Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mentoring & Same-Sex Attraction

While searching for something online, I happened upon an article on mentoring men who struggle with SSA by Steven Donaldson and Del Thornton (link). The article summarized so many aspects of what I have been experiencing in my relationship with Brother. Turns out that Brother also read this article--in fact, uses it as a guide in helping people like me.

The authors wrote,

"... a mentor must pursue the relationship with the mentee. The mentee at the core does not trust that the mentor could ever be genuinely interested in him and at the same time, need nothing from him. This is a continuation of the father-child injury. For this reason the mentee will not be the initiator in the relationship. This will be re-enacted in the mentoring relationship. In addition, when there is any confusion or conflict the mentee is very likely to assume he did something wrong and withdraw or devalue the relationship. The mentor is very likely to assume he did something wrong and withdraw or devalue the relationship. The mentor must remember that the withdrawal from or devaluing of the relationship is a defense (usually unconscious) against the intense need and longing for the love and affirmation of an idealized male. The mentor must not take anything personally and continue to gently but actively pursue the mentee."

Brother knew I was beginning to distance. He called it out. Stripping down my defenses. Leaving me naked and exposed. Emotions raw.

Then he pressed in. Searing my inner most parts with the purest, holiest iron-rod of truth. At my most vulnerable state, he looked me deep in the eyes and said,

"I love you."

I responded by wrapping my arms around him and breaking out in deep sobs as he embraced me back saying "what am I supposed to do with that?"

- - -

Son is so much like me. Sensitive. And in his eyes, I must be like my father was to me: that loud, booming voice; that angry analytical frown. Mostly, Son avoids me. Runs to Wife when stressed.

(I remember that: running to mother. They used to tease me about that too. "Everything, mama, mama!")

Like Brother to me, I am also pursuing Son. Cutting through his defenses, making sure that he knows with his entire being that his father loves him through and through. That he is a boy worthy of being a boy in his father's eyes.

But I can't do it on empty.

Wife said, "I thought it would be good for you to go with Son to a retreat. But after thinking about it, I realized it might be better for you to first have a retreat with Brother."

Wife too, knows that I can't do it on empty.

God brought Brother into my life for such a time as this. I will accept him. I will allow myself to be challenged by his deeply intimate yet non-sexual love, as much as it kills me.

I love him so much I could literally explode.

- - -

More from Steven Donaldson on SSA and Mentoring in this article: link.

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