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I'm kind of having a breakdown. Need support.

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Re: I'm kind of having a breakdown. Need support.

  • I'm so sorry. This is an awful thing to be going through and I'll be thinking of you.  I just wanted to share my experience with my dad, because some of it is similar.  My dad was a closeted homosexual until about 10 years ago.

    My dad's reasons for staying closeted were complex: he was born in the 50s and reared in a conservative, religious, military family.  Being gay, or really being different, wasn't an option.  In addition, at the time in his life when he might have considered coming out, his family suffered two significant traumas in a short period of time; one of Dad's siblings was killed and another was seriously and permanently disabled in an accident.  Dad thought being honest would be another trauma that his family couldn't bear.

    For a long time, I was mad at him for his selfishness, about his cheating and putting other people he claimed to love at risk, and at him for being pretty intolerant of others and their differences, including out LGBTQI people.  Mostly, though I was mad at him for being an angry, unhappy person for a lot of my life. 

    Overtime, though, I've tried to understand that I can be mad about the actions, but understanding of the person.  The lying, the cheating, the intolerance were all wrong, no question about it. But they were part of a misguided defense mechanism and an attempt to protect himself.  I've also come to understand that because he was selfish, intolerant and not around a lot, Dad also lost out on a lot of good things around him, especially his relationship with me and my sister.

    So for now, absolutely focus on being there for your mom and grandma.  You will all be working on your new normal and that will be emotional and awkward.  But there may be an opportunity to reconcile with your grandfather and to understand why he felt his deception and secrecy is necessary.

    I wish you and your family all the best.
    image
    Anniversary


    SBmini
  • sophhabobophasophhabobopha The Midwestern tundra member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    When faced with impossibly difficult situations, I've never looked back with regret at being too generous, too forgiving, too understanding, or too slow to judge. Obviously it's tremendously difficult, but you'll never know the "truth" here. No outsider can ever really know the truth of a marriage. Your grandmother wants a nice thanksgiving with a pleasant family. I'd consider that your gift to her. Your hurt and confusion and anger, as someone more removed from the situation, comes below her feelings in importance. And honestly your Grandfather has AIDs. I don't care what he did or how he got it. I still think compassion would be more appropriate than judgment. But, all of this is heavily influenced by my Chrustian values which I know you may not share. I just find that no matter how hard it is, when I strive to be more loving and more forgiving I'm always glad I did.
    Yes, I've always struggled with compassion for those who hurt others, no matter how much they may deserve it. I'm trying, but right now I'm just angry as hell.

    And BFT. That's beautiful.
    image
  • sophhabobophasophhabobopha The Midwestern tundra member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    JaxInBlue said:
    I'm so sorry. This is an awful thing to be going through and I'll be thinking of you.  I just wanted to share my experience with my dad, because some of it is similar.  My dad was a closeted homosexual until about 10 years ago.

    My dad's reasons for staying closeted were complex: he was born in the 50s and reared in a conservative, religious, military family.  Being gay, or really being different, wasn't an option.  In addition, at the time in his life when he might have considered coming out, his family suffered two significant traumas in a short period of time; one of Dad's siblings was killed and another was seriously and permanently disabled in an accident.  Dad thought being honest would be another trauma that his family couldn't bear.

    For a long time, I was mad at him for his selfishness, about his cheating and putting other people he claimed to love at risk, and at him for being pretty intolerant of others and their differences, including out LGBTQI people.  Mostly, though I was mad at him for being an angry, unhappy person for a lot of my life. 

    Overtime, though, I've tried to understand that I can be mad about the actions, but understanding of the person.  The lying, the cheating, the intolerance were all wrong, no question about it. But they were part of a misguided defense mechanism and an attempt to protect himself.  I've also come to understand that because he was selfish, intolerant and not around a lot, Dad also lost out on a lot of good things around him, especially his relationship with me and my sister.

    So for now, absolutely focus on being there for your mom and grandma.  You will all be working on your new normal and that will be emotional and awkward.  But there may be an opportunity to reconcile with your grandfather and to understand why he felt his deception and secrecy is necessary.

    I wish you and your family all the best.
    Thank you. I hope that he can come clean to everyone. The hurt would be so much less acute for me if that happened.
    image


  • When faced with impossibly difficult situations, I've never looked back with regret at being too generous, too forgiving, too understanding, or too slow to judge. Obviously it's tremendously difficult, but you'll never know the "truth" here. No outsider can ever really know the truth of a marriage. Your grandmother wants a nice thanksgiving with a pleasant family. I'd consider that your gift to her. Your hurt and confusion and anger, as someone more removed from the situation, comes below her feelings in importance.

    And honestly your Grandfather has AIDs. I don't care what he did or how he got it. I still think compassion would be more appropriate than judgment.

    But, all of this is heavily influenced by my Chrustian values which I know you may not share. I just find that no matter how hard it is, when I strive to be more loving and more forgiving I'm always glad I did.

    Yes, I've always struggled with compassion for those who hurt others, no matter how much they may deserve it. I'm trying, but right now I'm just angry as hell.

    And BFT. That's beautiful.


    To be clear- I absolutely struggle with it too. I think it's the hardest thing to do in life. But so so worth trying.
    sophhabobopha
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Definitely check out counseling at your school, and in the meantime, I would offer two suggestions (and you don't have to do either of them, of course! They're just suggestions):

    1) Attend Thanksgiving and make sure that you're comfortable. Is there a room in the house where you could go and cry privately if you needed to? Maybe if you need space, you can head to your mom's car with some kind of weird excuse (like, if your fiancé isn't with you, something about needing to call him), and take some time to breathe. Have a friend who's okay with you calling during Thanksgiving, in case you need someone to talk to.

