|Posted on January 5, 2016 at 5:05 PM|
Author / Contributor :: People Can Change | (Posted February 2008)
Ben Newman, the founder of People Can Change, summarizes 5 basic responses from men who expressed their desire to change sexual orientation.
Written Originally for www.peoplecanchange.com (Dec. 2003)
Why Change? What could possibly motivate us to go against our seemingly "natural" urges and do all the hard work described on this Web site?
To one extent or another, we were all motivated by at least one of the five things listed below, but usually were motivated by a combination of them: We were often miserable "gay"; we wanted to resolve the inner conflict between our homosexual desires and our deeply held beliefs; we wanted to have a family, or preserve the families we already had; we wanted to grow into mature masculinity, which for us meant heterosexual masculinity; and we felt called by G-d to come out of homosexuality into what for us was a far better life.
We were often miserable "gay."
In so many ways, "gay" just didn't work for us. It was so easy to become sex-obsessed in the pornography- and lust-saturated culture of homosexuality. It was so difficult to feel connected to G-d or some kind of higher purpose in a life where the mantra seemed to be, "If it feels good, nothing else matters." We were living in dissonance with the values, beliefs and goals we'd held for a lifetime. We pined for love and acceptance from men, but it seemed that so many gays so idolized youth and physical perfection that we often felt more rejection from our gay brothers, not less.
Still, we kept searching, partly because we didn't know where else to look and partly because we did find moments of pleasure and moments of real connection with good, decent and kind homosexual men. Those were the moments that kept drawing us back to homosexuality, hoping and believing that maybe the next boyfriend, the next encounter, would finally make us feel whole.
But for most of us, the hole inside of us that yearned for male affirmation and acceptance just got bigger the more that we pursued wholeness by engaging in homosexual behavior. Several of us were plagued by thoughts of suicide. Some of us became sex addicts, no longer able to control our obsessive search for sex. Our lives became filled with darkness.
"For 12 years, I lived life as an openly gay man. I had a partner of three years who I dearly cared for, a family of wonderful loving friends scattered around the world, a house, a new job, and the prospects of a beautiful life. There was just one question that periodically raised its ugly head: Why was I so insufferably miserable?
"I was amazed. I had everything that I ever wanted. Yet, I also felt an incredible black hole inside that seemed to be sucking the life out of me. How could this be? I kept trying desperately to fill it. I read a lot of philosophy, I thought a lot about existence and life, and tried various ways to reach a peace. Nothing worked, not one damn thing. The pain just continued to increase, steadily and persistently. All I wanted to do was cease to exist, to end the suffering."
"As soon as I 'accepted' that I was gay, and I could deny it no longer, I felt immediate relief from the turmoil of vacillation, but I also felt all my life's goals, dreams and values tossed to the wayside, with no higher purpose to replace them. I was adrift without a moral anchor or spiritual compass. A boyfriend talked theoretically about moral versus immoral homosexuality, but I couldn't see it (perhaps in part because I had met him at a gay bathhouse!). It seemed my 'life's work' would become about pursuing sex with men and trying to feel good about it. I just couldn't look in the mirror and like that kind of a man."
These experiences are confirmed by a myriad of statistics and our own personal experiences in the gay world. We found promiscuity was rampant; within gay circles, we found it was not only a given, it was celebrated and joked about openly. "Permanent" relationships are fleeting, lasting usually just a few months but occasionally a few years. On average, gay men die as much as 20 years earlier than heterosexual men. It is no wonder we were miserable; what is amazing is that so many seem to find fulfillment in that kind of life.
For many of us, our homosexual longings conflicted with deeply held beliefs, causing painful turmoil and confusion.
We could not simply toss aside everything we had come to believe about right and wrong, good and evil, God, and our life purpose. These things were part of our identity, part of how we made sense of the world. Many of us found we couldn't will them away any more than we could will away our homosexual desires. Nor did we want to.
We longed to have a family of our own one day, or, if we were already married or had children, we wanted to hold our families together and be the husbands our wives deserved and the fathers our children deserved.
We couldn't live with the thought of putting our wives and children through so much turmoil just because we couldn't control our lust. We had made promises to them, and we wanted to find a way to keep those promises and live with ourselves in peace.
We longed to grow into a fully mature masculinity, which for us meant heterosexual masculinity.
In short, we wanted to be men, and we simply defined "real men" as straight men. As much as we tried to convince ourselves that homosexual men were just as masculine as straight men, that there was nothing emasculating about having sex with a man or pursuing the gay interests, we felt inside ourselves that that just wasn't true.
