Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by jjusa, Jan 12, 2022.
That's not your real sexual orientation?
No. It's way more complex than that. If one has low self esteem and is worried about how they'd be seen/accepted if they came out as gay or lesbian, that's going to heavily influence how much they think about it. It goes back to the stages of loss (in this case, loss of identity as straight): denial-anger-bargaining-depression-acceptance. Until one fully accepts, then they're going to be going back and forth between those stages. If there's anxiety on top of that, it makes it even more complicated. Long and short: It would be very rare for simply overthinking about sexual orientation would mean you don't have the issue you're worried about *unless* you have OCD, in which case the OCD can hijack rational thinking. But you don't sound like what you've described in various posts matches OCD.
Definitely have low self esteem, but I'm more plagued with self-doubt and when self esteem is extremely low, the doubting gets worse. I don't really worry about being accepted. I'm not worried about what my mom would think or what my work colleague thinks. It's more, I am still uncertain about who I am and it's distressing to me. I would love to be in a place where I am worried how I'd be seen/accepted because it means that at least I know who I am and the issue is more external.
I am curious about the five stages of grief and how that fits into all this. What are some good examples of each stage?
From what I remember about your posts you don't think you could be in a romantic relationship with a woman -(this is the low self esteem part?)
But fantasize about women... and only you can know, but ... it seems your posts always say "I can't be gay because I can't imagine myself in a relationship' (not that you dont' want one but you don't think it's possible).
Is that a fair assessment?
Hi. Yes, that is correct. However, I’ve gradually started wanting a relationship with women less and less because of previous history with bullying and mistreatment. The bullying I received has been affecting me (lower self esteem) more than it ever has since it happened ten years ago, and I vividly remember these things and wonder if I should even try to connect with women romantically at all. I alternative between I don’t deserve these women and these women don’t deserve me because I’m a nice person. Guys have started becoming more appealing to me as romantic partners because they seem to appreciate my traits more and it’s a thought/feeling I can’t really stop. I wonder if my sexuality is changing or it’s my self esteem that’s the problem.
This seems to be tailored toward gay men specifically, but it’s still helpful to know. Thank you.
Ok but your sexual fantasies are pretty much all women?
Yeah, but I don’t want to assume that this must mean I want a relationship. If I wanted one, I feel like I wouldn’t be feeling so stressed out and anxious. I would just do it.
But do you feel it indicates your core sexual tastes?
Lots of people dealing with sexuality feel lots of stress and anxiety over it.
But maybe it would be better to just focus on yourself right now about reducing that anxiety, strengthening self esteem?
It doesn't sound like something you will think your way out of.
Yeah it does.
Ugh I’ve tried but nothing seems to reduce the anxiety. I have a self care routine every day. I try the positive self talk. I keep telling myself everyday that I’m awesome, but the self esteem never seems to get any better. Wish I knew where to go from here.
From everything you’ve said it sounds like you’re only sexually attracted to women. But due to past experiences you aren’t looking for a relationship right now. That doesn’t mean anything about your sexual orientation. I’m straight and don’t want to be in a relationship right now due to a few issues. Does that make me not straight? Of course not because I still want to have sex with women. In my opinion it seems like you would rather a romantic relationship with a man simply due to the fact you find them easier to navigate emotionally (from what I’ve read). This still doesn’t mean you’re into men and not sexually attracted to women.
From what I’ve read from you my only advice is that it seems right now you don’t want a relationship with a woman, that’s totally okay. You should be more open to the idea that in the future you may meet a woman who you really fall for and you’d want a relationship with.
This is just my two cents, I am no expert. I hope I don’t offend and I can be helpful to you
You're treating it as though who you are attracted to is a choice. Like simply because you've been bullied and mistreated, you can change who you're attracted to. The problem is, it doesn't work that way. And as we already know, your self-esteem and fear of judgment is interfering with what you really want. You are confusing others' perceptions and wants and beliefs with what you actually want.
The real issue here is that you desperately, deeply need a competent therapist who can help you sort through and process all of this. None of this is stuff you can resolve on your own, and until you work through it, you're going to basically be going in circles, continually unhappy, because your esteem is so low that you aren't even able to give voice to what you actually want, because it's (at present) inextricably clouded up with how people treat you and what others think.
I know you've said you don't think you're ready for therapy again, but I'd invite you to reconsider that.
I realize now that there is nothing I can do about who I'm attracted to, but a relationship is the only thing I feel have control over, and I choose to not be in a relationship regardless of the attraction. I don't want to be in a relationship with someone who mistreats me and makes me overthink and second guess myself. I don't want to label myself as "gay" if I'm still overthinking it. If that makes sense.
You're right, I've been spiraling for three years now, with low self worth, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and chronic stress. I've been unhappy ever since I started questioning. I drown myself in distractions to avoid the conversations. I'm embarrassed that as an adult, self esteem is still an issue for me.
I don't know how to even begin therapy again. What questions to even ask. I've had so many negative experiences with incompetent theapists. What type of therapist should someone like me see? I feel like an idiot for not knowing what to do anymore.
God this sucks.
It absolutely sucks, and I get why you feel so shitty, and why it's hard to try again when you've had bad luck so many times. Talking to the therapist in advance (most will do a short phone consult for free) is a good start. Talk briefly about why previous therapies have not worked, and what you need. Ask what approach and theoretical orientation they would use. (just CBT or EMDR or Brainspotting or whatever isn't going to do the trick; you need someone who can look at the deeper issues to help you understand and change your perspective on your past experiences and yourself.)
If you find listings or websites of therapists somewhere, feel free to PM me and I can tell you what I see and any red flags I see.