Do you have any tips for dealing with an unsupportive family? See, I came out as nb/pan awhile ago and while they weren’t happy they weren’t bad about it. However, me and my father got into a massive fight in which he yelled at me that he’ll never see me as anything other than my agab, and a whole litany of other homophobic and transphobic comments. I haven’t been talking to him because it’s far too painful to do so, but now my mother says I’ve rejected him and am causing too much tension and that I’m tearing the family apart, and that I need to get over it because I’m being selfish. How do I smooth things over with my family, because I don’t want to tear my family apart, and look after myself at the same time? This situation is causing a lot of mental strain. How would you deal with it?
i’m really sorry to hear about your situation with your family, anon. forget about your family, i can imagine the tension and mental strain that this is putting on you.
everything that i’m about to say is being said based on the assumption that you do not live with your parents / family and have some level of independency from them. if this isn’t the case, then please be careful not to put yourself into a dangerous situation or at risk of losing any financial etc support that you may need from your parents / family….
i’ll be the first to admit that i’m probably not the best qualified to give advice on how to deal with unsupportive family, especially when said family is already (wrongfully) accusing you of things because my biggest means of dealing with my own family was to physically & emotionally distance myself from them. i support distancing oneself (physically or otherwise) from one’s family as a means of coping and self-care, but it seems like you’ve already been doing that to some extent and been faced with gaslighting from your family because of it. ugh.
first off, you are in no way tearing your family apart. if your family is “falling apart” then that is undoubtedly due to numerous things that you are not responsible for, not the least of which is your dad’s actions and the lack of support that your family is showing you.
you are not being selfish.
you do not have to “get over” anything.
you not responsible for “fixing” whatever state your family is in.
the next time someone points the finger at you for how things are, point a finger right back at them. hold them accountable for their actions or inaction. flat out tell them that they aren’t the only ones who are hurting right now and that it is in no way ‘selfish’ to try and avoid pain by not interacting with someone who causes that pain. that in order for things to change everyone must be willing to work towards that change, not just you. (lack of) understanding / support and communication is a huge part of the problem here and that is something that inherently involves more than just one person. you cannot change that alone, nor should you even have to.
i know it can be really hard distancing yourself from a family member or from your family all together. it becomes infinitely harder when there’s guilt involved, be it brought on by someone else or self-inflicted. i was fortunate enough to not have anyone in my family outright blame me for things or call me selfish, but…. guilt is still something that i’ve struggled with (and continue to struggle with) having distanced myself away from my family for as long as i have. that, on top of my family’s other…. complexities. but you have to do what you have to do to take care of yourself. no one can take care of you like you can take care of yourself. also, your family and your parents especially are grown ass adults who can take care of themselves and who have no business holding parent-child relationship status over your head like that.
so yeah…. tl;dr, my advice is to be up front with them. confront them and don’t hold back. they need to know how they are making you feel and they need to know that what they are doing and saying is not okay. that you are not accountable for them or for the state of the family. and most of all, keep doing what you’re doing to take care of yourself. do so unapologetically, because what you’re doing isn’t wrong to begin with. it is never wrong to avoid contact with something or someone that causes you pain or discomfort. don’t let anyone manipulate you into feeling otherwise.