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Hi,

So I've really been bothered about something lately. I'm gay - It never bugged me in the sense that I didn't feel ashamed about being gay, I strive to live my life the way I want to. Growing up, my mom, dad and siblings (and the rest of my peers/society) used to say very disparaging things about gay people. How disgusting it was, how it was immoral, how they don't want to be around it, and use words like f*ggot and h*mo and queer. Every time I would respond how they are wrong, the response would be "what are you gay?" (as a way to try to intimidate me).

I'm starting to realize that it had a major impact on my psychology growing up and even into adulthood - I went from a really outgoing, happy person to a closed off, more miserable person around high school because I was constantly in that environment. Imagine your family and peers constantly commenting how disgusting and immoral YOU are, simply because the nature of your being - I never bought it, but I felt resentful towards them and stopped opening up to people (to my own detriment). Now at 27, I was living in Los Angeles for a few years, was able to get away from my family and environment and although I entered an environment that was in some ways more toxic, I was able to see more clearly how irrational my family is and identify it better.

I forgave my siblings and told them I was gay cause they wanted to know, but it wasn't in a "pushy" way so it was cool (if that makes sense). I blamed my parents more than anything because they were responsible for setting the tone at the top and my siblings, in my estimation, were as much influenced by them as I was.

I just got out of a bad relationship and they knew the guy I was with (he was always around my fam). But my mom (especially) doesn't understand boundaries. She keeps pushing and asking me questions that I find too personal/outside the nature of our relationship about my sexuality and details around my relationship. I don't want to talk about my relationship to anyone in my family (for a few reasons) and I want to move on with my life, but she keeps pushing. I explained to her about boundaries, but she doesn't respect them.

Last Friday, I was really stressed about my job and she started asking me about marriage (but that was her way of asking me if I'm gay - I knew from experience). I got annoyed and was correct because then she started claiming that I wasn't being honest. 

*This* is exactly what annoys me because I think she is conflating honesty with openness, as if I am dishonest because I don't feel like I want to disclose personal information about my life to her. It's this mindset and the way she talks about it that tells me that she really didn't change at all since I left. 

I really don't care if people know I'm gay. I'm just getting agitated because she keeps trying to control/force the issue rather than just letting me live my life and going with the flow. I am starting to feel agitated as I did when I was younger because I'm getting the whole feeling "what are you gay, stop lying" type vibe from her and she is constantly crossing boundaries. And now I'm starting to feel resentful towards them about the past because she is still acting in a similar way. 

In one sense I want to just say it so it's out there so I can be myself completely, but in the other sense I don't care to tell her and I don't want to appease her desires as she is, in my estimation, crossing boundaries. She is really set on finding out (or more accurately me telling her as she thinks she deserves to be told and she probably has expectations of what our relationship should look like in this context if she did a good job as a mom - in her mind). I'm not even focused on it or relationships at the moment as I am working on my career goals, but now it keeps coming up and I'm feeling a bit stressed about it. I live at home right now in the interim until I finish a few license tests I am taking so it's hard to get away from it. 

Any advice on how to handle this in a dignified way? I want to do so without:

1) violating my personality - I'm super chill, I don't want a big deal about it. The idea of coming out bugs me. 

2) feeling like I'm appeasing her boundary crossing.

3) making her feel bad. She is still my mom and I respect and love her, but I still don't agree how she parented in that aspect. She was really cruel about it as it stemmed from religious morals. I don't know if it is even worth saying explicitly though, because I think it would hurt her, but that is probably why we don't have a relationship in which I tell her personal details about my life. Do you think it is worth stating explicitly?

I'm thinking about just saying, "alright, what do you want to know" and allow her to ask questions (NOT around my relationship though). But I want to remember to answer the question instead of criticizing her having the audacity to ask the question (which is sometimes where my head goes). 

Or do you think I should just take space and time away from my parents and overtime they'll realize through my actions/subtilely in the future?

