I have known for a while what I am. I understand that I am gay but sometimes I wonder if because I was sexually abused by a friend of the family when I was younger, is that the reason that I ended up being gay? I am happy with myself no doubt about it but that one thing makes me wonder if that was what made me gay. Also, I find myself pushing people that are looking to be in a relationship with me away because it scares me but I want it. What’s the deal with that? Sometimes I feel that I am not able to love and that makes me feel that I am dead inside and thoughts of suicide cross my mind.
It seems like you have a good sense of yourself as a gay man and feel happy and accepting of your sexual orientation. It’s understandable that you’ feel so sad and depressed having been sexually abused and feeling unable to love along with feeling dead inside. It takes a lot of courage to try to deal with and face this and you’ve done the right thing by writing to Dear Trevor for help.
When you say that thoughts of suicide have crossed your mind, it sounds like you may be thinking of killing yourself in order to get relief from the pain and suffering that you’ve been dealing with. People sometimes think of suicide when they are very sad and depressed, feel that they have no choices and are not sure where to turn for help. It’s understandable that you’d want relief from your pain and suffering, but it’s very concerning that you would consider ending your life as a way of ending that pain. We, at The Trevor Project, care about you and want to do whatever possible to help you and to keep you safe. If you feel that you’re going to act on the thoughts, please immediately call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. It’s important for you safety that you immediately tell a trusted adult such as a parent, relative, teacher or school counselor about your thoughts of not wanting to live. If you’re not comfortable, you don’t need to talk about being gay when you have this discussion. If there’s no one you feel comfortable talking with, please immediately call the Trevor helpline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor. Our understanding counselors are here for you 24 hours, 7 days week and want to do whatever is needed to keep you safe. By talking with someone such as a therapist/ counselor or Trevor help line counselor, you can discover options that you may not be aware of. The problem for many people is that when they’re in emotional pain, they can’t imagine NOT being in it, and it feels like things will NEVER get better. But things can and do change and help is available. Continuing to work for your own health and to move things in your life forward by working together with knowledgeable professionals is part of the path to healing.
I’m sorry to hear that you suffered past sexual abuse, sadly an all too common occurrence in our society today. As to your question whether this abuse may have made you gay, today scientists and many other people believe that a person’s sexual orientation is something they are born with, that it’s not a choice, and it’s not something that happens to them because of trauma or abuse that they have suffered.
Sexual abuse often has long-lasting effects on a person’s life. Your experience of pushing people away who want to be in a relationship, feeling like you are unable to love and therefore feeling dead inside is something that occurs with a number of people who’ve been sexually abused. People who have been sexually abused often have tremendous fear and issues of trust after what has been done to them. This is understandable as we ordinarily try to protect ourselves after something really bad has happened to us. The problem is, what happens to us after abuse and what we do to protect ourselves from further abuse, gets in our way of having a trusting, loving relationship with another person. Some people are fortunate enough to be able to work these things out on their own and, over time, often years -- be able to gradually trust others more and more. Many people, though, need help from professionals in order to work through and deal with the traumas that they have suffered and to move on with their life and begin relating romantically to other people in a good way. This generally requires working with a trained professional such as a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist in order to better deal with past trauma and the profound effect it has on your current day-to-day life. The problems you describe are very common in those who have been sexually abused, and these issues often respond very well to appropriate counseling and treatment. There is hope for treatment of these problems. You would want to be sure the person you are seeing has experience treating this particular issue of childhood sexual abuse, as not every counselor has such training. Some resources you might try to contact in Texas in order to get more information could be, depending on where you’re located: Diversity Center www.diversitycentersa.org which has Psychological Counseling P.O. Box 12254 San Antonio TX, 78212 Tel: 210-223-6106 Fax: 210-223-7419 firstname.lastname@example.org; Gay And lesbian Switchboard of Houston which has Informational services PO BOX 66469 Houston TX, 77266-6469 Tel: 713-529-3211; Houston GLBT Community Center 3400 Montrose Boulevard, Suite 207 Houston TX, 77006 Tel: 713-524-3818 email@example.com; Jhon Tomas Gay and Lesbian Community Center http://www.resourcecenterdallas.org Community Center 2701 Reagan Street Dallas TX, 75219 Tel: 214-528-9254 Helpline: 214-528-0022 firstname.lastname@example.org ; Lambda GLBT Community Services www.lambda.org 216 S. Ochoa El Paso TX, 79901 Tel: 915-276-0139 email@example.com; poor Montrose Counseling Center Support Services 900 Lovett Suite 203 Houston TX, 77006 Tel: 713-529-0037.
If you’d like additional support or help finding local resources, please call the Trevor helpline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386). Our experienced counselors are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. They understand and are sensitive to how hard it can be to deal with issues of sexual abuse and have meaningful relationships. They would be happy to talk with you about what you’ve been feeling and going through and about the different decisions you’re thinking about. They could also refer you to LGBT resources near you that might be of help. Please remember that we’re always here for you at The Trevor Project and that you don’t have to go through all of this alone.