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Symptoms => Six Major Symptoms => NSC - Negative Self-Concept (eg Inner Critic, Shame, Perfectionism) => Topic started by: GettingThere on January 14, 2016, 02:39:49 PM

Title: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: GettingThere on January 14, 2016, 02:39:49 PM
I have found so much support from everyone on OOTS so far, that I am absolutely terrified to post this because one of the things I'm hyper vigilant about is trying to protect myself from homophobia. I feel like I'm jeopardizing the support and safety I've gotten here in the last week, but I've decided to take this risk to try to get my ICr to shut up about all the horrible things that will happen to me if I tell people on OOTS that I'm a lesbian. If supporting the LGBT community is not your thing, please don't reply to this thread. If you are an ally or LGBT person yourself, I would really appreciate a reply that helps prove my ICr wrong.

I am intensely proud of the fact that I am a lesbian. The deepest, truest part of me knows that I've liked girls and not boys for my entire life. Some of my earliest memories are watching Disney movies and obsessing about how beautiful Jasmine, Esmerelda, and Ariel are. I used to think that this was because I wanted to be pretty like them, but my heart of hearts knows that I was attracted to them. I came out of the closet when I was 17 (as soon as I graduated from Catholic high school) and everyone in my life was much more accepting than I thought they would be - even my abusers. For the next couple of years, my M occasionally tried to convince me that I should try dating boys, but eventually she accepted me for who I am. Today, I am out to everyone I know and meet, and I speak and write about LGBT issues a lot in my work and personal life. All of my friends are 100% supportive.

My trauma around being gay mostly comes from the messages my parents sent me about gay people when I was a child - before they had any idea that I'm a lesbian. When I was very young, they never told me that gay people existed because they thought it was an inappropriate, far too "sexual" thing for small children to know. (I've watched hundreds of YouTube videos where little kids are interviewed that disprove this.) When I eventually found out about gay people from kids at school, gays and lesbians were always referred to in an insulting way. Throughout most of elementary school, bullies called me a lesbian (even though at the time I had no idea I was one) because I was always confident, forthright, and never liked boys. When I told my parents what the bullies said, their consistent response was "Well you're not one, so the bullies are wrong. Just ignore them." It NEVER occurred to them that they may be parenting a gay child, and they felt very comfortable expressing their homophobia in front of my brother and I until I came out. That's a major reason why I've become such a vocal activist as an adult.

Because my C-PTSD obviously makes me feel that everything is still as dangerous as when I was a kid, my emotions have not caught up with the fact that our current time is (while not perfect) a much safer, more open world for gay people than the one I grew up in. I constantly find myself terrified that as soon as I step out of the safe, liberal bounds of a university Humanities department, I'm at risk of being subject to homophobic attacks. I have been subject to several incidents of verbal violence from homophobic strangers, but nothing as bad as the kind of assault by ICr catastrophises.

Last year, I was retraumatized by one of my university professors - who herself is a woman in a relationship with another woman - when she (very covertly and manipulatively) implied that I was stupid for thinking that people are born gay. Because she is a high powered academic who has read more philosophy than I probably will in my entire life, for the past year my ICr has been telling me that I'm incredibly stupid because I believe that there is at least some biological component to sexuality. Ever since I came out, my ICr has been trying to convince me that the reason I'm a lesbian is because I was abused by my mother as a child, and never received the type of nurturing I needed from a woman, so I yearn for that in adult relationships. My ICr says that because I'm close to my dad, my need for emotional closeness with a man was fulfilled, and that's what made me a lesbian.

Logically, I know that pop psychology like that can be twisted around in all sorts of ways to prove what "made" someone gay. You could just as easily argue that a lesbian with a male abuser learned that men are dangerous and that's what made her gay. Because of my C-PTSD, I struggle a lot with trusting that my own inner voice is right, in spite of disagreements that authority figures may have with me. A huge part of me still believes that if an authority figure tells me I'm wrong, I am wrong, no questions asked.

The year I came out and started post-secondary school was also the year that I consciously dissociated from my childhood self. I have been able to be a confident lesbian adult because I've trained my mind to believe that I am a completely different person from who I was in childhood. But like all of you well know, memories of childhood trauma can't actually just be erased. So I've ended up being an incredibly out and proud lesbian activist, whose ICr is drenched in internalized homophobia. This is seriously messing with my mind, and I just want my ICr to shut up!
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Dutch Uncle on January 14, 2016, 03:32:13 PM
I haven't read past the first paragraph yet, yet I just want to shout out to you now:

Please be as Gay as you are! You're most welcome.
 :hug:
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: GettingThere on January 14, 2016, 03:54:08 PM
Thanks Dutch  ;D
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: mourningdove on January 14, 2016, 09:52:42 PM
I agree with Dutch Uncle. Your inner critic is wrong this time, as far as I'm concerned.

