Oh no, I see a darkness. Oh no, I see a darkness. Oh no, I see a darkness.
August 24, 2011 6:41 AM   Subscribe

The parents kicked me out for being gay. What can I do now to make sure I stay emotionally healthy, and how do I deal with my complicated feelings surrounding this? Has anyone else been through this?

By "the parents" I mean Mom and her boyfriend. Bio Dad has been quite supportive and is the main reason I'm not on the streets right now; I can't stay with him but I'm using the money he gave me to stay in a hotel until I find a roommate or an apartment. I'm 21. I came out in June. This happened around a week ago.

I went out to see my girlfriend and my parents tried to follow me around to find her (we'd stopped meeting at the house at their request) and talk to her. This hasn't gone well in the past and usually consisted of BF telling her he'd call the police on her, etc.

I went back to the house so I wouldn't lead them to her, and Mom said she just wanted to have a civil talk. Just her, because of BF's actions last time. We agreed, were having the talk, which was about how my seeing a woman was causing problems between her and BF.

Then BF rolls up some ten minutes later. That's when things got bad. He basically told the girlfriend that she couldn't offer me anything other than sex, called her a bulldyke, said our relationship didn't mean anything, etc etc. Then they both threatened to call the police to get her information, and drive up to her house and out her to her Mom. When GF said the police wouldn't give out that information, BF said that money talks and insinuated that he'd hired a private investigator. Then they started trying to accuse me of sleeping around, cycling through people, etc. Basically trying to tell my girlfriend that I wasn't really serious about her.

Sometime in that conversation they told me that if I chose to stay with her the door would be locked and they wouldn't let me back in. BF doesn't want homosexuals on his property, and Mom wanted me out because of the problems I was causing between them.

GF started to cry as they were driving way, so I wrapped my arms around her. They had to drive past us to get out of the complex so when they passed us hugging BF yelled out the window "That's sick!"

The thing that gets to me about this is that Mom didn't seem to care much about me seeing a woman. She'd be fine, then he would say something to her and THEN she would get upset with me. She told me that he would get angry with her for being unable to "control" the situation, and wasn't happy with her parenting style. She said that he went from wanting to marry her to wanting her to move out, would complain to her every day for hours, etc and that she was stressed out and that things didn't feel like "home" anymore. The night before this happened she told me she was moving out because since he wasn't going to change and I wasn't going to change, that was the only option. I felt really guilty at the time because I felt like it was my fault, but after all this I just don't know how to feel.

I feel like she picked him over me. Their relationship has lasted six years or so, but still, I'm her kid. I can understand that she felt torn, but, I dunno. Before this incident I was angry with him for blaming things on her, but now it's like... I never blamed her for his actions, so why am I the one who gets the short end of the stick?

I grew up thinking she didn't love me because of certain things that happened, but in the past few years I started to think, "Well, she does love me, she just doesn't know how to show it and the things she says when she's upset are just words." But now I feel like this is just "proof" that she really doesn't love me, and it really hurts. She had no idea that Dad had given me a substantial amount of money the last time this happened (no arguing, they just locked the door when I came back and wouldn't let me back in. I was on the streets for a few hours, called up Dad to take me to get my stuff, but Mom said she wanted to work things out and so I moved back in) so as far as she knew I'd have to be on the streets.

She has texted me and called me about "working things out," but I know that BF's feelings haven't changed so I haven't responded. I haven't spoken to her because what happened really, really hurts. I don't want her to think everything is OK. I know she does care, in a way, or she wouldn't be texting me. At the same time, she basically stood there and let BF call my girlfriend a bulldyke, say we were sick, and laughed along with him. (she's said similar things but hasn't in a few months), so it's like... why is she now like "how were classes today?"

I'm not trying to say she's all bad, because I know she's human and feels torn between her child and her BF. And maybe I shouldn't feel entitled because I'm her child, I don't know. I know she's probably upset over the situation too. My Dad suggested to me awhile ago that I start lying about who I was going out with, or just not tell them at all (I always tell them with who, where, and when/if I'll be back). It seems like Mom would have preferred I lie to BF (I suspect she was lying about it since I didn't have any problems with him for about a month, then he saw her picking me up one day andyeah.) So, to be fair, I could have tried harder to keep BF oblivious. I didn't know the problems between them had gotten that bad until the night before the incident, when Mom told me.

I'm prone to depression and I know that if I don't head this off I could get into a really dark place emotionally. I was quite happy before all this happened and I just want to be OK. I'm not really close to any of my family and I feel like I just don't have one. I mean, Mom's are supposed to love you no matter what, right? But BF basically asked her to choose between me and him and she picked him. That really, really hurts.

I know exercise and eating right helps, but... how do I process this? I can't afford a therapist right now. I've been OK at times and at times I just get randomly down and snippy with GF. I just got out of a major depression not too long ago, was learning that life is about perception, etc. Heck, my last journal entry before this happened was about how happy I was. But now I just feel sad a lot of the time again, and GF is generally a happy and chipper person, and I feel upset with myself that I can't get back to that place. I can't tell you how long it took me to get out of pessimistic mood and generally be an optimistic person. It was a lot of hard work and I feel like this incident just undid that.

I realize I'll be upset for a bit but I don't want it to change me and put me in some dark place again. What can I do to stay positive?
posted by Autumn to Human Relations (68 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds to me like Mom cares more about keeping her boyfriend than about you. Point this out to her.
posted by ryanbryan at 6:44 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Holy shit. I have no answers to most of this but:

I felt really guilty at the time because I felt like it was my fault and I could have tried harder to keep BF oblivious. I didn't know the problems between them had gotten that bad

You're not to blame for your mom's boyfriend being an asshole, and you're not responsible for keeping the peace in her relationship. I promise.

I am so, so sorry and I'm glad you have at least a little support from your dad and I hope everything turns out okay for you and your GF. ((internet hugs))
posted by lwb at 6:46 AM on August 24, 2011 [48 favorites]

You can take care of yourself right now by literally taking care of yourself. An apartment; a job; a life apart from your parents.

You can also take care of yourself by acknowledging "negative" feelings. You wrote this: "But now I just feel sad a lot of the time again, and GF is generally a happy and chipper person, and I feel upset with myself that I can't get back to that place."

WHY WOULDN'T YOU FEEL SAD? Why are you looking down on feeling sad? Look it in the face: you've just been brutally rejected by your family. You've just been threatened and intimidated by your mother's boyfriend, and your mother LAUGHED AT YOU.

You will be sad, and then angry, and then sad again, and then angry again. Own it! Experience it! Stop trying to cover it up! RUN WITH IT. I'm not saying act out or hurt yourself or be mean to people; I'm talking about being honest about your feelings and talking about them and expressing them and crying and being upset!

From an objective viewpoint, your mother's behavior is absolutely outrageous. Her boyfriend's behavior is actually despicable. Not even so thrilled with your biological dad right now, though glad he's giving you money.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:53 AM on August 24, 2011 [41 favorites]

I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. Would you be comfortable sharing a general area you are in? There are wonderful LGBT resources just about everywhere, and I might be able to find counselors near you who can help you at reduced or no cost. It makes sense that you are sad and irritable given this stress, and having someone to support you through that is important. They may also have resources to help negotiate what is happening in your family, though that may be further down the road.

In the mean time, do you feel safe? I'm worried that the BF could escallate given his behavior so far. If you don't feel safe, please contact a domestic violence shelter near you (they are listed in the phone book an all over search engines). They can help locate resources and assist you in making a safety plan. Part of that may be a restraining order, at least in the short term.

You are taking difficult steps now, but the steps you've chosen to make are letting you be your true self. That is brave and shows a tremendous ammount of strength. That is the best thing for you in the long term.
posted by goggie at 6:54 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

First a question: You mention that your mom and her boyfriend were threatening to call the cops on you and your girlfriend. What sort of crime were they intending to charge you two with? Do you live in a country where being gay is legal? If so no amount of calling the police on you is going to cause you harm. What were their intentions in calling the police?

