"I recently came out to my parents as pansexual. They took it surprisingly well and I am truly grateful for that. But I can’t help but think that they just acted like they were fine with it and secretly judge me for my sexuality. All of this makes me extremely anxious, what should I do?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Hi, me, how are you today? I am fine, thanks for asking, me. Love you, me.
This question isn’t ACTUALLY from me, but it may as well be bc those are all my feels. I don’t know where it comes from, maybe we all just get so worked up about stuff that once someone reassures us of their feelings, we are still freaking TF out in our brains because our worked up feelings haven’t gone away yet?!
I’m no brain doctor (or whoever knows this stuff), but that makes the most sense to me. We build something up and up and up and up and in our minds there is no possible way to feel good about it, so, the person is like ‘holy shit that’s great’ and even though they totally mean it, we are like ‘IT’S NOT GREAT. IT ISN’T BECAUSE I ALREADY THOUGHT YOU WOULD NOT THINK IT’S GREAT.”
OMG I just realized it’s like when you’re falling in love with someone and you’re like ‘god i hope they like me as much as i like them’ and they’re like, ‘i like you so much i can’t stand it’ and then you walk away and you’re like ‘i bet they don’t like me as much as i like them’ and it’s an endless cycle based on nothing because we are all afraid. BUT WHAT ARE WE AFRAID OF.
Here’s what we should do. From this day forward, let’s all give each other the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume people are telling the truth. Let’s believe the people we care for most. Let’s recognize when we feel like our loved ones aren’t being honest and take a deep breath. Remember that we could be wrong, they might very well love us unconditionally.
You know, my therapist and I once had a conversation that I believe applies directly to your question, Anonymous. Do you think I have to pay my therapist more if I am using her guidance on the internet? …Shhhh, no one tell her.
The long and short of what my therapist told me was that I wasn’t allowing for other people to have more than one emotion simultaneously. She asked me to think about my own feelings on certain things in my life, and recognize that I could feel confused and excited all at once, sad and hopeful in the same breath, joyful and scared together in the passing of just one second. One single feeling doesn’t occupy the entirety of us at a time… we are pretty complicated beings. And, one single feeling certainly does not negate other feelings that are happening simultaneously.
I tell you all of that, Anonymous, not because I don’t believe your family. I do — I think they are being great because they love you and support you. And, maybe that is ALL they feel, and like Dannielle has suggested, you just need some time to adjust and accept that. However, that might not be the entirety of what you are experiencing. You might be picking up on some nuances in their responses or behavior — perhaps they are being supportive but they are also unsure of certain ways that they should talk to you now, maybe they are confused about certain terms or identities, maybe they are scared about certain things but don’t know that they can share this with you. That is all part of the coming out process — for you and for them.
The important thing to know, though, is that if they are unsure or confused or scared… that does not mean that they cannot also be full of love, support, and excitement for you. My advice is to allow them that complexity. Accept what they are telling you, and if they have moments where it seems they are more unsure than excited, talk to them and remember that doesn’t make their support disappear.
I promise you that they are not judging you. They love you, and at most they are seeking out answers that will help them to understand you even more.
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