgusting. They've shown you that not only is their love conditional but they're willing to make your life hell—threatening murder for you—in order to protect you from something that's who you are.
     
  3. Chip

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    Your situation sounds extreme, and it calls for extreme measures.

    I would suggest going to the police and filing a police report because what you are talking about extends way beyond ordinary angry responses. Specifically tell them that you were threatened with imprisonment; that's illegal, as would be taking you to Lebanon against your will. Fortunately, you'd have to fly to Lebanon so you could always tell the immigrations person that you're being taken against your will and they'd detain you... especially if there's already a police report on file.

    I would also tell your friends at work what's going on and that if you ever don't show up or call them, to go to the police (once you've filed the police report.) This way, you have the authorities aware of the situation, and provide some level of protection for yourself.

    Now... it is also possible that the response you got was an extremely exaggerated version of the typical "anger" phase of the 5 stages of loss (denial-anger-bargaining-grief-acceptance.) Remember that this was the first your father was hearing of the situation, and he felt completely out of control. So it is possible that he will calm down over time. But I'd still file the police report just to have something on record in case there are later problems.

    I also very strongly believe you need to get out of there. You may have to simply leave without explanation... not come home after work one day... and then simply not be in touch with them by any traceable means for 3 or 6 months.

    I suspect (though I could be wrong) that once you make it clear that YOU have control of your life, that you won't be intimidated, and that they can't change things, that you will find they may eventually (probably months or years) come around when they realize it's that or lose you entirely.
     
  4. PatrickUK

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    In addition to the advice offered by Aspen and Chip I would also suggest you contact any LGBT support groups/organisations in and around Sydney (your stated location). It seems to me that you need all of the help and support you can summon from the local LGBT community. Make them aware of your circumstances and get them on board.
     
  5. lilla

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    Waywardchild, I definitely agree that you should move out sooner rather than later. You mentioned that you don't want to ruin your relationship with your family but the thing is, it's already ruined. Staying with them isn't going to make anything better or change their minds.

    If it's possible to do so without raising your family's suspicion/endangering yourself, you can start putting together an "escape pack" including important documents (passport, social security info, birth certificate, portable valued personal possessions, bank account info/cash, maybe a change of clothes/toiletries etc.). Put it somewhere safe so that you can grab it if you need to get out in a hurry. Another option would be to "smuggle" these things out slowly and give them to a trusted coworker for safe keeping. This will allow you to leave quickly without worrying about needing to pack.

    If you can't find an apartment right away, will you be able to stay with a coworker/friend for a while until you get back on your feet?

    Also, if you do leave, please keep in mind that you're not obligated to tell your family where you're living (especially not right away). Even if you feel guilty about leaving... your safety is more important.
     
  6. ice444

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    It will take time to realise and it will be painful (I am not close with my family) but you need to be happy and take care of number 1!

    If your family is not accepting, emotionally or physically abusive and even homophobic then they are the issue - NOT YOU!

    The relationship is already lost - no matter what you do you may never be what they want.

    In the end your own happiness/sanity is what's important.
     
  7. CapColors

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    Best wishes. Please take care of yourself. Do not carry guilt with you. Your family is not worth it.
     
  8. FalconBlueSky00

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    Please get out of there as fast as you can. It's really worth it. I cut connection with my mothers family about 3 months ago. To keep it short it was a long term problem with violent threats of death on multiple occasions. While I'm still very sad about loseing the good family members along with the bad,but I don't regret it. After the the first shock of it all, I don't know how I ever lived with that constant fear.
     
  9. Distant Echo

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    How are you? Are you ok?
     
  10. waywardchild

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    I'm okay for now. They're starting to act normal towards me again and they're being very friendly like they used to be now that the whole gay thing hasn't been brought up for a couple of weeks. It's making it even harder to leave because I don't want to face world war three again and I know it will come if I bring a police officer to escort me out of there out of the blue. I've found places I can rent but I'm not willing to actually take the next step because of the grief I know it's going to cause everyone, myself included. I know I should leave but I just can't do it and part of me hopes that they might come around somehow. I'm so torn as to what to do right now.
     
  11. Ditz

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    Is there a rush? I mean, why not take things slow, get used to the idea yourself and then when you are ready one day take the next step and get your own place, you might even share with flat mates which would make the jump to living on your own less jarring.

    We all need to leave home somewhere down the line and your family like everyone else's will survive, its a natural progression that everyone goes trough whether straight, bi or gay. For now, don't dwell on the being gay thing, rather focus on being an adult and doing what adults do starting their own lives in their own space where they make their own rules.You are allowed that, and your family cannot deny you your independence.

    From there, start building up more and more space between you and your family. You do this by having your own life and not including them in everything that you do or every decision that you take. I know this can be a hard step but the sooner you realise that you don't need to ask their permission for everything nor do you need their approval.