Secondly: My mother is an almost exact carbon-copy of yours. Very needy, very insecure. She's told me on several occasions that she "needs a man" to be truly happy. She married her current husband six months after my dad died, alone and heartbroken.

Both my brother and I are gay. She has said (largely on her new husband's instigation) that there is "no place for that kind of sin" in her household. Her new husband has actually attempted to perform an exorcism on my brother (who still lives at home). My mother has stated -- blatantly -- that she has chosen her husband over us (her kids). The love and companionship of her new Man is more important than anything else in the universe, including her kids.

When this first happened, I was, like you, very hurt. Over time, however, I have simply come to accept the reality of the situation. I rarely talk to my mother anymore and frankly, I haven't looked back. I have my own apartment, my own job and my own life. You will have those things in time, too. In the long run you'll be better off living away from your mother and her BF. It may not feel that way now, but trust me, it's true.

I'm at work so I'll talk more later if you want. MeMail me.
posted by Avenger at 6:54 AM on August 24, 2011 [11 favorites]

I am very touched by what you've written here, and I hope you don't blame yourself for how your mom and her boyfriend have reacted. They both sound like they have serious problems, and it's not your fault.

Would it be possible for your dad to provide money for you to see a therapist since he is able to help pay for a hotel room right now?
posted by bleary at 6:57 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

First, I'm really sorry that you're going through this. Are you in school right now? If so, please try to find some free counseling services or some LGBT support groups. You aren't alone and it may help.

Your mother's boyfriend sounds like a horrible human being. Your mother seems to be dependent on him but whatever is going on there she has definitely let you down in a major way. She really isn't someone you can count on right now. She has failed you. That's why you're sad, angry, etc. And you should be. I really feel that staying away from your mother and her gross bf is actually good for you.

I wish I could offer you some more, better advice. Just know that you didn't do anything wrong and you are absolutely in the right to feel let down, angry, sad.
posted by mokeydraws at 7:02 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Getting out on your own is likely the best possible solution to this mess. As painful and stressful as it may seem now you'll probably look back at it a few years down the road as a major positive turning point in your life.

Mom's BF is an intolerant bigot and should be wholly removed from your life. I'm sorry that Mom apparently is making a choice that currently effectively excludes you from her life.

If you're interested in trying to salvage your relationship with Mom I'd recommend setting the rule that any communication or contact with her only occurs when there is no possibility of the BF being a part of the communcation or physically present during contact.

Accept Bio Dad's support and love and reach out to the resources available via the LGBT community. You do not have to go through this alone.
posted by de void at 7:02 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Where are you? You need to find other gay/queer/lesbian folks. If you're not near a big city, you can google around for queer youth services in the nearest city and they will probably have some suggestions. There are probably coming-out support groups, although those tend to be city or university-town things, I think.

When you have a GLBTQ community, you have folks around who have been through this stuff, who will listen and who have practical suggestions. And just being around people for whom your life is normal will be helpful.

If you're in a moderately densely-settled place, there are coffee shops, bars and other places where queer folks tend to hang out - even if those places are not officially GLBTQ spaces. The trick will be finding them, but once you find one (or a group that has lots of GLBTQ folks in it) you'll be able to find the others. Even a gay bar will probably have flyers and advertisements for friendly businesses - that would be a start if you can't find anything else.

Do you live near a university? If you email their GLBTQ group, those folks will have information for you.

If by some chance you are either near Massachusetts or in Minnesota, memail me.

Your mom...I'm sorry that this is happening to you. Your mom is acting cruelly. I don't know how to process that because it's a really hard truth to accept. She's not acting like someone who loves you. She may have her own survival needs - does she rely on BF financially? - that push her to treat you so badly. But survival needs explain cruelty, not excuse it.

You're not at fault.

This is an old, shitty story - parents turning against their gay kids. It's happened to many other people who, like you, were not at fault. There's a lot going on - the capitalism that makes it harder for women and queer folks and working class folks to survive; the patriarchy that socializes some women to choose men over everything else and to excuse all behavior as needed to "keep a man"; and the same old patriarchy that fuels BF's homophobia, the pleasure he gets from attacking and disciplining you. (And it is pleasure - the pleasure of hatred and contempt.) These are systems, strong and embedded. Don't blame yourself for getting hurt by them. Don't feel that you should sacrifice your life to them.

If reading novels makes you feel better (or takes your mind off your troubles) and if you can get mail at your dad's, memail me your address and I'll send you some spare copies of Sarah Schulman novels I have - they're stories about coming out in New York in the eighties and they have really helped me to feel more at home in the world.
posted by Frowner at 7:07 AM on August 24, 2011 [19 favorites]

You are 21. You are an adult. Your sexual relations are nobody's business, not even your mom's and especially not your mom's boyfriend! You do not need their consent or their affirmation. So I think you need to stop and remind yourself that. Then remind your mom that and tell her she can either accept who you are and make space in her life for you, or you will not be able to have a relationship with her. It is her job to deal with the boyfriend, not yours. If she can't or won't do it, it is her loss. But again, you are an adult, not a child. You must extricate yourself entirely from mom and boyfriend's life and start interacting with your mom as an adult-parent relationship. You obviously must find your own place to live. It is not clear to me why you can't live with biodad, at least until you are able to maintain your own apartment. Again, DO NOT waste time and energy playing in the swamp of your mom's life. That is her business, not yours.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 7:09 AM on August 24, 2011 [10 favorites]

Ask bio-dad for a loan so you can get an apartment.
posted by goethean at 7:10 AM on August 24, 2011

The best revenge is a life well lived. Realize that the boyfriend is a piece of shit who can't get over his own shortcomings. Use whatever resources are available to you- they're there for that reason!
posted by notsnot at 7:11 AM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

There's nothing to work out with your mother. She's made her choice painfully clear. So until and unless she breaks up with her boyfriend, I urge you to have nothing to do with her. Tell her that you have been deeply wounded by her actions an inactions and that you can't talk about any reconciliation until you get an apology and never have to see her asshole BF again.

I wish for you the best.
posted by inturnaround at 7:11 AM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]

I'm in a vaguely similar, but less intense, situation. I have the benefit of being geographically removed from my mother and her partner and her partner is generally capable of being polite when I'm around. (To be honest, my mother thinks her partner and I 'agreed to disagree', but I'm still pissed. I don't know about him. He's probably telling my mother all kinds of shit.) My mother tells me over and over that if push comes to shove, she'll chuck him and pick me, but it's hard to believe her because it does sometimes feel like she's picked him over me. And, yet, I'm going there at Christmas. You can memail me if you want.

If you live in a city, there are probably services for homeless queer youth somewhere and you probably still count as 'youth'. (Sometimes it's 21 and under, often 23 and under. I suppose there are 18 and under organisations, though.) They may be able to help you with stuff like finding an apartment if you've not done it before and your dad can't help. Here, I think the organisation places youth with families and helps them get set up on their own when they're old enough. (It's unclear to me how much he can help you beyond financially.)

I don't think there's a way to flip a switch and magically feel better about the situation. It comes with time... or you just stop thinking about it as much. It sucks, no two ways about it. But this doesn't meant you're never going to be happy again.

Remember that you can control how you talk to your mother. Don't talk to her at all right now, if you don't want to. When you're ready, however far in the future that is, arrange to see her at a neutral location without the boyfriend.

Right, I've got to go catch the bus now.
posted by hoyland at 7:11 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

A child -- even an adult child -- is never responsible for managing a parent's relationships. None of this is your fault, and it will continue to be not your fault no matter what happens next.

It does look like your mom is choosing her BF over you, and I agree that you should point this out to her. Also spell out how very hurt you feel that she doesn't have your back. That's what your mother is FOR, isn't it?

It might be the shock she needs to reassess her actions. But... it might not be, too.

In that case, you're definitely not alone, and there are tons of LGBT resources online and out in the world that I'm sure other commenters can point you to. Even if you don't have money for therapy, you can almost certainly join a support group to talk about experiences and at least feel like *somebody* has your back.

