This may not be the appropriate forum for my question, but V. Kelly's discussion of bipolar illness and intimacy in the Shame and Affect Forum spurred me to write. In 1998, after 27 years of marriage, 3 children (17, 19, and 27 years old), and many early years of struggling together for me to complete college and graduate school, my wife has left the family for a lesbian relationship.
I know there are many different perspectives among the psychology and psychoanalytic professions concerning the origins of homosexual desire and behavior and that there are no clearcut explanations. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in the biological sciences with specialization in ethology, so I have also studied psychology to some degree. This past year I have studied psychology in depth, including narrative therapy, neurosis, and homosexuality. As a biologist trained in both genetics and behavior, as well as physiology (and with some ordinary common sense), I believe a genetic coding for sexual preference and behavior is about as likely as a genetic coding for music preference. The wide range of sexual preferences and behavior make a genetic explanation even more implausible. I would not dispute the interaction of biology and environment in determining sexual behavior, but there is not a direct cause-and-effect relationship, thus the many different types (and causes) of both heterosexual and homosexual behaviors. Personality development has a basic biological component, but is not predisposed to a particular sexual (or any other) preference than only be experience during development.
I have studied both sides of this issue and have been appalled at the biological causation argument being presented consistently with words like "this suggests to me", "based on these observations I conclude", "research suggests that" (most often with out reference to the research), "is likely to be", and more. Never have I seen significance testing reported. On the other hand, vast genetic and behavioral research clearly shows that behavior develops from learning, given specific biological mechanisms for such behavior e.g. a newborn has all the biological attributes for suckling, but must be taught to suckle. I wish more definitive and rigorous research could be conducted in this area.
My question is: Does anyone have experience identifying or treating the underlying psychological condition to homosexuality. Van Den Aardweg and others have argued, based on case studies over 30 years of experience, that although a limited few individuals with homosexual desire truly wish to overcome their compulsion, successful treatment is rare because of the deep seated neurosis involved. Van Den Aardweg believes that the primary neurosis is a deep "inferiority complex" manifested in self-pity, attention seeking, and general narcissism that precludes homosexuals from growing beyond sexual-based desire to a more emotional level of volitional commitment--an observable characteristic of adolescents. The inferiority complex is in relation to the same sex, resulting in an inability to relate to the opposite sex as a "whole person" and the desire to seek out same sex partners with the qualities they feel are lacking in themselves and who will give them the attention they desire. Thus, most homosexual partnerships are of short duration (yes, so are many heterosexual partnerships for other reasons) because the desire to give attention wears off and the need for constant attention drives the homosexual to seek it.
Those who have known my ex-wife all or most of her life know that she definitely has a deep rooted inferiority complex. She has herself admitted to very low self-esteem and the need for praise and admiration from peers. Other common adolescent behaviors include lying about planned actions and motives, lack of responsibility--deferring to others "more capable", denying responsibility for her own actions and negative consequences, and feeling sorry for herself because the world is against her and life isn't fair.
I know many (if not most) will think my question is a begrudging attitude, and I can only respond that my interests in my wife's mental health are sincere, I am accepting of her right to choose, and have no expectations that her choice of sexual desire and lifestyle will change after her past year's experiences. She concealed two affairs prior to moving out and divorce, and most interesting was her desire to remain in the marriage and continue family while conducting her lesbian affairs. I would also assert that a 47-year old woman whose life's focus has been children and family and has been a wonderful mother, would not leave her most precious gift behind only to have what she herself has described as the missing piece of pie--"lust". This seems most especially curious since her current behavior mirrors her behavior in our heterosexual relationship 27-28 years ago when she desperately wanted to "get out of her home" at the age of 19--great infatuation, heaping of attention (gifts, cards, etc) on partners, and sexual fantasy for the "forbidden"--pre-marital sex in the first instance and extramarital sex in the second.
Is neurosis a fair psychological interpretation of this behavior? Could bipolar illness account for this so late in life? (Aside: 8 years before this decision she lost her Mother suddenly at age 66; her Father died 4 years later; and, her brother died 4 months after that at age 46; and it seemed that noticeable depression was growing over this period and after. Even her family, with which she broke off communication after her Father's death, noticed the changes.) Would anyone advise a particular therapy (and I'm not thinking of so-called reparative therapy)? Any advise on how to get her into therapy? I know our children, who still love their Mother very much and are accepting, would very much like to see her face some of the issues involved in her change of life and lifestyle.
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