Your perceptions seem very keen. Thanks for telling them out loud here--it's good for me to hear about your experience, because I too have some problems in this area.
For a long time, I wouldn't even call myself gay
4 years ago when I was beginning therapy on the tremendous pain I was feeling (didn't know it was related to the CSA at the time), I would not call my self "gay"--I used the term homosexual. Sounded more straightforward and scientific I guess.
I explained to my therapist that calling myself "gay" made me feel like I was endorsing a whole lot of things about the gay community that I was not comfortable with--promiscuity, hedonistic attitudes, sexual exploitation, substance abuse etc. etc.
Today, with the help of some very thoughtful therapists and others, I can say that I have made much progress.
It seems to me that the sexual abuse that occurred in my life at the hands of a man I assumed was homosexual really poisoned my view of sexuality---especially my own. I know now that he wasn't homosexual--he was a sexual predator driven by power seeking.
As I continue to heal the damage done by the abuse, my attitude about myself and my sexuality is also being healed. There seems to be a direct correlation between these two things in my life.
I came to understand also that my difficulties with sexuality were not so much about being gay. I began to sense that I would have many of the same fears/anxieties if I were hetereosexual
We all have sexual problems. Many caused by sexual abuse. Others just because we're human.
No, I'm still not totally at ease with public disclosure of my sexual preference; but today I am more willing to accept that of myself.
Learning about appropriate boundaries is a big part of my recovery--mine were violated in such a traumatic way when I was young.
I try to remember to give myself a break now, if I don't do life perfectly.
It sounds like you are making tremendous progress after a lot of difficult challenges in your life.
You are here, in the right place and asking the right questions. And how wonderful that you have someone like Jeff. I'm a little (ok a lot!) envious.
I hope someday to feel good enough about myself to find a man who will love me and accept my love in return.
I'm lucky. My family loves and accepts me just the way I am. I have had lengthy relationships (committed) with gay men in the past, but because of my many problems they did not last.
The damage done by the sexual abuse, which I was unable to accept, continued to destroy me.
In the time since I have begun my recovery from SA, I am able to have hope that I will have the ability to love again.
In fact, I found that love here from you guys.
You were one of the first men to respond to my first posting on this site.
Your care and compassion made me feel at ease and welcome.
You have a lot of love to give and it felt good to be the recipient. Give some of that to yourself, Don. You are worth a lot more than anyone's opinion.
Sounds like you are doing a great job and continuing to grow. Growth brings new challenges.
It is difficult, I know, but it is my hope that as you/I/we continue to grow, these issues of approval/acceptance/disclosure/ will get easier too.
I look forward to hearing more about how this goes for you and others. It's a subject close to my heart.
Thanks Don for your generosity and courage