I don't like living with resentment or the feeling of stress so I need to resolve this somehow and fast, but I don't like letting people control my life either - in the opposite sense, maybe I am letting her control my life by not just stating it. It's just that I want to do it my way and on my own terms.

Feel free to point out where I'm looking at this wrong. I should have been more chill when she asked me about marriage, but I was already stressed and kind of fell into the trap. I can't control her actions if she wants to cross boundaries, so I need to respond to it better.

Edited by thenelli01

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16 hours ago, thenelli01 said:

I don't like living with resentment or the feeling of stress so I need to resolve this somehow and fast, but I don't like letting people control my life either - in the opposite sense, maybe I am letting her control my life by not just stating it. It's just that I want to do it my way and on my own terms.

There is no your way or your terms anymore. That potential disappeared, I'm guessing, a decade or so ago--certainly since the time your mother started asking. Just tell her what she probably already knows, and deal with the consequences. I don't recommend bringing up your resentment of her past behavior or trying to make her feel worse than she already does. Focus on her current behavior and current beliefs. And don't accuse her of trying to control you. She spent her life trying to raise you and guide you as a kid. It's in her nature now. Besides, my guess is that she's just trying to understand you better, because she's concerned about you. Are you afraid that she'll disown you?

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1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

There is no your way or your terms anymore. That potential disappeared, I'm guessing, a decade or so ago--certainly since the time your mother started asking. Just tell her what she probably already knows, and deal with the consequences. I don't recommend bringing up your resentment of her past behavior or trying to make her feel worse than she already does. Focus on her current behavior and current beliefs. And don't accuse her of trying to control you. She spent her life trying to raise you and guide you as a kid. It's in her nature now. Besides, my guess is that she's just trying to understand you better, because she's concerned about you. Are you afraid that she'll disown you?

No, I'm not worried about her disowning me. I already know she loves me, same with my dad. They also really liked my ex, he went on vacations with us, used to live at my house, etc. It was sort of obvious we were dating.

I agree with most of what you wrote and I think you're right about her concerns. Thanks for the comment on the past, I agree. I hate holding people to their past as everyone deserves the chance to grow and change (and she has - and I think me telling her will help her and other people grow as I can be a role model to a certain extent). 

I think I just want to do it without having a dramatic talk or feeling like I'm "coming clean" if that makes sense. I was always against the idea of having to come out and I just want to do it in a way that is chill and subtle (i.e. according to my personality). I can do it with anyone else, but it feels weird having to do it with my parents. But not disclosing it to my parents, sort of limits how I can disclose it to other family members and makes me feel like I'm still not living up to my ideals: being my authentic true self. Any suggestions? Wait until it casually comes up in conversation? Or just have a "talk" with them?

Edited by thenelli01

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1 hour ago, thenelli01 said:

No, I'm not worried about her disowning me. I already know she loves me, same with my dad. They also really liked my ex, he went on vacations with us, used to live at my house, etc. It was sort of obvious we were dating.

I agree with most of what you wrote and I think you're right about her concerns. Thanks for the comment on the past, I agree. I hate holding people to their past as everyone deserves the chance to grow and change (and she has - and I think me telling her will help her and other people grow as I can be a role model to a certain extent). 

I think I just want to do it without having a dramatic talk or feeling like I'm "coming clean" if that makes sense. I was always against the idea of having to come out and I just want to do it in a way that is chill and subtle (i.e. according to my personality). I can do it with anyone else, but it feels weird having to do it with my parents. But not disclosing it to my parents, sort of limits how I can disclose it to other family members and makes me feel like I'm still not living up to my ideals: being my authentic true self. Any suggestions? Wait until it casually comes up in conversation? Or just have a "talk" with them?

The truth is the truth no matter what it is.  It is not casual, dramatic, or clean.. it just is the truth.   Share the truth IF you WANT to share your truth, and because you want to share that truth.

You are who and what you are and your parents want to know and be a part of that because they love YOU.