And thank you for sharing the story of how you became an activist! It is very inspiring.  :yourock:
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Jdog on January 15, 2016, 01:59:27 AM
Hello, and welcome!

Like you, I am openly lesbian.  Although it sounds as if there is quite a gap between our ages (I am e 57), the ICr has always been a challenge for me as well.  I don't have time at this moment to go on at great length about personal history, but know that you are well supported here and that being exactly who you are is exactly the right thing to do.

One note about the ICr- fighting it is not too helpful.  In my experience, that little kid needs to be heard and sent loving messages from adult you.  Although her ideas may be wrong, aversion tactics will only add fuel to that particular fire.  Give her some space, let her know you are there for her.  She will eventually feel safe enough to let go of tightly clenched little fist she is raising. 

Keep posting, and very best wishes to you.  You are not alone!
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: GettingThere on January 15, 2016, 02:12:44 AM
Thanks so much for the support Jdog! Yes, I also read on other parts of the forum earlier today that it is most effective to respond to your ICr with love and compassion. Reassuring is for sure easier than silencing, and I'll be sure to keep that in mind in the future.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Jdog on January 15, 2016, 12:14:10 PM
GettingThere-

Excellent!  Old pain is such a difficult nut to crack.  When it gets triggered, one must decide how to respond and it takes much practice to be able to intentionally be kind to oneself at that moment.  I continue to work with my ICr on many fronts.

  As a teacher at the high school level, I have a giant laboratory filled with young folks who have their own active Icrs and that helps me work with my own at times.  As the advisor for a Gay/Straight Alliance, it is wonderful to see kids relax into themselves once they can be around those who are either similar to them or accepting of their differences.  We had "club picture day" yesterday, and I gave each member a rainbow ribbon to wear.  We handed some to administrators as well, and later in the day I noticed that the district superintendent was paying a visit to campus.  There stood our principal, still wearing her rainbow ribbon!  Ha - it is a new day!

Keep up the good work, friend.  It will definitely pay off!
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: woodsgnome on January 15, 2016, 02:14:51 PM
The ICr is only a visitor, chirping away whatever comments it's heard from any and all. It functions kind of like a 'devil's advocate' and likes donning the robes of a judge as it thinks you might have needed its presence. Unfortunately, the ICr rarely leaves on its own volition.

Once you know your way, the judge/ICr isn't needed anymore, but hangs around just to be sure. They've been with us forever and a day, it seems, but there comes a time when it's alright for them to find the exit door. Once you calmly assert yourself, the judge knows to back off and retire, reassured that you're now safe and no longer needs a 'devil's advocate'.   
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Dutch Uncle on January 15, 2016, 05:41:58 PM
The ICr is only a visitor, chirping away whatever comments it's heard from any and all. It functions kind of like a 'devil's advocate' and likes donning the robes of a judge as it thinks you might have needed its presence. Unfortunately, the ICr rarely leaves on its own volition.

Once you know your way, the judge/ICr isn't needed anymore, but hangs around just to be sure. They've been with us forever and a day, it seems, but there comes a time when it's alright for them to find the exit door. Once you calmly assert yourself, the judge knows to back off and retire, reassured that you're now safe and no longer needs a 'devil's advocate'.
I've been reading this over and over, and I just want to say:  :yeahthat:  Awesome and thanks. That's a definition that will aid me well through recovery. 

:yourock:
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Dyess on January 15, 2016, 07:43:39 PM
You will not be judged here. Be yourself, really, would rather you be yourself more than anything. This is a safe place where you can talk about most anything. Though if you think it may be triggering to someone just note that at the beginning of your post so that the reader will have the option to read on or not :) It's important to express yourself, we are glad you are here.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: GettingThere on January 15, 2016, 09:15:30 PM
Thanks so much for all of the kind replies everyone. :yourock: I feel much safer here than I did before.