    To me it sounds like you have a very involved family, a very close knit family, a very traditional family, a very passionate family, one where your father is the figure head of the family and you as a son is geared towards pleasing your parents and living up to their expectations of how they view life and how they perceive others view them... I might be wrong but I also sense that there might be a tremendous amount of pride... it sounds like your dad is very proud of you and that he obviously wants the very best for you... Your sexuality on the other hand clashes against all of this, it's the exact opposite of what they had in mind for you and how they perceived themselves in the community that they live in. Do you really feel that your dad would become violent or do you think he would just be very very upset?

    Take some time, think things over and work out a plan of action. Don't bring up sexuality as long as you're living with them under one roof, you can do that one day when you have your own life with enough separation and you feel the need to tell them, but for now, just let it be. Give it a month, two or three, then find a place that you like and make the move... Once there you can set visiting rules, give yourself enough space to live your own life the way you want to live it. If you feel you need more space, move to another city or even another country, give yourself the necessary physical and emotional space to be who you are and not whom your family expects you to be.
     
  12. littleraven

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    It would be good to move out and contact LGBT support groups.
     
  13. AlmostBlue

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    If your family is to come around, then they have to face your sexuality, even if it means making their lives temporarily miserable. Right now, they've swept it under the rug so on the surface, normalcy has returned, but this normalcy is not constructive for anyone.

    I cannot imagine how difficult it will be to move out and cut your family off, but if there is any hope of reconciliation, then this step must be taken. In terms of your own protection, I would also recommend you to document all the verbal threats and abuses you've suffered already so that if there comes a time when you need to file for a restraining order etc, (which I hope will never happen), it will facilitate the process.

    Good luck with everything.
     
  14. waywardchild

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    The thing is though, even though I doubt they would be very violent, they will never let me have my own life unless I am straight. My dad said to me before I came out that unless I was married there was no need for me to move out and now that he knows I'm gay he will never let me move out on my own, so separating myself from them will be very difficult unless I do it by force. It can't be done gradually for that reason. I know they care about me but they need to stop treating me like I'm a confused or crazy person that needs constant watch all the time to make sure I "follow the right (straight) path" as they like to say. They look at me like the person that constantly needs to be protected from the world because they think I'm too innocent and they've said this to me many times. They think that gay people are only toying with me and that only my family has my best interests at heart. When I told them about my accepting friends they said that my friends only say that to my face, but they're actually disgusted behind my back, which is not true for my close friends who have even offered for me to stay at their places. But I don't even get tom see my friends outside of work any more and that really upsets me. Meanwhile, my sisters have their boyfriends and do all the romantic and fun things I want to do with someone, but I feel like I will never get the chance to ever be in a relationship now. I feel that the only way they will ever understand that I am a grown adult who is capable of making his own choices in life is if I force them to see that I can be independent and take action to move out. But doing so will probably damage or destroy our relationship completely. That's what scares me. I hate doing things behind their back and my dad and they already don't trust me since I came out because they thin I'm some wild, out of control animal simply because of my sexuality.
     
  15. Ditz

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    I think ascertaining that your family is not violent is a good step... Being upset is one thing, doing physical harm is another... if there is a chance of physical harm or violence and you truly fear for your life, then absolutely go and report it, but if your parents are just overly dramatic with words than take it for what it is. You would be the best judge of that right now.

    You just tipped the apple cart upside down a few weeks ago, so I would wait till things settle and life turns back to some form of normal before making any major changes. You've come this far in life being who you are, a few extra months will not make a huge difference.

    Change starts with yourself. The biggest obstacles we have are the ones we create ourselves by convincing ourselves that this or that will happen. In your case, you are convinced that it will destroy your family if you move out... In reality, they might not like the idea, they might get upset but they will eventually get used to it and life will go on. So work toward that goal over the next few months.

    Baby steps, thats my advice to you, take baby steps. The one thing that helped me tremendously was to go see a therapist with whom I could share my struggles and thoughts with. She pointed out facts which I haven't considered and slowly I became my own independent person, I realised that everything wasn't half as bad as I made it out to be. People get over their crap, so don't make theirs yours... you can't carry the World on your shoulders, your family is responsible for their own happiness, its not your job to make them happy.

    Can you pay your own rent? Can you afford your own medical aid? Can you put food on your table, cover living costs, pay for your car etc. If you can do all of those things you are your own man and do not need anyones permission to be independent. If you set up your own home, it is your domain which falls under your own rules. As long as you are living under your parents roof and eating from their table you are bound by their rules.

    The choice is yours...
     
  16. waywardchild

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    I'm scared that when I do try to move out, then they might try and force me to stay. That's why I'm scared for my life. They won't willingly let me go and let me 'act on being gay' as they say. My sisters are okay with me being gay as long as I don't act on it and I don't want to be alone forever while they live their lives. So, when I try to move out, I will most likely need police to escort me out that day because my family won't allow me to leave any other way. But if I do call the police, what if the never forgive me for that? I can afford to pay all my expenses and can afford to rent, but I don't know when I should take the next step of actually moving out. I want to give it time for a few months just to see how things go and if they might gradually come around, but I worry that nothing will change over the next few months and it's all just wishful thinking on my part. It all leaves me very confused.
     
