Posted by: Mom | 2007/07/23

My step-son

He's 16 and the product of a very unhappy marriage and an over-protective and dominant mother. Who made him do ballet for two years for goodness sake! And who told him he was "pretty" and was always "special" and who now thinks he IS special. So now his mom has backed off and I have had to become Mother II and he makes my life a living hell. In his mind he IS special and insists that everyone treats him as special, including me. So he can't take a bus to school - he MUST be driven? He doesn't need to eat "boring" food, he shouldn't have to wear "cheap" clothes, he shouldn't have to stand in line like lesser mortals. He was totally spoilno siblings - and I think his mother created a Super Monster! His dad gave up years ago and considers him something between a baby and a spoilt brat who throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way, and seems somehow afraid of him?? But beside all this nonsense I suspect he's gay - he's just TOO refined and hung up on his image and his looks and seems to literally flirt with our male friends, irrespective of their age and just ignores all our female friends. To the point of being rude to women and overtly flirty with men. I have gay friends myself - many gay friends and consider myself oblivvious to sexual orientation issues - but I just see trouble brewing here so I need to know, can someone of 16 be aware that he's gay?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageGay, lesbian and bisexual expert

Hi to you Mom and a warm welcome to the forum.

It is possible that you may very well have a problem here - although he's very young, your step-son sounds as if he has a narcissistic personality. Which has very little to do with his "being in love with himself" (in accordance with the legend of Narcissus, who looked into a pond and fell in love with his own reflection) and everything to do with a sense of being "special" to the extent that he's entitled to being treated as "special".

This sense of entitlement, and disregard for other peoples' feelings, can be very difficult to live with. It sounds as though his biological mother was his "foil", who literally mirrored and reinforced his sense of importance. It could be difficult for him to no longer have someone playing this role and you can anticipate plenty of attention-seeking behaviour.

My sense is that your step-son's sexual orientation is not the primary issue here - his narcissistic personality may make him prone to being flirtatious with men as a form of attention-seeking behaviour aimed at affirming his own sense of being "special" and desired.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Gareth | 2007/07/25

I disagree, and DLB, I also think your comment is a bit harsh and attacking. Obviously this mom is worried about him, why else would she seek advice. Unfortunately people have misinformed opinions on what makes you gay or "indicate" your gayness, because of the different ways we are brought up, etc etc, but we should not condemn them or attack them about it, rather we should educate and inform them, and help them understand.

To Mom, I can understand that you are worried. To me, most of this sounds like normal teenage behaviour. But obviously coming from a broken home, having to adapt to a new "mom", and being spoilt because everyone felt sorry for him, etc etc, has lef its marks on him. And then, he might be gay, and going through that whole thing of dealing with it and finding himself etc etc. Obviously he craves the attention and that is why he "flirts" with the men, or does things to annoy others etc, he loves the attention. My advice would also be that you guys get some proffessional help, him to try and sort out his issues and work through the scars left on him earlier in his life, as well as maybe working through whom he is. But you could also do with some therapy, so that someone can help you on how to deal with his behaviour in the best possible way. Most importantly, even when he can be a real little sh*t sometimes, love him as much as you can, gain his trust, and let him always know that you are there for him no matter what, as a friend if that is what he needs, as a support structure, or even as a mother if he needs that. And try and talk to him about it, not in an attacking or reprimanding way, but as a way that you two can get to know each other better, understand each other better, and work out how you can get on common ground together.
Best of luck, and please feel free to let us know how it is going from time to time

Reply to Gareth
Posted by: DLB | 2007/07/24

I did. All that stuck out for me was the fact that 'worrying about your image' makes you gay. People that think like that need to be told otherwise.

Reply to DLB
Posted by: CraZy | 2007/07/24

DLB, that is an unfair comment. Did you read the WHOLE post?

Reply to CraZy
Posted by: DLB | 2007/07/24

You sound like the problem. Why would he be gay because he worries about his image? Maybe he is intimidated by woman? Doesn't mean he is gay. You sound stupid and selfish. Poor kid has gone from bad to worse.

Reply to DLB
Posted by: Nikki | 2007/07/24

There are a lot of other factors involved here and although a child may become what the parents allow him to become, his behavior is not who he is or want to be.

If you do not correct a child when he gets it “wrong” he will grow to believe it is OK. The focus here must not be on what he has learned to accept as right of wrong. What he needs is to know he is loved and that he does not have to feel “kicked out”, “left behind” or “not part of”

It is obvious that his growing up with a broken home as rendered its affect on him and here is where the real problem lies. He needs someone to confine in, someone who will not “let him down” (as happened thus far)

To chance his attitude means to understand what is going on in his head. What are his fears, what makes him content and happy? Should he be gay it will merely compound his behavior and with no one to confine in, he will bottle it up, like a fuse burning towards a load of dynamite.

If you are mom II, then I suggest you find a therapist and go talk to him/her first. Don’t involve the step son until you have obtained counseling in how to deal with a child like him. Getting him to go will need an approach that must not further divide any possible relationship (mother-and-son) you need to have before you can really help him together with a good therapist.


Reply to Nikki
Posted by: LONEWOLF | 2007/07/24

I can remember strong attractions to men for as long as I can remember. Being gay is a complete state of mind, a way of living encompassing all aspects of a person, and not only flirting or sex. He has to indicate (decide??) himself whatever his sexual orientation is. I can really see why you are worried about his general attitude to life, and I doubt whether there is too much that you can do now. The damage has been done, but you might seek professional help to at least understand and deal with his behaviour. I think this question should rather by people who have children themselves, so I am not even going to try. All I can say is that my heart goes out to you. I must also admit that my first thought was that he needs a good smack, but that will not help of course, rather the opposite.


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