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No More (Daddy) Drama
Q: Jody, I think I need to tell you some background stuff so you can understand where I’m coming from. My mother used to tell me that my father was killed in a car wreck shortly before I was born. After that, she moved across country, as she said, “to get away from all the memories.” I was born after the move, so I never even had a chance to meet anyone who knew my dad. My mother had told me that my dad’s parents were dead and he had no other brothers or sisters. So, I had never had a chance to know much about him. My mother, when asked by me, said that there wasn’t much to say about him, though she gave me some sketchy details, which in retrospect, seemed pretty canned. Like, I felt like pretty much my dad was a dud with little interesting about him. It wasn’t a good feeling for me.
Now to the present: Recently I came out to my mother. She didn’t take it very well, but at least she didn’t go the I’m-going-to-disown-you route. She just sort of went into a quiet stunned mode; didn’t say much. I left that day not really knowing what she had on her mind, though I new it wasn’t a congratulations-for-finding-out-who-you-are moment.
I rudely found out that she had a coming out to do, as well. It took her a couple of days, but I got this phone call from her. Mind you, she chose the phone to let me know that my father wasn’t a dead husband, but a “sperm donor.” I was reeling from this information – trying to process it – when she then threw another fast ball to my head: “I’m not to fault because you’re a pervert; it’s your sperm donor father who had to be gay…or have it in his genes.” Then, she proceeded to tell me how sorry she was, that it really wasn’t my fault, but she was sure we could get help for my “condition.”
She said all this, trying to slip by the sperm donor statement, to excuse herself from fault and on to how I could get cured – and even who could cure me. She had researched, through her pastor, who could help with “my condition.” It sounded like some right-wing deprogramming set up.
Mother was blabbing on about this so fast that I could hardly absorb it, let alone respond to her. I felt like I was going to vomit so I told her that I was sick and had to hang up. Neither of us has called the other since then.
I’m feeling so confused and upset. I don’t know what to do next. I’m sorry that I told my mother that I’m gay. It feels like she is sort of paying me back for telling her that I am gay. It’s like I opened Pandora’s Box and all the family secrets came bursting out.
I don’t know where to go from here. I don’t even know what I’m asking you. It’s just that I feel so bad and stuck.
Son of Sperm Donor
A: I can only imagine how confused, deceived, betrayed and angry you must feel. Her ignorance toward your sexuality certainly has expressed itself in a hurtful way. I think you need some time to deal with all that your mother threw at you. It’s not just that your mother sees your sexuality as something to fix, but she has been deceptive to you about half of your heritage.
I recommend that you seek counseling to help you deal with your emotions through this time. Counseling can also help you think about all the new information you’ve gotten from your mother.
I care about what has happened with you. Keep me informed.
Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The “Dear Jody” column appears weekly. To reach Jody, send an e-mail to email@example.com. Letters may be edited.