When I first told my brother in November 2012 that I had suffered grievously as a result of suppressing my same sex attraction, our conversation lead on to what my family knew about my suffering,
As I related in an earlier post he told me that our older brother had once said “when will William accept that he is gay” – I felt angry at hearing this and my brother urged me not to be resentful towards the family whom, he said, had felt helpless to get involved because I was capable of lashing out at them with aggressive statements.
My coach said to me “Resentment is like taking a draught of poison yourself and hoping somebody else will die” – this is a sentence I have repeated over and over to myself over the last two years and it speaks to me deeply of finding new ways to think.
As I drove home from my first visit to see my coach in January 2013, full of hope that my future had the potential to be happier, the four hours of driving to reach my home was a good time for me to start to reflect on what I must do to reach a place of self acceptance. Two particular themes came into my mind:-
- What are the origins of my sexuality (my next blog); and
- Had I somehow been let down by my family in my childhood and adolescence.
On getting home I was very emotional and it was difficult for me to explain to my wife what was going on within me. I had been stirred up that was for sure and now I needed to find some answers to the life of fear and isolation that I had lived and discover what would make me happy in the years of my life that I might still reasonably expect to live. One thing was for sure, I had to find a place of calm within me and reduce drastically my feelings of anger and wanting to control everything in my life and of those close to me.
The following day I spoke to my brother on the phone and I explained I had decided that I had confidence enough in the my coach to support me with my inner conflict with respect to my sexuality. He felt I would have been better seeing a male catholic counselor who would understand my situation from a position of faith – I stepped up and said I’ve got the faith – the church has no counselors in my neck of the woods to help me, and in any case I don’t want to come at all this from a narrow view of understanding, I want the integrated coaching approach that my coach is offering me.
We then started to talk about our Dad – I told my brother that he had let me down and that in the years when he had the opportunity to help me, he had not done so, Mr brother said, “please Will, don’t go down that route of blaming Dad” – he was fearful that I was going to confront him over my years of isolation and pain, but I said that at the current time I had no intention of doing so, however, I was determined to examine closely what had gone wrong in my relationship with him. The call ended angrily.
The following day he called me to say that he was sorry that he had been defensive. He said that he had been tired last night and that he thought I was doing great. He offered to pay for my coaching sessions which was kind of him but I assured him that there was no need, I had it covered.
I said to him, “I have begun a journey to help me understand and accept the nature of my place in the world – to understand why I am hurting so much and to move towards acceptance – you brother have been a great help already and I need you to be there for me i the future”.
I told him, “I am not blaming Dad for anything – he did for me what he thought was best and I won’t be confronting him on how I feel in respect that I was hurt by his approach and I just need to face it, understand it and move on”.
My brother said to me ” I think Dad failed you, I hate to say so, but I do, however, I don’t think he had any idea how to succeed with you”
[The issue being discussed here is my recollection that my Dad did nothing for me in my late teens when I showed signs of stress to discuss my problems with me]
My brother said to me “Dad did what he could to distract you from the areas in life that he thought would not be good for you, or put it another way that areas that you might chose that he could not cope with”
So what were these areas that might bring shame on the family:-
- I had want to be a dancer – my Dad said that was sissy-ish and I accepted the discouragement – I lacked maturity to stand up for what I wanted to do with my life and I conformed to what was expected from me.
- I wore a bracelet and rings – my Dad said boys don’t wear bracelets so i stopped wearing it – I customised my leanings to what was expected from me
- I was highly strung – my Dad would challenge me but i responded by being verbally aggressive and challenging and he backed down so what he might have wanted to say to me was never said.
In future blogs I will related the journey of healing that has taken place within myself in respect of feelings towards my Dad and the rest of my family and how I continue to manage feelings of disappointment about the past, but from a place of calm and acceptance.
I will conclude my blog today by saying that I know deep in my heart that my parents and siblings love me and did not go out of their way to hurt me – we somehow allowed the relationship between us to be polite on the surface with anxieties being allowed to reside under the surface for many years.
My net blog will be – Origins of my sexuality