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Daughter Caught Up In Drugs And A Lesbian Affair

by Ansie
(South Africa, Gauteng, Pretoria)

Good Day Annie,
I need help, my 19 year old daughter is a very pretty girl but is in big trouble.

We found out in April she is using Khat and we sent her to a rehab centre and supported and helped her with everything.

Two weeks after she came out of rehab she breaks the news that she is gay. It was a shock for us and her girlfriend is very bad news.

I just tested her again yesterday for drugs and she is positive. She has left our house to move in with the girlfriend.

She is busy with her final Matric exams. I am so worried, my heart is in a million pieces. What can I do, or must I let her go now?

If I think about letting her go then I feel more pain, can't sleep or focus, this is driving me crazy.

Please help.

Comments for Daughter Caught Up In Drugs And A Lesbian Affair

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Coming To Terms With A Child Who Is Gay - Part One
by: Annie Desantis

Dear Anise,
You are in shock and grieving for your dreams for your little girl. Coming to terms with something this major is not easy and you will have to be gentle with yourself while you adjust.

At 19 your daughter is going her own way and making her own life choices and you don't have much control now. Of course if she is living with you you can have some ground-rules but now she has moved out she is clearly saying she is very attached to her girlfriend and wants to make a life with her.

She has a more challenging road ahead than many kids, being Gay is not easy, there is so much discrimination and disapproval to have to live with on a daily basis.

Dealing With Grief And Shock

I know it is a huge shock for a parent when a child comes out. And you will have all your own thoughts, feelings and judgements about that to have to process through, and may have many ingrained prejudices yourself.

Even if you are very liberal and tolerant about same sex relationships, it is not something we would wish for our kids, it is a harder road to travel and of course we want our children to have a "normal" successful life.

Your daughter is in pain - using drugs is part of many teenagers party lifestyle - but drugs and alcohol are also something people turn to when they want to numb themselves from emotional pain, or want to rebel from a society they don't feel supports them.

Clearly you love your daughter and have done a huge amount to support her. The bottom line is, hold on to that love. She is still your little girl and needs a good relationship with you above all others, and particularly needs your acceptance of her sexuality even if you are not very keen on her girlfriend.

It won't be easy for you, having to come to terms with a different vision of who your daughter is takes some conscious work. Of course you are devastated, but keep coming back to your love for her.

Sexual Orientation Is Not Something You Can Fix

You can't change her. It is not the girlfriends fault your daughter is Gay, she has likely felt she was for a long time and it takes a lot of courage to come out to family and friends knowing you risk loosing that relationship. Sure her girlfriend may well be a bad influence with drugs and lifestyle, many Gay young people do live on the edge as society does marginalize and discriminate against them and so there is a tendency to drift to other activities and choices with like-minded people.

Part Two Follows . . .

Coming To Terms With A Child Who Is Gay - Part Two
by: Annie Desantis

Grieve And Rebuild The Relationship

The best thing you can do is firstly let yourself grieve for the daughter you thought you had. But also rebuild the relationship with her. The more you can accept her as she is and connnect and love her, then the more you give her a secure family framework as a grounding while she explores what it means to live as a lesbian couple in a disaproving world. Life will be full of challenges we never have to experience, and if you can love and understand her you will help her tremendously to stabalize her life.

You can't fix being gay, it is not an illness or problem. Though it most certainly is more of a challenge. I tend to look at sexual orientation as a spectrum - some people are very definately either hetrosexual or homosexual. But many more of us are more likely to be nearer the middle, bi-sexual. Our society so totally geared towards hetrosexual relationships and family, that a much smaller percentage of people have times in their life of same sex relationships. The bottom line in any relationship is love and respect.

Your daughter is choosing this girl - there is clearly a strong connection. Whether it is a healthy loving relationship is for her to work out. Certainly it is a relationshp where your daughter feels she can be herself and express her sexuality without judgement. She will feel accepted in a way she may never have felt in her life, particularly if she has always felt 'different'.

Get Good Quality Support

Ansie, I don't know what services you have in your area, but if you can find some counselling that specializes in helping families come to terms with having a child who is Gay that would be helpful. Just be aware there are many religous counselling services where they see being Gay as wrong and bad and will push you to try to convince your daughter to repent. That kind of service will destroy your relationship with your daughter and tear you in two.

Drug Use

Regarding the drugs, I had not heard about Khat, and had to do a bit of research into it. She may also have access to other drugs too, and it is often a very acceptable part of the Gay scene.

Unfortunately you probably don't have much influence there either except to keep helping her if and when she chooses rehab, and keep setting boundaries about what is acceptable in your home. Your daughter needs to know you still love her and will help her to stay clear of drugs and complete her studies. If you reject her and her girlfriend it is going to add to her risks of totally going down the drain.

Yes set boundaries - don't give her money if you think it is going on drugs. Meet her outside the home if you can't trust her. But keep making contact, keep loving her and get to know who she really is, how she thinks, what is important to her.

Part Three Follows . . .

Coming To Terms With A Child Who Is Gay - Part Three
by: Annie Desantis

Parental Influence, Not Control

As parents we have a huge influence on our kids, even when they are young adults. More than anyone else if we disaprove or judge our kids, they hurt. If we try to push them, they rebel more, if we judge and criticize them every time we see them, it gets so painful they don't want to see us. She just wants your unconditional love. That does not mean you approve of her taking drugs and it may take some time for you to accept her being a Lesbian.

