• Not everyone will understand your journey

    These words are wise and cliché and true.

    But learning to let go of our desire to be understood is hard. Especially when our hurt separates us from our families and their understanding.

    Maybe that hurt is due to growing up in a chaotic, neglectful, abusive or toxic environment. Being the black sheep of the family is hard. Oftentimes there is too much denial within the rest of the family to see or validate your experience. Sometimes it is because a particular family member is not far enough along in their healing to be able to acknowledge the enormity of what happened.

    And too often, there is a minimization and invalidation of the hurt because it was not a one time, give traumatic event. When the trauma was a day to day invalidation of you and who you were it is harder to point out or explain to someone. Your experience is still valid.

    Maybe that hurt is due to your family’s inability to understand, validate and/or accept your sexuality or gender identity. It takes a great deal of courage to live as you are when your family and the world can’t understand you for who you are. Ultimately though, you have to find a way to be true to you, live your life and do what works for you. If your family can love you without understanding, that is still something to be cherished.

    For some LGBTQIA+ folx that means creating a chosen family, for some it is hanging with their families until they come around to understanding, for some it is remaining in the closet with family, and a whole range of other options in between.

    This work of healing can be lonely, that is why finding community is so important. And if community is not possible for you yet, then getting into therapy is that much more vital. It is important to have at least one supportive person who will see you, the messiness of your healing, and celebrate it.

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