Thursday, March 18, 2010

In looking back over the years, I realize I have done a lot of self-loathing.  I think it's a common practice that many of us fall into and unfortunately makes our lives miserable.  Sometimes we mistakenly believe, whether consciously or subconsciously, that it's the church's fault, and in some cases, it jsut may be the fault of some church leadership, locally or at a higher level.  However, in looking at the teachings of the church, the actual doctrine, self-loathing is not part of the plan.  In fact, the opposite is true.  So why do I do it?  Why do I allow myself to think that I am less worthy, less loved, less acceptable to God? 

For me personally, there seems to be a constant feeling of being tarnished, that I will never be able to live up to the standards of the church.  I worry that if I allow myself too much leeway, I'll be able to rationalize behavior that would lead me down paths I don't want to go.  These are paths I don't want to pursue because I want to be with my wife and family more than I want to be with another man.  I know that some of you have been able to embrace being gay (without acting on it) while maintaining a wife and family.  Is this only possible by being totally out to our wives, family, friends and many others?  Does my secrecy, by its nature, lend toward self-loathing?  I have no acceptance from my wife, family and church because I have not allowed them the opportunity to accept me for who I am.  By receiving this acceptance, or support, does it aleviate the self-loathing?  I don't want to hate myself anymore because I am gay.  Looking again at my past, I don't think this really became apparant in my life until after I was married and began having kids.  Previously, I don't recall ever being down on myself because I was gay.  I knew that I was accepted by God and I knew that He loved me.  Why has this changed?  I'm having a hard time overcoming this evil of self-loathing.  Because that's exactly what it is.  Self-loathing does not come from God, it comes from a being who wants me to "be miserable like unto himself".


Rob said...

I think you should look for a counselor who can help you figure this out. Nobody who comments here knows you well enough to be completely accurate in a response.

Based solely on what you've said, the "self loathing" may arise at least in part due to the disconnect between how you live outwardly and what you feel inwardly. Your sense of duty overrides what your heart continues to want. That dissonance grows as time goes. You may be feeling guilty for not following your heart, lonely because you haven't done so, duplicitous because of the difference between public and private personas. And thus "self loathing" because part of you doesn't like the fact that for whatever reason you haven't resolved the discord.

I'm no therapist but if I were you, I'd go find one and talk about stuff like that. Because eventually the stress is going to catch up with you.

Beck said...

Though I'm still dealing with it, my self-loathing diminished when I admitted to myself what was honestly going on inside, and looked in the mirror and said that I was okay with who I am. Further, my self-loathing diminished when I finally was able to talk about it with my wife and allow her to help me and be part of the solution instead of dealing with it alone. And yes, I went to therapy, and allowed myself to tell my story to a professional and come away, to a degree, content with where I'm going, unashamed of who I am.

Duty is a good thing. Choosing family and honoring marriage commitments are valid, authentic choices. But maybe opening up a bit with someone who can help you, as Rob suggests, may be a good thing as well.

Crisco said...

I feel for you being in a similar place. My problem is that I'm too good at compartmentalizing. I put that self-loathing in a box most of the time and shelve it. If I focus on all the good things in my life, I'm generally happy. I'm also at a point where I think something needs to changed in my life, but not really sure what steps to take.
I'm thinking about you.

Bravone said...

Good advice by all. For me, the healing only began when I like Beck, looked in the mirror and said, "I'm okay with who I am. Being gay is okay." Once I could accept myself, I shared with my wife. It made all the difference! I was no longer alone. I truly had a partner.

We had been married for 23 years at the time. She knew the kind of man I was trying to be. She had seen the fruits of my labors. She wasn't about to leave me. She loved me and now felt more a part of my life. Our marriage is better than ever.

Slowly, as appropriate, I have told some others. My kids, my parents, one sister, and as of this morning, one of my business partners know. It is liberating and so affirming to know that they love and respect you for who you really are, not what you want them to think you are.

GeckoMan said...

Actually, I don't think self-loathing is a common practise, but perhaps it is more so in our Moho circle. When I look back on my life and analyze my periods of self-loathing, it is generally when I have been deceitful or untrue in some way. In our Mormon heritage, honesty is simply hard-wired into our hearts and I don't think we can get around it successfully without feeling unworthy!

You have asked a lot of telling questions, and mostly answered them yourself. I think you already know what you need to do to become more integrated and less self-loathing. But since you asked, my answer is, yes, being more honest and open in your vital relationships will decrease those 'tarnished' feelings of self-loathing. Bringing your wife and family into the inner circle of your supposed secret is self-liberating and nothing to be ashamed of. My wife has been a great support to me, and involving her in the needs I have has opened my heart and eyes more fully to her needs. I think my children love me even more because they can see the qualities I've developed in a lifetime of trying to be true to our family and loving the Lord. I wish I had had the courage to talk openly with my parents, because of the perspective I could have gained, but that never happened. When we let go of the mistaken notion that those closest to us only want to see us as nearly perfect, we can find that just being ourselves mixed with kindness and humility, even if we're flawed, is perfectly good enough.

So when and how are you going to open your closet door? I think you've gotten good advice in seeking professional guidance. I too have benefited from counselors in my life, and the talking of thorny issues that help us get our arms around the ones we love and establish the boundaries we need to be happy and productive.

God bless you in your path towards wholeness and happiness.

Warren said...

Remember the two great commandments are: (1)Love the Lord, thy God and (2) Love thy neighbor as thy self. The second great commandment clearly states that first we should genuinely love ourselves first, and then learn to love our neighbors. We love ourselves as we are obedient to the commandments. I think you are trying hard to keep the commandments, your married, having children etc., You have a lot of reasons to love your self. Self-hate is what Satan wants not God.

Active Married Mormon Man Who Is Attracted to Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mattman said...

Self loathing comes from the same place that loathing others comes from. He wants to dibilitate you so that you cant act. He is distraction you from the fact that you are a son of God and a wonderful man.

Wyatt said...

Yeah, no more self loathing. Be cool. Be good to yourself. You deserve it.

Enduring said...

I know this is some months after your post...however, as I "struggle" I am coming to find out that I have to be brutally honest with myself and God. Doing so has enabled me to feel differently about myself. While it is hard; it is worth it. I hope. Your posts have lifted me, thanks!

Since July 15, 2007