March 23, 2010 by illuvatar11

This material is from PEOPLE CAN CHANGE.  There is much more there, and this is but an introduction to this most valuable material.

“Facing the reality that you have homosexual feelings can cause enormous inner turmoil.  Especially if those feelings directly conflict with deeply held values, beliefs and life goals.

We know what it’s like.  We’ve been there.

We, too, once felt hopelessly caught between two conflicting and painful choices:

·         either meet our deep longing for masculine love – but betray our values, beliefs and life goals…

·         or else be true to our values, beliefs and goals – but painfully suppress our longings for love and masculine connection.

Either way, it seemed, we lost.

Another Way Out

Like you, we never chose to have homosexual feelings.  So we couldn’t simply choose not to have them.  We couldn’t just wish them away or will them away.

But we discovered that we could address the root causes of the conflict – which wasn’t really about sex at all.  Rather, the longing for male love was, for us at least, really a deep, unmet need from childhood and youth:

·         A longing for a father’s affirmation, perhaps.  Or a mentor’s guidance.  A peer group’s inclusion. Or our own internal sense of just being “one of the guys.”

What we really needed was to fulfill – rather than suppress – the underlying, core need: a need not for sex or romance with men but for brotherly love. For male community. For self acceptance.  And affirmation, as a man among men.

Simply put, we found:

Change is Possible

…by healing buried pain,

…authentically meeting our core needs for love, acceptance and masculinity,

…and surrendering the rest.

We call it “A M.A.N.S. Journey”… a journey of masculine connection. Of rigorous authenticity. Of genuine need fulfillment. And courageous surrender.

On these pages, those of us who have resolved past homosexual conflicts share our stories and experience for the benefit of those who may be conflicted, as we once were, and who seek similar change.

Survey on Root Causes

They say opposites attract.

That maxim, in the very simplest of terms, explains much about our former homosexual condition and how we were able to uncover the underlying problems creating it.

As long as we felt that men were the opposite from us, while we identified with women as our sisters, we remained attracted to our opposite — the mysterious, unknown masculine. To us, it often felt like men were the opposite sex, so being sexually attracted to them felt natural. Initially, at least, we didn’t feel homosexual so much as we felt genderless and, lacking sufficient maleness within ourselves, attracted to that which we felt would make us feel masculine and whole.

Every man has a masculine drive. In our case, that drive inadvertently became sexualized. But we also found it could become desexualized as we fulfilled that masculine drive in more emotionally grounded ways.

We discovered the path to healing as we came to understand that, at least in our case, our homosexual feelings were not the problem but were actually symptoms of deeper, underlying problems and long-buried pain that usually had little or nothing to do with erotic desire. Rather, they had to do with our self-identity, self-esteem (especially our “gender esteem”), relationships and spiritual life. Once we discovered and healed the underlying pain, the symptoms of homosexuality began to take care of themselves.

Survey on Root Causes

In 2004, People Can Change surveyed the members of its online support groups to determine what they perceived to have been the most significant causes of their developing homosexual feelings in their own lives. We asked about 25 possible factors — everything from biology to personal choice. More than 200 men responded.

To view the survey summary, click here.

(Keep in mind that this is not a survey of the beliefs of the general “gay” population — those who have accepted a gay identity and are happy in that life. Rather, it is a survey of the beliefs of those who are seeking to overcome or minimize homosexual desires. Gays may or may not answer these questions differently.)

1. Father-son relationship problems: In the survey, 97% said problems in the father-son relationship while they were growing up contributed to their developing same-sex attractions (SSA) — and men usually identified it as one of the three most significant factors. (See especially page 6 of the survey.)

  1. It seems very rare for a man who struggles with homosexuality to feel that he was sufficiently loved, affirmed and mentored by his father growing up, or that he identified with his father as a male role model. Oftentimes the father-son relationship is marked by either actual or perceived abandonment, extended absence, hostility or disinterest (a form of abandonment).

Like all human experience, this is not universal, and sometimes the father-son relationship doesn’t seem to have been a problem. Rather, the relationship with brothers or male peers or male abusers may have created deep wounding. Whatever the source of the estrangement, it is a common experience for many of us to have felt a deep longing to be held, to be loved by a father figure, to be mentored into the world of men and to have our masculine natures affirmed by other men.

