Ask Freud : Overcoming Denial

Helping others always seems easier than looking at your own situation objectively. What I’m reading is that you want to do the same for your partner but don’t know how, that is perfectly normal but you can’t be objective in this situation.

Hey Pink Freud,

I’ve always found helping others quite simple. Now that it is upon me to build up a case for my partner, I’m almost at my wits end.

Me and my partner have been together for a better part of a year now and have been quite happy even though we’re in a long distance relationship. We’ve had our share of happy and sad times and have supported each other through them.

My partner recently came out to her Ma, she has come out to her elder brother (who has been neutral but supportive). However, her Ma is in absolute denial of her sexual orientation and has blamed it completely upon the singularly fact that my partner has had to spend most of her time away at hostels for her academic career. She insists upon visiting a psychologist (wish I could send her to you!) and a gynaecologist at the earliest to help her daughter to come out of what she thinks is not normal.

 My partner also revealed to her Ma of our relationship due to her constant interrogation.

(one may say that this must have been info overload, but it’s done and can’t be changed) This has possibly caused an even greater sense of hurry to help her daughter out.

She apparently won’t be forcing my partner into a straight marriage but, advises her to remain a spinster for life.

There I have laid down all my facts without any important omissions. From my meagre study of coming out situation on the internet, I come to understand that ‘denial’ is the first step of acceptance. Yet, I must help build a strong case for my partner to present to her Ma. I believe that since her Ma is an educated lady of strong character, she will make an educated decision for her daughter.

Yours gratefully,


P.S. Sorry the letter is so long, I wanted you to have all the facts to have a better grasp of the situation.

P.P.S. Awaiting the program of introducing new LGBT in gaysi as mentioned in your response to one of your columns.


Dear A,

Helping others always seems easier than looking at your own situation objectively. What I’m reading is that you want to do the same for your partner but don’t know how, that is perfectly normal but you can’t be objective in this situation.

In my opinion you don’t need to sort this situation out, this is for your partner and her family to do. If you try to get involved too much then you might just push your partner away from you. If you give her advice that she follows and it goes wrong, you might get the blame which could drive you apart.

She has to handle her mother and family in the way she feels best, you can only support her in that. Give her options by all means but don’t push her into making decisions as this could not work out positively for you.

Some situations just need time and can’t rushed or be fixed easily. These things take time and her mother may come around and see that seeing a psychologist and a gynaecologist is not going to make any difference, or not but that is not something you van control.

Her mother will have to go through her own cycle of acceptance. Eventually she will see what is best for her daughter and the relationship she has with you.

Don’t expect her to accept you as her daughter’s girlfriend for some time, even if she starts to accept your partner’s sexuality. She might even try and find an excuse as to why she shouldn’t be with you and perhaps blame you for making her a lesbian. She might also use the long distance relationship as an excuse for the relationship to fail. These are all defence mechanisms.

The best thing you can do is be there for your girlfriend and support her through these difficult times. Be open and honest with each other, also let her have as much contact with her mother as she needs. Her mother needs attention and needs to see that nothing is wrong with her daughter and that she is still the same person as before. You might have to step aside to give them space. This can be frustrating as you might not agree with what is happening or what your partner is telling her mother but they need time to heal and build back trust.

I hear your comment regarding her mother being educated, that unfortunately goes out of the window when it concerns her own child. I have heard quite a few stories where even school teachers accept gay and lesbian students in their school but when it came down to their own children, they were less accepting. Parents will always look at themselves first to see what they had done wrong for their child to change and make those ‘choices’. As we know it is not a choice it is who we are. This is very difficult for others to accept who are not in the same boat. Most straight people think that it is a choice we make. They don’t always understand as they didn’t have to choose to be straight. Perhaps if we had a choice, some of us wouldn’t choose to be gay or lesbian to live an easier, hetero normative life.

Re your ‘p.p.s.’ Gaysi Family have advised me that there will be something launched on the website at the end of this month. It has taken a bit longer than expected as they wanted to make sure the advice and help lines they are going to put on are legit, confidential and trust worthy.

It would be good for readers who are going to use the service to let us know how they have found it, how helpful it had been and what else we as Gaysi can provide them with

About the author

Pink Freud

Pink Freud is a counselling psychotherapist in training. He currently sees therapy clients part time and manages a large team in a corporate environment when he is not 'in the therapist's chair'. Long term, he wants to specialise in working with LGBT individuals, couples and groups. As a gay man, who came out 10 years ago, he understands the unique struggles of the LGBT community and is here to help. You can e-mail your questions to and he will respond to you via the Gaysi Family website.