One question though: Does anyone have any advice for listening to/strengthening your inner voice when authority figures disagree with you? I guess my first post was so long that that question kind of got lost. Whenever an authority figure tells me anything, my impulse is to always think they're right no matter what. Any advice?
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Dyess on January 15, 2016, 10:25:05 PM
Have they told you something wrong? If they have, did you at any point talk to them about it? It you feel you were wronged, you need to get some answers for yourself...why did they tell you that?.....what was their intent? We all are going to have disagreements, even with people we respect and love. We are individuals, thank goodness, what a boring place Earth would be if we were all a like, ackkkkk! Find out why there was a disagreement. Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. Neither party wants to budge on their opinion and that's okay. Just don't say hurtful things in trying to get to that point. Not sure if this helps or confuses you more. You are young and it's one life lesson I've learned is learn to agree to disagree, another is pick your battles. Some are worth a all out fight for, some....not so much when you step back and really look at it and the consequences of the fight.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: GettingThere on January 16, 2016, 01:19:32 AM
Hi Trace,

I am definitely a "pick your battles" kind of person, and I actually know that I have a pattern of forcing myself to agree with people who in my gut I disagree with on a variety of issues. My question is less so to do with any one disagreement I had with my parents, and more to do with the residue of C-PTSD that creeps into my adult relationships with authority figures. Whenever I interact with any person of a higher rank than me, I'm hyper vigilant and agree with everything that they say out of fear that expressing disagreement or a different opinion could be dangerous.

When I pick my battles, I often pick them out of fear of what harm the person I'm disagreeing with could cause me. One of my recovery goals is picking my battles because I want to save MYSELF from going through emotional intensity that could me triggering for ME, rather than choosing not to argue out of fear of upsetting another person.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Dutch Uncle on January 16, 2016, 01:41:14 AM
Does anyone have any advice for listening to/strengthening your inner voice when authority figures disagree with you?
I don't want to sound to much like a grandpa, but given your age I would say: "Rebel!" (against the authorities, not so much against your Inner Voice)

I do this too, but at 50 it feels silly and is not easily accepted. A friend of mine gave me the very same advise when I started coming Out of the FOG, and I think it's been by far the best advise that was given to me. I finally rebel at my parents and elder siblings (among others), something that was never allowed to me as a teen/adolescent.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: GettingThere on January 16, 2016, 01:56:50 AM
Thanks for your response Dutch :) My problem is that I was a super rebellious child and teenager, and I was always told that rebellion is a sign of immaturity, and that rebelling warrants abuse. The abuse stopped when I started choosing Flight and Fawn instead of Fight.

Even though I'm 22, I'm financially independent, I live alone in my own apartment, and I have a dog to care for (or as I like to say, I'm a dog mom  ;) ). Every day, I think over my adult responsibilities and use them to prove to myself that I'm safe. C-PTSD made me hate being a child/teenager because those ages made me vulnerable and put me in danger. And I was taught to view any sort of disagreement with an authority figure as immature behavior. I went through a lot of what I like to call "age-shaming" (eg. You're 10 years old! 10 year olds don't behave like that! You're acting like you're 2!). So I'm kind of stuck on the rebelling thing  :Idunno:
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Dutch Uncle on January 16, 2016, 02:23:42 AM
Yes, rebelling may lead to increased abuse .*
And going berserk when a police-officer pulls you over for speeding isn't a sound tactic.  ;D

But there's plenty of room to challenge authorities.
And I was taught to view any sort of disagreement with an authority figure as immature behavior.
Offcourse. And as kids we want so much to be viewed as equals (and thus mature) we buy into that nonsense. But what else than a civilized and institutionalized rebellion is a Democracy?  ;)

*) My female sibling resorted to blackmail in the end. I still rebelled. Then she 'made good' on her blackmail-threats. I'm now NC. Still rebelling.  ;D  (which is not to say her abusive tactics hurts like *)
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Dyess on January 16, 2016, 06:01:05 AM
Higher Rank? Are you in the military or law enforcement? I need a little more information before I can say what I may or may not do. If it's private feel free to PM me and we can discuss it off the board. Whatever you feel comfortable with, okay?
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: GettingThere on January 17, 2016, 02:10:20 AM
I'm a teaching assistant at a university. I'm essentially the lowest rank of everyone on the payroll.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Kizzie on January 17, 2016, 10:18:41 AM
Hi GettingThere, I don't know what faculty you're in but in mine (Education), we expect, indeed encourage differences of opinion.  It's actually considered a very "good" thing not to simply accept what "authority figures" have to say.  If my students and TAs simply agreed with everything I said or any of the authors of the course readings it would be a pretty boring (and useless) class!  We just disagree in a very considered, respectful manner (so different than in my FOO), and the goal is not to win an argument, but to dig deeper so we all learn and understand more.  That's why I love university life, I'm paid to do the very thing I wasn't allowed at home - use my brain and my voice!

