Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
plus How To Beat Attitude
By Angelo Pezzote, MA, LMFT, NCC
My partner left me after 24 years. He has moved on with his life. I am still falling apart. Help.
Signed, Broken Heart
Losing someone you love is devastating. It can be shocking and difficult to accept. You may cling to the hope that you'll get back together. As reality sets in, you can be unbearably grief stricken - in some case barely able to work or accomplish day to day stuff. Grief is a normal reaction to loss. Some things you can expect are: shock, numbness, emptiness, sleeplessness, nausea, headache, diarrhea, tight chest or shortness of breath. Also denial, disorientation, obsessing, crying or sluggishness. You may not feel like eating.
Remember to eat and force yourself to move about. Mourning can be a very physical reaction. Nourishment and exercise help work it out. Avoid alcohol and drugging to sooth the pain. They will actually make things worse. Distracting can be healthy so you're not overwhelmed, but do not busy your life to dodge feeling your loss.
When you lose a lover, you must give yourself permission to mourn - like a death. Grieving is an active process that you have to move towards. Blocking it makes it worse. It is by allowing yourself to be sad, to scream, to cry, to "fall apart" that you heal. Lean into the pain and let it all out. Inviting in this kind of deep agonizing pain will take some effort on your part. Feeling your feelings is the key to getting better.
This intense pain will not last forever even though it seems like it will. The best bet is to give yourself time. Yes, you will always carry the loss. And the pain will lessen by intentionally mourning him over time. Meanwhile, it is normal to experience a range of emotions that can change quickly throughout the days. You are not going crazy. Extreme loneliness and depression can set in.
The best thing is to call on close friends and family who can be there and care for you. Some of the best medicine can be being listened to and held while you wail. Soothing physical contact like hugs and massage help. You will want to isolate but do not go it alone. Make plans to call and be with others every day throughout this hard time. Have someone nurturing stay with you for awhile if possible. Allow others to give you comfort. Contact your doctor, spiritual community and counselor. Lastly, shift the focus from him to you. Your priority now is to take care of yourself as you embrace this great loss. It's hard and you can heal.
Who is actually to blame for gays treating gays badly?
Signed, Rough Neck
Dear Rough Neck,
One explanation is that victims can become persecutors. If someone was wounded being gay, then they can be mean to protect themselves. Inside they are vulnerable. So to shield themselves they lash out. Their armored exterior defends a hurt and frightened part of them.
Since we suffer at the hands of the dominant culture, there can be a tendency to play that discrimination out in our own subculture. As we are stigmatized by the larger culture, we can recreate that hatred amongst ourselves. That gets compounded when gay men, still being men, like to act tough. Looking at on-line profiles, there seems to be an epidemic of straight acting gays. Macho is in. Perhaps we feel the need to super size our manliness to compensate for our gayness.
The key is compassion. The fear of being gay is powerful. It is called homophobia. We can ingest it. We can help end this by reaching out to each other. Invite real connection. Drop the attitude and be nice. We are all in this together. Choose kindness. Be the light in darkness. You can createchange by living from love.
Angelo Pezzote, MA, LMFT, NCC
Angelo Pezzote, MA, All Rights Reserved