Unspoken Realities of Coming Out
Coming out can be many things: liberating, terrifying, courageous, necessary, vulnerable, and always deeply personal. While it’s true that the experience can be empowering, there are aspects of the experience that aren’t always discussed.
- Internal struggles can persist: Coming out is a big step toward self-acceptance, but it doesn’t automatically erase years of internal struggles and insecurities that someone may have dealt with. People may continue to deal with feelings of self-doubt, fear of judgment, and anxiety, even after coming out.
- Unexpected reactions: No matter how prepared you may think you are for any reaction, there’s no way to know exactly what will happen when you come out each time. Each person’s coming out journey is uniquely personal, and is just as unique as the perspectives of the people with whom you are sharing this news.
- Educating others: Coming out can push you into the role of being an educator, explaining your identity and experience to others. This can help with understanding but can also be emotionally exhausting. Not everyone will be familiar with your identity, and they may ask you to answer questions, dispel misconceptions, etc. Remember, educating others is a decision, it’s ultimately not your responsibility.
- Relationships shift: When you come out to people with whom you have a preexisting relationship, there is always a possibility that relationship can shift. The relationship may strengthen or it may become strained, so it’s necessary to leave the space for shifts to occur and to be prepared for a possible change.
- It’s ongoing: You don’t just come out once. You will come out over and over again through your life. In a perfect world we would come out only once and be done with it, but that’s unfortunately not our reality. As you navigate new spaces, people, and circumstances, you’ll need to decide whether and how to share your identity.
Coming out is a complex journey that can encompass moments of triumph, vulnerability, and self-discovery, and that process may not always align with the narratives we often hear about. Each journey is wholly unique, and by embracing those complexities and being compassionate with ourselves we can navigate our journey with greater resilience and authenticity.
I specialize in working with LGBTQ+ individuals and couples, men’s issues, anxiety, and sexuality-related issues. Learn more about our practice at Lifeologie Counseling Dallas or reach out to schedule an appointment with me at (214) 357-4001 or by completing this form.
About Dylan Inserra
Dylan Inserra, LPC-A, is passionate about working with LGBT+ couples and individuals, men’s issues, and people experiencing anxiety or sexuality-related issues. He uses CBT, EMDR, and Solution Focused Therapy. With the supervision of Lifeologie founder Melanie Wells, LPCS, LMFT, he sees adolescents, adults, and couples at Lifeologie Counseling Dallas.Meet Me