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by Abigail Van Buren

Parents Won't Acknowledge Pain They Caused Gay Son

DEAR ABBY: When I came out as gay, my parents rejected me. It made my early 20s the most challenging period of my life. I have tried to forgive them and move on, but they refuse to acknowledge the trauma they caused.

I was upset all over again last year when they felt sorry for a young adult and let him move in with them. Mom never shuts up about how we should feel sorry for those less fortunate. They act like I have always been blessed and refuse to acknowledge any of the pain or bad things that have happened in my life.

How should I react to this? I'm on a good path now, no thanks to them, and my life has never been better. But I don't know if I can ever forgive them for being so helpful to a stranger and not their son. Am I wrong to ask where my sympathy was? -- SEEKING VALIDATION IN TEXAS

DEAR SEEKING: If you plan to hold a mirror up to your knee-jerk homophobic parents and expect honest introspection from them, I think you'll be wasting your time. It's possible that they think their compassion for the stranger makes up for the way they treated you. Whether you can forgive them for it depends solely upon you.

You are now on a constructive and rewarding path. The validation you are seeking can be found there. Your ability to forgive may come once you have distanced yourself enough that the pain they caused is less acute. I have often advised that when parents are toxic, it's important to build "families of choice," and I sincerely hope that is what you are doing and will continue to do.

Read more in: Lgbtq | Family & Parenting