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Hi Captain Awkward!

I came out to my parents about 3 years ago, when I was still living with them before moving abroad to start my PhD. They were horrible – and it made the next 6 months of my stay a traumatizing experience, to say the least. I think you could describe my parents as controlling, and when I came out there was a lot of ‘we HATE all the career choices you’ve made, but we had the goodness to tolerate them, and now this!’ Anyway. Moved out, moved countries, got a fuckload of therapy, and started the process of healing.

I told my mother (via a text) that I was moving in with my girlfriend and she freaked out. She is “devastated”, and my father, with whom I have not had an actual conversation since my coming out (made summer visits home real fun, if you can believe it), is “furious, and wants to disown you”. I… am not sure how to cope with this? The worst part is that I have a ticket home to visit them for nearly a month, in three weeks. Captain, I’m not sure I want to visit them (for three whole weeks!) after this terrific display of parenting. At the same time, I’m pretty sure that not visiting them will be taken as this huge display of disrespect and an indication that I *want* to be estranged from them. So the options are to either stay away for my own peace of mind and be a bad daughter, possibly irrevocably so, or to grit my teeth and spend 3 weeks at home enduring silent disapproval at best and emotionally abusive confrontations at worst.

Like I said, I don’t have a relationship with my father. My mother is the one I speak to on the phone and text with. I told her “I’m sad and disappointed that you feel this way about my moving in with my girlfriend. I don’t feel safe coming back to visit you, and I don’t think you’d feel comfortable either.” She replied and the preview contains another allusion to my disappointing career (for the record, worked at a non-profit, doing a PhD now, only a failure insofar as “not earning hundreds of thousands as a corporate lawyer” is a failure) and… I haven’t seen the rest of it because I get avoidant when I’m anxious. Do you have any scripts for like… how to respond and how to navigate what may potentially be a long, torturous process of becoming (formally) (even more) estranged from my parents?

Best,
Bad Kid

P.S. My pronouns are she/her!

P.S. Just wanted to give a heads-up that you’re almost definitely going to recommend therapy, which I know is a big part of the answer! The most recent therapist I had didn’t really work for me, and since I’m moving in 2 weeks, I might not have a huge amount of time / resources to devote to finding a new therapist.

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Dear Captain Awkward,

I know this is a really long post but I hope you read it through. I really need your advice regarding a situation with my daughter. A little background….about 2 years ago, my son at age 20 had an emotional breakdown and thought he was gay. The next 6 months were spent with him finally admitting it and with us dealing with the shock, disappointment, loss of our idea of what we’d envisioned for him and acceptance of the situation. My son is now in a relationship with someone who is smart, ambitious, caring and comes from a good family.

About 3 months after my son finally admitted he was gay, my daughter, who was 22, called me up and told me she was in a relationship with another girl. Needless to say, this was another shock and I couldn’t understand how this was possible for her. She had always been boy crazy, had fallen in love and been devastated when those relationships broke up. She said she wasn’t lesbian but was sexually fluid. The peace I felt with my son was because I came to believe that you don’t choose your sexuality, it’s something you’re born with and it made no sense to me that she would choose this. She seemed surprised at how upset I was and thought I would be fine with it since I was so open minded and yet she knew what I had gone through to deal with my son. I know that our acceptance of our son was hindered by her relationship – I don’t know if you can understand what a parent goes through when their child admits he/she is gay but when it’s both children…..

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