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Tipping the Shame-Acceptance Fulcrum

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by out2019, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. out2019

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    It has taken me a long long long time to realize I am gay. I realize that this message board has been a great resource- my most important one... but it's not enough.

    I have tried to come out - came out to a couple of people last year, but went back in the closet Covid didn't help.

    I sometimes get the feeling I will never overcome the shame and the shame leads to denial and rationalizations.

    Ever since coming here, and even beginning to accept myself, my gay fantasies have intensified I used to say I liked looking at women - and i do - their clothes - but I now have realized I am actually disgusted by the idea of touching them sexually. My gut reaction was to be happy about this because I was always telling myself I liked looking at them so I am not gay... I felt this was a pretty important shift, but it doesn't seem like its enough.

    Honestly, I just feel like a coward right now. I know I am gay, but ashamed and afraid of it. Sorry just venting.
     
    #1 out2019, Sep 28, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  2. OnTheHighway

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    At some point your emotions may simply give in and you may no longer be able to continue without finally and fully accepting whom you are. Based on all you have written, that seems to be the direction you are going. Your sexuality is bigger than your conscious mind, and at some point your consciousness may just finally accept the unavoidable.
     
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  3. out2019

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    I feel so happy and free when I accept that I am gay. But the shame and fear come back, sometimes in deceptive ways - I feel that being gay is a just fantasy and I am using it to run away from life issues.

    After I posted this thread, I did an interesting 'what if' exercise, I just imagined the people I am most ashamed to admit it to laughing (in a good way) and so happy that I came out. It made a difference but that big mountain of shame still feels like its sitting right there in front of me
     
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  4. Quantumreality

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    Hey @out2019 ,

    I agree with @OnTheHighway . But I would point out that I believe that the most important thing is that we, as individuals, have to ACCEPT ourselves before Coming Out to others.

    Coming Out is NOT a cure-all or panacea to self-doubt or internalized homophobia. Coming Out should be an expression of our comfort with our own sexuality. And, at that point, f**k the rest of the world for what they may deign to think about us.

    At this point, your posts indicate to me that you aren't truly comfortable with your homosexuality and are trying to force some kind of 'acceptance' by Coming Out to a few people around you.

    Honestly, dude, that's not a good strategy for accepting yourself. Truth, honesty, comfort and confirmation in yourself starts with you fully and completely accepting your sexuality. Neither your sexual orientation nor your comfort in whom you are should/could/does lie within the options or perceived acceptance of others.

    Just my thoughts
    QR
     
    #4 Quantumreality, Sep 28, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
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  5. Contented

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    Shame and internalized homophobia are real things most of us have to overcome in our journey towards fully embracing our homosexuality. In order to free ourselves from these twin demons we first must come to like who we are now. Not some societal role dictated by heteronormative brain washing but truly acknowledge who we are inside. We need to love that person first before coming out to others. As one post mentions coming out is not a panacea if you have not done the work on yourself. No one has said that embracing your homosexuality is easy but it sure is worth it.
     
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  6. Quantumreality

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    Yes, this!

    QR
     
    #6 Quantumreality, Sep 28, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
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  7. SiennaFire

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    You know that you are gay and need to tip the shame-acceptance fulcrum. All of us go through the process to get to the other side. I wrote up my own experience healing the shame - https://forum.emptyclosets.com/index.php?blogs/healing-the-shame-of-being-gay-ec-2-0-edition.29/ Hopefully you can find one or two nuggets to help tip your fulcrum.

    It was written pre-pandemic, so some of the suggestions might need modifications (for example meetups might need to stay virtual).
     
    #7 SiennaFire, Sep 29, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
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  8. out2019

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    Yes I realize this is true- even though I am very happy fantasizing or thinking about being with a guy - romantically and physically- something inside me still just feels it's 'wrong' its that dull ambiguous 'wrong'.

    Right now, if I could just swallow a 'gay' pill, I would, but I just can't seem to get past this...
     
  9. out2019

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    Thanks there is a lot of great info here...

    I definitely fit this. Still to some extent the denial and don't want to be gay part. Part of me doesn't want the gay identity- I know I don't have to attend parades and wear rainbow shirts, but I think I have some genuine longings to be straight - not just internalized homophobia - I don't know if that makes any sense. Maybe I really just haven't accepted that I am fully gay.

    I guess I can just choose to not call myself that and say I just had fantasies- that's what I have been doing all these years....but when I came here and finally allowed myself to imagine being with a guy romantically, that changed everything...still so much shame though...
     
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  10. out2019

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    Are there any good sources you can recommend?
     
  11. OnTheHighway

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    Consider doing a search of those terms here on EC. There has been much discussion in regard to both.
     
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  12. Contented

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    For me three things helped me. One was my therapist who helped realize that being gay was nothing to be ashamed of. It is just as valid as heterosexuality in every respect. Two the internalized homophobia took longer to overcome. My then bf helped me greatly by patiently allowing me to explore gay intimacy, getting over the idea that sex with another man was some how abnormal, sinful or deviant. As I started to be more comfortable I realized that I preferred being with a man so much more. Three as OnTheHigway indicated was EC. To read that other men were going through the same thing, had the same fears, experienced the same freedom homosexuality allow them helped me to motivate through the brain washing of the years and years of heteronormative programming. I encourage you to find a LGBTQ qualified therapist and take a good look at some of our stories here on EC. It is a fantastic resource of friends willing help with their life experiences.
     