And also, oh, honey, I am so sorry this happened to you. It sucks and it sounds like you're handling it remarkably gracefully. You're bigger and better than this; don't let the assholes win.
posted by Andrhia at 7:12 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Trevor Project has both phone and online chat, and they have a searchable database of local resources. Also, if you google "lgbt youth [your city]" you may find local resources - in my experience, group support sessions are free.

None of this is your fault. It is not your fault that your mom picked an asshole over her daughter; it is not your fault that the boyfriend is an asshole. You deserve to live your life honestly and without threat of violence or violation. (Also, as a just-in-case, begin documenting the shitty threats the boyfriend has made against you and your girlfriend - write up what's happened so far, with dates and times; save any emails or texts he sends either of you. If, god forbid, you need to get the cops involved, or get an order of protection, you'll want this documentation.)

Being closeted is a fast path to depression. Please look for local resources, call up the Trevor project, and get the support you need and deserve. You've done a fantastic thing by posting here.
posted by rtha at 7:13 AM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

Hotels are a lot more expensive than apartments. Get a place of your own with the money your dad gave you and a job so you can maintain it. The best cure for depression is working towards goals; and those goals are obvious and within reach.

Your mom's a weak piece of crap, and I say that as a mother. The boyfriend is beneath mention. Maybe it'd help to envision the day she sacks up and leaves him, and asks you for forgiveness. I'd say it's about 50/50 that'll happen
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:14 AM on August 24, 2011 [6 favorites]

Your mother's boyfriend is a hateful, mean bully. Your mother wants to keep him. She recognizes, at least on some level, that he is not a decent or reasonable person, and that she cannot expect him to be kind to you. So, if she wants to keep him, and he's not going to stop his awful behavior, her only option is to act like you truly are the problem. But you aren't. You've done nothing wrong.

The healthy and sane thing to do when your significant other is mistreating your child is to demand he stop the behavior or kick him to the curb. There is no universe in which your mom's approach to this situation would be appropriate, healthy, or acceptable.

You really don't need someone like your mom's boyfriend in your life. You don't need anyone in your life who treats you with contempt, abuse, and disrespect. That's pretty obvious. What may be less obvious and more painful is this: you also really don't need someone in your life who accepts another person treating you like garbage. Right now, your mom is doing that. It may be that her relationship with her boyfriend is codependent or abusive, or otherwise dysfunctional in a way that's affecting her choices. It may be that she's experiencing some kind of mental illness or emotional issue that's interfering with her judgment. I'm not saying she's a bad person, or that she will always be this way. I'm saying that right now, she's not a good person for you to have in your life.

So, I'd actually suggest you let the estrangement sit for a while. This might mean just not contacting your mom, or it might mean calling and explicitly telling her, "I can't have you in my life right now." The important thing is, rely on people who are able to love, support, and accept you without reservations.

Also, you mention that you can't afford a therapist. LGBT youth organizations in your area almost certainly have counseling resources you could access at low or no cost. If you're a college student, your college probably has a free or low-cost student counseling center.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:19 AM on August 24, 2011 [12 favorites]

Agree with fingersandtoes.

Also, If your mom lives far out in the boonies, consider relocating (even temporarily) to a large city (or at least a college town) where queers exist in sufficient numbers to form a community.

Also, if the situation presents itself, I'd like to break her boyfriend's kneecaps with a tire iron
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:22 AM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]

I'm not queer but am permanently estranged from my father due bad choices and bad behavior on his part.

What helped me get over the inevitable guilt (because, let me tell you, loving, compassionate people inevitably feel guilty about family relationships failing, no matter what the circumstances) was reminding myself, again and again that even though I was choosing to continue to distance myself from him, the destruction of our relationship was his choice, not mine. He had choices and he chose to hurt me and to prioritize other things he wanted over his relationship with me. Those choices don't say anything about me as a person. But they do say something about him.

If your mom's boyfriend's love comes with an asterisk attached that says "No lesbian daughters allowed," that is her problem to sort out, not yours. No matter what your mother's crazy boyfriend thinks, you did not choose to be a lesbian. But your mother is choosing to let an ignorant, bullying asshole ruin her relationship with her daughter. If anyone should feel guilty in this situation, it should be your mom and her boyfriend, not you.

I know that it hurts, a lot, to have a parent choose someone or something else over you. But it's not your fault. It doesn't mean there is anything wrong or broken about you. It is her mistake, not yours. She is hurting herself, too, when she makes bad choices that hurt you.

You are worthy of love. Don't ever forget that. You can rebuild your own family of friends and lovers from these ashes. You do not have to make the same mistakes your parents did.

If you can possibly avoid it, I recommend that you NOT move back in if they have a change of heart and offer. The boyfriend's behavior is scary and abusive, and I hope you'll do what you can to stay far, far away from it. I can tell you from personal experience: living in a crappy apartment on ramen is better than living in a constant state of stress and fear.
posted by BlueJae at 7:37 AM on August 24, 2011 [16 favorites]

A lot of this has to do with growing up and separating from your parents, and the way having a messed up family can interfere with that. When you're an adult, you don't really need your parents for support -- you create your own life, your own family, and your own happiness. It's nice to have them there, but your life is about you, not them. When your parents are messed up, you end up clinging to them and focusing on that relationship, rather than being an adult and attending to your own life and your own relationships and responsibilities. Something about the badness and craziness of your parents keeps you locked into the childlike dependence on them.

In your situation, you need to become an adult. You do not actually need your mom; nor do you bear any responsibility to her (much less her BF) when she is treating you so poorly. You DO have responsibility to yourself and your girlfriend -- to keep both of you safe, and to respect your girlfriend and not put her in the situation of being threatened by your mom and the BF.

So straighten things out in your head -- you are not a child, you are a grownup. It's your life now, make of it what you will!
posted by yarly at 7:44 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

You are worthy of love. Don't ever forget that.

Don't have much to add, but as a straight guy who's estranged from his mother due to her bad behavior, I want to echoe BlueJae's comment. All this stuff is intense and scary, but it doesn't make you less of a person in any way.
posted by Alterscape at 7:45 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Seconding pretty much everything here. Your first priority is to take care of yourself with regards to figuring out a place to live, how you're going to eat, pay bills, and so on. Worry about sorting through the relationship with your mother sometime later once you've got your own personal logistics sorted out. And yeah, this happens. It used to happen a LOT but, unfortunately, you're catching the tail end of crap like this as society slowly improves. Your mom's boyfriend is a virtual dinosaur, if that makes you feel any better. Best wishes from me.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:50 AM on August 24, 2011

One way you can really help yourself right now is to stop blaming yourself and feeling guilty for something that is 100%, without any doubt, NOT YOUR FAULT. I know it's hard to do that, but think of it like an exercise you have to do every day if you must. Assure yourself that this situation was not caused by you. Your mother has a homophobic asshole for a bf, and she chose him over you, her own flesh and blood. That's not to say she doesn't love you, but she made the wrong choice. And it has nothing to do with you. She made that choice because of her own issues and insecurities and weakness, not because of anything you did. If you have to write that down on a slip of paper and keep it in your pocket, to take out whenever you start to doubt it, please do so. Be kind to yourself.

Only you can decide now what kind of relationship you want with your mom. But don't put yourself in the path of this terrible person that she's with. I definitely think you should never live with her again if it means you'll have to live with him. Do what you have to do to keep yourself sheltered and housed. Can you get into campus housing at your school? You may be able to get financial aid to pay for it. Also, you should definitely look and see if there is any kind of LGBT support group at your school. Having people around you who have also dealt with intolerant, bullying family members would be good for you, if only to have a sympathetic ear.

I wish you the best of luck.
posted by katyggls at 7:52 AM on August 24, 2011

Family worth having wouldn't treat you like this. I'll echo everyone else's suggestions that you find a community of support, get yourself set up with work and a place to live, and get on with your life. Maybe someday, when you are a happy, secure woman, your mom will be ready to reconcile, but until then, she is a destructive force in your life that you don't have the time or energy for.

