What can I do about my family not accepting me as bisexual?
After I told them, they yelled at me.
Hello, and thank you for your question. I am very sorry that this was your experience with your family. I truly wish I could give you some things to say to them that would change their reaction, but unfortunately I can't do that. Their acceptance of you is a journey, just like coming out is a journey for you.
Sometimes families initially respond this way, but after time they become more accepting and even supportive. Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure if that will happen. So, here are a few things I would suggest:
Surround yourself with people and things that remind you that you really are okay as you are. That won't take the place of your family's acceptance, and I won't even pretend that it would, but it may help during those days when it hurts the most. And that is really important.
Patience is not something that many of us are really good at, but this type of situation sometimes forces you to have some. When families first learn something like this, they may go through a period of shock. And then sometimes even grieving. They may even be worried if they are of a particular religion where being bisexual is forbidden. These things can take time for them to reconcile, so it may just take some patience. If it is safe for you, try to talk to them, but if it becomes painful or hurtful then you have the right to walk away.
I do recommend setting up some personal boundaries for yourself, and perhaps learn some assertiveness skills if you feel you struggle with them. The reason I feel that this is important is that people sometimes take a lot of abuse from family members and friends in times like you're describing.
They may want to be accepted so much that they put themselves in hurtful positions over and over again hoping that their families will come around. They may, or they may not. And if they don't, you deserve to live a life free of abuse and to feel confident and assured of who you are. To be surrounded by folks who remind you of that.
If you start seeing this pattern and you are struggling, chatting with counselor may be a great idea. I am bias probably, but I think chatting with a counselor is ALWAYS a good idea. :)
Hope this helps. Be well. Be you.
Robin J. Landwehr, DBH, LPC, NCC
- 1785 views
Acceptance is something we cannot control. I would work with someone who can do family systems, even if your family never comes to therapy, you still need to process how the system has changed, or maybe it hasn't changed, maybe there is more realization and you need to process that. I'm sorry they yelled, is that a common response to change in your family? Also, do you accept you? That's the first step! We can only accept the things that we cannot control. Maybe they are not aware of that! They are processing this "new" information. Are you willing to give it some time? Hopefully this helps!
- 2 views
Coming out to our family can be one of the scariest and bravest things we as LGBTQ do. Sadly, sometimes these family members may not understand or even become scared for us and can lash out by yelling. One thing you may do is to give them time to process their personal emotions. Another thing you may do is to offer to provide local resources such as PFLAG to help educate them. Finally, I would like to mention that you may need to also prepare for your family never accepting your sexuality. This may happen if your family has deep-rooted religious ideas about sexuality. Whatever happens, I would suggest that you create a support structure of the family that does understand, friends that are understanding, and even a counselor or minister to help you work through your personal emotions.
- 11 views
- 56 views
I am sorry to read that this happened to you. If your family is not supportive of you, this can be a huge challenge. Are you dependent on them in some way (financially, etc.)? This could affect choices you make at this point. Make sure you connect with a supportive community or people and organizations that are afforming of you and your identity. If you are unable to receive support from your family, you can lean on them if necessary. If you feel your family needs more information you can always refer them to appropriate websites and organizations that can help them to understand that this is natural and normal and learn the negative effects of non-affirming people in the life of LGBTQ+ individuals.
- 83 views
I am so sorry to hear this has been your family’s reaction. It is truly heartbreaking to hear. The important thing to remember is that your identity as bisexual is valid and you are worthy of love, no matter what other people say.
The other therapists below have given you some great advice on how to cope with your family's reaction and how to manage the pain you are feeling. I wanted add to their responses by sharing a few resources on ways to connect with bisexual community.
To know you are not alone.
To see yourself reflected in others.
To hear others stories of how they have coped.
These things can help you stay strong during difficult times. I hope these resources can do some of that for you.
Find a Bisexual support group: https://www.binetusa.org/bi-groups-in-the-us
Bisexual Podcast- https://www.binetusa.org/the-bicast
Find Bi-Affirming Professionals in your area - http://bizone.org/bap/
- 80 views
It sounds like your family responded out of fear! They may need some time to digest the information. This can be hard for a family to hear for several reasons but you should be proud that you had the courage to tell them. Once they realize how brave you were and how much you need their support they will come around. Maybe you can write them a letter (for them to read without you present). In the letter, you can tell them your struggles and maybe why you decided to tell them. A letter will give them a little more time to digest the information.
- 206 views
It's most important that you accept yourself and surround yourself with a group of friends who are kind to you and love you. Family hearing news of any kind for the first time if they are an anxious type of character, will always be tough to digest. Time is important to let it all settle in and also making sure you're taking good care of yourself... I think you're brave and I give you a lot of credit for not denying who you are -- you will inspire so many people to do the same in your life. Wishing you all the best. Gina
- 162 views
That has to be incredibly difficult because you were very vulnerable and open about what you were feeling and I imagine the response was very hurtful.
Here are a couple of things to do right now:
- Practice giving yourself some love. Bring your awareness to the room around you and some of the positive energy within you. As you become a bit centered, you're likely to be able to work through your emotions more easily.
- Surround yourself with people who do accept you. I'm hoping that you have friends or acquaintances who accept you as you are.
- You can also find some support here through this organization that often have events related to offering support: https://www.pflag.org/needsupport. I have not spoken with this organization directly, but they are often discussed in therapeutic trainings as a reputable organization.
Related more specifically to your family, that change may take some time. There is often a large adjustment in families because of the huge variations in reactions and what each person thinks, feels, and believes.
Consider talking with a local therapist about how to communicate more effectively with your family, as there are a lot of variables there, so it is difficult to give you specific ideas in this format.
Remember, there are lots of people who accept you as you are right now.
- 216 views
I'm sorry your family had such an upsetting response to your news.
Maybe eventually they will come around to greater acceptance of you. If this was the first time they heard this fact about your sexuality, the information may have overwhelmed them.
It is up to the family members now to realize they handled their reaction in a way which may have upset you.
Whether or not they do this, you still can be sure you did what was necessary and in your hands to tell them such key information about you.
- 707 views
There are a lot of ways one could go about handling this kind of conflict. It is hard to know which way might be advisable if we don't know quite why they would yell (or, why would they care who you choose to sleep and/or partner with to begin with?)
However, it is of utmost important that you accept yourself as bisexual, and sometimes that is easier said than done. But, when you are able to get to that acceptance that you are not in the majority in society as far as sexual orientation goes, and all that comes with that, and perhaps other issues you might have with it, it will be significantly easier for you to tolerate your family's lack of acceptance, and perhaps chalk it up to a severe lack of open-mindedness.
But because it is family, and we don't choose our families but are forced to deal with them for the most part for better or worse (admittedly I'm not the biggest fan of outright estrangement), processing the loss of "the family that I hoped I had" will also be important for you moving forward in your life. You likely will be able to realize you don't need them to accept your sexual orientation for you to live a healthy and happy life. Perhaps when they see that they can't change you, they will actually just learn to accept it.
- 855 views
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