Scared to Come Out: 4 Psychological Tricks to Accept Being Gay

Updated on September 6, 2018
hallucinogen profile image

As a neuroscientist, I am fascinated by mental health, consciousness and perception, as well as the psychology behind human relationships.

"I Just Don't Want To Be Gay"

Coming out can be an extremely scary process for many people. Many are unlucky enough to have been born into highly religious or abusive families, and run a real risk of being kicked out of their home or physically harmed.

However, there is another possible narrative that's rarely explored in gay movies or in the news: it is possible to live in a completely gay-friendly, liberal city and still feel psychologically-unable to come out.

Even if you live in a society in which LGBTQ+ people are tolerated, you may grow up feeling incredibly ashamed and scared of your feelings, and therefore hide your sexual orientation from a young age. You may be terrified that your friends will view you differently and your world will be flipped upside-down; there is also often the colossal fear that, upon declaring you're gay, your same-sex friends will think you're attracted to them.

In this article I will address this very real, rarely-confronted problem: the fear of coming out due to psychological barriers that you've created, and not from any "real" threat. Just because you're not at risk of being murdered doesn't mean you are immune from the crippling fear of being a gay person in society.

Source

1. Realize That Staying In The Closet Is Ruining You

Before giving you psychologically-proven tricks to help rewire your brain's thinking patterns and put an end to your self-hatred, I want to touch on being "closeted".

Hiding your sexuality for a number of years not only does a number on your mental health, but it also effectively digs a hole for you since the consequences of such a lie are cumulative and run deep.

  • The more friends that you lie to, the harder it is to share the truth with any of them because your entire social circle will be comprised of people who see you as " straight".
  • The longer that you lie for, the harder it is for your brain to actually allow you to see yourself as a gay or bisexual person, making the process of coming out seem unnecessary and certainly of no urgency (prolonging this phase of denial).
  • Most importantly, however, the longer that you accept lying about something so core to your personality, the more you will grow to accept a substandard way of living. You'll have been dishonest for so long that hiding away and diverting questions will become second nature, and you'll subconsciously come to believe that you just don't deserve to be open like your straight friends.

Being closeted is inherently terrible because it will make you feel isolated, as if there is a window pane between you and the rest of the world. You may feel that you have to start dating people of the opposite gender, which will bring feelings of shame (when you don't like them even though you try to) and disgust (when you are physical with them, but not attracted).

Are you living a lie, stuck in the closet?

See results
Source

2. You're Not Truly Trapped: Anyone Can Change Their Life!

Counselors frequently come across suicidal gays who remain closeted because they feel intractably trapped. They may be around 20 years old and past the "normal" teenage coming out age, or (equally commonly) may be much, much older. These individuals have often reached a breaking point, feeling as if they've constructed a completely inauthentic life yet feel unable to find the strength to change anything.

I want to tell you something, and I urge you to read this repeatedly until you understand it. You can change your life at any point. We exist as beings in an environmental paradigm; provided you are willing to focus on a goal and act to achieve it, there is nothing in this physical world that you cannot obtain for yourself (within reason).

This concept is the infamous Law of Attraction, which is the idea that you can manifest anything into your reality. How? Your thoughts govern your actions, and your daily actions/habits dictate your entire life. I am writing this as a neuroscientist, by the way; this is not magic nor pseudoscience. With the Law of Attraction, you set goals and act as if you already have that goal.

This is how to use the Law of Attraction to come out a gay/bisexual and change your life:

  • All you need to do is imagine being out as a gay man/woman. Imagine being able to freely date without carrying agonizing shame, introducing your same-sex partner to your friends (and family, if they're accepting). Focus on the warm feelings of sitting in a park with a special someone, living authentically.
  • You will probably feel familiar rising feelings of anguish and pain as you're so used to being closeted and denying yourself this happiness, but deflect those negative thoughts. Observe them as they appear and let them pass; remain as impartial to them as you do to thoughts about random classmates/coworkers that distract you during the day.
  • Bask in the delightful imaginary feelings of being openly gay. Then, tell yourself that you already have this level of freedom, that the universe already knows that you're gay and that you are not "trapped" in a straight life.
  • Finally, tell yourself this: "I am already out as gay in some realm (does NOT matter to your brain that it's imaginary!), so I will act accordingly going forward. I will live my life as someone gay and proud would".

You then must use the inner energy that you get from the manifestation techniques I've described to start coming out as gay. It may be uncomfortable, but keep visualizing your ultimate goal and acting as if you've ALREADY achieved that goal.