Also, you might find a liberal church to be a good shortcut to much of what you need in terms of community, support, friendship and even free counseling. Unitarians and United Church of Christ folks, for instance, are loudly supportive of GBLT rights. I'm an atheist, so it feels a little odd recommending that, but I think it might be healthy for you if you have any sort of church background. Plus, it can be quite helpful to have an accepting religious community to show your religiously wacko family, as proof that you're not depraved hellspawn.

Finally, <hug> hang in there, we're all pulling for you.
posted by richyoung at 7:57 AM on August 24, 2011

I've just deleted a huge long useless post where I tried -and failed- to put myself in your shoes. All I can say is remember that a) it will get better b) this is not your fault c) even though times are tough, what makes you different is that God damn it, you've got to be kind.

Sadly, I also know that none of those thing really help right now. Though, just because they are platitudes does not make them any less true. I hope you pull through to a point where these things start to make sense again.

Living in a hotel is obviously not a long term solution - that is your first priority to fix, find somewhere where you are stable and get some community of support for your situation and that will ease your burden to a pint where you can make progress. Sorry I can't give better advice because your story tears my heart out - but I am just some distant nerd so I don't know what other help I can offer.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 8:08 AM on August 24, 2011

What can I do to stay positive?

Your girlfriend clearly cares about you. Your father is supportive and wants to be sure you're not living on the street. A bunch of people on the internet have volunteered their time to help you find resources and share their stories. This situation sucks a whole lot, but it is not your fault, you are not alone, and you deserve to give yourself the care you need (exercise, food, a job, an apartment) to establish yourself in a life where you won't be subject to your mother's boyfriend's abusive behavior.

Are you in a place where you safe taking walks outside? Even just 30 minutes outside, moving around the sunshine, helps physically, and walking can be good thinking time, too. Give yourself a routine - set an alarm, get out of bed, have a shower, eat breakfast, get out of the room (if you can do so safely). Look into and take advantage of whatever resources you can find - counseling, housing assistance, job assistance, social groups for LGBT youth. Look for an apartment and a job for a set amount of time every day. Give yourself some time to read or screw around on the internet or watch TV or whatever (you need leisure time, too), but set yourself a limit for it and stick to it.

Be gentle with yourself. You are not at fault here. It's okay and appropriate to feel sad and overwhelmed. But hang in there - you can have, and should have, an independent life with good people around you. Remind yourself what people here have said: you are worthy of love, you deserve better, and you can overcome your current situation. You did a good thing for yourself by reaching out here. Keep doing good things for yourself - you deserve it.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:20 AM on August 24, 2011

I know it feels like your mum has chosen her boyfriend over you but what is her financial situation like? It sounds like the house you and she were living in is his house? It sounds like she wanted to do the right thing (and she knows what the right thing is) but then the reality of the situation kicked in - she'd be homeless, even if she is financially independent from him and has savings, it can take time to arrange somewhere else to live if she can't crash with friends. Time that the BF has to change her mind, especially after the initial outrage/conflict fades and she gets used to you not being there. She might also be afraid of being alone, afraid that if she leaves her BF she might not find someone else.

Don't move back home but you should try to make things up with your mum. Parents are people too and they're not perfect, they make mistakes and bad decisions, they have their own problems and insecurities. You can still have a relationship with your mum while making it clear that you want nothing to do with him and wont be visiting her at his property. It sounds like he is very dominant in their relationship and she is much weaker and more insecure, while what they've put you through is truly awful (and insane - call the police? For what?!), have sympathy for (or take pity on) your mum. It sounds like she's afraid, afraid of sticking up to him (is he violent or just verbally abusive?), afraid of being alone, potentially forever (you're 21, even if she leaves with you, you'll be wanted to head out on your own and make your own life soon enough) and possible of having no-where to go if she leaves him. He also sounds like the scary insane type, the kind of person that very well might hire a private detective to track her down if she tried to leave.

It is 100% NOT YOUR FAULT that he's a dick and has caused this problem but you can do your part to minimise the stress it causes your mum. They forced you to make a choice and that was awful but its just as awful to make your mum choose between 2 people she loves (even if one of them is a complete asshole).

The sooner you resolve the conflict with your mum, the sooner you can move on from this and start to feel better. You don't have to agree with her choice, and its ok to be hurt, but you accept it, forgive her and you move on with your life with as much or as little contact with your mum as you're comfortable with.

Most important - you're free now! Live your life and be who you are. This is a great opportunity to make a new life for yourself, free from the guilt and the shame your upbringing has caused.
posted by missmagenta at 8:21 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

You should try getting into a mental place that will let you talk to your mother the next time she tries to contact you. In your conversation, get her to agree that what happened the other night is bad. Then before you begin any sort of reconciliation, make her give you reasons that the future will be different. Otherwise, proceed with your life as it's going. Of course, the only thing that will make the future different is if she moves out from living with the boyfriend, but maybe this will make her realize that.
posted by oreofuchi at 8:23 AM on August 24, 2011

Nthing what everyone says above. This is a horrible thing that they're doing to you. Of course you're angry, scared, sad. You wouldn't be human if you weren't.

Also nthing what everyone says about finding a therapist. Until then, here's a technique that's been working for me (I have persistent anxiety).


Sit in a comfortable chair, or lie on your back. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm, inflating both your chest and abdomen. Just focus on breathing. Don't try to empty your mind, because you'll just get frustrated that you can't. Acknowledge your thoughts, then go back to your breathing.

Listen to what you can hear. Label it. The hum of the refrigerator, the sound of traffic, whatever you can hear. Recognize that this is what you're hearing, right now. Keep breathing deeply.

What can you physically feel? Label the sensations. The press of the chair against your legs, the softness of the pillow, the air on your skin. Recognize that this is what you're feeling, right now. Keep breathing deeply.

When you feel ready, turn toward your emotions. Label each one. Sadness, anger, fear. Allow yourself to feel them, rather than pushing them away. Give yourself permission to feel them. Notice where you feel them in your body. Keep breathing deeply.

After about twenty minutes (or whenever you feel like it, really) open your eyes.


Pushing your emotions away gives them more power. When you label them, it helps you think more objectively about them, rather than getting sucked into them. This won't help permanently-- I have to do it several times a day, sometimes more. But it does help for a little while, and can hopefully hold you until you can see a therapist and start to process this with professional help.

Lastly, I give you massive internet hugs, and I repeat: this is not in any way, shape, or form your fault. The fault is entirely on their side. You are doing the best you can in a terrible situation. Feel free to MeMail me if you need support; I know how much it helps to hear from people on your side when you're hurting so badly.
posted by cereselle at 8:24 AM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]

Everyone has covered it better than me, but I just want to add my voice to the chorus of this NOT being your fault. You did nothing wrong or bad. Your mom's bf sounds like a jerk. Also since you just came out in June, sometimes it takes time and space for our parents to adjust and absorb the info. I think it's good that you're not living there, you're 21 you should be enjoying yourself and not feeling guilty for who you are! It will get better, it really will. Add me to the list of folks to MeMail if you need anything.
posted by jdl at 8:30 AM on August 24, 2011

She did pick him over you. And there's really nothing to talk about until she realizes she misses you and is willing to stand up for you. That probably won't mean moving back in. I'm truly sorry this had to be this way for you. You process it by staying away from people who are emotionally bad for you [your Mom & attached BF], and staying with people who are good to you and for you. Some pain just has to be lived, rather than set aside, because it is real and feeling and acknowledging it is part of how the mind heals and adjusts.
posted by Ys at 8:32 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm appalled at your Mom and her boyfriend's behavior. He sounds like a piece of shit, but she's not exactly a prize, either. She may be a lovely woman, but she's let her own insecurity rule her actions by putting his needs before yours. Her entire self image seems to rely on being worthy of male affection. I feel sorry for her, in a way, and it sounds like you do, too. But as others have stated, it's not your responsibility to fix her relationships. She's an adult and so are you.