Our masculine souls, no matter how buried below a gay identity, longed to feel as masculine as we perceived straight men to be. And we began to realize we would never feel that way as long as we related to men sexually or romantically. We learned that to grow into full masculinity, we would have to grow into heterosexuality.
We felt called by G-d out of homosexuality into what for us was a far better life.
At different times and in different ways, almost all of us turned to G-d in our turmoil, and felt this simple truth deep in our hearts: Homosexuality was wrong for us, and G-d would lead us out of the pain if we turned to him.
This became a powerful motivator in our lives. Coupled with the fact that for the majority of us, being gay just didn't work, a spiritual hope of eventual peace offered a tiny, flickering light at the end of a tunnel. We walked toward it.
And our journey began.
|Posted on January 5, 2016 at 2:05 PM|
Written By David, An Israeli JONAH Struggler (posted Nov. 2007)
"That's the key here: healing SSA is a progress from compulsion and a sense of weakness, to a mature sense of competence and self-mastery as a man."
Here's a brief attempt at an Intro for Beginners:
1. "I think I'm gay and..."
You are not gay. There is no such thing. Decades of scientific research have not come up with ANY evidence tosupport the idea that gays are "born that way", or that homosexual attractions are inborn.
You have been lied to.
Those of you who follow the news from Israel - and maybe have a personal connection here - already are familiar with the gross, ideologically motivated distortions of the truth about Israel by the media and other liberal strongholds such as universities.
The same thing has been done to promote the pro-gay agenda.
For many, a first step in the process is cutting through the media stardust and getting at the truth: there is no genetic basis for homosexuality, you do not have to live with this forever, it is not an immutable part of your makeup.
If you don't take the time to really work this out - the lies of the pro-gay propaganda machine will close around you like a shackle, preventing you from growing, healing, and living the life YOU choose to lead.
2. What is this term "SSA"? Doesn't it just mean I'm gay?
We use the term SSA - Same-Sex Attraction - to describe our drives and behaviors.
It's not an identity. It's a behavior that we wish to change.
More accurately: it's a symptom.
In most cases, sexual attraction to one's own sex is a maladapted, unhealthy response to trauma, or to events that block or sidetrack normal development. Studies (ironically, some of them conducted by gay organizations!) have shown clearly that the majority of men who feel same-sex attractions share certain traumatic experiences or dysfunctional family situations. The most common are:
- Dysfunctional parental relationships - missed bond with father, abusive or distant father, smothering or emotionally enmeshed mother, narcissistic/manipulative father or mother... Often dysfunctional parents come in pairs!
- Childhood or teenage sexual abuse
- Peer wounds, especially during puberty: exclusion (particularly from one's gender group), ridicule, abuse
- Other experiences that lead to a mindset of inferiority or inadequacy compared to others - especially to other men.
To cope with these traumas/challenges, our minds have "hijacked" sex and pressed it into service to fill another emotional need, or cover a wound.
Another way of saying it is: we have sexualized that which we feel is lacking in us (yearning for love, approval, and acceptance from men), or created a comforting sexualized escape from the perceived threat of heterosexuality (smothering mother, being a "good little boy").
This isn't an identity.
And it's not just a normal variation on human sexuality.
It's a compulsive behavior, with many points in common with other compulsive behaviors.
For example, bulimics and anorexics have done something similar - they have taken the normal urge to eat, and the normal pleasure of eating, and invested them with additional meanings in an unhealthy way - turning these normal drives into self-damaging behaviors.
If you have spent any time around the gay "community" you may have seen this - the vast majority of "out and proud" homosexuals drift through short-term relationships and anonymous sex, constantly pursuing the "dream lover" that will fill their unmet needs. This pattern is clearly compulsive, and can lead to self-destructive behavior.
3. Can you just quickly show me how to control my urges so I can get married?
It is not possible to simply control the surface behavior. This is like "sticking your finger in the dyke" - the pressure just builds until it blows up.
We said that SSA is similar to other compulsive/addictive behaviors. Well, the healing path is similar, too: it is necessary to uncover the underlying, unmet needs - the meaning that you have invested in your SSA feelings - and to resolve them.
This can mean grieving past abuse, or missed opportunities to bond with one's father.
It also has a positive element - after identifying where your path of growth was blocked, it is possible to build other, more healthy ways to meet your emotional needs. It is possible to learn healthy, appropriate ways to interact and feel intimate with both men and women.
By this process - introspection and healing past wounds, and building a healthier self-image and way of being - we heal the underlying causes of our SSA.
In most instances, people who do this feel the force of the same-sex attractions diminish, and feel heterosexual attractions grow.