    2) Don't attend Thanksgiving, but send a nice card to your grandparents. It's easier to pretend things are okay when you're writing a card, and you can always come up with an excuse for your absence (flu, too much homework but it was too late to cancel the flight home, whatever). You can still fly home and just stay at your mom's.

    It's rough balancing self-care with taking care of your grandparents and trying to be understanding. However, I can tell you what happens when you always try to let things go to avoid upsetting other people: you end up at the end of your rope, and when it snaps, you can't take care of yourself, or keep those people from getting upset, and no one understands what's wrong because you typically just avoid upsetting people.
    Anniversary
    now with ~* INCREASED SASSINESS *~
    image
    sophhabobopha
  • sophhabobophasophhabobopha The Midwestern tundra member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    phira said:

    Definitely check out counseling at your school, and in the meantime, I would offer two suggestions (and you don't have to do either of them, of course! They're just suggestions):


    1) Attend Thanksgiving and make sure that you're comfortable. Is there a room in the house where you could go and cry privately if you needed to? Maybe if you need space, you can head to your mom's car with some kind of weird excuse (like, if your fiancé isn't with you, something about needing to call him), and take some time to breathe. Have a friend who's okay with you calling during Thanksgiving, in case you need someone to talk to.

    2) Don't attend Thanksgiving, but send a nice card to your grandparents. It's easier to pretend things are okay when you're writing a card, and you can always come up with an excuse for your absence (flu, too much homework but it was too late to cancel the flight home, whatever). You can still fly home and just stay at your mom's.

    It's rough balancing self-care with taking care of your grandparents and trying to be understanding. However, I can tell you what happens when you always try to let things go to avoid upsetting other people: you end up at the end of your rope, and when it snaps, you can't take care of yourself, or keep those people from getting upset, and no one understands what's wrong because you typically just avoid upsetting people.
    Thank you for this. I'll be going, but thankfully Fi will be there. I think I'll be escaping to the bathroom quite a bit. Good thing I buy waterproof makeup.
    image
  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited November 2014
    I just want to echo others in that I'm so sorry that you and your family are struggling with this. 

    I know it's easier for me to say as an outsider but I agree with lolo and others who suggest compassion instead of anger. 

    I tend to be a very black and white person. I like everything to have it's place and I like there to be a right choice and a wrong choice in everything. Life is messy and complicated, though. And it's not black and white at all. You will never know the whole truth of your grandparents' story. Being that reality is perspective there really isn't just one truth to it.

    While I can certainly understand you craving for an explanation and an apology from him to make this less confusing and more black and white, know that life is not that simple. And this does not make him a bad person.

    If you can, use this as a time to practice being the best person you can be and the person you want to be. I am practicing grace and compassion and understanding and lack of judgement every day. It makes me happier.

    Eta: To my own bolded, not while I'm on TK ;)
    doeydo
  • I'm so sorry you're going through this. HIV/AIDS is my science area of expertise so if you have any questions feel free to PM me. 

    Technically you're right, the AIDS won't kill him. AIDS is the end stage of an HIV infection. At this point the virus has killed so many of the immune cells that the patients are prone to "opportunistic" infections. It is these infections that kill AIDS patients.

    Are you 100% sure that the HIV is a recent, sexual acquisition? The virus can live in the body for many many years with no symptoms. If you weren't getting regularly screened you could have no idea that you are infected and it only takes one exposure to get infected. HIV can also be transmitted by blood transfusions. It wasn't until the mid-80s that blood donation were screened for HIV and a lot of people were infected through tainted transfusions. And keep in mind that there is no cure for AIDS. The only outcome is death. The average life expectancy of an AIDS patient is 20 months. I know you are hurting and feel betrayed now but you might not have much time left with him. You need to figure out how you want to spend the time you have left with him, and when you look back at this time will you have regrets based on your decisions? I think having a frank discussion with him about what has happened and how hurt you are is important. I also think it is important that you support both him and your grandmother. Late stage AIDS is horrible and they will need support. 

    Anniversary
    lc07doeydo
  • pinkcow13pinkcow13 The Concrete Jungle member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'm so sorry that you are going through this. I'm sending you many hugs.
                                 Anniversary
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  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Prayers and internet hugs to you & your family.

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    sophhabobophathemuffinman16
  • sophhabobophasophhabobopha The Midwestern tundra member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I'm so sorry you're going through this. HIV/AIDS is my science area of expertise so if you have any questions feel free to PM me. 

    Technically you're right, the AIDS won't kill him. AIDS is the end stage of an HIV infection. At this point the virus has killed so many of the immune cells that the patients are prone to "opportunistic" infections. It is these infections that kill AIDS patients.

    Are you 100% sure that the HIV is a recent, sexual acquisition? The virus can live in the body for many many years with no symptoms. If you weren't getting regularly screened you could have no idea that you are infected and it only takes one exposure to get infected. HIV can also be transmitted by blood transfusions. It wasn't until the mid-80s that blood donation were screened for HIV and a lot of people were infected through tainted transfusions. And keep in mind that there is no cure for AIDS. The only outcome is death. The average life expectancy of an AIDS patient is 20 months. I know you are hurting and feel betrayed now but you might not have much time left with him. You need to figure out how you want to spend the time you have left with him, and when you look back at this time will you have regrets based on your decisions? I think having a frank discussion with him about what has happened and how hurt you are is important. I also think it is important that you support both him and your grandmother. Late stage AIDS is horrible and they will need support. 
    Not 100%. But it's up there. He has all the symptoms of very late stage.
    image
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