I think what you probably need most right now is space—a "room of your own." As soon as possible, you should find somewhere to live and cut your mom (and her toxic douchebag P.O.S. boyfriend) and all the attendant drama out of your life until you have established your independence and started living as an adult. You are way too close to the drama right now to think clearly. And seeking out other LGBTQ resources will be a huge, huge help. You don't mention your location, but something like Chicago's Center on Halsted would have exactly the kind of resources you need right now. Many LGBTQ therapy services are free or charge on a very reasonable sliding scale.

Another thing. Boyfriend sounds scary and abusive. You might want to look into obtaining a restraining order. Start documenting his behavior religiously, with times, dates, and details.

And please MeMail me if you feel like chatting with a sympathetic dyke. Same goes for your girlfriend. My heart goes out to you both.
posted by Lieber Frau at 8:33 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Check your Mefi mail.
posted by hermitosis at 8:35 AM on August 24, 2011

This is not your fault. You have to live your own life and deserve to seek your own love. Your mother has unfortunately made what sounds like a horrible choice. It is perfectly reasonable to be sad and upset about it. You can choose not to let her decision define you.

Right now I'd suggest a focus on building a life without your mother. Find a place of your own, a job, hopefully a LGBT support group. Let her know that you still have love for her and are open to genuinely reconnect, but don't let that drama become a fixture in your life. Use your father's emotional support even if that is all he can give.

This is a huge "life is not fair" moment. All you can do is make the best of it, and build connections to those who will love you for who you are. They are out there, but may be tough to find. Maybe look for an open and affirming church in your area. Look for new doors that may have opened with living in a different place on a different schedule.

Keep moving forward.
posted by meinvt at 8:44 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cut the cord.

Listen, your mom jerks you around in more ways then one. She's done this when you are a minor, she's doing this now that you are 21. Threatening to call the police on you?! I wish that wasn't familiar to me. I can only imagine how you and your GF felt being threatened like that.

Process your relationship with your mom like it's dead, because it is.

There are no apologies for a mother who would threaten her child or allow anyone else to do so. None.

- No you should not be asked or intimidated into lying about who you are. Don't ever do that again, OK? Your future self thanks you for sticking up for yourself!

- You are 21 now. An adult. It's a little harder for you because you've been hoping against hope that your mom would love you. I know. It's time for you to accept she's never ever going to turn into your dream. You'll be alright, tho. I promise. I know your soul feels smashed to bits right now. I suggest you cry it out. Cry with rage. Just cry.

All the other good advice above mine - take it to heart.

I'm crying right now because I know what you are feeling and I wish wish wish I could do this next part for you. You are wonderful. You are infinitely lovable. You deserve love and care and support. If you keep moving forward, those things will come into your life. These blessings maybe won't come from the normal sources (mom & dad) but they will show up for you. Heck, you have a whole bunch of what you need right now!
posted by jbenben at 9:22 AM on August 24, 2011 [6 favorites]

I've recently been watching the first two seasons of In Treatment (a show based on a therapist and his interactions with his patients and his own therapist). One thing the show has the therapist point out often is how its hard for adult children to gain the proper perspective about their parents. Basically every person he sees ends up seeing him because of things they experienced as children and how their parents raised them. We often let our parents off easy for their failures or demonize them for behavior that was actually fairly reasonable at the time.

I think this is such a time with your mother where you are letting her off easy. You are taking the blame for her behavior of siding with her boyfriend over you. The blame rests with her for agreeing with it. Regardless of reasons she IS failing you as a parent, full stop. I just want to say that its ok to be upset and angry at your parents when they fail. It doesn't make them evil when they fail or means you a bad child for not meeting their expectations. When people fail we don't need to always be perfectly understanding of their failings and we shouldn't have to work around their failings. We can allow ourselves to feel the pain... and then move on someday, because its better to feel now than bottling up our emotions until later when they burst.

Fortunately you do have options. Your father seems to be doing the right things and I'm sure if all other options are taken from you your father will continue to provide all forms of support available to him. Your GF surely recognizes that you're going through a crises and if she's worth anything as a GF she'll give you some time to sort out your feelings. If my parents kicked me out and my S.O. didn't allow me time to heal I'd hope to recognize that she wasn't a very good GF for you. I hope she sticks with you and treats you with the respect you deserve to have.

Finally: You want her to be happy and you know that you need to be happy too to help make that happen. That's a great thing to realize. It shows you're committed to improving yourself and I think that's a good place to start rebuilding. I believe you're strong enough to make it through this and hopefully you'll be a stronger person as a result. Good luck!
posted by Green With You at 9:25 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Something that may help (or maybe not -- and if so, please just chuck the following couple of paragraphs) is to remove the 'gay question' from the situation. I realize this might seem silly since its the center of the argument, but in doing so, you remove any possibility of questioning your right to be out of the closet. Of course, this isn't something you should question, but as hard as it is to believe for some, even the loudest and proudest queer-of-any-flavor still may be) dealing with internalized homophobia or shame. This can seem even harder to people whose life, like yours right now, can be easily divided into 'bigoted family' and 'supportive, loving girlfriend and outpouring of support on MetaFilter' -- you can forget that, like sexuality, there's a spectrum of acceptance that's lots of grey rather than black and white, and deep inside, you may not be where you realize. (Please don't take offense at this suggestion -- I'd argue that all of us, no matter where in the coming out process we are -- yours truly included -- still deal with such issues.)

So if you can, remove the question of your sexuality from your question. Then it becomes "My mother's boyfriend is verbally abusive and threatening the safety of me and my friend.* What can I do to not feel so bad about my mother taking his side?" If you saw this question on Ask Metafilter, you'd probably certainly think that the person asking it had every right to feel angry at her mother, much angrier than what you've expressed in your question. And while you'd encourage that person to feel however they want -- especially sad - wouldn't a part of you want her to focus on that anger and her need to take care of herself rather than the depression. Wouldn't you cheer whatever action she took to avoid being sad or abused by this situation? Wouldn't you want her to win this fight and be happy? Of course, you would. So give yourself that benefit.

I'm not providing this example to try to dismiss your feelings of depression. I know it's not easy to just beat it down or switch off. But that young woman who wrote the journal entry about being so happy is the one you want to honor, not the person your mother and her boyfriend are trying to create with their actions. Yes, in a perfect world, your mother would realize what she's doing is wrong and making you miserable. But just because she's your mother doesn't give her that right. And until you feel like you are on solid footing, she isn't your problem to fix. A good, supportive family is a wonderful thing to have, but a bad one isn't worth your grief, especially now. Dan Savage has said hundreds of times, and I agree 100% about this, that the best leverage a gay child has as an adult over your mom is your presence in her life. And if she doesn't respect you enough to do have enough basic human dignity to support you when you're being abused, then she doesn't deserve to get text updates about how your classes went. I'm usually a believer in meeting parents half way in the coming out process, but your mom's BF has made this impossible. To me, it seems like their presence in your life will constantly derail you trying to get on your feet because there will be no halfway point at which to meet them.. Taking a stand where you cut your mom off completely will send the message. You've gotta do what you've gotta do, but that's what I'd do.

In the meantime, never question how much you're loved and how much you deserve that love, how happy you were before all this stuff went down, and how the reason 'it gets better' is becoming a cliche is because it's true. As others have suggested, try to find a support network in the LGBT community -- not just because they will understand, but because it will take pressure of your relationship with your girlfriend. I'm not saying you should shut her out but too many times people in your situation will re-focus (often without realizing) their anger at those closest to them -- it becomes far too easy to think, even subconsciously, 'God, if it wasn't for you [girlfriend], I wouldn't have this problem.'; relieve that relationship stress by finding someone else to talk to about it. As far as the living situation goes, if you can't find an apartment/roommate, in some cities, there are programs for homeless LGBT youth from 18-24 that place them in understanding 'foster-like' homes; if you're not in a location where this is possible, it may be possible to find a solution like this through a less formal situation. In any instance, networking will help in numerous ways, and the best cure for this kind of depression is realizing you aren't alone. (On that note, if you have any other specific questions/needs me-mail or email me; my coming out issues with my family were not this extreme, but I understand, and I have a partner who definitely understands the issues you are having with your mother and her partner -- his weren't related to coming out but resentment was sometimes the same.)