The pace of your healing depends on your own personal story. A young person dealing with minor doubts about his masculinity will handle things differently than someone seriously traumatized by a dysfunctional background.
4. So I can get rid of these feelings?
Well... let's go back to that bulimic, or look at recovered alcoholics and drug users.
They have built a balanced view of life - and a healthier view of themselves and others.
But at times of stress in life - the old, broken "solutions" often suggest themselves. The classic example is the guy who hasn't had a
cigarette in years, but asks for one during a stressful time.
Similarly, healing for us means being free to choose - and live - the lives that we want, and that we feel are right and holy.But in some
cases and situations these feelings may crop up.
If the wounds are deep, healing means being able to live your life - despite occasional pains from the past.
Healing means that when the broken non-solution of SSA suggests itself, you will have other, healthier behaviors - and reasons for living - with
which to answer that momentary impulse.
And the truth is that adults must do this all the time - countering many unproductive impulses, attaining self-mastery.
That's the key here: healing SSA is a progress from compulsion and a sense of weakness, to a mature sense of competence and self-mastery as a
|Posted on December 23, 2014 at 8:20 AM|
We do not ask anything from those who contact us at Jason and Homosexuals Anonymous but the will to be free. This will is not just an abstract, intellectual thing. It is a will that shows itself in a motivation that keeps you going no matter how hard it is and how long it will be.
However, we are N-O-T another psychotherapy group. If you goal is not freedom, but to keep on whining so others might pity you, go somewhere else. This is for real dudes.
Some guys though seem to be afraid that by acting like a man they might finally become one. So they spend the rest of their lives pitying themselves and going from one psychotherapy to another, constantly whining how hard life is, that nobody loves and/or understands them and how much they hurt. Well, let me tell you one thing: this is real life. You can spend the rest of your days throwing a pity part – or picking up the fight.
If you choose to whine and blame the whole world for your “pain”, do not come to us. You waste your own and our time and energy. It is not the program’s fault, nor the therapist’s, the group’s, your parents’, or anybody else’s but yourself. Your are grown up. Accept responsibility for your life. Some people completely reject any tool that might help them gain freedom – because they might not be able to whine anymore. They will tell you they want to change, but they don’t. They are big babies and need to be treated as such. Unless you force them to get up their butts (like by withdrawing any material or other support for their lives) they will not do a thing to move one step ahead.
Sounds hard – but actually it is for their own best. This group is for real men and women, those who know what they want and seek appropriate help to go and get it. Those who will overcome their fears and go for that one goal – no matter what.
Remember that there is no courage without fear. Cowardice, laziness and self-pity, however, will never get you anywhere.
|Posted on July 8, 2014 at 10:45 AM|
Men with unwanted same-sex attractions often tend to compare themselves with other men. Mostly they see themselves as “not man enough”, i.e. as not at the same level as them. They would say things like, “I don’t want to take part in our men’s group at church. I am rather clumsy and not as skillful as the other men when it comes to repair things.” or, “I am not as self-confident as other men.”
In many cases, this way of comparing themselves to other men as if that was an alien world they do not belong to reaches back to early childhood. The boys naturally tried to bond with their father, but for whatever reason this did not work out – be it because dad was emotionally not accessible or not there altogether. Maybe mom also spoke bad about dad in company of the boy. The boy would have tried for a while to bond with his dad after all, but finally he gave up – on bonding with dad and with this on finding his way into the male world altogether. Masculinity stayed a big myth for them and they somehow felt stuck between the sexes.
As puberty and with it its sexual feelings kicked in, they were attracted by what they perceived as being different from them – in this case men.
Now, on their way out and (back) to masculinity as it was planned to, they feel anxious and shy – in short uncomfortable – in company with other men. They realize that the contact with other men is crucial for every man if he wants to find his way into manhood, yet they still have that feeling of “being different” and “not being man enough”.
How to deal with that?
There is only one way: Face your fears. Yes, the other men might realize you are somewhat clumsy and afraid. However, if you fight your fears and clumsiness and go for it just the same, this will always be seen as a sign of manliness. If you run for the hills, you will feed the fears and make the gap between you and the male world even bigger. This will never be seen as a sign of manliness by any man. So fight! A man that fights always counts as a true man!
Nobody said it would be easy becoming a real man – but it is so much worth it!
|Posted on March 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM|
Who hasn’t heard that phrase
before. We are supposed to love the sinner, but hate sin (i.e. what
he/she does or fantasizes about).
At first glance this sounds perfectly right. And yet I’ve come to really dislike that statement and I ask my brothers and sisters to refrain from using such commonplaces, especially when it comes to people with same-sex attractions. And this for the following reasons:
1) You do not convince anybody with commonplaces – as true as they might be.
