Your Dilemmas: I am devastated that my daughter is bisexual

In her weekly column, JOAN LONG, a Bishopstown psychologist and psychotherapist, answers readers’ queries
Your Dilemmas: I am devastated that my daughter is bisexual

"I do not have an issue with different sexual preferences whatsoever, but I am really sad for her as I know that she is going to be part of a minority group and this is never easy for anyone."

Dear Joan,

Please help me as I am devastated by the news I just got from my beautiful 17-year-old daughter that she is bisexual.

I do not have an issue with different sexual preferences whatsoever, but I am really sad for her as I know that she is going to be part of a minority group and this is never easy for anyone.

I want her to be happy and she is very confident and clear about her feelings and choices regarding her sexuality. I wish she was just a good old fashioned kind of girl but this is not up to me of course.

I cannot tell my extended family or even her father or brothers or sisters as she says she will tell them herself when she is ready and has warned me not to break her confidence. So I am alone with this and I suppose this is why I am writing to you. What can I do, Joan? What can I say to her, as I so, so wish she was not this way.

I am so concerned that she will guess from me how I feel about this and I know she needs my support right now with such a major life decision. 

I cannot break her trust by telling any of the family but I feel very alone with this and extremely sad.

It is amazing really how we can feel fine about so many things until it comes to our own doors! 

I am surprised by my own reaction if I am honest with myself but all I want for any of my children is that they will find happiness in their lives and live well. Now I am afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing by my own child.

Dear Reader,

The first thing I would say to you is feel your sadness and allow yourself to cry. Of course this is a huge shock to you, news you need to get your head and your heart around.

I don’t know how any parent can say they have no difficulty in your situation as the majority of us are brought up in Ireland as part of the conservative, heterosexual society. It takes some getting used to when one of your offspring tells you this.

I think you need to talk to someone confidentially that you trust. You need someone to talk to for you right now and I do not think it is fair of your daughter to silence you. Talk to a sister or a good friend and let them know how you feel.

There are some good support systems available from the HSE for your daughter and family members in this situation. They will also direct you to other organisations who can offer help and support.

You do know that you will always love your daughter, no matter what. I know from your letter that you love her unconditionally and your love for her will conquer all!

Regardless of her sexual preferences, she will always be your chlld and you will be there for her and she knows this as she trusts you enough to be the first to tell. Give yourself credit for this fact, and get yourself some support because, as you say yourself, you do not want to say the wrong thing to her at such a tender age in such a sensitive time.

From reading your letter, I think you will cope very well once you get your own help and support.

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