How does this work, in practice? It makes coming out to new people feel natural and deserved, because you're "already out"! It shuts down your previous anguished narrative of "I'm so closeted, this is so embarrassing; I'm trapped and don't know how to make the first jump". Fake it until you make it, including to yourself (if you're coming out to an old friend, keep thinking "it's great being out and proud! Everyone knows I'm gay apart from this one friend, so telling them will be easy").

The human brain is easily tricked and believes what you feed it, so don't for one second think that this technique is silly or that it won't work. The LoA fills you with a unique certainty and positivity, and if you don't feel it, you're doing it wrong. It is the single most powerful tool for transforming anything in your life, whether it be your coming out process, fitness level, grades or social skills. It has worked for me in mind-bendingly powerful, mysterious ways.

Source

3. You Are Allowed To Be Gay

Now, a lot of us who are secretly gay feel that we just "don't have the right" to be queer, on a conscious or subconscious level. We imagine ourselves coming out as gay; the idea not only makes us squirm with fear but fills us with guilt, as if we're robbing someone else, someone more deserving, of some type of "gay limelight".

This may stem from the desire to please family members who want to see you married with children, but may be a conjecture of your own. Years of self-deprecating thoughts can and will lead your brain to irrational conclusions, such as the idea that you're undeserving of the "gay life" that other non-straight individuals lead.

Maybe you are straight-passing and safe from homophobic comments, but have a gay male friend who is often verbally harassed. You might find yourself thinking "he gets to be gay and live an open life because he's suffered so much - I haven't". Maybe you're bisexual and feel like you don't deserve to identify with the LGBT umbrella term, as if you're some sort of hindrance to the progression of the gay community through not being "gay enough".

Whenever these thoughts pop up, you must put an end to them and not let yourself spiral into exploring them. They don't deserve a second of your attention and are, to be frank, mental illness. You are as deserving of the right to live your life, shameless and free, as anyone else.

Source

4. Let Go of Anger and Regret

It's extremely easy to let your angst at being closeted turn into bitter jealousy. You might see straight couples in love all around you and feel aggrieved and full of envy, thinking "why do they get to love openly while I'm stuck in the closet?".

As I described above, you need to learn to regain control of your thoughts. These negative thoughts are to be expected, since you've inexorably strengthened those particular brain pathways through years of hating yourself for being gay. They say "neurons that fire together wire together", meaning that anything you do/think repeatedly becomes a learned behavior.

I like to use the river analogy. Think of your negative brain pathways as a molded river, and your focus like water. A river will always be a river even if completely empty - there is always the potential for it to become full of water again. Similarly, your brain will always revert back to your old, pessimistic thinking patterns if let yourself indulge them.

A stream of water can run into another bit of mud at any point, forming a separate river; you are always able to create new, positive brain pathways that don't involve self-hatred or fear. It will just take time and will require you to let your familiar, negative thoughts just float away; they can no longer be indulged if you want to break free from them.

Source

What's your orientation (pick the closest)?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Lucy

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • hallucinogen profile imageAUTHOR

        Lucy 

        3 months ago from Leeds, UK

        @RedElf Thanks for commenting! While it is horrific that many countries do not tolerate LGBTQ+ identities, I feel like this narrative is often addressed in the news/books/films (not to say that this exposure is solving deep-rooted societal problems, but I mean that a lot of these people's stories are known by the general public. Everyone knows it's possible to be gay and trapped in the closet in Saudi Arabia, for example, since it's so prohibited there).

        I feel like there are many gay people amongst us in *liberal*, accepting countries who feel like coming out would destroy their lives/social identities, despite being physically "safe". I really wanted to write a self-help article for those people and make them feel known.

        Sorry for the lengthy reply, but just wanted to clarify why I haven't really touched on alternate situations, i.e. poor closeted people in countries where being gay is entirely rejected. Societal repression is completely relevant to the gay community but is beyond the scope of this article, which is, essentially, self-inflicted oppression. :)

        As for the polls at the end - I have a neuroscience and psychology background and am deeply interested in the correlation between various phenotypes and personality archetypes (the various MBTI types). I love seeing whether being of a certain MBTI type predisposes you to mental health problems (which many of my articles are about), or whether certain personality types are common in the gay community.

        I see it as an opportunity to explore the poorly-understood overlap between true psychology (exploring the human psyche and "personality") and concrete science (the fact that some people are gay/have mental health issues/whatever I'm researching). I'm normally pleasantly surprised to see that there IS a clear correlation between the subject of the article and having a certain "personality type"!

      • RedElf profile image

        RedElf 

        3 months ago from Canada

        Excellent read. Lots of solid advice. There are still places in our world where it's just not safe to come out though. Which is too bad.I'm wondering about the stats your'e collecting...?

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pairedlife.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pairedlife.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)