Positive coming out experiences--Friends, family

I thought this would be a good section for people to share ideas about coming out: how to decide whether to do it, how to tell people, what has worked for us, and what hasn't.

Positive coming out experiences--Friends, family

Postby JigsawAnalogy on Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:11 pm

I've been thinking a lot about what it is that makes a coming out experience work. I hear from other people about how negative their experience was when they told someone else they were multiple, and it makes me wonder whether I've just been lucky, or whether there was something I did that made it "work" when I came out.

So I figured I would open this up to everyone, since I know that lots of people have had at least *some* good experiences with telling people they are multiple.

This topic is specific to telling friends and family members ("chosen" family or birth family) that you are multiple; and it's specific to thinking through what worked and why.

It would be nice if we could collect our experiences, and find ways to make it easier for people to have a positive experience with telling someone else they are multiple!
Who says there is anything wrong with being crazy, anyhow?
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Re: Positive coming out experiences--Friends, family

Postby JigsawAnalogy on Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:20 pm

I'll start this off.

I've had good coming out experiences overall, and I've spent a lot of time trying to work out why my experience with telling people I'm multiple has gone well, given how many people describe having pretty much nothing but problems. We'll see what I can come up with. I think I'll do this in list form, with the things that I believe made my experiences positive.

  • I told people who had known me for a while (between 3 and 14 years).
  • They already knew I had been abused as a child, and that I struggled with depression and anxiety that came from that.
  • Because of how my system works, they had already met at least a few different parts, before any of us knew that what was happening was different parts. So when I told them, they were able to look back, and see how me being multiple explained a lot of things that had puzzled them over the years.
  • I told them mostly so that they would know what was going on in my life: I made sure to do it in a way that didn't make them feel like anything was going to change about our relationship.
  • I waited for a time when things were pretty stable for me, when they weren't busy, and when they were asking about what was going on in my life, I explained that I'd been diagnosed and was starting to deal with being multiple.
  • I didn't give them a lot of details, but left room for them to ask questions, and get as much or as little information as they wanted.
  • I have a blog, and I gave people the address to that so they could get information if they wanted it.
  • I was lucky, in that most of my friends are familiar with social work and that kind of thing, and they understand mental health issues in a pretty functional way (most of them are in therapy currently, or have been in therapy in the past). So they weren't afraid of mental illness, and were ready to learn about a particular side of that.

Those are the main things I can think of right now. Maybe as other people add their experiences, I'll think of more to add about mine.

Oh, as for their reactions: by and large, they just accepted that I'm multiple. We've gotten a little closer because of this, because it's easier for them to understand things, and easier for me to talk about. I really haven't had any bad experiences with these friends, but then I'm also pretty careful about who I choose to tell. There are people in my life I've chosen not to tell, because I don't think their reactions would be as positive, and I wouldn't gain anything from telling them.
Who says there is anything wrong with being crazy, anyhow?
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