Good luck -- I'll be thinking about you.

* Make no mistake, even if it doesn't feel immediately physically threatened, threatening to call the police is threatening your safety as is the threat of outing your girlfriend to her family)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:25 AM on August 24, 2011 [15 favorites]

The night before this happened she told me she was moving out because since he wasn't going to change and I wasn't going to change, that was the only option. I felt really guilty at the time because I felt like it was my fault

First of all, I want to join the chorus of people saying it's not your fault. It's entirely the awful, bullying, homophobic idiot asshole boyfriend's fault.

But what your mom said here gives me some hope that you two really will be able to patch things up again, after she gets up the courage to leave this asshole. From your description it doesn't sound like she's actively homophobic, she's just a follower who's making some really bad decisions right now, and she's pretending to herself that she can have it both ways (by going along with his cruelty when he's around and then "working things out" with you when he's not around; by pretending that you're the one causing the problems between her and her boyfriend, when in fact he's the problem.) She can't have it both ways, and deep down she knows it, and she knows that the only right choice is to leave this guy -- she just doesn't have the courage to do that yet. (I'm guessing she's financially dependent on him, right? And I guarantee that he's every bit as bullying and controlling of her as he's trying to be with you; the difference is that she's weak enough to go along with it, and you're stronger than that.)

She's hurting you right now and you have every right to be angry with her. But it doesn't mean she doesn't love you. She's a terribly flawed human being, but not a cruel one like the boyfriend.

Get yourself settled first in your own home. Never speak to evil boyfriend again; never go to that house again. You're done with him.

And when you're ready, see if you can't find your way to help your mother escape from that bastard. When she's ready to accept you for who you are, when she's ready to express her own opinions instead of just going along with her boyfriend's opinions, that's when you'll be able to let your mother back into your life again.

You can do it. This is a shitty situation but you sound like you're capable and bright and ready to deal. You're going to be fine.
posted by ook at 9:25 AM on August 24, 2011

fellow LGBT 'family' person here, checking in (I ID as 'queer' myself, didn't know if that would be triggering given the verbal abuse this awful man has subjected you and your girlfriend to...)

our society and culture engrains in us to 'honor' our parents. bullshit. 'honor' goes both ways, your mother is not honoring you. she doesn't need to choose, she needs to respect every single person in her life, whether biological family or family she creates through the relationships she sustains.

she, and someone she has chosen to create a relationship with, have abused their familial responsibilities to you. You now owe them absolutely nothing, zilch! Cut them out of your life, pronto. No calls, no letters, nothing. Use the energy that they are sucking out of you to instead build a new life for yourself and also to build a new family.

as LGBT folk, we are often challenged to create new families on our own with little guidance or support from anyone, except other LGBT folks and those amazing non-LGBT folks who love us unconditionally. these helpful, loving people are out there and some of them are even here, answering your questions, providing you with suggestions, and offering you support sight unseen. We know all too well the horrors you are going through, and absolutely you are not alone.

i, personally, have had to make the same difficult choice I'm asking you to make, although my choice had nothing to do with my sexuality. i ended my connection with one of my siblings because of their extreme psychological abuse twenty years ago now. i had to do this to save myself. i couldn't save my sibling, no matter what I tried nor how engaged i remained in their life. with my parents, i only have a cordial relationship with the one who is still living and the spouse they married after my parent's divorce. they do not respect me (in fact, they appear to relish telling people in their community they only have a daughter when, in fact, they have three other children besides her!) nor do I show any deference to them. they are 'birthday and Christmas' family to me now, I share next to nothing about my personal life and am certainly not interested in their crummy lives.

these estrangements were tough decisions! but they marked my transition to adulthood. 'regret' isn't in my range of human experiences. in fact, i actually feel good that i made these difficult choices to protect my personal and mental health. but to do so, I had to be *active* in deliberately making better choices for myself.

your first 'better choice' is likely to cut your mom and her vile boyfriend out of the picture completely. your next 'better choice' is to realize you can never live with them again, ever, and as an adult, it is now time for you to make a home for yourself via your own choices and through your own hard work and dedication. i would say creating a home is probably your highest priority here and as many people have pointed out here, depending upon where you reside, you will have some good options available to you and it looks like even some have offered you direct assistance in finding the resources you need.

i wish you well with the decisions you'll be making in the days, weeks, and months ahead. only you have the power to change things in your life. only you. i know you'll use your power wisely and help create a healthier living situation for yourself and to cut abusive people out of your life.

keep us posted. we're cheering you on and know you'll rise from this nightmare to be a better person.
posted by kuppajava at 9:27 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

The day will come when your mother is alone and she will beg you to be in her life again. You will be able to make the choice of whether you wish to accept her, on your terms, from a place of compassion and strength, if you protect yourself now by cutting both of these abusive monsters out of your life entirely.

And really, how dare they, while living "in sin" and actively working to destroy the bond between a child and her parent, take the moral high ground over you, who is in a loving relationship?
posted by Scram at 9:30 AM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks sooo much for your support everyone! I've only had time to read the early answers but I've teared up at some of them. I wanted to add that I'm in NW Ohio. I don't have internet access when I'm not at school so apologies if more questions pop up and my replies are sparse!
posted by Autumn at 9:31 AM on August 24, 2011

A close friend of mine went through a very similar experience with her partner's family a few years ago. I was the person she felt most comfortable talking to (other than her partner), and they ended up at my place more than once when family get-togethers went off the rails, so I was peripherally but deeply involved in the situation, if that makes sense?

Based on that (and I know it was just one example of this type of situation), my take on it is this: You have to cut "the parents" out of your life, and do it as soon as you possibly can.

It's not just that they disapprove of your current relationship. I think there's an actual strategy behind the way they're behaving. I think they want to make you and your girlfriend miserable. They want to break you up by making sure you can't enjoy this relationship, and they want you to find the whole thing such an awful experience that you'll be put off the idea of having a relationship with a woman at all. I know that the parents are two separate people who may not both be equally committed to this plan, but right now they're acting as a team in support of this goal.

It's not a rational plan and it sounds ridiculous to people with an even remotely reasonable outlook, but that's what happened with my friend and her partner, and we heard about similar attempts at manipulation from many others in our social circles.

So where does that lead? Maybe their strategy works. You break up, you give up on being involved with women. But that's your orientation, so you end up very unhappy. Or their strategy doesn't work, in which case they just keep on trying, and you still end up very unhappy. You need to just get away from them, which will be hard at first, but it will get better with time.

Is it a permanent separation? Maybe not, if something changes on their end. But that's up to them. You can only control your own life, and who you have in it. You have to kick people out when they're determined to make you unhappy, which right now, they are.
posted by FishBike at 9:57 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

There is better advice here than what I could give, but I wanted to at least add my voice to the other sympathetic responses. Your mother's horrible choices and her BF's fucked-up world view have NOTHING to do with you, and there is NOTHING wrong with you.

As bad and immediate as this is -- and it's plainly awful, make no mistake and don't feel bad about feeling bad -- remember that in the end, this is a transition. You're young right now. Whatever happens, you will keep on keeping on because in the end you really have no other choice. Life is bad now (and I'm terribly sorry for that). It will get better, and you will be stronger for having survived this.

(Also: What Scram said above. Absolutely.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:57 AM on August 24, 2011

I feel like she picked him over me.

She did. Move out and move on. It sucks having parents who are assholes (I have a great -- lesbian! -- mom, but an a-hole father who I haven't seen in 20 years) but it's something a lot of us deal with.

Fortunately this happened when you're 21 and not 15.
posted by coolguymichael at 10:16 AM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

I just wanted to add my voice of support. When you're down, try and visualize all of us Mefites who are on your side and rooting for you.

