Parents

Nov. 9th, 2013 11:12 pm

On monday I will be sending my parents The Letter. Although I've come out to many people over the past six months, this letter has been the hardest one to write. For everyone else, I know what to say. For friends: they already knew (to varying degrees). For colleagues: I can keep things formal, business like, just the necessary facts. But parents...

All throughout my childhood, my father had severe anger management issues. After being diagnosed with diabetes, that's basically gone away. But, the other thing is he has a strong vein of homophobia. It's not that he hates gays exactly; rather, he has a long history of making intolerant jokes and otherwise displaying his internalization of the homophobia rampant in society. When telling stories about the gay coworkers he's had, the caricatures he draws are extremely offensive and belie his inability to see them as wholly deserving of respect.

As for my mother, oh where to begin? She's extremely passive aggressive. The only way she knows of to interact with the world is through passive aggression. She can't help but to throw barbs and quills, even in the most kindly discussion. Well over a decade ago I legally changed my name, and I'd been going by [real name] for a few years before that. Every single member of my family respects this and has switched to calling me by my name— with the marked exception of my mother. Every time we talk, she makes a point of "accidentally" using my dead name, of refusing to acknowledge that I had never accepted that name, even before discovering my true name. My father accepts it, even in her presence. My aunts and uncles accept it, even the ones I don't talk to often. My grandmother accepts it; iirc, she was the first to accept it. I love my grandma. But no, my mother has chosen to take every chance she can to deny my agency and personal identity.

To top it off, years ago something cracked and she dove headlong into christianity. She's always been christian, mind; but she used to listen to popular music, have friends outside of church, etc. Now, it's only church groups and christian rock and bible quotes and all that shit.

So yeah. I have to be very explicit about setting the boundaries here. And yet, I must figure out how to do so in a way that doesn't come across as extremely rude. While I'm not dependent on them in any way, and would be fine with them disowning me (again); naturally, it'd be nice if they were willing to accept me for who I am. Moreover, I must be sure not to give my mother any wiggle room for denying the truth, nor any ammunition for her passive aggression.

Wish me luck.

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shoryo

March 2014

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