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Thursday, December 01, 2005

 

SSA with a great same sex parent relationship?

Email me.

Over the years, a number of people (gay and ex-gay) have contacted me to say that the reparative model just doesn't fit their relationships with their parents. I have kept some but not many of those emails or letters. If you fit this description, please contact me via email (ewthrockmorton@gcc.edu). I am piloting a possible research effort and would like to correspond.

Comments:
Hmm...

With regards to my SSA, I fit the classical reparative model with one exception--I do not have a phobia of the opposite sex. Even though I grew up being smothered by my mom (along with a bad relationship with my dad), you would expect me to be disgusted by the opposite sex. However, this is not true. I have a decent attraction to the opposite sex, and am far from being "like, totally gay" (say that phrase with a valley girl accent).

It be interesting to explore what came first, the SSA, or the bad same sex parent. My guess is that the study would be inconclusive, because everybody will have their own story to tell that either confirms or refutes the reparative model.

With respect to your lastest op-ed, I think the results speak for themselves.

Expect your opponents to start rationalizing their way out of it (LOL).

Andy
 
Would you say there was a possibility that the SSA came first? And was your relationship with your dad bad before you were in middle school?
 
By the way, thanks for replying.
 
Would you say there was a possibility that the SSA came first? And was your relationship with your dad bad before you were in middle school?

Well...I definitely feel that IF my relationship with my dad had anything to do with my SSA, that it was only A factor, as opposed to the determining cause.

In fact, come to think about it, the lack of love from my dad MAY have made it so that presently, I have an elevated need for male affection and emotional closeness--I often find myself relating to other men as a young child does to a father, bright eyed and looking for affection. (incidentally, in the past, this need was heavily sexualized, yet today, much less so)

Of course, an alternative, and equally plausible, explanation was that I was simply "born" with this elevated need for male attention.

You asked about middle school: before middle school, I was fearful of my father, and I always stood on my mother's side whenever they argued. I had a talk with my dad a few years ago, he said it hurt him deeply to see that we were always against him (we have since made up).

Perhaps all explanations for the origins of SSA have some weight. Perhaps the reparative model, in conjuction with biological predisposition, in conjuction with God-knows-what-else is what brings about SSA.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this the consensus of the professional organizations--that SSA is multifactorial--but with biology contributing its fair share?

I dunno. Too much thinking and my head hurts.

Andy

PS: I do strongly believe that just because something is biological and seemingly hardwired does not mean it cannot, with no exceptions, ever be changed. Hell,
 
Reparative theory suggests that the identification damage is done prior to elementary school. Boys are supposed to identify with their fathers and then develop colleagial relations with other boys during elementary school. So it is difficult to verify or falsify this theory empirically. I have talked with people who say their fathers were wonderful until they were elementary school and then for one reason or another things went south. This really isn't confirmation of the psychoanalytic model but it is often taken as such.

I agree that there are multiple factors at work. I am wanting to be more clear that the reparative model may account for some SSA but cannot be viewed as a general model of homosexual development. The human concern is that many parents feel very condemned and hopeless hearing this theory. I think the theory may be one of PFLAG's greatest recruiting tools.
 
Warren -- are you claiming (some) PFLAG parents are in denial about causing their child to be gay?

And that, I take it, would be the reason they decide to support their gay child -- instead of joining PFOX? How do you explain that in professional terms?

Without clogging this place up with refs -- about one third (half, one quarter) of adults later describe their relationships with their parents in terms that may be easiy banged into "distant" or "smothering" categories. Check Bieber, for an example, of what an anti-gay therapist had to say about his heterosexual sample.

So... off the top of my head I would estimate you will find one-third of gay men and women LIKEWISE had such backgrounds.

That is because one-third of parents are like that.

Frankly, you may as well say "there you go, you were born under the influence of Mars with Venus rising -- da dah, hence your gayness". Or if not that, maybe another astrological mix.

Making it fit doesn't prove it.

A description is not an explanation.

Being able to make it fit, unfortunately, is the insecurity that exgay therapists prey on.

(BTW. Neither of us fit the RT model -- though I'm sure a mind-bender could find "something" if they trawled long enough; and would be more than eager to present it in those simplistic terms. But, of course, you could also find "something" with ANYONE.)
 
Read me closely: I said I think reparative theory may be one of PFLAG's greatest recruiting tools. Why? Because it doesn't fit everybody, maybe even most people who have SSA. So when parents read the theory and say to themselves, now wait, that's not even close, then they go off to PFLAG who says (who are biased as well) its nothing to do with anything other than biology.

How about putting into an email how you don't fit the reparative model so I can include it in stuff I am working on for my website? And further, if you do stumble on to any references about fathers and the general pop, I would appreciate them.
 
