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Overcoming shame

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by dirtyshirt84, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. dirtyshirt84

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    I felt ashamed of my sexuality for a long time which also caused me to be in semi-denial for years.

    I’ve come a long way and have gay friends I’m out to but I still feel like it takes me a while to open up about my sexuality.

    I think Im still partly worried about what others think and realise overcoming shame is an ongoing battle. I think because I’m also Bi and in an opposite sex relationship I also have another set of prejudices to overcome. People assume I’m straight unless I make a point of telling them otherwise and straight people don’t get why it matters how I identify and that it’s part of my identity.

    Any advice on how to overcome shame for good?
     
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  2. quebec

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    dirtyshirt84.....Overcoming shame and self-hate is not an easy or fast task. When those emotions have been with you, have been a part of you for so very long, it takes time as well as a focused effort to be rid of them. When I finally accepted that I am and always have been gay, my life did not change magically at that moment. Many people talk about feeling a huge weight lift from their shoulders...and I felt that way also. However, that was due to finally crossing the bridge between my fake straight life and my true gay life. The rest of the road on this side of that bridge was still in front of me. For me, it was a lot of small things that helped me reinforce my acceptance of being gay. Every night when I went to bed I would think about being gay. In the past, I would never let myself think those thoughts! So I would take a few minutes when I lay down and just try to enjoy the acceptance of my sexuality. I did the same thing when I woke up in the morning. For just a few minutes before I got out of bed, I would lay there and "feel" being gay. Sometimes remembering a cute guy that I'd seen etc. At other times during the day I would do pretty much the same thing...just stop for a moment and be thankful for the new acceptance of my sexuality. Basically the opposite of what I did for years before I came out. Instead of trying to hide from my sexuality, I would take a few moments to embrace it. It still takes time...but it can be done!
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
  3. AimLew

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    Hey!

    Honestly, I think there's so many people in the same situation as you. Mine isn't the feeling of shame as such as I'm totally happy with being into women! But it's more, like yourself, the panic of what others might think. Which is absolutely ridiculous when one of my cousins has just come out and it's legit like nothing even happened!

    I think it starts with being content with what we like and who we're attracted to. When I identified as Bi I was also kind of stuck not wanting to even think about my sexuality, but I think that's because I was still questioning. Ever since I've come out to a few people as completely and utterly gay, I seem to have found a new type of confidence.

    I think it's about really finding ourselves and once we're totally comfortable, everything else fits into place.

    I know this probably isn't of any use advice-wise... but just wanted to let you know, you're not alone with those feelings!!

    Sending BIG LOVE from a fellow Londonder!

    Amz...:heart:
     
  4. dirtyshirt84

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    Thanks for your replies. I’m also totally happy being into women...haha. I’m comfortable with who I’m attracted to. My problem is, and always has been, when it comes to telling other people. I think I got into the mentality when I was younger that I had to keep it a secret and it has been so hard to undo that.

    I feel like I need to push myself to be a bit more open and talk about it more so that it gets easier?
     
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  5. Nickw

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    Hey @dirtyshurt

    I have no advise. I have asked the same question of myself and on this forum so many times. Personally, I am not ashamed of my same sex attractions either. But, it just seems like SO much effort to be more open to friends and family.

    All I can offer is that I feel a lot of the same things you do.
     
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  6. Lucy Marie

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    My goodness. What would you say to someone, not you, who said those words? Would you tell that person they are wrong for feeling what they feel? Or hint there is a time line that must be accomplished at a certain point?

    I am thinking likely you would tell person to take it slowly. That you would explain for every two steps forward you take one back. That maybe some professional help might be good. Now, if you see yourself helping that person out—then the very least you should do is the same for yourself.

    We all feel shame at one point or another over one thing or another. We all wonder how to present to people especially with things that are none of their business.

    You are right about coming out (I am here in Mom capacity) and all that entails; reading other posts will help you see how others have defined it/handled it. This site is the best gift for yourself. Deep breaths, you got this kid.

    ((momhugs))
     
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  7. Tartanskrt

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    Hi. I think it's a slow process. I am comfortable in myself with my attractions but not comfortable about voicing it to others at all yet. I think a lot of it comes back to growing up in an environment where being a lesbian was just not acceptable. Although I know things have moved on and people have grown up I think there is still that fear there. I have some lesbian, gay and bi friends and I've never even worried for a second about their sexuality so it makes no sense that I should be so worried what people will think about mine but I do.
     
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  8. dirtyshirt84

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    thanks for your kind words Lucy. You are right, it’s good to think of it from a different perspective. I would say those things to someone in the same situation looking for advice.

