Being a deviant when it comes to heteronormativity comes with its own share of challenges. Your life may seem a little difficult at certain points of time and going home for the holidays is definitely one of those times. 

You might have already worked hard to gain a sense of self-esteem and acceptance and if such situations aren’t dealt with in the right way, you may relapse or end up having a tough time. 

This is why it becomes important to have the right mindset while heading home for holidays and dealing with your loved ones. Below we have laid down an ‘ABC approach’ for dealing with such situations. Wondering what ‘ABC approach’ is? Read ahead to find out the same!

Why do we need the ABC Approach?

Many of us get anxious and depressed about returning home, especially so, if the parents or family members are not on the supportive side. From sarcastic remarks to intrusive questioning, from shallow understanding to lack of acceptance, several elements may get overwhelming and difficult to deal with. 

However it is quite possible to deal with, all you need is a change in your mindset and perception by following ABC approach, where ABC stands for Acknowledgement, Boundaries, and Compassion respectively. 

It has been devised by Michael C. LaSala, a clinical social worker, and has been found helpful by several people. Below we have discussed the same.

  • The ‘A’ - Acknowledgement 

We know the people who stay at our home and how they react to particular things. This is why we can apprehend their response on any particular topic beforehand. And this is what you need to do according to this point. 

First of all, gauge the potential arguments of your family members or relatives and be prepared to face them. There may be snide remarks from your aunt, blunt sarcasm from dad, and so on. Just be prepared for those and don’t try to control someone’s thoughts if it seems a waste of time. 

You don’t want to get into a heated argument with anyone on holidays and ruin your mood for the rest of your stay. Respond to them softly and dismiss such comments by changing topics (with a firm stance and not meekly). 

It is also worth mentioning that if you haven’t come out of the closet or announced your being gay or transgender, we suggest holding the same for a few days because holiday celebrations are not a good time for such an ordeal. And if you’re wondering about how to come out of the closet and deal with your parents, we’ve got you covered. Read on till the end for the same. 

  • The ‘B’- Boundaries

No matter who the person is in front of you, there are some boundaries that no one should be allowed to cross. Going home doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your self-esteem. You must surely try your best to maintain a positive environment however the same requires dual cooperation, that is, from yours as well as your family’s side. Make sure you set a limit and politely state the same to your relatives. 

However, even then if you feel that things are being forced upon you, then don’t have any qualms about leaving. After all, if your family which is supposed to be the most supportive of all isn’t being graceful, then realize, you don’t owe them anything.

Stay with someone else whom you can repose your trust and take your time. There are high chances your parents or relatives may feel guilty about their conduct and get back to you with an apology. 

  • The ‘C’ – Compassion

At last, the point of compassion needs to be mentioned. Compassion means sympathetic pity and concern for others. It is an important value that helps the world in becoming a better place. Having compassion in relationships makes them strong. Harvard’s longest study of adult life has revealed that not money or fame, not health or wealth, but only ‘close relationships’ are what keep people happy throughout their lives. 

What we essentially mean by stating this study is that, even though your family might not have truly accepted you or even disrespected you, if they get back to you seeking an apology, it’s better to forget the past sufferings and maintain a good relationship with them. 

Try to convince them about your choices and understand their mental state too. In the long run, you’ll be grateful to yourself for your choices and the patience you kept. 

How to come out to your family?

Having talked about the ABC approach and how to deal with family when heading home for holiday, now it’s time to talk about how you should come out to your parents. It is seen that they experience the disclosure in several stages and those are shock, denial, guilt, expression of feelings, personal decision making, and true acceptance. 

It is worthwhile to know that the above chronology may not hold true for every parent, however, it holds for many parents. Now below mentioned are some of our suggestions if you’re coming out to your parents-

  • Be clear about your sexual orientation as if you aren’t confident, the parent may get confused and decrease their confidence in your judgment. 
  • Be comfortable about your sexuality and truly accept yourself. If you possess the required energy and positive self-image, you’re more likely to be accepted by your parents too.
  • Make sure you come out to your parents when the emotional climate at your home is favorable. We suggest choosing a time when they are not dealing with serious issues belonging to home or any other place.
  • Be patient with your parents. This is highly important as they’ll be in a state of shock when you disclose your sexual orientation. It might take any time from 6 months to 2 years for them to fully accept the truth and come to terms with it. 

Partings Notes

Overall, we hope you have good holiday celebrations and get the desired support from your parents and relatives. Following the above-mentioned points and creating a good relationship would go a long way in creating good memories. 

A good way to share your love with your family would be gifting them Rainbow Christmas items. From tassel to rainbow mouse pad, at Rainbow Depot, you can buy the best Christmas gift for your family. Do browse our store, we’re sure you’d be delighted!

Thanks for reading and all the best!