Dear Trevor Lately my life has gone from bad to worse. Since I was a kid my parents would argue over the dumbest stuff, but they could make it manage. My father was never really there for me as a kid. He was always working, and when he was home he was always in a bad mood. My mom I had gotten along with just fine until recently. Three years ago we found out my dad had cheated on my mom. When we did find out she was devastated. It didn't really affect me as much as it did her. She would cry the whole day and not eat. He would cry and beg for her to forgive him. She agreed to let him stay for the sake of my younger sister. Now though their fighting has become too crazy. They argue over little things and just yell all the time. I don't know why, but I've become a target for both of them recently. Like they take their frustration out on me. For example they call me useless, worthless, a screw up, idiot, and my mom's even told me my two sisters are more important to her than I am. I also remember them when I was younger having told me that they wished they had a girl instead of me. So recntly their fights don't even make sense. They'll fight like about what to make for dinner, why my dad didn't do something my mom asked him to like a few minutes ago, and my mom always makes smart remarks hinting about my dad having cheated. My dad too is a jerk. He's always moody and trying to agrue with one of us. Mostly me or my sister, but I usually try to stand up for them. To try and avoid their constant fighting I now lock myself in my room. I thought this would work, but its badly backfired. My mom now says that I hate them all. She says I don't love any of them and comes in my room crying asking how she failed me as a mother because I hate them all for no reason. I don't know what to do its a lose lose situation. If i stay in my room I get told I hate them all, and if I try to spend time with them they ignore me and yell at me for no reason at all. I was already depressed, because they're both ignorant and make fun of gays which I am secretly. At my school too they make fun of gays. One of my close friends too. I was talking to her and I got her to talk to her opinion about gays because I was thinking about coming out to her, and she told me all gays were like mentally damaged and needed help. She also mentioned she felt great sympathy for gays and hoped they could get "cured" one day. Of course I didn't tell her and began to feel alone. Being gay and not being able to tell anyone around me due to all of them making fun of them, and having a screwed up family who doesn't even want me is just becoming too much. I've started cutting myself again, and even burned myself when we were camping. I don't want to kill myself because I want to enjoy life, but I can't keep living like this. I'm only 16 and I dont know what to do I feel so alone and I know I cant keep going like this much longer...
Thank you for trusting us with your situation. You are a very insightful young man. You have made some great observations. It might be difficult to remeber. But, you are not the cause of your parents marital difficulties. OF course, you are effected by the situation. But, this is something that arose between the two of them. You nor your sisters are responsible for their marriage.
You are correct. Your parents seem to be lashing out at you and your sisters because of the difficulties in their marriage. Their attacks against you and your sisters are irrational. They are focusing the anger they feel at each other on you and your sisters. This anger is completely misplaced. Have you tried telling your Mom the truth? Have you tried telling her that your isolation to your room is an attempt to stay out of the line of fire? Can you tell her that you still love her and your dad? Can you ask her why she is getting so angry at your and your sisters? In a sense, you are being placed into an "adult" role. You are having to filter out the misplaced anger. It is not fair. No one should endure anger generated from someone else's actions.
Andrew, there is nothing wrong with you or your attractions for other guys. There is nothing to "cure". Your friend is misinformed. Her sympathy is misplaced. There is no reason to "feel sorry" for someone who is gay.
In trying to figure out whether or not to come out, it can help to ask yourself some questions including: What does it feel like keeping this part of your life a secret? Does it cause you a lot of stress worrying about them finding out? Are you worried that if you told your family or your friends, you'd be unsafe physically or emotionally? If you told your parents, are you concerned that they might kick you out of the house? If you decided to tell them and they did kick you out, it would be important to have a safety plan, meaning a safe place where you could live and continue to go to school and a way to support yourself financially. Some people decide to wait until they are living away from home and are financially independent before telling members of their family about their sexual orientation/gender identity. If you feel now is the right time, that’s absolutely fine. What is most important is that you are comfortable and safe.
You might find it helpful to write out and rehearse things you might say. You might find the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/documents/resourceguide_co.pdf helpful. In addition, on http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/comingoutquestions you'll find an article called "Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About" which may be of help to you.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization, made up mostly of parents, which supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one's sexual orientation/gender identity. On their website at www.pflag.org click on "Get Support" then click on "For Family & Friends" where you'll find the pamphlets "Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People" and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People,” which, if you’re comfortable, you can share with your family members/friends to help them become more understanding and accepting of you.
When confronted with extreme levels of stress, many people engage in self-harming behaviors, including substance abuse, self-starvation, and cutting. For some, cutting relieves stress or tension. Some people find the physical pain of cutting distracts them from the emotional pain. Some people may be angry at someone in their lives. Cutting themselves provides a means of expressing that anger. Others feel cutting gives them a sense of control while experiencing overwhelming situations or emotions. Still others feel numb or "dead inside". Cutting helps them “feel alive”.
You have been dealing with the changes of your home life, the discovery of your sexuality, and the ignorant, derogatory comments regarding being gay. That is a lot.
While cutting may provide temporary relief, it can cause permanent scars, infections and serious, even life threatening medical problems. It can also cause one to feel shame, guilt, depressed and out of control. If you feel like cutting, there are a number of ways to help yourself feel better without putting yourself at risk. Think about how you feel before and after you cut yourself. If cutting helps to release anger, you might try getting the anger out in another way; hitting a pillow, stomping around in heavy shoes, ripping up old newspaper, or flattening aluminum cans. If cutting helps you express sadness, think about healthy alternatives; listening to music, calling a friend, writing in a journal or drawing/painting. For some people, doing something physical like running outdoors or yoga can help relieve stress. If the cutting counteracts numbness, do something that creates a physical sensation; tapping your fingertips in circular motions upon your skull, putting your hand briefly in ice water, or stamping your feet on the ground).
There are websites available including www.safe-alternatives.com and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm that can help you learn about cutting and alternate coping mechanisms. Cutting can be a difficult habit to break. Telling a a trusted adult can provide you with support in seeking assistance. If you’re not comfortable talking with your parents, you could ask a school counselor for help finding a therapist or call 1-800-DON’T-CUT where you can be referred to a therapist in your area.
When you have the urge to cut, you can always call the Trevor lifeline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor (1-866-488-7386) and talk with a Trevor lifeline counselor. They can also assist you in finding a therapist. Talking about the thoughts or feelings behind the impulse to cut may help to delay or stop the urge to harm yourself.
Trevorspace, at www.trevorspace.org, is the Trevor Project's safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It's a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about your sexuality, coming out, and dealing with your current homelife.
Andrew, you are not alone. Finding supportive communities will help immensely. Remember, we are just a phone call away.