Do you feel like it’s impossible to actually get anything done in your life because you feel like you have to take care of other people? Does it always feel like just as you start moving forward, other people have to drag you down? Do you feel hopeless, like nothing you ever do will come out right because someone will just come along and break it? Friends, you might be dealing with codependency.
A lot of gay youth actually come from homes that are less than stellar, and that’s okay. I’m from a dysfunctional family myself. What I’ve learned is that I can’t really function unless I’m fixing the problems that other people leave in my midst. That’s a tough way to live, because it means that you’re controlling other people. Even though you might feel that they can’t take care of themselves and they require you to fix it, you really are mistaken here. See, when we step in and take over other people’s responsibilities, we’re making them dependent on that service for the long run. It’s not that they can’t function, but that they simply choose not to function very well. It makes a lot more sense to take the path of worrying about your own life.
I think that codependency strikes gay youth harder because we feel like we “have to” fix everything even more, since we’re the “weird ones”. We’re the ones in the family that “aren’t right”. This is a bad way to live, because it means that you’re basically apologizing for being gay. With every action that you do to save someone in your family, you’re apologizing for being gay.
Friends, there’s no need to apologize for being who you are. What needs to happen is that you stand up for yourself and really look at the life that you’ve created. What type of life would you really lead if you weren’t worried about what everyone thinks about you? What type of pleasure would you get out of life if you didn’t have to stop and fret about what other people do with their time? How would you feel if you could focus on your own burdens rather than feeling like you have to carry the entire world on your shoulders?
There are ways out. Try to look for a therapist that works with LGBT youth, or LGBT people in general. Regular therapists might work, but they may have a bias against you, or try to indirectly shame you for being who you are. There are lists of gay-friendly therapists in just about any city.
Remember our post about building your own gay support team? If nothing else, this is one of the biggest reasons why you need a support group around you. Because when you aren’t able to set your own boundaries, you need someone confident enough to do it for you until you develop that skill. Notice the difference: they’re not going to be propping you up forever. There will come a time where you have to spread your own wings and fly to your own rhythms. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it just means that you have to look at more than just what’s pleasant. This path can be rough, but don’t worry: we have you covered.
The next post will go more in depth to looking for LGBT youth friendly therapists. Stay tuned!