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The power of shame to cause denial

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by out2019, Aug 27, 2020.

  1. out2019

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    I always told myself I wasn't gay because I just had 'fantasies' and didn't really like guys on the street.
    It was easy enough to reinforce that theory by randomly pointing out a man to myself and saying 'see I don't find him attractive' so I am not gay.

    I also realized that very often when I did see a guy I was attracted to I would 'shut down'. A couple of years ago I was taking a barre class and a guy came in I always tried to avoid looking at his legs, bottom and front. When we chatted (he was a regular) I immediately dropped an 'I am not gay' hint ("my old girlfriend used to say') and always tried to avoid him.

    Last night I had the most intense romantic and sexual fantasy about him. Despite my 'not looking' I could remember his body and ... I feel so free saying this! :slight_smile: gorgeous butt :slight_smile: just the thought of kissing him made my heart race. But back then, in denial, the denial side of me bombarded me with all these negative feelings and I convinced myself I wasn't attracted to him.

    I am just starting to realize how much shame impacted my past impressions and now that I have a little bit more acceptance old encounters like that bubble up and are interpreted differently. I can't remember what any woman in that class looked like but I can remember him so vividly.
     
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  2. Andrew7

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    I agree, shame can cause denial or suppression of your true feelings. It can feel good to work through those feelings. Being more honest with yourself can feel much more liberating.
     
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  3. JessNC

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    Sometimes I can't believe how little attention I gave to my feelings and desires toward men. Part being socialized hetero and part being married and not available to play, I couldn't or wouldn't look at a man "that way" and consider if he was physically attractive. And even after I started seeing guys, I still thought more about sex than attraction. A few aha moments have shifted my thinking somewhat, that and having a cute guy say he likes your eyes.....
     
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  4. GeoTrekker

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    I've been married to a woman for 16 years and am finally now fully embracing that I'm gay. I was a master at shutting down my honest feelings toward men because I had so much shame. In retrospect, even my friendships with men were shaped by this. If I thought a guy was hot I would go out of my way to avoid them because it was draining to be around them.

    Now that I've started to embrace who I am, it's amazing how powerful the attraction can be when I see just the right guy. It's electric.
     
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  5. Contented

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    Geo, I think is pretty common as you start to completely embrace your same sex attraction. Old programming dies hard when you have lived your life as straight. Our internal programming is somehow set on autopilot and needs to rebooted. Even now after being totally out for over 3 years I find myself looking at some hot guy and thinking hey this is wrong. I then catch myself and remind myself I’m gay and it is perfectly ok to feel this attraction towards another guy. Like you as well if give the choice to be heterosexual again, I would turn it down. I much prefer my gay self.
     
  6. Snowqueen

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    I have had the same thoughts and feelings, think it's caused by years of denial and a need to fit in with society norms. I still have off days, but they are getting less common now. I can look at men now and feel totally attracted to them and think of them as potential mates. Stay strong. X
     
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  7. out2019

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    When I finally let myself imagine being with a guy romantically, I got starburst inside... trying to force myself to be with women felt dull and distant. When I finally allowed myself to think about men, it finally occurred to me that's how straight people feel about the opposite sex.

    Yes! Just accepting it has made it so much easier, especially since I was denying i was gay so I wouldn't even recognize what I was doing, meanwhile I would almost desperately look at women to 'prove' I was straight.
     
  8. out2019

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    Thanks, that's good to know. Sometimes I think I will never be out, never accept myself, sometimes I think guys like you never have any problems and there's just something wrong with me.
     
  9. Contented

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    Out2019, we all face the same issues along the journey to our authentic sexuality. If we didn’t have doubts, fears and misgivings we would not be human. I might a further down the path than you are but I faced the same issues you do. A life time of heteronormative brain washing doesn’t disappear over night and sometime even after acceptance it can sneak back into your thoughts. Don’t let it delay your progress towards the gay life you want and deserve.
     
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  10. out2019

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    Thanks. Shame is the main block for me now, shame and fear.

    Logically it's pretty hard to deny I am gay and I have moments where it feels so free to accept it, but part of me is convinced I can still 'fix' it. But that part of me is admitting I am gay too - because otherwise there wouldn't be anything to 'fix' :slight_smile:
     
  11. GeoTrekker

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    Shame and fear were always my two biggest road blocks as well.

    Now, not only have I accepted that I'm gay, but I'm proud of it. Getting to that point took YEARS. And, while the shame is mostly gone, I've still got hella fear. At some point I'm gonna have to take a leap of faith because being authentic is absolutely worth it.
     
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  12. Contented

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    Shame does take some time to work through. I know in my case while I could intellectually accept the idea I was gay, my emotional side felt a great deal of shame based solely on the heteronormative programming I had heard my entire life. As I evolved in my homosexuality I started to understand there is no reason for that shame. It was self induced and could be self corrected. Fear was a different issue, at least for me it was the fear of the unknown. That being said it was easier to combat the fear than the shame. The shame took more self reflection. I am now truly proud of being a openly gay man at peace with myself being exactly who I am 24/7/365.
     
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  13. OnTheHighway

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    Managing shame is a lifelong endeavor. Whether it is shame from the heteronormative script we are socialized with or shame from other negative emotional traumas we were exposed to as we were developing in life. Shame is universal for both gays and straights!

    I suspect the vast majority of people never work through their shame nor unshackle themselves allowing for authentic life.

    Just by being here, we are reflecting our desire to shed the shame and we see that we are all not alone. Having the desire and recognizing shame is holding us back is a major step towards authenticity. The rest of the journey involves getting to the core root of our shame.

    As we peel one layer of the shame onion, another layer is exposed. Many would rather take the easy approach and just keep the skin on. And even when we think we have peeled all the layers, we find more work to do.

    Keep taking the steps necessary to unlock your true selves. There will be several steps forward and some steps back, the journey is not a straight line. So long as you keep making forward progress, you can get closer to unlocking your own truths.
     
    #13 OnTheHighway, Aug 31, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
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  14. QuietPeace

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    Shame programmed in by my parents and the extreme religion that they raised me in was what drove me to permit being put through conversion therapy and to deny who I am for so many years. It took decades for me to even partially recover, I am sure that I have a great deal to work through still.
     
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  15. brainwashed

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    I've had moments where later a friend will say, did you see the bomb shell lady over in the corner? And I'll reflect on the bomb shell guy sitting at the bar.

    Fun post. Thanks.
     
    #15 brainwashed, Aug 31, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
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  16. brainwashed

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    Another conversion therapy survivor! Wasn't it fun! I damn near jumped off a high building to escape the horror.
     
  17. brainwashed

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    Consciously or subconsciously (or both) shut down?
     
  18. QuietPeace

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    I am convinced that it is why I had my total breakdown and causing me to be disabled now, I have not been able to work in over 20 years
     
  19. brainwashed

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    Breakdown. Yup agree 100%
    I've been pretty much mentally disabled now. Not really participating in standard societal matters for some time.
    I cant work in the same type of work I did before I had a clue I was gay. Just cant do it. And thats the crux of my problem. Others here on ECs and in society just don't get it.

    I tell myself I'm not going to let them win. I will endure and persevere.
     
  20. out2019

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    Yes I think it is important to understand the two. When I let go of my fears- for example someone 'finding out' that I am gay I realize its just something standing the way of being gay.

    But shame attacks the idea of being gay. That I shouldn't be gay.
     
    #20 out2019, Aug 31, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
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