These are the key messages that I wrote on the pre-meet questionnaire which I sent to my Coach in December 2012, about a month after I had revealed to me wife that I had been tormented by a same sex attraction for many years of our 25 years of marriage.
I described myself as unhappy and unable to cope with relationships which are important to me – my close family, particularly, and that I worried constantly that my inner struggle and outward anger and awkwardness had caused irreparable damage.
I also related to her that my friends would see me as wonderful, funny, good company, loyal and dependent and that they would be horrified to know how much I suffer with the torment of being attracted to my own sex and how I make things difficult at home with my mood swings.
The form asked me to explain the commitments that I was in the middle of right now, and in response I wrote that I had recently had to confront an issue that has caused me deep concern and anxiety over a number of years – that I am attracted to my own sex. I also wrote that I was not expecting her to resolve this issue but I wanted her to be aware of it. I highlighted the sentence saying I did not want her help in resolving the issues of same sex attraction on the document as if to make it appear out of bounds – the intent being that she would concentrate on my work related issues – oh how naive I was back then!
Other concerns I related on the form as follows:-
- I am worried I am perceived as “gay” at work
- I don’t believe the good feedback that I get at work – I constantly challenge it for evidence of error
- I am full of self-doubt about my abilities – I tend to focus on the grey areas of knowledge and put myself down
- I talk about myself (within the family) as being “unwell” and they are sick of hearing me say it
- I feel guilty for having recently step down from voluntary service to the community
- I feel stressed about the level of support my daughter needs from me in respect of her A levels
- My relationship with another daughter is difficult and has been for sometime
- My older daughter appears to be indifferent to me
- I am concerned about my feelings towards my aging parents – I feel hurt by their neglect of my anxiety
- I feel anger towards my siblings
I related the following positive steps I had taken recently
- I have arranged to go on a silent retreat in February
- My wife and brother are aware of my sexuality and have offered me their support
- I keep a diary of my moods
- I have 15 minutes each morning in silence as I recite the rosary
I was asked about what my hopes for the future were – I said the following:-
- I want to stop worrying about my sexuality and be happy with my wife as I was at the start of our marriage
- I want to feel happy and secure in my family’s love – I need to change for this to happen
- I want to grow in confidence at work
- I want to invest time in my interests and discover new interests that relax me
- I want to laugh
- I want to stop being scared
- I want to stop reacting to everything
- I want to stop spoiling all the happy family events because of being unable to cope with expectations I place on myself
I sent off my pre-meet material and I felt extremely fearful that once again in the space of a few weeks I was declaring myself in the world with openness and honesty. I was scared because I had no idea at that time that my coach would tackle head on with me the issues and aspirations that I had raised with her and begin with me my journey to self acceptance and calm.
My next blog – Self Acceptance