I wish all of us could get together, confront your mom's BF in person, and tell him how much of a dick he is.
posted by Tin Man at 10:17 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

They say depression is anger turned inward. I've been deeply depressed. At those times, I'd have to agree that I was being treated horribly by people I loved, yet for some reason, I was internalizing my anger at others against myself. This in turn served to make me almost hopelessly depressed. I mean, the hurt was coming from outside, but there I was blaming myself, anyway.

You can avoid depression by making sure that when anger comes up inside of you it is directed at the right people here - your mom and her shitty boyfriend. Don't be angry with yourself.

Also. There is a difference between grief or anger vs. Depression with a capital "D."

The blow-ups you describe were undeniably traumatic for you and your girlfriend. After trauma comes shock, then anger, sometimes sadness or grief, etc. Expect emotions to bubble up.

Also, you've had an experience that showed you that your mom (most likely, and definitely not soon) will never love you the way you've always craved she would. Again, it's OK to feel anger, grief, and sadness as a result of this revelation. It's called processing your emotions and you need to feel everything that comes up before you can let go and move on.

I'm telling you to expect to feel variations of sadness, relief, anger, grief, happiness, apathy, rage, and inspiration over the next year or so as you process the reality of your relationship with your mom and the knowledge that cruel violent people like her boyfriend exist in this world. Expect the full range, OK? Don't freak out and accuse yourself of being "bad" or depressed when the negative emotions come up. Don't let their appearance in your psyche from time to time lead you into a funk.

I also suspect that the more you embrace how this episode is really making you feel, the less likely you will be to act out against your girlfriend, others, or yourself.

You've been through something huge. Remember to cut yourself a break. You deserve it.
posted by jbenben at 10:22 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

A few good nuggets to hold onto -

- Not your fault for their behavior
- Restraining order against the BF. It sounds like he's abusive. If not physically, then definately mentally. He is not your father, and on top of that, you're an adult. His behavior may be criminal (sexual harrassment, bias crime, etc.), although I Am Not A Lawyer.

(on that note, I might tend to be sorry for your Mom - she's not right in any way, but if she's under the thumb of an emotionally and mentally abusive person, she's not herself. the way you describe how she vacillitates back and forth.. maybe that thought can help you cope with her abhorent behavior towards you)

- apartment vs hotel - yes. Apartment would be much cheaper, even on a short term lease. Or hit the classifieds - many people have a room for rent, or are in need of a roommate due to needing help in sharing the rent/expenses.

- and take control - you're 21, the BF is wrong, and you should stand up to that fact. you're in the right. Don't let someone take that away.
posted by rich at 10:24 AM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

I think you're getting good advice here. I wanted to point out that while your mother's behaviour is really disappointing, it appears that she's the sort of woman who is easily dominated by a partner. I'm going to guess that she has a dependent personality and is one of those people who sees having a boyfriend as validation of her self worth. This is sad but it isn't about actually about you; you are just suffering from some of the consequences of that.

Parents are flawed. They fail, often spectacularly. This lesson is painful at any age and in any circumstance. I am sorry you are learning it at this time and in this way.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:01 AM on August 24, 2011

I don't have any new advice to add, but I just wanted to wish you the best.
posted by luckynerd at 11:32 AM on August 24, 2011

NW Ohio? So, not near any particularly large urban areas. Does your school offer any LGBTQ resources? Also, I know there is a vibrant community in Columbus. Is there any way you can get yourself down there from time to time, if not move down there? Stonewall Columbus looks like it has some very good resources.
posted by Lieber Frau at 11:48 AM on August 24, 2011

From what you say, I think your mom is in an abusive relationship with a jerk. I think she wants to accept you and love you but he's really fucking with her head and controlling her. She might not be able to choose you over him because of various circumstances and/or her own mental health.

That doesn't change the fact that he is a raging jerk who is unsafe for you to be around. Don't move back in. Use the money your father gave you to get an apartment if you cannot move in with him. You mention school so I assume you're near a college campus of some sort, which means an apartment may be feasible. Check out local resources for youth (homeless youth, LGBTQ youth, mental health for youth etc.).

If you don't have a community, these places may help you feel more part of one (I would have hated being told this when my mom reacted negatively to my coming out but having a community really has helped me since).

Let yourself be angry at them! Don't bottle it up and tell yourself to "stay positive". Bullshit. Be angry. Be sad. Let yourself feel what you're going through (if you can) because there's nothing wrong with it. Be kind to yourself and don't stress out about peripheral shit like how to avoid this affecting your gf etc. This is one of those times where she needs to support you because it's incredibly difficult for you. If you don't feel confident or sexy, that is totally okay. If you don't feel up to going out on a certain night, that's okay!

And most of all *hugs* I'm sorry your parents have reacted this way. You are deserving of love, unconditional love, and you have every right to be upset right now.
posted by buteo at 12:11 PM on August 24, 2011

It's not your fault. You did nothing wrong except fall in love. If that is wrong then nothing is right.

Your mom is a human being subject to all the fears, insecurities and failings of humanity. That she currently feels a need to stay with her boyfriend no matter what the cost to you does not mean that she does not love you. This may very well be as difficult for her as it is for you. This is not to excuse her actions. Right now though that doesn't really matter. What matters is that she can not really be there for you in the present. Luckily you are an adult and free to live your own life. In the short term this may be difficult if you are not mentally and economically prepared but through adversity comes strength. It is amazing the hardships that we can live through. You have your health, your youth and freedom. Live your life on your terms and find something every day to enjoy in your existence. Take each day on its own terms. When the whole world seems like it is going crazy around you sometimes it is to overwhelming to think far beyond today or tomorrow. No bother, focus on today. It will get better. I guarantee it. Most likely your mom will come around as well, but don't count on that for the short term. These things can take a few years so get yourself established on your own terms now.
posted by caddis at 1:35 PM on August 24, 2011

Great responses in this thread.

The only thing I have to say that hasn't been said (maybe?) is that even if your mom breaks up with this boyfriend, don't get back together with her again (or at least, don't move back in/get close and comfy). She sounds codependent and like she'll find another guy ASAP, and if the next one's a bigot too... Anyway, she may care about you, but she cares about keeping a man more, so always keep that in mind.

I'm sorry you feel like this and I'm sorry your mom chose a douche over you. But at least you've got your girlfriend and dad!
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:53 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just wanted to throw this in there as I haven't seen it yet:

The boyfriend's personality sounds abusive- and maybe this is not just directed towards you and your girlfriend?

Just to be clear: your mom's behaviour towards you is unacceptable, and you've every right to be angry. And your own safety and that of your gf absolutely should your first concern.

But to just categorise Mom's actions just as bad life choices or weakness and the boyfriend as just an asshole, as some other posters have done, may not be helpful. Maybe she's in a situation she too needs to escape from. Not that you need to or should play a role in that process, but if any of this rings true, it may be a more helpful framework to view the situation from.
posted by ninjablob at 3:01 PM on August 24, 2011

First: I am glad you have a supportive father who cares about you. Be sure to thank him for this, and ask his advice on how to get by on a day-to-day basis, and how to deal with your feelings about your mom (but not how to deal directly with your mom; keep that boundary, even if he feels like it would be helpful to advise you.)

Second: your mother is trying to keep both you and her boyfriend; she thinks by appeasing him when he's around, and acting like nothing's wrong when you're around, she won't have to make a choice. Obviously, she is wrong, and she's inadvertently choosing him over you. If you can get your confidence up, then next time she says "How's school" etc., say "Mom, I can't talk to you about normal, day-to-day things until we work out your issues with my homosexuality. My girlfriend didn't make me this way, and there's nothing wrong with me being this way, so you have to decide: do you accept me the way I am, or do you reject me? So far you've been rejecting me and making me feel horrible because of your own issues, so you need to figure this out. Until you do, you don't get to make small talk with me."