    I think you have hit the nail on the head when you say ‘we all wonder how to present to people especially with things that are none of their business’
     
  9. dirtyshirt84

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    I relate to this. I am comfortable voicing my attractions to some people, but only people I know and trust.

    When I had a relationship with a woman when I was younger I did have people tell me they thought it was disgusting and shout homophobic abuse. So there is some fear there. Back then it wasn’t so acceptable. I think I internalised that message.

    I also think some of the kids I’m friends with just don’t get why it would be hard for someone to accept their sexuality or come out as they have grown up in a different society. So much has changed in the last 10 years.
     
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  10. Lucy Marie

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    I’m here if ya need me. Glad I helped a bit.
    Is this time of year rainy season? I’ve made it to Canada three times, but would to see London....
    ((momhugs))
     
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  11. Bastion

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    hey @dirtyshirt84

    When I think about these matters. Especially the shame part of it. I don’t feel ashamed. I find that mostly for me at least shame seems to come from other people in the way that they project their own insecurities or ignorance at one person or the other. People who make you feel that there is something wrong with you because you don’t fit in their heteronormative world should be ashamed.

    These rather dismissive or invalidating or un accepting unpleasant behavior coming from some people with their ignorance, because of either fears, insecurities, prejudice, or just hate. They are the ones that sometimes I think make us feel that way. When they should do the opposite and stop pointing the finger and learn to live and embrace all our differences whatever they might be.

    My advice is to surround yourself with like minded people who are aware and accepting and emotionally Intelligent to account for all sorts of eventualities and dynamics in other people and still able to be fond of them. It is really the kind of attitude we long to find in a lover or a friend. Someone who might know us for who we truly are, yet still regards us with tenderness and generosity.
     
  12. SGee

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    I have no shame for my gay desires- but at the same time this society has a way to go towards accepting gay, lesbian and bisexual people. So I keep my thoughts to myself unless I am among like minded friends. For the record I'm 48 and have experienced enough in life that I pick and chose my battles carefully. It's like trying to teach calculus to a monkey sometimes- it just isn't going anywhere. Although monkeys seem to be smarter socially than some people, lol.
     
  13. dirtyshirt84

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    I guess what you’re saying highlights the importance of having gay friends! :slight_smile:
     
  14. Bastion

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    Yes but that doesn’t mean all straight people are judgmental. I know a few who are allies. But just ignore or stay away from the ones that are or seem negative towards lgbtq+ People or homophobic.
    Also This is one area. Which is external. The other is internal. Is more complicated in my opinion. Therapy is an option that might prove helpful with that. But also I would suggest watching people give talks or share their experience on LGBT issues. It can be specific or just general. I think it can also be very helpful.
     
  15. dirtyshirt84

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    I know lots of straight people who are allies and I know they are not all judgemental.

    I just think for me it is important to have LGBT friends to spend time with people who have had a similar experience and view of the world. I also think it will help with overcoming shame as it will normalise being LGBT to some extent.
     
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  16. Bastion

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    Yes. And You are 100% right. I know that from experience from spending time with both straight and people from the lgbtq+ community. The latter can understand a lot of things and have more things in common to talk about. The way they think, their attitudes, their subjects, their jokes, their interests. Plus it would feel just comfortable sharing with them cause they have been through similar experiences. Only something to look out for. When several members of the group are competing for the same attractive person. Things can get a bit complicated to put it mildly. But in general you will get more positive affirmation and support with an lgbtq+ group of friends.
     
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  17. Euterpe

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    Agree about the internal thing. Deep down I just wish I didn’t have to deal with this. However, I’m coming around to thinking, there is possibly a gift in here somewhere? That I just haven’t found yet? And trying to embrace that. Sometimes I wonder if I would like myself more if I wasn’t gay. I probably wouldn’t. For all my friends telling me I’m amazing, I just can’t see it or feel it. I’m beginning to realise this is the area I need to work on more than anything. I long for the day when I truly feel ok with myself. Then I think, I would be stronger to deal with the external stuff. I don’t know if this resonates with anyone.
     
  18. out2019

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    I used to think this was not important, but I realized how comfortable and normal I felt talking to other LGBTQ people,I realized I had no shame and I felt happy and free.

    It might not be just be shame - it might be just a part of you that wants to protect yourself, and it could be you only share many other personal matters with people you trust, which is perfectly normal.
     
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  19. out2019

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    It took me a long time to realize that most of my 'shame' was this - what others might think. Once I got over a period of inhibitions about it, I realized I actually felt quite happy about being gay. But the fear was incredible and that was the main driving force behind denial and staying in the closet.
     
  20. dirtyshirt84

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    This is a good point - I am quite a private person anyway - and would only really talk about some things with people I know well and trust. I know some people who share all aspects of their lives with everyone but it’s just not me.
     
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