You don't want to feel like you are "coming clean"?... certainly you have done nothing wrong by being you... but you have not let people in... you may have consciously evaded or misled others by silence...  the world is a scary place and being vulnerable with the people you love is not easy... but if you to accept now that what you have done in the past is no longer acceptable, that you can and should be braver, more honest and more authentic.. then in a sense you are coming clean.. not only to your loved ones but with yourself.

Sitting your parents down to tell them the truth about you because you love them and they love you and because you want your relationship with them to grow in honesty and depth... well, there is nothing "casual" about it... it is deeply and fundamentally important if your relationship with them is important.. and coincidentally sitting your parents down to have a good heart to heart is completely natural for a loving nurturing relationship.

Don't let your "style" get in the way of being the honest earnest you.  Dramatic talk? Talk is talk.. if you don't want it dramatic don't be dramatic. Talk with them ... talk with everyone... tell them how much they mean to you, maybe even apologize for  giving in to fear for so long... but state that you are strong enough now to start living your authentic life and insofar as they are willing to be a part of your life you want them in it. 

Those who truly value and love you AS YOU ARE will not bat an eye at anything you say about yourself AS YOU ARE. 

 

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Imagine a world where conceiving a gay child is a parental consideration not much different than having a boy or a girl -- it's just a fact that may or may not occur, and once known, childrearing is just adjusted somewhat. Being gay would have been in the DNA (so to speak) of your upbringing, totally normal and not with extra consideration of any kind as you grew up. A sit-down talk with anyone about being gay now would be as bizarre as "coming out" as a boy (gender politics aside).

But, we don't live in that world yet (though it's surprisingly near). You described the current context instead yourself - your parents were/are very uncomfortable with homosexuality, enough so to be vocal about it toward their children for years. Your parents were raised in a society more hostile toward homosexuality even than your upbringing. It's baked into their brains, and now it requires of them conscious, consistent mental processes to undo. Even as a gay person, you may have had to do some of that yourself. And that is not easy, and is a lot to ask of someone, even if it's the "just" thing for them to do.

So, I would say cut your mother some slack. Having a conversation with you about being gay is probably part of her trying to become OK with the idea of gayness herself, which is a positive step in the right direction. She cares enough about you to try to undo her lifelong viewpoint toward gays, and all of the associated mental habits that went along with it.

Edited by JASKN

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20 hours ago, thenelli01 said:

I think I just want to do it without having a dramatic talk or feeling like I'm "coming clean" if that makes sense... Any suggestions? Wait until it casually comes up in conversation? Or just have a "talk" with them?

My suggestion is to catch them in a good mood, maybe after a meal on a weekend, or whenever they are most relaxed and unstressed in general, and then talk to them about it. Have a basic plan of what you're going to say and not say, but don't write out a speech if you want it to be chill. To avoid sounding like you're "coming clean," you could focus on simply acknowledging their past interest and giving them a straightforward answer. You could say something like, "You know how you've been asking me about marriage and relationships? Well, I think you deserve an answer. The fact is that I'm gay, and I just broke up with my boyfriend of several years." I don't see why it needs to be more complex than that. If they have questions, deal with them as they come. If it gets uncomfortable, just let them know that it's uncomfortable and you'd rather keep some things private.

However, it might be worth fighting through some of the discomfort, if it's simply a matter of your personality, and not one of genuinely protecting information. Frankly, you talk about your personality as if it's something apart from you, like a standard of self to which you must be true, e.g., you need to act chill. Is that a fair interpretation? If so, it might be something to reconsider. Personally, I think of myself as the creator of my personality. I'm focused on behaving correctly in accordance with reality, not my personality. If the situation requires a non-chill response, then I'm going to get non-chill on your ass. The hard part is deciding when to express emotions and when to keep them in check. 

No matter how you deal with your parents, I think the key is to not give them grief for being overly concerned about you. Being your parents, they are allowed to ask these personal questions. Even if they judge you from a religious perspective, just give them solid facts, don't get into emotional arguments with them, and let them come to grips with reality on their own.  

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Hey, well done. You cleared the hurdle (that you set up, largely) and things can only get better.

Edited by whYNOT

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