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David’s (24) question: I can’t seem to find the courage to tell my family I’m gay and this is affecting every aspect of my life. Please help.

Dr Dick’s response: I believe that one has to be “ready” before disclosing something that is of such importance. When it still feels as if the words get stuck in one’s throat, it probably means that one is not “ready” yet to disclose. Why it is important to be ready, is because one projects one’s own feelings onto the person that one discloses to, and that person then reacts to the disclosure with those exact same feelings. For example: should you go to your parents to tell them, but you go with fear and shame, they will pick up on your fear and shame, and may react with that same fear and shame. But when you are ready to disclose with confidence, they will pick up on your confidence, and chances are that they will react then with that same confidence. I hope this makes sense…

Suggestion: Why don’t you wait just a little longer before telling your parents, and first work on your own fear and finding the courage to do so? In the meantime, take a deep breath and relax about the whole issue. After all, you know that you are going to tell your parents at some stage. It just doesn’t have to be today, or even tomorrow. Lift the pressure to tell them now from your shoulders, and you will see that things will start to appear a bit more clearly.