Monday, May 07, 2007

Abandonment and Attachment

I wonder sometimes how many people read the blog and form opinions about young gay men based upon what I tell you abut my boys.

I hope almost no one.

I know other young gay men from work, through PFLAG, and as friends of my boys. They vary a lot. They range in all sorts of ways, including how stable their relationships are.

I've noticed something about them: they are remarkably like straight kids. The more they suffered abandonment or rejection, the more difficult it is for them to believe that they are lovable and to form emotionally healthy and stable relationships. All of my boys suffered abandonment. Two suffered physical abuse. David had the worst of it.

He was abandoned repeatedly, by a mother for whom I have great sympathy, but who was not equipped to take care of herself. She eventually abandoned him to the foster care system. David was experienced abandonment again and again. I even found myself in the role of yet another person who disappointed him.

The pattern he has had (so far) in his relationships with gay men has everything to do with his history, and nothing, I believe, to do with his being gay. Had he been straight it would have played out in a different way, but he would have been no more capable of forming honest, trusting connections.

Inside, David is just beginning to be more than the four-year-old boy who must always search the horizon for the next person who will take care of him. It is in the last year that he has begun to start to take care of himself. I am beginning to hope for him that he will eventually develop good relationships. It will take time.

Rejection by one's parents, whether it happens when you are four or after you come out at 24, hurts. That kind of hurt can make you feel unlovable. It can get in the way of your believing that anyone else can love you. It isn't that something that anyone can simply shrug off.


  1. How very right you are.

    It is astonishing to watch when my 11 year old and eight year old get together with their bio brother who is fourteen.

    At the playground last night it was like watching a pack of really young children, shriek and run and play.

  2. Can I just say, I love your posts. This is part of that vicious cycle of illogic when it comes to gay men.

    No matter at what age one comes out, rejection hurts. It has been 13 years since my Hubby came out. To say he was rejected is kind of like saying the Titanic took on some water. It was just this week that Hubby said something about how his father wasn't entirely bad. I was shocked. It was the first time he had talked about it.

    It never ceases to amaze that a lot of people don't see cause and effect with how we treat youth and how they then act as adults.


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