Living a double life of pretending to be straight at home, while only being “out” when I privately go to occasional LGBTQIA+ events, is beyond stressful. I have also talked to a psychiatrist. But everyone who said they would help has not followed through or has just told me to hang in there. I know my mother will probably never accept my lifestyle, and I’m not interested in waiting for her to understand. That’s okay, as I’m trying to move on with my own life.
Besides pursuing a career as a personal trainer, I’m also looking to work with the LGBT community. But I can’t move forward with my life with no job and no support from the LGBT community. I don’t know what to do from here. Things have become so stressful – pretending to be straight at home, while only being “out” when at LGBT events. I have begun self-harming again and thinking about giving up on life, as I now feel trapped as I have exhausted all other resources. Any advice would be helpful. — Closeted Lesbian
Is there any reason why you HAVE to be financially dependent on your mom? You say you are pursuing a career as a personal trainer, and that’s great, but you need a source of income in the meantime. Have you looked for a part-time job (or full-time job, if you can swing it)? Have you looked hard? I totally get that shit happens, and sometimes, even well into our 30s, 40s, and beyond, we fall on hard luck and need help. But if your dependency on your mother is more than a temporary fix, I gently suggest that the bigger problem in your relationship isn’t that she doesn’t accept your sexuality, it’s that you haven’t learned to be independent yet.
Of course, “learning to be independent,” isn’t something that just happens overnight. It isn’t a skill you simply acquire if independence has never been nurtured and you haven’t had interest in pursuing it. You need some support. Support that comes from someone other than your mother. You say you have no support from the LGBT community, but I wonder how you’ve sought support — from whom and in what regard? Have you called different hotlines? In addition to local chapters of LGBT organizations (google the name of your town + LGBT support), try this hotline:
GLBT National Help Center: 1-888-843-4564
Providing Peer-counseling, information and local resources.
“We speak with callers of all ages about coming-out issues, relationship concerns, bullying, workplace issues, HIV/AIDS anxiety and safer-sex information, and lots more!
We also maintain the largest resource database of its kind in the world, with 15,000 listings. Our database contains information on social and support groups, as well as gay-friendly religious organizations, sports leagues, student groups and more. We also have information on GLBT-friendly businesses including lawyers, doctors and various counseling professionals.”
Additionally, reach out to your friends, find a new psychiatrist, get active in your own well-being. As you said, you can’t wait for your mom to accept you. You need to live your life for yourself.
But here’s the thing about your mother: she probably already knows you aren’t truly heterosexual. Oh, she might believe you are in the way a 10-year-old still hangs on to the idea of Santa being real but knows deep down something different to be true. You tried telling her once. Do you think she’s forgotten that discussion? She hasn’t. She’s just chosen to ignore reality, and you have chosen to let her. Why? Because you depend on her financially. If you want that scenario to change, you have to change it. Quit depending on your mother. Get yourself to a position that, regardless of her financial support, you will be OK. (You will be OK). And then, rather than worry about being homeless and desolate, you can process the feelings you have around being emotionally rejected by your mother.
In a lot of ways, I think it’s probably easier to be financially rejected by someone we love than to be emotionally rejected. Maybe part of your continued dependence on your mother is a way of protecting yourself from her potential emotional rejection of you. As long as you need her in a financial way, you continue lying about who you are. And as long as you continue lying about who you are, your mother won’t reject you. But the thing is, not rejecting you isn’t the same as accepting you for who you are. And that’s what you want. And until you are honest about who you really are, you don’t give your mother — or anyone else — a chance to truly accept you.
Find your independence. Keep reaching out for support. And when you are able to move out and can afford potential financial rejection from your mother, you will be free to be yourself. You cannot put a price on that kind of freedom.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.