Oh, here's a thought... instead of relying on self-report...

Ask the father, too.

Ask the mother.

Ask friends. Siblings. Teachers. Neighbours.

And then match up what you hear from all sources with what you hear from the individual. Compare the dialog of the individual before and after they have seen a reparative therapist. If they do not match -- the individual may have a faulty recollection, or have had a false image placed on them.

Of course, this is no stunning insight of ours. People asked Bieber to do that in 1962.

He didn't.
 
The human concern is that many parents feel very condemned and hopeless hearing this theory. I think the theory may be one of PFLAG's greatest recruiting tools.

I see what you mean. In fact, the reparative theory is one of the cliches that are commonly tossed around and discarded by pro-gay people. People tend to think that this is meant to be a universal theory that somehow explains homosexuality per se. To a gay child who has good relations with both parents, this theory can be pretty insulting and condemnatory.

However, are you sure that PFLAG says that "biology" is all there is?

Andy
 
One quote
"Being GLBT is as much a human variation as being left-handed …"PFLAG, "Be Yourself" Which parent's genetics were responsible?
 
How about putting into an email how you don't fit the reparative model so I can include it in stuff I am working on for my website? And further, if you do stumble on to any references about fathers and the general pop, I would appreciate them.

OK, that's two parts. And you know what I'm about to say about the latter... (and you PROMISED you would not call me Wayne. Which, btw, is a brother's name, but I digress).

For the other, send me the questions.

If it's any indication -- and this is Grant BTW -- Dad's no academic, but I once read parts of Nicolosi (and your explanation of such from the 1998 paper) to him and he replied in a manner that I can only guess you would not permit on this blog. I didn't read it to Mum because, frankly, it would have upset her. She's quite aware how some people feel and does not need to be reminded.

Here's a clue for the way my father feels. He is a man of sparse words normally (as am I, you'll be surprised), which makes them more meaningful. This is a good couple of years ago, but my parents have now been married near 50 years.

Mum was rushed to hospital a few days after an operation went wrong (typical us, she tolerated severe pain well beyond what is sensible). Dale and I left work as we could and arrived about 2 hours later -- Mum was about to go back into surgery.

When we arrived the two of them were sitting in a darkened room in silence. Dad just holding her hand. Mum was in agony, but that was all she needed. No fuss. No ranting. Just waiting.

Mum roused a bit as we came in, but it was awful to see her like that. As I sat, and tried to talk, and choked, I felt the warmth of Dale's hand rest onto my shoulder. In that mere touch alone was all the strength I needed. It went from him, to me, and as I held Mum and Dad's hand -- to them. I lasted.

I broke down only when I got outside. And again it was Dale that wrapped around me, and held me up. Just whispers, and his warmth, and his smell, and his soul.

The surgery was very successful. And a few days later my sister was heading down in a lift with Dad and he said, out of the blue:

"Dale is a very good man."

My sister said, "Yes, I know he is Dad".

Dad replied, "No, I meant he's a very good man with Grant."

And that, Warren, is what I think you fail to see.

We did not realise at the time, but as Mum lay in agony and Dad shared that agony with her they were still looking at me as parents. They were watching us.

They saw my upset, and they saw how SOMEONE supported me in the deepest way. The same connection that they had with each other, as one lay in pain and needed his irreplacable hand to hold. It's more than friendship, as they only too well understood. They looked at us, and saw themselves. And this, they understood, was what they had only ever had hoped their child could find -- someone to share his life, as they had shared theirs.

To have someone to love, and to receive love from. To support, and to be supported. To laugh with, and cry with. The most basic and simple of domestic pleasures.

That is what Dad meant when he spoke to my sister.

And that, I fear, is what you avoid considering. Pair-bonding is not an academic exercise. It is life. It is wonderful, should you find it. And it does not follow a formula.

I am sorry that was a long post, but you have an email address for us should you wish to continue.
 
I guess this is also a fairly basic question...

You have (it seems) an opinion about PFLAG and the parents infolved and their reasoning etc etc...

Have you actually been to one?
 
I always felt close to my father (as far back as my memory goes, which is about four). I have three older brothers, and looking back, it seems as if I came out closest to being 'like him'. E.g., I kept going with him to Sunday Mass long after my older siblings had fallen away, developed many of the same tastes in literature, exhibited many of the same personality traits.

My mother was a good mom, but not particularly smothering - granted, after five kids, she probably didn't have a lot of energy to 'smother' the sixth, even had she felt inclined to.

A friend of mine, upon hearing a bit of my family history years ago, remarked that that explained why I was so 'masculine' - by which he meant, it came out, that I didn't act the way he expected gay men to act.

As a coda, I had the great good fortune to meet and marry a man who reminds me very much of my mother.
 
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