Monday, November 12, 2007

Who let the dogs out

Coming out is incredibly hard. To anyone that argues differently, I would have to ask ‘Have you just forgotten?’ Initially it can be frightening to say ‘I am gay’ with the uncertainty of others' reactions. Will I be rejected, bullied, persecuted, an embarrassment to my family?

I came out partly through necessity. My parents were coming to stay in the one bedroom flat I shared with my partner and we did not feel we could satisfactorily explain the sleeping arrangements. Of course they knew, they had met my ‘special friend’ repeatedly and were just waiting for me to come clean.

My sexuality was fully accepted by family, friends and - other than the odd bigoted remark from Misogynistic Malcolm - work. In fact, the rare occasions I have been bullied or attacked has been by other lesbians. When first out and on the scene, I was living in what I like to describe as the ‘British Equivalent to Venice’ aka Birmingham! I was attacked in a gay pub toilet by a sour faced woman and two gigantic heavies... and no, I was not doing anything dodgy, so why was I attacked?

Did I throw my drink on her, steal her girlfriend then insult her checked shirt and dungarees combo? No, far worse than that, I was wearing a skirt in a gay bar. I escaped with a few bruises after hitching up my A-line and discarding my heels. With arms flaying, lighter flicking and high pitched shouting of intelligent words I managed to disorientate her Sasquatch bodyguards and make a run for it. These women travelled in a pack and preyed on people they considered different.

Shortly after, Birmingham introduced a door policy only allowing two pack members in a bar at any one time; any more and they were likely to start attacking people. The rest had to wait chained up outside drinking lager out of bowls. They are a minority group but ‘Pack’ awareness should be raised with warning signs on toilet doors.

So why do the packs form? Are they bullies or are they just scared of anyone who does not fit the stereotypes and guidelines they live by. I wanted to do some research on the bullying mentality and found an interesting website If you want to read the psychological profiles or how to deal with adult bullies you should take a look (page link below).

‘The serial bully is an adult on the outside but a child on the inside; he or she is like a child who has never grown up. One suspects that the bully is emotionally retarded and has a level of emotional development equivalent to a five-year-old, or less’.

I had a friend who was a serial bully. She was devious and manipulative and would intentionally seek the emotionally needy to work her magic on. She had a split personality that fooled even the most intelligent. Her technique was to make you a nice home-cooked meal one night then sleep with your date the next. When being the brunt of her jokes affected my life and self esteem I walked away. Yes, she did what all child bullies do, she spread rumours and turned friends against me. She still has her pack, they sit in bars looking intimidating and bitching about those they are jealous of.

Did being attacked in a toilet and have a friend and her gang spread malicious rumours affect me? Of course it did. For a start I have never worn a skirt on the scene since! When invited out by my ex-friend to meet the old crowd next weekend for a catch up, I declined. I knew instantly I would rather eat my hands than spend an evening with incredibly insecure, unemotional and spiteful women.

The lesbian community is small, there are very few places face to face or online women can socialise exclusively. Let's not let the minority group ruin these places for the rest of us. Remember if they are unleashed and charge in your direction, walk away, they are emotionally retarded and so very jealous of you. For those that do bully, we are all adults, isn’t it time you got some therapy and grew up?


Anonymous said...

As an adult its quite incredible to think that your peers can behave like immature kids did at school. It all boils down to insecurity, low achievement, resentment and envy. Linda onstantly criticised my two bedroom garden flat in a highly plush suburb. She would describe it as bongo (village mentality!) & boring and ask why on earth would I want to live there. Linda lives in a hovel of a bedsit on the most revolting estate in a crime ridden street in London!! Says it all doesn't it?

Female therapy said...

Linda sounds lovely; I'd like to meet her. I of course would come prepared with a lighter, smoke machine and string of intelligent words so I could disorientate her as I run away.

Now, you on the other hand sound like you have a nice life and home. If bongo (I love it!) mentality is an alternative to her hovel then bring on the countryside, I'm moving. I hope your paths don't cross regularly

Anonymous said...

