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Shame

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by johndeere3020, May 26, 2021.

  1. johndeere3020

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    It's been a few years since I found EC, and two something since I found the courage to come out. I really wish the last little bit of shame that I have would fade away.

    So the little city that I live in is replacing the bulk of the sidewalks in town as well as paving the last remaining gravel alleys. My driveway is concrete that was poured eons ago and is poor shape. The blacktop company is giving bids for home owners drives so I thought I would see what it would cost.

    I have a 3X5 bi colored flag hanging in my garage, having the overhead door open doing my thing and waiting for the contractor to arrive. Damn if I didn't feel the need to take that flag down. Most people don't even know what the colors stand for, what made me think I needed to take down what was mine in my own garage?

    Am I still that damaged? To worry about what someone might think at 49 years old. I feel that I wasted the first, good part of my life, I really don't want to waste what I have left. What kind of things do I bring up to my therapist?

    Dean
     
  2. Mirko

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    Shame can certainly be quite powerful in how you organise your life, how you approach things, and what you do, or the actions you take, doesn't matter how old you are. It might be worthwhile to start your next therapy session with taking the flag down and take it from there on how you felt while taking the flag down and how you felt afterwards. It could very well be that there is enough in there to unpack things further.

    You have certainly made progress and worked on things and that is an important piece to keep in mind as you continue to work through everything.
     
  3. PatrickUK

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    Residual shame is something many of us struggle with. LGBT people are great at 'crystal balling', which really amounts to making assumptions about the reactions of others to our sexual orientation or gender identity. Instead of assuming the best, we assume the worst. We profile people and imagine they will judge us or gossip about us and do damage to our reputation, even if our only meeting with them may be a one off. In the vast majority of cases people don't give a toss, but past experience of being shamed gets to the core of our being and needs to be confronted many times. We need to come to the realisation that we are protecting the person (maybe even the child) we used to be, before finally adopting a 'fuck this' attitude that allows us to live our lives with pride and authenticity.

    I agree with @Mirko about starting your next therapy session with the example of removing the flag. Get straight to the point and see where it goes.
     
    LostInDaydreams and Ipswichfan like this.
  4. OnTheHighway

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    I have found the shame tide ebbs and flows over time with the current weakening as time goes on. Managing shame does get easier as time goes by, but there will continue to be rare moments when shame storms, no matter how strong or insignificant, continues. And we must remind ourselves of all of our efforts to work through the shame and live our lives.

    I live in a predominately LGBT neighborhood. I love where I live and the relationships I have established. This past weekend I was driving my car down one of the main roads and I saw walking on the sidewalk a common occurrence in my community, a guy wearing feminine clothes walking down the street. While I see this amongst my community daily, this one instance did trigger a feeling of shame over a period of a few hours. Upon reflection, I realized the timing did coincide within a few days of the graduation from university of one of my daughters. And as I reflected on what I gave up of my prior family relationships to embrace my true self, a sense of shame did arise.

    When you have these moments, based on my experience, I would suggest you try and relax and reflect and attempt to identify what the source or trigger of the shame was from. For me, it helps me get through the storm and then move on.
     
  5. I'm gay

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    I feel that I'm about as out and proud as I can possibly be. I regularly wear a rainbow bracelet even. When I came out, it was really important for me to be visible, after feeling invisible for so long. I hold my boyfriend's hand in public, and generally don't give a fuck what people might think.

    Even with all that, I still get triggered and feel moments of shame, and worry about what someone might think. It happens fleetingly now, just a moment or two, and I have to center myself and push forward despite my fears.

    I'm not sure this is ever going to completely go away, Dean. But it does seem to get better and better as time goes on. I'm probably more "out" than you are, so maybe that helps me some too.
     
  6. Tightrope

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    I struggle more with the definitions of guilt and shame than I do with the complex. Past therapists have pointed out I have feelings of shame but it was mostly about not accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish and big issues with making comparisons. As far as having sex and sexuality goes, I've had a free spirited attitude. I don't think it's anything to be ashamed about but I don't feel like telling others if the information would make them squirm. If they squirmed, I would be walking away. At the same time, I don't want to deal with being told that these are not real friends. Sex and sexuality can be a struggle for people with more puritanical ways. It doesn't make them bad people but it's too hard to educate them on how sex and sexuality are not a big deal so I don't waste the time.

    It's nice that we can agree or disagree on EC. We can also test the waters. If someone has a relationship in the works, then they probably should be transparent and open about it. If they aren't in a relationship or don't really want to be in one, I feel they can choose. Being out isn't going to increase the chances of a relationship if that's the guarantee a person is looking for. I've also read articles about people deliberately living in LGBT areas and not feeling as connected as they thought they might. Some may bloom and thrive from it. You choose to be out because it's about you. You don't do it to appease other people.

    I agree that the "crystal ball" effect is at work. But if a person has been gossiped about or harassed on the job, and it was very real, then that would be a trigger. Sometimes, it may not be an issue of shame as much as it an issue of people being jerks and trying to make someone's life miserable because they need to get a life and they are too small minded to consider how complex sex and sexuality are.

    I don't believe therapists should not have a one size fits all approach to clients being out. It's something that is tailored to the client. Including how much. I think it's better to see how you and the therapist view and approach sexuality before getting into details. To look for a common ground. Maybe more conceptual and then more detailed. This last session was another rough session for me. During the one before, there was an attempt to mend fences and I felt a little better. The one before that was the one that caused me to put up a thread.

    I'd say to look for a common ground and understand each other's approach before getting into details.
     
  7. Jakebusman

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    When I first came out 2 years ago I idmentley went and got different pride stuff but sometimes I still feel shame not sure why.
     
  8. NotTooLoud

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    You need to be yourself and live an authentic life or you will never be happy.