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  13. JessNC

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    It is good to read the thoughtful and generous reflections and advice you are receiving here, Out. I will add that finding and working with an LGBTQ positive therapist seems like a necessary step you may want to take. It has made all the difference to me allowing the room to share my thoughts and desires in a way that allows for understanding beyond assumed labels or unthinking assumptions. Second, I hear your pain and it is real, friend. Many of us have been (or are) there and it can be a difficult place. Be kind to yourself and keep reaching out.
     
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  14. Andrew7

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    I can relate to and fully understand your pain. But one thing you could consider. Looking at this from a different angle.

    What if being gay isn't shameful, but actually something amazing, a great untapped source of self-worth.

    I know, that line might seem like fiction from your perspective or hard to perceive, but what if it’s true, start considering the positives that actually make being gay amazing, you might start to feel better about being gay. In my opinion (and I’m sure not mine alone) there are many great things about being gay.

    For example, I have respect for you for coming out to a couple of people as I know it’s a hard thing to do. That’s respect you’ve earned as a result of being gay, proof that it can result in admiration as opposed to something negative.

    In regards to feeling better about yourself, in addition to what’s already been said; I think continued communication with the positive people here may help lift some of your shame since it is a safe place where you can freely be yourself without worrying about receiving any negativity.

    Something that’s helped me a lot is watching shows where the main character is gay and shows their experience around relationships, as the stuff I watch is usually portrayed in the same positive, healthy manner that heterosexual relationships are shown in with other shows.
     
  15. BiGemini87

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    From the sound of it (as others have also stated), it seems like your shame is steeped in the idea that other people will react negatively. When you allow yourself to imagine them taking it well, the shame is pretty much gone, right? Which suggests to me you yourself don't find being gay shameful, but fear others who might.

    It's not easy and it might take a while--but you will eventually reach a fork in the road. And at that nexus, you'll have to decide whether to go down the shadowy path where part of who you are remains hidden, or take the path that, though it might seem hard with a lot of uphill climbing, will lead you precisely where you want to be.

    Which is to say that at some point, your frustration over being in the closet, over worrying what other people think may override your fear of rejection.

    Whatever you do though, be sure that you're ready.
     
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  16. Contented

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    As you progress in journey towards the authentic you the idea of shame begins to dissipate. As others have said it’s not really shame of being gay but what others think. Being gay is just as normal , just as healthy, just as valid as being heterosexual. At the beginning of my journey I experienced that shame and didn’t want to acknowledge being gay. At the same time I was actively involved with another man and totally enjoying the entire experience. I came to the conclusion that how I felt was far more important that what anyone else thought. It was the start of my evolution into a proud openly gay man with no reservations or hang ups about who I am. You too will eventually reach that plateau. I hope you will find like I did that being gay opened up a new exciting fulfilling life that I never would have imagined. I thought I had known happiness but it took embracing my homosexuality openly to truly experience what happiness really was. I wish that for you.
     
    #16 Contented, Oct 1, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  17. Gayhusband

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    Thank you so much upload_2020-10-5_15-24-31.png upload_2020-10-5_15-24-31.jpeg upload_2020-10-5_15-24-34.png upload_2020-10-5_15-24-34.jpeg upload_2020-10-5_15-24-39.png upload_2020-10-5_15-24-39.jpeg
     
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  18. Gayhusband

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    I must say this as well. I’m married to a caring, beautiful, understanding lady whom I’m still in love with. Problem is I’m realizing how much “gayer“ I feel 25 years later. I’m completely obsessed with my homosexuality and I know repressing, denial, confusion and obsessing over “it” is making me unhappy and slightly crazy! I’m gay, married a relatively new father and in need of homosexual romance and sex, but my vows are still my guidelines. I’m struggling with my self!
     
  19. Contented

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    GH, it certainly is a tough situation to find yourself in. I can tell at least in my experience the desire to be in a gay relationship will not go away. For me it became all consuming and I need to make a break. It wasn’t easy but being unhappy for the rest of my life was not an option either. After much hand wringing, self debate, counseling and EC research I finally found the courage to unshackle from heterosexuality and embrace the gay me. Funny thing once I did and became involved with another man in a relationship the gay fixation eased and being gay started be just another aspect of who I am and not my sole focus. Three years or so in and I am the happiest I have ever been even now after my relationship with my bf dissolved in March. I am gay forever now and love that feeling. It just feels totally right.
     
  20. Spatula

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    Yeah, dealing with guilt is a long-haul war. Why should you feel guilty? It's irrational of course.

    One tool I've learned over the years is to use those moments where I am feeling zero anxiety or guilt to make decisions. Anxiety and guilt cloud one's judgment and the feelings you have when you are not burdened by them reflect the true you. Every time I've taken a step forward using that map it has worked out.
     
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