Thursday, November 10, 2011

Double Binds

Many times in my life, I've felt like I've been stuck in something called a 'double bind'.  To explain, I'll give an example.  I was at a nephew's birthday party and my brother-in-law's father came over to talk to me.  He knows that I am single, but not about my same gender attraction.  He asked me what I did.  I replied that I was working.  He asked me if I had any plans.  I replied with 'Not really'.  At this point, little alarms were going off in my head.  I was starting to get a sense of fear.  He was treading dangerously close to some very sensitive areas.  He then asked if my mission president had talked to me about things to do after my mission, or something to that effect.  At this point, I felt torn between two extremes.  One was anger.  On one hand, I wanted to lash out and tell him it was none of his business if I was married/dating/engaged/whatever.  On the other, I just wanted him to leave me alone.  Finally, I got up and walked away, ending the conversation, leaving in the middle of another of his invasive questions.

Perhaps another example: ideally while growing up, a young boy will learn how to be a man from his father.  His father is mean, angry, has a temper.  His mother tells the boy 'Don't be like your father!'  Or the boy himself decides he doesn't want to be like his father.  He develops a sense of disconnection and loathing from manhood and masculinity.  He will find that he will grow older and begin to share physical/emotional/behavioral characteristics with his father.  He may be stuck between choosing to accept the fact that he is male, accepting that he is something that he has loathed all his life, 'becoming his father'.  Or he can tell himself a lie, that he isn't male.  That he's something else.  He is stuck in a double bind.

Today, I find myself in a double bind of sorts.  On one hand, I've had thoughts and desires to act out sexually with other men.  On the other hand are the teachings of the church, a church I know to be true.  I  have felt deeply in my heart that the church's teachings are true.  As such, I feel that acting out sexually with another man would be a sin in God's eyes.  I'm in a double bind.

Truth of the matter.  I have more options than the two extremes.  There's more than just complete and total avoidance of connection with men and engaging sexually with another man.  I can connect with other men.  I can develop close relationships with other men without them being sexual.  There is another option than the two that are presented to me.  I think that sometimes it is a tool of the adversary to try to get me to choose between two extremes, when there is a way to satisfy both ends of the agreement.  My biggest struggle seems to be in trying to find ways to walk that middle path without erring on either side of the line.

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