Author Topic: Coming out to my mother  (Read 170 times)

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Offline Lunarite

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Coming out to my mother
« on: February 05, 2019, 02:28:57 pm »
So, I'm planning on coming out to my mother. Soonish, I hope/fear?

Wall of text. Sorry!

She knows I've struggled with depression and its ilk, and that there's at least one known cause that I specifically haven't told her about. She hasn't pushed me on this, and accepts that I may not want to talk to her about everything, especially where, for all she knows, it could be about her.
And, well, some of it kind of is. I think about being a disappointment to her, in all sorts of ways. That isn't a thing that's easy to talk about.
But, of course, there's also the gender thing.

Late last year, she noticed the after-effects of electro. I shrugged it off a couple of times and changed the subject. But she came back to it, out of concern I'm sure - "Is it eczema?", "Maybe it's an allergic reaction", "You should see a doctor". I got all tangled up, verbally, and managed to tell her something along the lines of "it's intentional" and, by my attitude, that there was something really awkward going on. There wasn't a good way to recover from fairly innocent questioning suddenly taking a turn for the serious.
In the uncomfortable following period, she asked, "Do you really think you could say anything that would surprise me?"
And that's... trying to be supportive, I think. But, well, yeah, I think this might be pretty surprising.

On a further occasion, she pressed further. "What was it that you couldn't say last time?", "Do you want me to guess?"
All amicable. But, wow, that's quite a question. There's this tantalising possibility that maybe she does know, that maybe this would be just a case of getting it in the open.
But if she doesn't, and has effectively prepared herself for some other imagined outcome, well, that's just going to make it worse for both of us.
I'll admit, I'm curious as to what she thinks might be going on*. But I think it has to be me that opens up.

I put her off. I said I'd explain, just not now. In the new year - yep, that's this year now - after Christmas and seeing family and so on was done, to avoid weirdness a bit.
With the above exchanges, there's an acknowledged secret now. Neither unspoken nor overt. I think I have to do this now, even if only because she will ask again.
I was sort of hoping to already be many months into hormones before I mentioned it. As though it being a fait accompli would make it easier. But, NHS waiting lists being what they are, that's not happened yet**.

I don't know how to say it.
When I spoke to my dad, I told him that I had myself referred to a gender identity clinic. The specifics have gone unsaid, even in conversations since. "I want to be a woman" is not a comfortable thing to say, though I know that this is understood between us. But then, I spoke to him when I did because I was going through a bit of a breakdown and couldn't plan a speech to save my life. And, fortunately for me, his partner works in a gender identity clinic, so I knew that he'd understand the idea.
I guess I'll say much the same thing again. I'm hoping she'll ask questions. I think I can answer questions.
My counsellor suggested that I should provide her with resources to learn about things. That feels particularly strange and impersonal. And I know that she knows the basic concept, and I know she knows how to use the internet!

I'm not totally certain how she'll take it.
We have a fairly good relationship, I think. And I think of her as a nice person.
But this is a big thing, an unusual thing.
It's been a while since she mentioned grandchildren, so I think she realises that's not going to happen anyway. It never was, though, whatever biology had to say. Maybe she's accepted my choice on that, or maybe it's just because I've been single for quite some time now.
She has told me, on many occasions, how glad she was when I was born that I was a boy. That she wanted that so much that she prepared herself for the opposite. But this, I believe, was about worry for my opportunities in life - that her early adulthood was difficult, and she preferred the idea of a child who had things easier than she did.
Similarly, I think (without evidence) that she was relieved when I brought a girlfriend home to meet her. Not because she would have disapproved if I was gay, but because that would imply that I would face more adversity than otherwise.
Transgender, female, lesbian - yeah, that's not what you'd choose for an easy life, and somehow that makes me feel I failed her hopes there, throwing away the advantages I had.
In an (even more) irrational way, I feel somehow that my rejection of maleness is somehow a slight against her. She gave birth to a boy, and here I am, spurning that. I know that doesn't make sense, but there you go.
And her husband, well. He's not the most progressive person. I'm not after his approval, but well, when I visit my mother, I visit him too.

Sometime soon, I figure I'll arrange a long dog walk.
Gets us away from the ears of others, away from her husband for long enough to talk. Gives a bit of pleasant distraction. Lets me escape afterwards, too, no matter how it goes. No being trapped for hours afterwards, making small talk in the aftermath of this bombshell.

