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Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 12.29.05 PMHi Dr.Darcy. I am a teen who recently came out and I am having a hard time making sure it doesn’t make people think differently of me or interfere with family life. I don’t want to be asked a million questions by my parents about my sexual orientation because frankly I’m still not so comfortable about talking about it. Do you have any tips? Thank you so much! 

ANSWER

Congratulations on coming out! Now that you’ve made the declaration, you’re learning that coming out involves more than one conversation. It’s often a period of adjustment for both you and those in your life, and having questions fired at rapid speed often comes with the territory.

Generally speaking, parents suck at this part (even the amazing ones). There’s no manual for parents to follow, and often what works for one parent won’t work for another. If they didn’t ask questions or make reference to your sexual orientation, you (or a different teen) might feel invalidated or like they hadn’t heard (or believed) you when you came out. They’re sort of in a lose-lose situation. I’m telling you this because I want you to tap into some compassion for them. They’re simply clueless – which puts the burden on you to guide them.

You have to tell them what you want and don’t want. You might consider sending them this post for starters. The bottom line is that they’re not mind readers and you’re going to have to give them feedback (and set some boundaries) around what you are and aren’t comfortable discussing. Send them to PFLAG (linked to here) for some support and education. And let them know that you’ll initiate conversations when you’re ready.

As far as making sure that people don’t think of you differently, that’s a tough one – made tougher because we have no control over how people think. People will form whatever opinions they’re going to form – with or without your approval. And since you have no control over this, I suggest you focus on yourself. Connect with other LGBT youths. Make sure you’re getting the support that you need to adjust to being gay. And again, congratulations on taking this huge step. It’s an amazing time in history to be gay.

Writer’s Stats: Male, Gay.


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Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 9.41.19 AMDear Dr. Darcy: 

My life is the life that any woman would want. It looks so perfect from the outside, but inside I’m dying. Maybe I’m already dead. If I’m alive I’m hanging on by a thread. I don’t know what to do to change it. I’m afraid if I explore this, I’ll fall apart.  Where do I begin?

ANSWER

You begin by exploring your values because ultimately they will either motivate you to change or keep you where you are. Let me be more specific: If your greatest value is being viewed as perfect by the world, you won’t change. If your greatest value is being true to yourself, or being authentically happy, you’ll be able to change.

You’re currently stuck because these values are in conflict with one-another, which is why the solution lies in prioritizing one. It’s certainly not going to be easy, but what’s the cost of doing nothing?

Ultimately this needs to be done in therapy. A gifted therapist will know how to pace you so that the work will be manageable. The last thing a therapist wants is for you to start therapy and fall apart – believe me.  And this is why you can’t go to just anyone. Email me for names. I have a very short list.

Writer’s Stats:  Female, Straight.


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Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 10.38.28 AMWelcome to Tuesday’s Tips, the one-day a week when I dispense useful, actionable and empowering tips!

I’m not a quitter. Not personally and certainly not professionally. People come to me when they need hope – a cheerleader – someone to fuel inject them with possibility. But every now and then, a client (or a friend…or my sister) shares a story about a relationship and it becomes profoundly clear to me that the solve involves ending the relationship.

Knowing when to end a relationship is one of the most important adult skills you’ll ever acquire. Here are 5 tips to ensure that your relationship doesn’t pass its expiration date.

You Don’t Trust Your Partner. Trust comes from within. It comes from the belief that you can handle whatever your partner does (to you). We cannot predict our partner’s behaviors, and the idea that our ability to trust is somehow predicated on our ability to do that is a HUGE misnomer. I can’t tell you with 100% certainty where my wife is at this moment. I don’t have a honing device on her. So if you don’t trust your partner, you’ve got some individual work to do in therapy. I suggest you end the relationship and stop torturing your partner into believing that they can behave their way into your trust. It doesn’t work like that – unless your partner has legitimately done things to cause you to lose trust – in which case it still doesn’t work like that because you will likely never trust them again.

Your Partner Has Potential. Your partner is not a brownstone fixer upper. He/she is (hopefully) a fully formed human being. You need to inspect your partner before you commit. If your partner isn’t who you want him/her to be today, end the relationship. Sure, people change and grow over their lives, but you’re going to ruin your partner’s if your happiness is contingent on that happening.

If You Could, You Would Tap Your Partner’s Phone. You don’t think it’s OK for the government to do this, but you think it’s fine to jump on your partner’s phone the minute they exit the room.  If this sounds at all familiar, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got some work to do on yourself. If you’ve ever looked at your partner’s phone without their consent, you’re in this group. The title of this was intended to make you laugh – not disqualify you because you’re not quite as freaky as the subtitle suggests.

You Can More Easily Identify What Your Partner Does Wrong Than Right. Unless your partner is a significantly fucked up individual, this is a YOU problem, not a partner problem. Either way, it’s time to pull the plug. If you fall into the latter group, you’ve become habituated to focus on what they do wrong. This can be corrected, but it involves a lot of work on your part and if you have any authentic feelings for the poor soul who has made a commitment to you, consider shielding them from you while you do this work.

Breaking Up Would Mean You Have to Move Out Of The City.  I’m a New Yorker. I get it. Rents in NYC are so insane that New Yorkers are notorious for cohabitating sooner than they would under reasonable rent conditions. It doesn’t make it a legitimate reason for postponing a breakup. Don’t be a rent slut. You’re worth more than that.


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