For some of our number, discovering that we have a crush on a family member can be shocking enough, but subsequently realizing that it’s much more than that is different altogether. This article is about these discoveries about ourselves and how to make the process of discovery and self-acceptance easier.
From my observations, most people tend to go through certain stages before they come to the complete realization that they are consanguinamorous. While each persons experience is unique, these following stages seem to happen.
Observation – the ‘WTF?’ stage
This earliest stage is characterized by complete shock and confusion at realizing that we are attracted to a family member. After all, we have been told from the get go by society that only sick disgusting perverts would ever even think it… and yet here we are thinking it. Understandably this can be quite a blow to a persons self-worth and can be quite frightening to some people.
Denial – the ‘this isn’t happening’ stage
This understandable reaction to the observation leads directly on to this next stage. Where we lie to ourselves and come up with all kinds of rationalizations for why we thought what we thought. We might blame too much wine that evening, we might say we are under a lot of stress because of work and therefore not thinking clearly, or we might say it was a one off stray thought that doesn’t mean anything. We might even say that since it’s ‘never going to happen in a million years’ that we should just ignore these thoughts. We sometimes go a stage further and deny to ourselves that we even thought about it. We might say to ourselves something like ‘it isn’t him I like it was the smell of his aftershave’ or ‘it wasn’t her I like, it was the dress she was wearing’.
It’s all done to cover up the truth about what we thought and felt, even to ourselves. We go to these extraordinary lengths to deny it because it protects our self-image, who we think we are as a person. Since we have been indoctrinated to believe some extremely negative things about incest, we believe that if we deny it and lie to ourselves, then we are not associated with any of that negativity.
Cracks in the wall – The ‘I can’t deny it any more’ stage
After a period of time, if a person is still getting feelings for a family member, it becomes harder and harder to deny their real feelings to themselves. This is especially true when these feelings are triggered every time the other person is around. So then the person has a choice: deal with the feelings or go to extreme lengths to deny them (such as avoiding contact with the other person).
If somebody decides to deal with the feelings, they have to admit to themselves whole heartedly that they’re actually having them. This means that they must, at this point, admit that a part of themselves is not as they thougth it was. This aspect of self-discovery is one of the hardest; we all wear masks for different circumstances, but the hardest masks to abandon are those we never knew we wore, those we believed were the real us. So this isn’t just a surface level change of perspective, it’s something at our core which is not as we once believed it to be. This in itself can be earth shattering for some people, as they try to understand what they are while mourning the loss of the previously invisible mask.
Questions – ‘Am I really a bad person for feeling like this?’
At this stage, some of the nonsense society has forced upon us begins to fall down. We begin to realize that we’re the same person we have always been, we just know ourselves a little better now. We start to ask ourselves whether society is right about incest or whether the prejudice just comes from ignorance and fear. We start wondering how many people like us are really out there, equally alone, adrift with no rudder and no map. We question our intentions and realize that we want the same things in life as everyone else, we just want those things with a family member. We may even be so bold as to approach the one we love, especially if they have given us any signals that they might be interested. We might even quit making negative moral judgements about ourselves without examining the evidence. We might do some searches on the Internet and find the community.
Self-Acceptance – ‘I’m consang and there is nothing wrong with that’
This final stage occurs typically when people have successfully been able to exorcise all of the negative beliefs they held about incest, and instead being able to draw from their own experience and from all that they learnt through questioning. At this point, a person can be completely comfortable with their identity.
Such a transformation changes people, it makes us less judgemental of others we don’t understand, it makes us ask questions about all kinds of topics, it makes us skeptical about what we think we know, about what we hear and see. At this stage, we learn to love ourselves again, and know that our minds are truly set free. These things are of great benefit to us, as it allows us to grow as people and become better for it. We might even become angry at the world for it’s injustices, and set up blogs like this one to tell it like it is.
So, how can we make this process easier for people who come into our community who are struggling?
Actually, we can do plenty. We can offer reassurance and acceptance, we can direct them to the blogs and to Kindred Spirits. We can even ask them the questions which they should be asking themsleves. We can let them know that they are not alone, show them that these relationships can be healthy and beneficial to both parties. But the single most important thing we can do for others is to LISTEN, sometimes in the process of offloading a person can spot any flaws in their line of reasoning that they may have missed when not trying to put it into words, and being able to talk to others of similar minds tends to help anyone with any type of problem.