There are common stages associated with coming out. The first stage is “Questioning”. While every individual’s process is unique, I will touch upon each phase in my 5 part series.
If you are like many people, you discover something new about yourself all the time. Sometimes, the ‘aha! moment is non-life changing, yet important.. but for some of us, we discover something that turns our world upside down. Creating feelings of anxiety, fear and maybe even excitement! I’m talking about discovering that you are attracted to or have fallen in love with a same sex individual. This can be especially complicated and scary when it happens mid-life, possibly with a husband or wife and kids. How do I know? I’ve been there. What’s amazing to me is how fast things can change One day you’re living your life and it’s pretty even keeled. The next, you realize that the feelings you have for a dear friend are much deeper than just friendship. Maybe you find yourself thinking constantly about someone you’ve just met and try to figure out ways to see them as often as possible. You’re not quite sure what is happening, and it can be totally innocent at first, yet in your heart you know there is something different about the way you feel and it scares the s*%# out of you!
It can seem like your life has turned totally upside-down and you are faced with the decisions that must be made. Do you ignore or repress your feelings? Do you stay in a marriage? Have an affair? Tell your spouse? Get a divorce? Ultimately “break up” the family as you know it today? All of these types of feelings and the decisions that need to be made can become paralyzing – leaving you in a constant state of angst, not knowing how to move forward. The guilt you feel when hurting other people – people who have no idea that something is going to change – is a lot to work through. You know that you’re not ‘sick’, and that nothing is ‘wrong’, so therapy isn’t what is needed. I want you to know that there is no need to go through this process alone. You can certainly confide in a friend or seek help from your religious leader if you’re comfortable. For some though, it is more important to speak with a totally objective, confidential person who is trained to help you look within yourself for the answers.
In 1996, the feelings described above were all too real for me. To avoid what I thought would be a total breakdown, I sought the help of a local therapist. Having someone I trusted to be confidential was critical for me. In retrospect, I really didn’t need a therapist. What I needed was someone who could help me process everything that was happening to me. Someone who could listen deeply, ask the right questions and help me get “unstuck” so that I could move forward and make the big decisions facing me. It was a long process filled with tears, negotiation and self-revelation. It was also a time of great joy and the discovery of an emotional connection I’d always searched for.
Back then Life Coaching was new on the scene and I had no idea that it was an option. Today, you have a choice. Ethically, I am 100% committed to keeping conversations confidential and am completely confident in your ability to get through the hardest of times and move into the life that makes you happy – whatever that may be.
Check back on August 8th for Part 2 – Self-Identification