Just be honest with her - tell her you are having a hard time coming to terms with it all, but that you love her and you are working your way through it all. Find out how she feels - a day in her life will be very different than if she was in a hetrosexual relationship. When we put our own pain asside and look at life from the other person's perspective, then it allows us to shift our own.

But that takes time and you need to grieve and let go of some of your dreams for her.

Your daughter can still have a successful life, she can graduate and have a rewarding career AND be in a lesbian relationship. This one may last - or it may not, and you have no control over that.

As she gets more confident in herself and has a supportive network of people that accept her, she may start choosing healthier relationships with women who don't rely on drugs to get through the day. She may have a big influence on helping her girlfriend make better choices. If she does not feel she has to rebel or numb herself from the pain of not being accepted, she will be in a much better position to support other young gay teens to make healthier choices.

You didn't say anything about her Father - how is he with all of this? Are you able to talk to him to process your feelings and work together to maintain - and build, a more real relationship with your daughter? Sometimes men are more entrenched in their ideas of what is acceptable, and he too will be struggling to adjust to the idea of having a Lesbian daughter.

Part Four Follows . . .

Coming To Terms With A Child Who Is Gay - Part Four
by: Annie Desantis

Recommended Resources

Look for support in your community or online - PFLAG is a very good organization in the USA to support families and protect the rights of Gay men and women. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and their site will have lots of helpful information to help you adjust. I don't know of any South African sites, but there is likely to be some support in your country.

There are also some good books that will help you to come to terms with it all, and one I would recomend is Beyond Acceptance: Parents of Lesbians & Gays Talk About Their Experiences. Because this book is written by parents who have been through the same experience you are struggling to deal with, it can be really helpful to know how they coped and adjusted.

Take care and give yourself time and space to adjust and figure out how to support your daughter, without enabling her drug choices. Most of all keep reconnecting with your love for her and working your way though the shock and disappointment.

Feel free to add anything, or report back via the comments below, there will be lots of other parents in your position who are struggling with a similar experience.

all the best,
Annie Desantis.

Reply From Ansie
by: Ansie

I received your answer, thank you so much, I really appreciate your letter :)

You asked about her father - he is very hurt and very very disappointed, it's so difficult for us. At this moment I do keep contact through her girlfriends phone, because we took her phone away as it is on contract and we were scared she would sell it for drug money.

As much as we love our daughter ans as hurt as we are, we decided that we won't push her about having a girlfriend etc, but as long as she chooses to be in a relationship with a girl, and using drugs, she can't come back and live with us.

There will always be conflict and no trust because she has lied so many times, we don't even know what is truth. I could write a book about all we have been through with her.

We love her very much but she has to come to terms that what she has done, and the the way she lives is wrong and disrespectful against herself and her parents. If she wants to come home she knows I will keep on testing her for drugs, and all her friends who are on drugs are not allowed to step foot in my yard. I will test all her visitors also and she would have to earn our trust again. I am not going to give her any money again, but I will buy things that she needs.

Her Father was planning to pay for driving lessons but has now decided she must take responsibility herself and can work and save for a car.

Her lesbian life is against our beliefs and will of God. If she wants to be a lesbian that is her choice and we will learn to live with that and respect it, but only if it is a decent girl, and not involved in drugs. If they respect us and keep their touching to in private, then it is not in our face. We would never have them sleep under our roof.

Her current girlfriend has no respect at all, is bipolar, and they fight a lot. The things she does to my daughter makes me sick.

We have checked my daughter's phone and I am shocked and confused as there was pictures with guys and girls, video recordings and porn. It totally freaks me out.

I am also worried as I have heard that drug dealers let girls buy drugs with sex, and that really makes me sick and scared.

Hope to hear from you soon, your reply did help me, thank you so much,

blessings for you

Hard To Accept
by: Annie Desantis

Hi Again Ansie,
It certainly sounds like you have had a rough time with your daughter - drugs really make it pretty impossible to have an honest relationship and it sounds like you have lost trust in her, which is not surprising.

It sounds like you have pretty good ground rules about what you will accept in your home, but are still working to maintain the relationship as best you can.

You are probably wise to protect your phone contract and get the phone back off her, but you have breached her privacy by looking through her phone. And of course you have been shocked by the contents on it. Whether or not she is interested in porn is actually none of your business.

I won't go into a religious debate, but there are now a lot of christian churches that do accept same sex couples and work to support their congregation in maintaining healthy relationships regardless of sexual orientation.

It does not sound like your daughter is in a very healthy relationship at all, and of course when there are addiction/drugs involved it is pretty unlikely that the relationship will be a good one.

At least everything is out in the open, and she does not have to lie about that any more. That may be a major shift in her being able to be more real and honest with you, even though you and your husband do not approve and being a lesbian goes against your beliefs.

It will be that point that is the hardest overcome, she will know you will never approve, and that even acceptance or resignation is a long way away. But it may be that having come out to you, she can start being more honest, and hopefully in time will not need to rebel so much that she is putting herself in bad situations.

She may always be a lesbian, but hopefully will be able to move away from the drugs and a lifestyle that is harming her, and build healthier and more caring relationships.

best of luck with it all Ansie, you are going though a lot, just take your time and be as gentle and caring of all of you as you can,

Annie D :)

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