Those of us who have CPTSD are trained to be voiceless though I know.  We are taught early on to feel shame and fear for disagreeing with our abusers, or standing up for what we believe in, for just being.  It's hard to believe based on what we have endured, but there are lots of people in the world who do not see differences of opinions as threatening. We just have to find them and give ourselves the chance to experience something different from what we have known. 
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Dyess on January 19, 2016, 12:58:49 AM
A teaching asst.? Well you may be at the bottom of the payroll but you are just as important as anyone there. Their jobs are made easier by having you, you have an important role to educate just as they do. So saying they are your superiors  may be a little off or a perception you need to work on. They are your co-workers, maybe with more experience, or more education but they are not superior to you. If something is going on that you don't agree with discuss it as team members, without belittling anyone's feelings. The goal is provide the best for the students, right? Since I'm not in the circle not sure what the goals are. I had an awesome experience with a Teaching assist. in middle school. She picked up on my distress with keeping focused and she helped me so much. My grades went from a D to a High B and it was all because SHE put forth that effort and was aware of a child that was struggling. I will never forget her and what she did for me.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Kizzie on January 20, 2016, 07:13:59 PM
 :yeahthat:
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: samantha19 on January 22, 2016, 06:00:12 PM
Just wanna say I support you as well! <3
The ways heteronormativity affects people sucks. That's good that things are getting better now though.
You do you!
And yeah as for the inner critic saying it's because of your mum. That's funny, cause a voice in the back of my head has been suggesting the opposite, that maybe I like girls just because my dad was abusive so men were quickly outlined as bad and I'm therefore trying to keep away from them.
But nah it's just my sexuality, I'm attracted to girls and boys, and I'm accepting that pretty easily now. Society does seem to be a lot better. No one I've told has given me any issue, and I've just avoided telling the one or two slightly homophobic people I know.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: GettingThere on January 23, 2016, 05:38:42 PM
Glad most people you've come out to have been supportive of you Samantha  :yourock:

Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Kizzie on January 23, 2016, 07:40:48 PM
My H and I were talking about the Anglican church's recent decision not to accept same sex marriages and a follow-on interview with a South African bishop talking about the fact that homosexuality itself is illegal and will remain that way in his country.  I found myself getting quite anxious at the thought that parts of the world seem completely stuck in the past, or are reverting back to the days when things were pretty much black and white (homosexuality is a crime, it's a choice and must be punished, etc).  Younger me started to become very afraid, I could feel her bubbling up. If you look at your ICr from the point of view that part of its role is to protect you from danger (be straight, there's less chance of being hurt, abandoned, hurt), there is very good reason for you to feel danger at a deep level and for it to keep kicking in.  I can't for instance believe what your professor said about not being born gay and yet there you have it, beliefs run deep even in the face of reason and critical thinking. Gah!

Then this picture popped up in my mind of Obama in the states, the first black President bathing the White House in rainbow colours - what a huge, delightful affirmation of gay rights and a big finger to those who are intolerant of them.  I then thought of our new PM (Canada) who is absolutely supportive of all rights - gay, cultural, gender, etc., and is putting his money where his mouth is in terms of federal policy.  It's awesome, he was one of two prominent men on a gender equality panel in Switzerland this part week. 

My point is that it calmed younger me to think of the "facts" that dispute the fear and perhaps that's one way to help calm your ICr;  balance those negative, hateful thoughts with loving, reassuring  positive ones (e.g., "Look,  there, lots of tolerance out there,  think of X, Y and Z, even huge pride about diversity in all its shapes, forms, colours so you can stand down down now ICr. I don't agree with you anymore but I appreciate your efforts to keep me safe.) 

FWIW - Just sharing what has helped me  :hug:
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Jdog on January 24, 2016, 12:19:10 AM
Kizzie-

Speaking for myself, I want to chime in and say that your images and the idea behind them is absolutely lovely.  I do hope this provides something both authentic and positive for GettingThere and others who struggle with being accepted upon the basis of our sexual and/or gender identity.  Having been the recipient of ignorance and hatred myself when I was a brand new teacher years ago, I can assure you that those who wield greater authority and possess more power within educational institutions definitely can have a chilling effect upon a person.

Kudos, and thanks once again.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Kizzie on January 24, 2016, 02:47:14 AM
 :hug:  JDog, sorry to hear that. Those people may be educators, but are not educated people IMO.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Jdog on January 24, 2016, 06:22:11 AM
 :thumbup:
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: GettingThere on January 26, 2016, 06:26:47 AM
perhaps that's one way to help calm your ICr;  balance those negative, hateful thoughts with loving, reassuring  positive ones (e.g., "Look,  there, lots of tolerance out there,  think of X, Y and Z, even huge pride about diversity in all its shapes, forms, colours so you can stand down down now ICr. I don't agree with you anymore but I appreciate your efforts to keep me safe.)