Finally: so far, you haven't done anything wrong; your mother is making a terrible choice, and her boyfriend is (to be blunt) an aggressive, homophobic nutbag. She can choose to side with him ultimately (instead of having it both ways like she's trying now), but that's not a reflection on you, that's a reflection on her and her own issues and insecurities. You're lucky enough to have one solid parent who has your back, and that plus your own inner strength (whatever you can muster) should be enough to get you started on a wonderful, fulfilling and enjoyable life that doesn't require your mother's support in any way.

Hang in there. You don't deserve what's happening to you, and remember: every time she says that you're "causing" problems between her and her boyfriend, realize beyond any shadow of a doubt that those problems are all coming from the choices she and he are making, not you. Hell, with waffling like hers and a guy like she's chosen, you could be the most heterosexual person on the planet, come home with straight-A report cards, and win the lottery -- and they would still blame you for their problems. You're just a convenient target.

Good luck.
posted by davejay at 4:19 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm gay and have been out since I was 18. My mom tried to "fix it," and her boyfriend quite literally woke my girlfriend and I up one night to kick us out of their place. (We didn't live there, were there for a visit. I think I was 23.) My dad and his wife also tried to "fix it," until told them that I wouldn't accept anything from them, even a call, if they didn't back off.

It was hard. I think I didn't speak to my dad, whom I love, and need in my life, for a year or two, and only very occasionally saw my mom. I hated being poor and not having anyone to get good adult advice or assistance from. I got some therapy. I started hanging out with some healthy/fairly adjusted young queers like me. I also did the Landmark Forum. I missed my mom and dad, and I was sad, maybe to the point of grieving, that they didn't love me unconditionally. It broke my heart.

But you know what? It made me grow up, get stronger, get more self-reliant in a hurry. Which then gave me room to appreciate myself. And, eventually, they came around. We've never been rockingly close since then, but they've both shared that they have more respect for me than they do for their other kids, and, honestly, there's nothing I need from them now, so I can appreciate them for who they are as people, not just as parents. And I have a happy wife, a great job, and a child of my own to mess up.

It DOES get better. It's completely appropriate to feel sad. And mad. And even a little disgusted. But just remember, this isn't about you. You can grow from it, you can learn to love yourself a little more from it, and later, you'll see this time as a phase of exponential personal growth. But growing pains suck, so here's a virtual hug, in the meantime.
posted by pomegranate at 4:43 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

The thing that gets to me about this is that Mom didn't seem to care much about me seeing a woman. She'd be fine, then he would say something to her and THEN she would get upset with me. She told me that he would get angry with her for being unable to "control" the situation, and wasn't happy with her parenting style. She said that he went from wanting to marry her to wanting her to move out, would complain to her every day for hours, etc and that she was stressed out and that things didn't feel like "home" anymore. The night before this happened she told me she was moving out because since he wasn't going to change and I wasn't going to change, that was the only option. I felt really guilty at the time because I felt like it was my fault, but after all this I just don't know how to feel.

Not only is this not your fault, I don't think that it truly has very much to do with you at all. This is about the dysfunctional, manipulative power/insecurity issues between her and her boyfriend. Your mom's boyfriend's homophobia just happens to make your sexuality a perfect target. I'm sorry. Your mom's interactions with you SHOULD be about you -- you're her kid. Instead, she's not only letting her boyfriend be cruel to you, but she's taking orders from him on how she should treat you. That's fucked up, and pathetic behavior.

Go take care of yourself, lick your wounds, get yourself settled. Concentrate on finding a stable place to live. Put one foot in front of the other and all that. Take a break from your mom, and in your head, put aside the "you" who is a daughter for a few months -- focus on the rest of yourself.

Ironically, with the greater mainstream acceptance of homosexuality, a lot of people assume that this stuff doesn't happen anymore, but of course it does. You're gonna be okay though.
posted by desuetude at 5:10 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

You're 21, you're an adult, it's none of your mother's business who you love, and it's even MORE none of her boyfriend's business. (But kudos to your bio-dad!) As for the BF's threats against your girlfriend: that's called stalking, that's illegal, and if needed you can get a restraining order against him --- plus he's wrong, the police will not give him personal information about your girlfriend. What a jerk. Frankly, you're far better off out of there.

I wish you a long and happy life, filled with all the love and joy you and your girlfriend deserve.
posted by easily confused at 5:26 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

A preliminary: None of this is your fault.

Your mother's BF is pure, unadultered scum. He is toxic and it is a good, good thing that you are now far away from him. You do not need sad, pathetic bigots like that in your life.

Your mother DID pick the BF over you, and you have every right to be upset about that; it is terrible. But she also let him abuse and traumatise you and your GF (and apparently joined in), and that is reprehensible. You have to consider whether it is worth letting her be in your life. The blood bond doesn't seem to matter much to her, so why should it matter to you? You owe her nothing, given the circumstances.

It's OK to be sad. You have suffered a trauma and a loss. But the thing to remember is this: that part of your life is all over now. Those people who were mean to you and abused you are now out of your life. You are the one that gets to choose if you ever want to expose yourself to them again. You have that power and that control.

You have a Dad and a GF that love you. The crappy bit is over, and this is the start of the good bit.

I wish I could give you a hug. Good luck.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:27 PM on August 24, 2011

"I wanted to add that I'm in NW Ohio."

Columbus is the college town you're looking for. It has a decent job market as well as good colleges, cheap colleges, and easy colleges. These folks will know more about the kinds of infrastructure that could help support you at least in Columbus.

I also know there are Mefites there to hang out and commiserate with, I'm one of them.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:42 PM on August 24, 2011

Response by poster: Glad to know I'm not alone in this. It's been hard but it's getting better. The 'rents and I haven't spoken in a few days.

Mom texted me Girlfriend's home number and threatened to come over there even though I hadn't been home for a week. I asked her to leave us alone and she hasn't spoken to me since. Girlfriend also had the police give Mom a call that night instructing her not to come to their home.

The good... I've found a place and life has returned to mostly-normal. The bad... The parents have decided to keep my things. I even brought a cop to escort me to pick them up but they refused to answer the door. So I'm stuck without a computer, my camera, and things that were quite important to me. All things that I saved up for and bought myself. :/ I have thought about replacing them but I know I need to keep my savings for now. We'll see what happens.

I feel like this is a blessing in disguise. It's still hard at times but mostly because I'm struggling between dropping $600 on a new computer and going without out but having less time to do schoolwork. I'm not nearly as devastated over my Mom's actions as I was when I wrote this thing. I am still more irritable than normal but I can tell my overall demeanor is changing. The environment was toxic in general and I know that being out of it will have positive long-term effects, even if they're slow-coming. Thank you all so much for the outpouring of support. I have some PM's I need to respond to as well.

Sorry for the long-ass update but I'm just so touched I could cry. I don't seem to be falling back into depression like I assumed I would and you have no idea (or maybe you do) how happy that makes me. It's like, hey, I'm doing it! I'm making it through a tough time when in the past I know I would have broken down and not left the house for days, missed work, school, etc. I'm getting better!
posted by Autumn at 12:30 PM on August 31, 2011 [5 favorites]

Glad to hear you are getting along so well!

Your parents cannot simply keep your property--that's theft. File a police report as soon as you can.
posted by Scram at 1:54 PM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Scram, it worked. They sent her a scary "legal action pending" letter and she returned everything!
posted by Autumn at 7:41 AM on September 20, 2011 [5 favorites]

VICTORY! Love it when the good team wins :)
posted by DarlingBri at 8:22 AM on September 20, 2011

Brava! Thank you for the update, and hoping you're well.
posted by Scram at 5:16 PM on September 20, 2011

I'm so, so glad! You are moving onward and upward! Brava!
posted by goggie at 5:46 PM on September 20, 2011

Congrats, Autumn! I'm SO glad it all sounds like your life is headed onward & upward!

There will be hard times in the future, as there are in everyone's life, but remember that you CAN handle whatever comes your way. As someone says above, even if your mom changes her mind do NOT move back in her house: stay strong, and live your life as YOU want it!
posted by easily confused at 5:35 PM on September 21, 2011

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