Resilience Training, Bad Day, Who Let The Dogs Out? All rolled into one. I can’t say NO. I believe I am resilient, but I could not say no and ended up having an awful day. Bullying in the nicest way possible from my boyfriend, a hug, a kiss, and I know I would be riddled with guilt if I say No. So I say Yes, (nothing sinister – he wanted me to help him with his job after I have come home and finished a day of my own work) then end up having the most horrible time. I feel anger at myself, why am I such a wimp?
Female Therapy – how on earth do I say NO.

Female therapy said...

That's a tough question. How to say NO in a positive way that leaves no room for guilt? I need to have a think when I have time to concentrate properly. Which is not today because when asked to increase my already ridiculous workload by my boss... guess what? I did not say NO but nodded politely and cancelled my evening plans to accommodate! In the meantime maybe make some plans for the evening, if you are not there he can not ask.

And don't beat yourself up. You do not sound like a wimp you may just need to practice telling him how you feel and not say YES to everything. Is it only the guilt that prevents you from, in this case, sleeping?

If anyone else finds it impossible to say NO or has advice, let me know x

Penelope Pitstop said...

Thanks for that FT. One of my girlfriends invited me over for a glass of wine last night..with hindsight - I should have said yes and met her instead. Would not have ended up doing a night's work otherwise.

Andy said...

Hello FT. I hope I'm not gatecrashing, I just chanced upon here whilst aimlessly surfing. I would never normally leave a comment on something like this but I think you've raised a really interesting point. Bullies don't just exist in the school playground. I have one at work and I wished I could stand up to him but I don't. I'm just a bit soft and hate confrontation. I'd love to throw a stapler at his head but I know that would make it worse. I just think he has to have a really miserable life (I hope so) as all the nice people I know that have happy, fulfilled lives are basically nice people and they don't bully. He must have something that is bringing him down so much that he has to take it out on other people. Sad. Shit, perhaps his wife is a Sasquatch! I almost feel sorry for him now.

Female therapy said...

Hi Andy,
You’re not gate-crashing at all. When I looked at the psychological profiles for bullies on the web, the site described very sad, pathetic individuals and gave some good advice on how to deal with them.

I know it’s just one web sites opinion and I am not trained in these subjects but I find it hard to feel sorry for anyone who makes another’s work and life miserable. However unhappy they are there is still no excuse. I hope it gets better and if picturing him having dinner with a Sasquatch every evening doesn’t help maybe HR can x

Female therapy said...

Hi Penelope,
Unusual name :) 'Female Therapy – how on earth do I say NO?' I have not forgotten I am just thinking about the question in a lot more detail than originally expected!

Jay said...

As someone who had trouble saying No for a long time, my best advice for learning it is...practice! Say it somewhere, see what happens.

Think about how you could have done it better. Part of saying No is speaking your truth, which might be, "I don't feel up to that." or "I really want a quiet night at home tonight." or whatever.

You have a right to your feelings. But establishing that right takes practice. Expect it to be uncomfortable for a while.

Wonderful post, by the way.

Female therapy said...

Hi Jay,
Thanks for the very good advice. Another friend was saying the sense of empowerment you feel when finally learning to say no for positive reasons, far outweighs the initial awkwardness.

I hope you got to read my outcome called 'Willing Donkeys'? If I had read your response then, it may have prevented a lot of head scratching on my behalf :) Thanks again x

Anonymous said...

l would agree with your comment about coming out. l am in the process of coming out to my friends and family, its very hard because l hear comment coming from them about kissing someone of the same sex being wrong and its a sin. My way of dealing with it is to drop little hints. Then hit them with the big one.

Female therapy said...

I agree with the little hints. It's good to be kind to family when coming out especially if they are from the older generation where being gay is unheard of. As for it being a sin please don't let anyone tell you that. They will probably know already especially if one hint is to show up wearing a t-shirt saying 'My girlfriends thinks I am a lesbian' . But seriously goodluck and it'll be fine x