 :yeahthat:

Thanks so much for your replies Kizzie and Jdog :) I must agree that yes, Justin Trudeau is amazing!! (I'm Canadian too.) And one thing that might make you feel better Kizzie - the interview you saw must have been with a bishop from another country because not only is homosexuality legal in South Africa, same-sex marriage has been legal there since 2006! (I keep track of every country that has equal marriage as a way to look at the facts like you mentioned.)

And Jdog, thank you so much for validating my feelings about how intimidating some educators can be when they have more authority than you. Looking back, I spent a lot of my undergrad having EFs to times when elementary school teachers terrified me! And thanks for the kind wishes; this convo has been very positive for me  :hug:
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Kizzie on January 26, 2016, 05:49:35 PM
Getting There - Well hi there fellow Canuck!  :heythere:   That is awesome to hear about South Africa although now of course I wonder where the Bishop was from.  I'll see if I can backtrack and get my facts straight.   :yes:

As an educator it's dismaying to hear how intimidating some educators can be.  If it's any consolation, my area of education (Adult Education) is founded on the principles of humanism which translates into a very learner-centred approach. I know some children's education is beginning to shift in this direction which may alleviate some of that educator as authority figure.  For example my son went to an independent learning high school where he directed his own learning with support from teachers.  He had started in a traditional high school  but was unmotivated and not doing well, so when we heard about this other HS he agreed to switch and boom, off he went and never looked back.   His marks shot up, he matured so much and he hit the ground running first year university.  The link in case you want to take a peek at the HS is http://schools.cssd.ab.ca/bishopcarroll. Better days ahead in education perhaps?

Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Kizzie on January 26, 2016, 06:01:47 PM
I can't locate the interview any more, but I did find a map which shows where homosexuality is illegal worldwide and there are many parts of Africa where this is the case - http://76crimes.com/76-countries-where-homosexuality-is-illegal/.  Ten countries have laws which provide for the death penalty - utterly scary. 

Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: witchwomb on November 08, 2016, 06:59:24 PM
When you said your parents told you not to worry about the bullies teasing you, because you "weren't gay", I remembered my parents did the same to me.

I'm bisexual and received nasty feedback from it. Your queerness is to be celebrated...it's something wonderful and delightful, pure and unadulterated that no one can take from you at the end of the day.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Joeybird on December 27, 2016, 02:23:03 AM
You are entitled to live your own life the way that you want to. You need to have a talk with your inner critic, and let her know that what she thinks is not acceptable, and that every time she mentions that, you can tell her that she is lying.

We don't care about your sexual orientation here, unless it's causing you a problem like this one. Basically, it is none of our business.

Hope you feel better about this soon.
Title: Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
Post by: Wife#2 on December 27, 2016, 02:18:30 PM
Getting There, while I may not relate directly, I can say that my oldest brother, who was gay, would have related to your story so much! Sadly, he's gone now, but his story remains in all of us who loved him.

We were also Catholic - so much to be said about that alone. Anyway, he waited to come out until he had left the family of origin behind. HIs best-friend sis (our middle sister) already knew and he had her full support.

Tell that ICr AND that professor who said it's impossible that they are full of stuff we can't type here! I knew my brothers were VERY different (I'm the youngest). I couldn't put my finger on it back then, but there were so many signs. I think bro was TRYING to break it to the parents easily. They played dumb hoping it was a trick of their imagination.

Both parents said revealing things like - we kind of knew before he told us. Mom was easier to accept, saying she'd always known something was different about him. SURE, her uNarc/BPD ways could have shaped SOME of that, but it's not likely. He never was like other boys. It had started making Mom worry when he was little. Dad melted down like a good Catholic old-school Dad stereotypically would. Before big bro died, Dad came to terms.

By the end of bro's life, he had finally reached a point where he could mean it when he said that if Dad didn't learn to deal, that was Dad's failure and Dad's problem. Bro had enough dealing with being ill, he didn't need guilt or shame slowing him down. He even found peace within the Catholic church, really!

So your inner critic is WRONG - there is nothing DEFECTIVE with you - you are as GOD created you, and GOD makes people, NOT mistakes. Some sexual preference may be molded later in life, but most is hard-wired into the individual. No, I don't have the scientific data to back that up. What I have is a lifetime of living with, loving and supporting my brother and his friends, who became my friends as well.