I'm nervous as anything, but some small part of me will perhaps be glad to get this into the open.


* I don't think that I broadcast this unconsciously. I hope I don't. To me, the signs seem obvious - big, awkward, personal thing that is somehow related to facial skin irritation? I can't think of anything else that would connect the two, but then, I have insider knowledge. The only other comparable thing that could potentially be expected is my coming out as gay, but I'm pretty sure that's a non-starter, to the extent that she referred to me as "heterosexual" (and yeah, that was an odd choice of phrasing)! I mean, I suppose I am gay, but not in that way! (Even to me, pretty confusing to think about things in terms of gay/straight when transgenderism is involved)

** I know I should be accelerating things myself, but that's a whole other thing.

Offline Alaskan Danielle

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Re: Coming out to my mother
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2019, 03:17:27 pm »
@Lunarite
Thank you for your posting and for sharing.

Personally for me, coming out to my family, especially my parents was the most difficult thing that I have ever done.  Even though I did not gain their acceptance, it still felt like a big heavy weight was lifted off of my shoulders.   Subsequent coming-out announcements to friends, co-workers, acquaintances were then much easier by comparison... and each time I came-out the process became less stressful.

As I stated above, coming out to parents can be the most difficult task....  after all, they gave birth to a son or daughter and now that is changing. 
I found that even though my mother still does not accept me, she is a lot more receptive than my dad...  after 4+ years my dad still calls me by my dead name and uses incorrect pronouns and my brief conversations, if any, are just about non-existent.....   
....but it is important for me to personally realize that he is my Dad and will always be my Dad.  While I can not control his reactions and words, I must control mine.  I make a point to try to not speak to him in anger and say and do things that I will regret later in life.  I will always love and respect my parents, they deserve that from me....   again, no regrets ....  NO angry actions and words and NO angry behavior.  It is difficult but it is my desire to show my love and respect all the time with them.  Then if later in life something happens to them, I will not have remorse and regret my behavior... this is important to me and my self-worth.

Whether I gain acceptance or not from others is not as important to me as no longer having to live hiding my secret.  I therefore can then live much more freely and openly without fear of discovery.   A big load off of my mind for sure.

Wishing you well in your tasks ahead.
Hugs and well wishes,
Danielle

Offline Lynne

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Re: Coming out to my mother
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2019, 05:25:13 pm »
Oh Lunarite, it sounds like you are going though almost the exact same thing I was going through before I came out to my mother. I tried to tell her so many times but I just couldn't. After struggling for a long time I decided to write a letter explaining the situation.
I placed the letter on my desk and called her from work and told her to read the letter which explains my problem. I was nervous as hell afterwards, I could barely concentrate at work and it took an unusually long time for me to get home from that night shift.
After breakfast we talked... She assured me she loves me no matter what and asked some questions. I felt so relieved after our talk, I slept like a baby.

It was still really hard for me to talk to her about my deepest feelings so she never really understood me completely and there was a period when we had a lot of arguments but in the end our relationship got better than ever before but not as good as it could have been if I were better at explaining my feelings.
As it still felt awkward for me to talk about trans issues with her, I missed the opportunity to really bond with her as her daughter before she died, and I regret that every day.

Be open with her, make an effort to share your deepest feelings, feelings that she may be able to connect to and understand.
For example I have never told my mother how much it pains me that I can't give birth and I know that this is something that she could relate to because my parents tried for a long time to have a baby before I was born.

Offline Lunarite

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Re: Coming out to my mother
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2019, 02:10:17 pm »
Well, time to give this an update and justify that wall of text.

As of two days ago, it is done. It was fine. Good, in fact.
We had a fairly long talk about several aspects of it all, how they affect me, and just about related subjects in general. Once it got started, I didn't feel any difficulty at all. It seemed like she didn't even skip a beat. I mostly expected acceptance, but I didn't expect quite how normal she'd make it.
She let me know that, although this wasn't precisely expected, she's always known that I wasn't exactly male. She has had her own reflections on gender identity, which gave us a bit of common ground on a personal level.