    #16 waywardchild, Nov 27, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
  17. AKTodd

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    Your family probably did not produce you so they could have a slave who is obligated to do whatever they want for the rest of your life. And if they did, they don't deserve any consideration from you anyway.

    You need to move out and get away from your family and on your own as soon as possible. Until and unless that happens, you will be dealing with them from a position of tactical weakness and semi-dependency on them. If you are living on your own and not in their house, you can (and should) make the rules of how your life works and they can either accept that or learn to live without a son/brother.

    I understand that you love them and don't want to cause them pain. But you have said earlier in this thread that you are miserable living as you are now. So, if they are willing to let you be miserable for the rest of your life for the sake of their emotional complacency - how are they in any way worthy of your love?

    Parents and families are neither gods nor divine beings of any kind. They are merely human, as limited and fallible as anyone else. They can be as selfish, ignorant, and cruel as any other person. That they have a genetic connection to you is of no importance. Ask yourself if you would tolerate this kind of treatment from anyone else. If the answer is no, then why should you tolerate it from family?

    Families are nice to have, if they are worthy of you. But if they are not, it may be necessary to move on and build a new family of your own from the people around you. LGBT people have been doing that for generations.

    In time, your family may come to accept you as yo are - but that time will only come if you are able to deal with them on your terms, not on theirs.

    Todd
     
  18. Ditz

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    Waiting a while till things calm down is a good idea... Getting police to help you move out, not so much. I agree that would cause trauma and regret which would best be avoided.

    So how do we deal with this? If there's one thing I've learned there's always a way no matter how helpless things seem at the moment.

    For starters, let's put your sexuality on ice, you can explore and live that once we've sorted out your independence which I think is the big hurdle you need to overcome right now.

    Have you ever heard of a slow boil? Basically the science of putting a frog in a pot of cold water and then slowly heating it until the water starts boiling... The frog doesn't realise that it is being boiled alive... Drop a frog into a pot of hot water and it will jump right out... The concept is to bring up the water temperature slowly to avoid the shock factor and that's what you need to.

    When you're ready, in your spare time find yourself an apartment and start furnishing it with what you need over a period of one or two months without actually living there. Every morning when you go to work you take something that you'd like to move to your new home... So you move slowly without anyone realising. Once you're ready and you've set yourself up you just leave your parents a letter one morning that you've found your own place and that you've moved out, don't give them your address. You could give them some time to calm down, talk to them on the phone etc or via email if you don't want to get involved in vocal arguments. It is important that you make it clear that you are a successful adult living in your own house under your own rules and not theirs. If they want to be part of your life, they need to accept that.

    Give it some time... Time calms things down, so after a few days or weeks when you feel things have calms down enough you could agree to meet them in a public place such as a restaurant. That way they will need to be civil. If it makes you feel safer take a friend with you, again you are making the rules and you are controlling the situation by forcing them to be civil. Use what you know about your family, their strengths, their weaknesses to steer the situation in your favour. I'm assuming they are very sensitive to what other people think of them and so I'm assuming that they will not cause a scene in a fancy restaurant, if I'm correct with those assumptions then use that to keep things safe and civil.

    One day when they've come to terms with you moving out and you feel safe you could invite them over for dinner at your place, but only once you know you've won the battle.

    Your other option is to try and get a transfer or a new job in another city, get on a plane one day and just leave and start up from scratch somewhere new.

    You have options, just be clever about them.
     
  19. Distant Echo

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    The move out slowly thing is a great idea. I've actually done it to get out of a violent relationship. Can you store things at friends houses? You can sneak clothes out by wearing extra layers, take a book to read, loan things to friends etc. it really can be done.
     
  20. Weston

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    Your story reminds me so much of when my sister-in-law announced to my Greek father-in-law that she was going to marry a black man. Oh, the drama! He even feigned a heart attack and my brother-in-law shouted, "You've killed our dad!" While he never really accepted his new son-in-law, he did get over it and he continued to have a reasonable relationship with her. The rest of the family were fine with it. I suspect that your family will react similarly. Eventually things will settle down, though you may have to avoid the topic of your sexuality just to keep the peace. What's important now is that you begin to live your authentic life as an out gay man; to do that, you will need to live independently. As far as involving the police in your move, that will only invite more drama. Just take with you what you can carry and go!

    One other thing, it occurs to me from what you've said about your family that you may be the oldest (or only) son. In so many traditional cultures, the oldest son and heir holds an position far above what contemporary American or Australian families can envisage. He represents the continuity of the lineage. Your father may be suffering because he sees you as the end of his patrimony. Perhaps you can educate him (gently, and not until after you've moved out) as to the possibilities of fatherhood in the modern same-sex family. That, of course, presupposes that Australia will eventually get marriage equality. You might want to work on that too!
     
    #20 Weston, Nov 30, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015