Trouble after pal came out to his parents

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: I have a very good friend who recently came out of the closet to his parents. One of his biggest obstacles in making this decision was that he grew up in a conservative military home, and with that came certain expectations. He was a captain of his football team and great in sports in high school. He was (and still is) a jock. He is currently in the military. When he finally came out, both of his parents were very upset. Since then, his father has slowly come around to the idea. His mother, however, has had a much rougher time. Right now, she is in a state of total denial. She has essentially severed ties with him, and whenever he tries to bring the subject up to her, she becomes extremely emotional, and either instantly tries to change the subject or begins to verbally abuse him. To this end, I've noticed that a lot of the inhibitions that he first exhibited before coming out to his parents (concerning his masculinity, in particular) are resurfacing. Do you have any advice to offer as to how he should approach his mother?A Worried FriendDEAR WORRIED: Your friend's first duty is to himself. He must do his best to live an integrated, balanced and authentic life. This is a tall order when you are trying to hide something fundamental about yourself. Now that he has done the hard work of coming out to his parents, he should step back and give them time to adjust their perceptions. He also must accept their unfortunate limitations.

If his mother won't acknowledge his sexuality when confronted with it, then he should stop confronting her. Her refusal will not change his reality; it will only affect their relationship.

In short, I'm suggesting that he tolerate the fact that she is in denial. He can express to her: "Mom, I know this is hard for you, but I hope and trust that you will accept me as I am. I'm still your son and always will be. Nothing will change that."