My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay

  • 32 Replies
  • 6178 Views
*

GettingThere

  • Member
  • 35
  • You're worth fighting for.
    • View Profile
My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« 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!
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 03:53:47 PM by GettingThere »

*

Dutch Uncle

  • Member
  • 2108
  • Slowly freeing myself of a burden.
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #1 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:

*

GettingThere

  • Member
  • 35
  • You're worth fighting for.
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2016, 03:54:08 PM »
Thanks Dutch  ;D

*

mourningdove

  • Member
  • 644
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #3 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:

*

Jdog

  • Member
  • 1003
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #4 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!

*

GettingThere

  • Member
  • 35
  • You're worth fighting for.
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #5 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.

*

Jdog

  • Member
  • 1003
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #6 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!

*

woodsgnome

  • Member
  • 1828
  • I did not wish to live what was not life
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #7 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'.   

*

Dutch Uncle

  • Member
  • 2108
  • Slowly freeing myself of a burden.
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #8 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:

*

Dyess

  • Guest
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #9 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.

*

GettingThere

  • Member
  • 35
  • You're worth fighting for.
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #10 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?

*

Dyess

  • Guest
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #11 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.

*

GettingThere

  • Member
  • 35
  • You're worth fighting for.
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #12 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.

*

Dutch Uncle

  • Member
  • 2108
  • Slowly freeing myself of a burden.
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #13 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.

*

GettingThere

  • Member
  • 35
  • You're worth fighting for.
    • View Profile
Re: My Inner Critic Hates That I'm Gay
« Reply #14 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:
« Last Edit: January 16, 2016, 01:58:24 AM by GettingThere »