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grief, and coming out (article)

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When your child comes out to you and your reaction is grief, your child sees you mourning your fantasy when they are trying to live an authentic happy reality. 

Grief is normal when a loved one, especially your child, comes out to you. What about the life they could’ve had? What about the daughter/son you thought you had? 

It’s not that it’s abnormal, but grief has its place and time, and your child’s coming out should not be your mantel to mourn upon. 

Even though coming out is terrifying, it is in other ways a relief, and celebratory. It is no longer playing pretend or hiding who you are, it is a moment of great vulnerability but also strength. 

To greet that act of strength with only tears and anger sends a clear, even if unintentional, message: 

I am more devastated over my dream of you than I am proud of you for trying to connect with me. 

I am sadder over my fantasy of a child than I am happy for my real child because you finally get to be happy as who you really are.

When a child comes out they more often than not have to play the role of therapist and grief counsellor. 

They have to see their parents kneel at a grave of someone they never were. 

Whilst they are kissing their partner or marching at pride, their guardians are crying over a daydream. 

Whilst grief is a normal reaction to change, it should not be the only reaction. 

And it should not be only your child’s burden to bear. 

I am not killing my self when I choose to come out to you. I did not kill this person you love. 

My coming out is me choosing to live. And to see people who love you mourn that, is an incredible weight to bear.