Three Pillars of Healing
Understanding the Truth
Healing the Past
Few understand the suffering and anguish that a parent endures when they discover their child suffers from same-sex attraction. Hearing the word's "I'm gay" can ring in their ears like a death knell for their beloved child. They feel lost and question how something like this could happen in their family. For most as shock gives way to denial, then escalates to anger followed by depression, the stages of grief mirror those of losing a loved one.
But for parents of a gay child, who often suffer in silence afraid to share their story or seek help, the grief process is more complicated. Like waves on a beach, the stages of grief roll over them one after another only to return again and again, and while that reality sounds bleak, it should be helpful to know others have been in the same boat and not only survived, but lived to joyfully discover that their journey served a much greater purpose than they could ever have imagined. Those families stand today more united, stronger than they were before SSA entered their lives. They are more prayerful, more faith-filled, more compassionate and dedicated.
Understanding what happened to your son or daughter is the first step in this journey. SSA Hope is one resource of many that can educate you on the origins of same sex attraction. We encourage you to read as much as you can on the subject from trusted sources. Our Education page is a good start, and our SSA Resource page has links to many helpful sites. Your child needs you now more than ever (even if he or she is rejecting you) and it is critical that you be armed with the truth and understanding of how their condition developed and why. Remember your child is unique, as is your family and their past. As you study, you may have several aha moments when you discover certain dynamics of your family's situation, from personalities and relationships to events and circumstances. At times you will feel guilty, or may wish to point fingers at your spouse, or blame any one thing. But guilt and assigning of blame will not heal your child, your family or yourself, it may even make things worse.
Healing the Past is a crucial part step in the journey out of SSA. Many will be shocked to learn just how many hurts our children, even grown children, harbor over past mistakes, oversights and happenings. Its important to know that a person's perception is their reality. For sensitive people and those who have emotional wounds this fact is even more crucial. Remember that when it's time hear your SSA child's view of the past.
While it is impossible to turn back the clock, it is always possible to express heartfelt regrets. Often just the acknowledgment of their pain can be a catalyst for healing. Taking responsibility for past mistakes, real or perceived, and working to repair your relationship, or build a new one, is another important element of healing.
Walking with your child on this road of healing, listening to all his feelings, humbly admitting to shortcomings and faults, being supportive in all his or her interests, and doing everything in your power to forge new and healthy bonds are all part of the healing process.
Unconditionally Loving your child just as he is, where he is, is the magic ingredient that will carry you through this challenging journey. That means NEVER EXPECTING OR PUSHING your child to change. Your child must feel your love is unconditional, (as should be all parent's love). Although you may feel your greatest wish is that your child change his or her sexuality, the truth is that expectation will likely crush your child's progress in healing, a healing of past hurts and hidden wounds that very often leads to a natural change in his of her feelings of attraction. What our SSA children need from parents and loved ones is love with no strings attached. Talk of change, brings the unintentional message that they are not loved as they are and that a change is required of them to earn or deserve love. - a death sentence of sorts to those who have tried every which way to change long before they ever "came out" to family and friends. The most important thing to remember:
Education for Parents who wish to help their Loved Ones with Same-sex Attraction Disorder and find peace and healing for their familes.
NO ONE THING IS RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILD's SAME SEX ATTRACTION FEELINGS
Education will take time. In your excitement and panic to help your child, you may be tempted to force feed him or her the information you are finding, to force your conclusions or your solutions on them. But far from helping, this may damage your relationship further. Fight this temptation, especially early on. He or she will discover the same things in time. But his understanding, intellectual or academic, can not grow in the midst of hidden resentments (conscious or unconscious) towards you and or your spouse, or buried emotional hurts and inner pain.
As you learn, you will discover past wounds and circumstances, that you likely had no idea were effecting your child. Whether or not you had control over those circumstances, one thing remains true, YOU CAN NOT CHANGE THE PAST, but you can move forward, and take steps to do whatever you can to help heal past wounds.
Show your SSA Child all the Love in your Heart ALWAYS!
Advice and encouragement from a former lesbian for parents and loved ones at Exodus.
Counseling help for individuals and families in sexual or relational conflict.
Out of the Depths
Support for individuals and families affected by sexual brokenness.
Some of the following comes from A Parent's Journey- From a Son's Perspective, an Exodus Conference workshop presented by Garry Ingraham.
Permission to Grieve - Give yourself permission to grieve. Learning of your child's SSA is a huge shock. It's important to allow yourself time to adjust and give yourself room to grieve. Feelings of loss, disappointment, worry and guilt are just a few of the emotions that will wash over you.
Find someone to talk to, a trusted friend or close relative, who will listen and at least try to understand and empathize with what you are going through. No Man is an Island. Search for a shoulder to lean on, a pastor, a counselor, a friend. Your health and well being will one day aid your SSA child. They need you whole and sound.
"Put your air mask on and then assist your child."
Gain perspective - Life did not end as you know it for you or your child. They are still the same beautiful child you know and love. God has a plan for you and for them. Turn to Him daily for direction and peace. Also know this is not your fault. This is no one's fault, and while you may learn of contributing factors involving you, your spouse or your family dynamic, nothing was done on purpose. Acknowledging the past and honest repentance will go a long way toward healing and peace.
Educate Yourself - Learn as much as you possibly can about SSA. Turn to trusted sources in your church and here. Be aware of the "seduction of the age" and of falling into apathy. You should no more abandon your child to the gay lifestyle than to cut him loose in a crack house. The more you read and learn, the more you will find the zeal to work and pray for your SSA child and your family.
PRAY and LOVE - Do not underestimate the power of your prayer. Ask yourself what your loved one needs - the answer is God. Don't underestimate the power of your LOVE either. Richard Cohen says, "the one who loves best wins." Think about who he or she will turn to, you or the gay community. Do not withhold your love even as you make it clear you may have to "agree to disagree" for a time on gay issues.
SOME FIRST STEPS AFTER HEARING THE NEWS
When Homosexuality Hits Home by Joe Dallas
Someone I love is Gay by Anita Worten and Bob Davies
The Truth Comes Out by Nancy Heche
I was regretting the past and fearing the future, when suddenly God spoke to me:
"My name is "I AM." I waited and God continued.
"When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I Am- not there. My name is not "I was."
"When you live in the future , with its problems and fears, it is hard. I AM not there. My name is name is not "I will be."
When you live in the moment, it is not hard. I AM here. My name is "I Am."
Benedictine Monastery Snowmass, Colorado
Original Design Declarations
Original Design Declarations from Jim Anderson.
The following are concepts used by Jim Anderson, who works with young people who are confused about their sexual identity. Jim has found that an understanding of our original design, who God designed us to be, is helpful in this area. Use them as talking points if your child is in a position of hearing you.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised. (shall receive appropriate attention) Prov. 31:30
1. You were designed by God for safety, security, permanence and commitment.
2. You were designed by God to be loved for who you are as a person, not what you can give a man sexually.
3. You are primarily relational and secondarily sexual through the covenant of marriage. Marriage allows you to safely open up that personal and sacred part of your life to your husband because he has made a public commitment to you forever.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. (theme of sacrifice, dedication and suffering for another) Ephesians 5:25
1. You were designed by God to do what is right instead of what is easy.
2. You were designed by God to look into a mirror and see someone you respect. Your fuel is honor.
3. God has called you to be a protector, not a predator.
4. You were never designed by God to be bound to your lower nature. God wants to release grace to you so you can rule over your sexuality instead of your sexuality ruling over you.