2. Conflict with male peers: The same percentage of men who said father-son problems contributed to their SSA — 97% — also said problems in their male-peer relationships contributed. And half said it was one of the “top three” factors. (See especially page 7 of the survey.)

  1. Somehow, even as boys or young teenagers, we felt like we were never “man enough.” We felt like we didn’t live up to the masculine ideal. We saw ourselves as too fat or too skinny, too short or too awkward, not athletic enough or tough or strong or good-looking enough — or whatever other qualities we admired in other males but judged to be lacking in ourselves. It was more than low self-esteem, it was low gender esteem — a deficiency in our core sense of gender upon which our whole self image is built. Other males just seemed naturally masculine, but masculinity never came naturally to us. We aspired to it but were mystified by how to achieve it. Among other males, we felt different and lonely.
  2. Feeling deficient as males, we pined to be accepted and affirmed by others, especially those whose masculinity we admired most. We began to idolize the qualities in other males that we judged to be lacking in ourselves. Idolizing them widened the gulf we imagined between ourselves and so-called “real men.” In idolizing them, we increased our sense of our own masculine deficiency.
  3. At the same time that we idolized certain male traits or maleness generally, many of us came to fear other boys and men. Born with unusually sensitive and gentle personalities, we found it was easy for many of us to feel different from and rejected by our more rough-and-tumble peers growing up. We came to fear their taunts and felt like we could never belong. Many of us feared the sports field and felt like we could never compete. Many of us felt rejected by our fathers and feared that we could never measure up or would never really matter to them.
  4. So where did this leave us, as males ourselves? It left us in a Neverland of gender confusion, not fully masculine but not really feminine either. We had disassociated not just from individual men we feared would hurt us, but from the entire heterosexual male world. Some of us even detached from our very masculinity as something shameful and inferior.

3. Mother-son relationships (and the “smothering mother” syndrome): Nine out of 10 survey respondents said aspects of their relationships with their mothers contributed to their SSA. (See especially page 8 of the survey.)

  1. Even as we perceived our fathers as abandoning, ignoring or being hostile toward us, it was a common experience for us to over-identify with or become overly dependent on our mothers. Oftentimes, we never fully cut the “apron strings” that attached our identity to hers. Mom often became our confidant and mentor instead of Dad. But Mom could never show us how to act and think like a man. So it was common for us to view maleness from a woman’s perspective instead of a man’s. We inadvertently adopted a woman’s view of the world. The gulf between us and the world of men was widened and reinforced.
  2. Feeling alienated from the male world, we often found comfort in female companionship. Some of us labeled women and femininity as superior to men and masculinity because we perceived females as more sensitive, accepting and loving. They felt “safer” to be with and to expose our painful emotions to. Instead of ridiculing our sensitive natures, they appreciated them. They didn’t expect us to prove we were “man enough,” even while we were still just boys. Many of us learned to identify with women and girls as our sisters, our buddies and, inadvertently, even our role models. Our sense of girls as the “same sex” and boys as the “opposite” sex was reinforced.

4. Sexual abuse: 48% of respondents said that, as children or youth, they had been sexually abused by an older or more powerful person. Usually it was by a male, and in those cases, 96% considered the abuse to have contributed to their developing SSA feelings. (See especially pages 8 and 9 of the survey.)

5. Other sexual experiences: 93% said they had had other sexual experiences — including pornography, sexual fantasy and sex play with other boys — as children or youth, and of those who did, 93% said they believed these experiences contributed to their SSA feelings. (See especially page 9 of the survey.)

6. Personality traits: 87% said they believed their personality traits were a contributing factor. (See especially page 10 of the survey.)

  1. A great many of us were born with or developed an innate sensitivity and emotional intensity that we learned could be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, our sensitivity caused us to be more loving, gentle, kind and oftentimes spiritually inclined than average.
  2. On the other hand, these were some of the very traits that caused our more rough-and-tumble male peers to taunt us, girls to welcome us into their inner circles, moms to hold onto us more protectively, and dads to distance themselves from us. Perhaps even more problematic, it created within us a thin-skinned susceptibility to feeling hurt and rejected, thus magnifying many times over whatever actual rejection and offense we might have received at the hands of others. Our perception became our reality….

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