2) So we love the sinner. To which every gay activist (and every person in general) can and might reply: When was the last time you showed that – through unconditional works of love? It is so easy to give a fire-and-brimstone sermon on sinful “homosexual” acts. How much harder it is to love those people like Christ would! Because if you don’t, such a statement will backfire big time. And you deserved that.
3) Such a phrase is obviously talking about a person with same-sex attractions. We want to tell our church brothers and sisters to let “those people” know that we love them but hate what they are doing. Now thing for a moment how that sounds like for “one of those”. I had been there, so I have an idea about that. Throughout my whole “gay” time (which was many, many years!) I had the feeling that this is not only how I am, but most of all who I am. This is my identity – much like it would be my identity to be a white person from Europe. For “people like us” who are still involved in that life or in that world (whether or not we act out) this is not simply about “behaviors” or “fantasies” – this is an identity question. He or she thinks that they cannot do anything about it anyways (and just throwing facts at them wouldn’t help either, because they are bombarded with different facts all the time and rather confused anyway). As a consequence, these persons might feel rejected for who they are (like you might reject a person because of his or her color of skin) – if you mean to say that or not (for the record: this is not how I think, but how many “of us” think). Usually, it is not the first time they heard things like that, so to cope with their anger, hurt and frustration they might react very aggressively. They might see you as hypocrite, retarded, radical, inhumane – or simply stupid.
4) So we love the sinner and hate the sin. Fine. Sounds like we are talking about somebody else when we are talking about sinners. And in fact this is exactly what we are doing there: We point with the finger on other people and call them sinners that “deserve” to hear the truth. This in fact is hypocrite. If we point with the finger on somebody else, we should remember that all the other fingers are pointing back to us – for good reason. We sometimes tend to forget that we are sinners too. As someone once said: A church is not a hotel for saints, but a hospital for sinners. And even if you find a “perfect” church, you ruin it the very moment you walk through its doors. I remember when I joined a “Bible church” a couple of months after I left the gay life and enrolled in H.A.’s online program. The brothers and sisters there were really nice, but man was there a difference between us. I walked in on a Wednesday evening to join there Bible study – dressed in army pants & boots and a black leather jacket. And there were sitting all those nicely dressed Christians. I felt like someone from Mars (which was not their fault, but still). They knew nothing about me, but as luck wanted to have it they dealt with a Bible verse speaking on sexual immorality. One of them mentioned that actually there was nothing for them to talk about as they didn’t have that problem. On the inside I thought well, now you do (as it later turned out, they had it as well). Sometime after that – I was already a member – a dear friend of mine held a Bible study before the service. He spoke about sinning. Sinning with a capital “S” sort of – the real bad stuff. And then he turned to me and said something like “Well, Robert, what do you say to that?”. As if I was the only sinner in the house (he might not have meant it that way, but it sure sounded like that. For a very long time I felt like the black sheep of the family there – as loving as they were.
So instead of confronting people with same-sex attractions with commonplaces and Bible verses (as true as they are, but the letter can kill if you don’t apply him with love – think of how Jesus saved the prostitute who was about to be stoned – He saved her before she could even say beep!), we might show them what Christian love, what Christianity in general is all about – through our actions. They should see Christ through us! That does not mean they should not be confronted with the truth as well, but they first need to be “fed” (that is taken care of with love), before they even trust us enough to want to know more about what motivates us. Just standing with a sign at the sidewalk when a gay parade passes by, does not to anything good for anyone. It might even make you look weird (to say the least).
To cut a long story short: Yes, sinners (that is we all!) need to hear the truth in and with love. But people that come from “out there” need to see what stuff we are made of first. They want to feel it, experience it before they might think about wanting to have it too. And yes, we all deserve the truth. But the truth in love – else there is no truth. Most of all people with same-sex attractions deserve every and any help possible – from a medical point of view (like therapy), from the Church, from their families and friends and from politics and laws. This is why I support “Voice of the Voiceless”.
Some time ago I served as a volunteer in a local prison. There you cannot throw Bible verses at the inmates. First, you are not supposed to do that unless they want it and second they can smell a mile away what your true motivation is – if you are there to get one point off your Christian “to-do-list” and do something for those poor prisoners by quoting them Bible verses and tell them some commonplaces – or if you are there for THEM. They want to see what you are made of – and then (and ONLY then) they might take some interest in your motivation.
I guess it is not much different with people who live a “gay” life. If we are REALLY made of that stuff, then let’s show it to them! Let’s love them like Christ would.