*Feature image via This Is The Dream
When I came out to my mother, at the age of 22, she cried for days, and then called me up to tell me, “Well, I always knew you were gay.” These words made me unbelievable angry. When I was growing up and struggling with my sexuality, she would always make it a point to bash homosexuality in front of me. As a shy people pleaser, I would just keep quiet because I did not want my mother to think negatively of me. And as a result we grew distant. That distance [has] now turned into resentment.
Now that I am 28 and trying to build better relationships in my romantic life, I often find myself longing to have serious conversations with my mother. We are a bit closer aka we can actually have more than a five minute conversation, but it is usually centered around the question, “Am I straight yet?” My main concern is trying to figure out how to tell my mom how much she hurts me by not listening to me or being respectful of my relationships. For me it’s extremely hard because sometimes I really wish I had her as someone in my life I can rely on for advice. Instead, I find myself struggling with my emotional relationships no matter if they are romantic or not. Not sure where to go from here.
Dear Emotionally Confuzzled,
When I read your post I thought for a moment that I was reading a question from my younger self sent to my current self. I can totally relate to all that you have to say. Your resentments are completely valid as is your desire to have the type of relationship with your mother that would provide you with validation and support. When I came out, my mother also cried and we were not able to have the kind of emotionally supportive relationship that I felt that I needed or deserved. This left me feeling abandoned by her and with no one to turn to extremely alone. As a remedy, I turned to people in my community that could provide with what I needed. These folks, primarily older members of the LGBTQ community, quickly filled the position of surrogate mother. I also found support through friends which became my chosen family and who accepted me regardless of who I chose to love. I strongly suggest that you begin or if you already have continue to develop your chosen family and look for support through them.
Get yourself a queer fam. Image via F* Yeah, Queer Vintage
If your mom really says things to you like “are you straight yet?” she is clearly not in the position to be the support system that you need and sadly you have to accept that that is where she is right now. It’s a painful realization but it is one that will protect you from further hurt. You can take the chance of explaining to her how her lack of support effects you but you must do so without being attached to the outcome. It is possible that you bringing these feelings to light with her will open up a healthy dialogue but you should be prepared for her to say something completely insulting and hurtful.
Her comments are also confusing. On the one hand she is validating you by saying she “always knew you were gay,” something my mother also said to me and then in the same breath asking you if you still are gay. She is clearly struggling with her own acceptance of you as “her gay daughter.” As children, we want our parents to just love us for who we are like they always have but what we as gay children need to understand is that when we come out to our parents we are shifting their idea of who we are. They then need to reconstruct their vision of us and that can take time. We are still the same people but with a little added flare and hopefully they will come to see that.
I hope that you can speak with your mom and let her know exactly how you feel if only to release it from your world and place it in hers. Let her sit with it, toss it around and hopefully she will come back to you with an understanding of how you miss her in her life but keep in mind that you must do this without attachment to the outcome. Good luck!