Sunday, January 18, 2015
As sometimes happens in the process of healing I found myself a bit thunderstruck by insight today. It happened while I was sitting in the Basilica of St. Mary. Perhaps the soothing church music or beautiful surroundings helped me to suddenly find myself aware of the pain I experienced due to the circumstances of a significant relationship that ended some twenty years ago. Who knows what exactly caused it to happen. Maybe it was something like grace.
As I was sitting near the back of the Basilica I unexpectedly found myself remembering how my relationship with my first boyfriend (Scott) ended. It was 1994. I was attending Texas A&M University as an undergraduate student. I first met Scott through an event held by the Department of Atmospheric Science in 1993. I shared an apartment with him in the autumn of 1993. Our relationship was often marked by turbulence. Looking back it is clear to me this was due to two primary issues. One was the fact that it was my first gay relationship (I was still not able to accept myself as a gay man at that time). Secondly, Scott had his own difficult past history. I would learn about this history later on as our own relationship began to disintegrate.
Scott and I parted ways early in 1994. The separation was a painful one. I was left with a bewildering array of feelings including confusion, anger and sadness. My pain was compounded when I received a letter from him some time after he had moved away. He informed me that he had attempted to commit suicide. Worse still was his attempt to lay the blame for his suicide attempt on me. I was appalled and deeply hurt by this.
As I sat in the Basilica this morning some twenty years after that time in my life I found myself unexpectedly and vividly remembering that painful time. But what I found myself most clearly remembering now was how I did not bother to seek out counseling to help me deal with the incredible pain I experienced for a lengthy time. I instead attempted to find consolation and guidance by disclosing to my father the true nature of my relationship with Scott. My decision to disclose the details to my father unfortunately had the opposite effect. As per his usual way of living my father advised me not to let my stepmother know of what had been happening. In other words, secrecy was my father’s answer. Hiding my pain from others who were a part of my so-called family was his solution. To my knowledge he has never changed in that regard.
Remembering that time in my life on a January morning over twenty years later was quite painful. I felt sad to recall that very, very young man that I was and how that young man that I was did not reach out and seek resources to help himself through a very dark time. Thankfully I would never do that to myself now. My choice to address pain in my life in a different way is an indicator of how much I have grown as a person.
I am going to speak about this time from long ago when I meet with my therapist this week. Applying EMDR therapy to this remembered pain might prove to be a suitable response to my unplanned recollection of this time. Whatever happens I feel hopeful that this unexpected intrusion of my past history into my present life is actually an indicator that I am becoming healthier with each passing day. One can only hope!