The only slight oddness, however tiny, was when I tried to make my sexuality known. Or confirmed, or whatever. Not because it would matter, as such, but because it completes the picture. I spoke about when I was younger and wondered if I might be gay*, which turned out to be true, but in a very different way. She sort of shut down on that, simply telling me she doesn't believe that anyone is 100% gay or straight. Despite having only just spoken about a gay** friend of hers. That sex makes up such a small proportion of people's lives, labels needn't be concerning. And this isn't negative, of course. It's an enlightened, positive view. But it sidesteps the fact that that's how I identify myself. And, although it's not the sort of thing I'd discuss outright with a parent, I might not be having sex all the time***, but it's still an important thing to me.

Such a relief to have had that talk. I'm sure it will be revisited over time, as the facts of the matter become ever more prominent in my life. I have someone else to speak to, and a little more support. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but I wish I had spoken to her so much sooner, or at least been less worried in the lead-up.

I was buzzing for some time afterwards - it was a big deal, and strangely tiring. Then, the next day, I was given a date for my first GIC consultation. Both great things, but I am pretty far from relaxed!

So there you go, this topic gets some happy closure!


* Can't totally explain this. I was only interested in girls, so it seems a strange line of thought. I make sense of it now that it's a different thing to be interested in girls as a girl.

** Or rather, lesbian. But around parents and other people I wouldn't discuss sex with, it somehow seems to be a dirty word. I should try to get used to it, because describing myself as 'gay' will cause confusion.

*** Well, for some time now, at all...

Offline SapphireFlames

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Re: Coming out to my mother
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2019, 03:34:46 pm »
Wow, just wow!

First of all congrats on the big step(s), and this is so eerily similar to my situation it is almost frightening. 

I am still in the closet to my parents at the moment (and pretty much everyone but my therapist), and my mom sounds very much like your mom.  She has always seemed to know that something is up, and since I haven't had a girlfriend in forever, she keeps asking when I will find another, but then says "or boyfriend, either one works".  That always makes me smile a bit inside, that maybe if she is accepting of "her son" being gay perhaps me being her daughter might also be OK, and the fact that I am attracted to other women so she also isn't technically wrong in assuming my homosexuality.  She has said a lot of times how she wished she had a daughter, and every time I hear it I feel so guilty that I have been lying about who I am for so long, but I also am holding out hope she will get to finally meet her daughter soon.

My father is a whole different story.  He comes from a very conservative family, but he has been married to my mom for 30+ years now and I think is nearly as "progressive" as she is on almost everything.  I have no idea what to expect from him when I come out, but I am hoping for the best, I know he has loved me through many other tough times.
Luckily my relationship with both is very good, albeit a bit strained as I have needed to lean on them for the past year while I try to sort myself out.

Thank you so much for sharing, it gives me a lot of hope that everything can turn out well for me too.  Good luck with the GIC!

-Sky
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Offline LizK

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Re: Coming out to my mother
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2019, 11:44:33 pm »
Hi Lunarite

You are right it was a wall of text however It was more of a skip over a low fence once you start to read it  ;D...As I finished your first post I was apprehensive (due to my own experiences) that the outcome may not have been as you had hoped but there you go and prove how very wrong our expectations can be. I am so glad for you that it went the way it did. Having had such as odd response from my own parents I know how daunting it can all seem. We build it up in our heads and have expectations as to how it will go and then whamo they blow you away and don't behave at all like you expect.

It's great to know that your Mum is certainly supportive, mine simply said she loved me and thought I was brave....since then its been kind of strained and my father responded with the strangest response I have ever heard...he said to me after the initial I still love you that "I knew what you were going to tell us". Long story short.... If you had told me 4 years ago that my parents would barely have anything to do with me a few years from then I would have said "NO way Not my parents" But here we are and that is the truth...I don't really know why and probably never will.

I hope things continue to go along nicely with your parents but I guess what I am saying in my long winded way, is that sometimes these things take on unexpected or unforseen twists and turns and don't go as expected so being prepared will stand you in good stead...as the saying goes "anything that can and will happen" I am really lucky in that I have my two daughters and my wife who are all fiercely supportive of me. I hope you continue on you way with the support of both your parents. You have clearly given this lots of thought and I admire your honesty and straight forward approach.

Take care

Liz
Transition Begun 25 September 2015
HRT since 17 May 2016,
Fulltime from 8 March 2017,
GCS 4 December 2018
Voice Surgery 01 February 2019

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