Author Topic: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love  (Read 780 times)

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Offline Listlesswanderer

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Intro

I am back after an absence to Susans and re-introduced but without nearly as much context as my initial foray, after years (really a decade and a half) of fear, self-loathing and closeted behaviour--as with all things in life, I return with additional life experience, but unfortunately still very much a lack of clarity of action.

Background

As with many of you, and also distinctly from others, I am a victim of childhood sexual trauma. In my case a contemporary male classmate and a nearly adult female "babysitter". The former event left me feeling like I was secretly homosexual when I had no prior feelings, and the later encounter left me with a lack of confidence when the female refused to talk to me at school (she was also particularly overweight and quite unattractive, which simply added to the blow).

I am the child of a single mother and an abandoner father who hailed from a wealthy family; I still feel sadness at the thought of being wholly rejected by him, despite my receiving the inheritance meant for him and having a son of my own. I do not think it is possible for me to ever fill this void, although I have had one therapist recommend crying about it or "scream" therapy.

My spouse is not in favor of a transition and is deathly afraid of losing her husband. We underwent therapy from a male and female therapist, and the result has been a detente--non-transition and willful ignorance for the most part as far as my wife.

To Transition or not; Not just the question, but also to what would I transition if I did, should this be requisite or suitable

Yes, the title here is intentionally obtuse and vague as this is how I am feeling about my gender journey (or lack thereof); I mightily wrestled with the idea of my crossdressing being a severe deviant behavior causing me to be wholly undeserving of love or respect since I started doing it around age 13, and was able to almost 100% successfully hid it within the closet (at times very, very literally) until very recently--and when I came out it was willingly, to my wife, and then eventually to family.

As I noted in a different post, I put the cork in the bottle and blamed a weight loss drug which is hormonal in nature (yes, I did it to become more feminine, but also to lose weight for high blood pressure and to distract me from a hugely stressful personal deal which has now closed), and de-came out to my family to their relief and satisfaction (even my wife is somewhat satisfied with this explanation--even though the timeline is quite off).

This, however, was after many thousands of dollars in talk therapy with several therapists--one who runs a popular youtube channel.

Therapy?

Segueing over; My first therapist was a male Psychologist, and initially I thought he was closeted transgender (later I found it he just liked Jim Morrison and had lots of plastic surgery, or he is in denial possibly); it was a struggle to get my wife to go, and even harder to get her to talk. She is very unimaginative and I find myself having to draw things for her to get them (not saying she is not smart--we do not have the same education level, which puts me at an advantage since I have an advanced degree, but she also thinks differently than I--more mathematical than linguistic). He was expensive and started doing strange stuff with billing (double-billing, changing session dates), and even though I made great progress with him I had to quit. He was not in favor of any form of transition as I "did not seem the type", but he started promoting the idea of me divorcing my wife which I felt was far beyond the ethical line (and a play at my wallet as he knew this would be very traumatic and likely to keep me in therapy)--more on the wife later...

At the same time I found a young (career-wise) cis-female MFT and saw her with and without my wife. She encouraged gender identity exploration and tried to get my wife more comfortable, but in the end it was a dud since my wife did not want to hear it or go, and felt overpowered by me and the therapist in sessions. During this time I was self-medicating with Marijuana which greatly reduced my anxiety, but made me super loquacious--my wife was not a fan of this.

Around this time I secretly began seeing a therapist with a popular youtube channel. My first session was on the way back home from a car trip to another city in the parking lot of a McDonalds in my car via videochat. The therapist insisted I was 100% transgender right off the bat, and I was incredibly nervous but felt relieved. We had another secret session when my wife was away and I started to feel good about the idea, but also like I was being pushed at warp speed before I was ready. Eventually, I told my wife (I do not like lying and do no engage in extra-marital affairs) and she was initially ok with it, but then began a power struggle--the youtube therapist and my wife were 100% at odds, and the youtube therapist suggested I actually meet a transitioned woman and her cis-gender wife (who were also the parents of many children) in a nearby city. It completely backfired.

My wife heard about all the negative health aspects and began to feel I would be dying young if I transitioned--thus her resistance began in full earnest. Around this time she also found the website of a popular non-transition activist as well and things got really dark and emotionally volatile--so bad I really, really do not want to be back in that space again.

The Now

I have no idea where to go from here. Dysphoria is mostly manageable, even though I dress very infrequently, and it has been mostly de-coupled from prurient impulses (and I feel no need to do the tortuous buy/purge cycle, or seek out an encounter with a male partner, which prior was a source of anxiety in that I never would be able to experience this in an MTF context).

I do not want to deal with the idea of transitioning as far as my wife, but also feel like she and I are not compatible--we met when we were young and I was dealing (very directly) with the illness and death of a family member, and she latched on to me and never let go (getting pregnant with our only child very soon after marriage). I also do not know even if I need to transition--perhaps I am bi-gender (or even as my wife suggests, suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder) or not, and am not content with just existing (even though I feel a bit of dis-association from my self in doing so).

I feel betrayed by therapists, and alienated from my wife (often hoping we don't work out so I can just transition if I want to), but also pressured to be a dad to my son (as mine was a total loss).

I know the idea is that I could transition and somehow also be a "dad" to my son since I was male most of my life, but I do not know if he could take that trauma right now--he has learning disability issues and has a very bad relationship with my wife (he prefers my company), and I just cannot fathom taking away his dad (even though "I" am not going anywhere).

I guess I feel settled into the idea of hoping my marriage fails mid-life so I can be reborn someday I guess (or at least be able to figure this out then when I am carrying less baggage).

Also my wife wants more kids, not sure what to do with that...
Life moves fast? I remember when I couldn't wait for the day at school to end, and now I count in years for my life to change.

Time is all we own, and it is preciously wasting.

--Josephine

If only I had someone to hold my hand...

Offline BlueJaye

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Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2019, 08:09:27 am »
Hi, Listless Wanderer, I want to point out a few things that may help you.

Gender dysphoria has been linked to biological development factors. In the debate over nature vs nurture, the evidence points pretty clearly toward nature.

What you experienced as a child was certainly awful, but I really doubt that it caused your gender dysphoria. Sexual abuse is frequently blamed for people being transgender and it is not true. Before I came out to one of my close friends, I had a  conversation with her where I was trying to feel out where she stood on transgender people. Straightaway she said, "I really feel sorry for them, being transgender is a result of childhood sexual abuse". She got this misinformation from some very dubious sources and I won't name them (I don't want anyone reading their garbage). Many people believe this and I encourage you to draw a distinction between who you are and what other people did to you.

Quite a few of us have experienced abuse of one variety or another. My childhood experience did not include sexual abuse, but a ton of physical and emotional abuse and domestic violence by a father who was both a drug addict and dealer. My wife tried to blame my gender dysphoria on my childhood. But I knew that my gender dysphoria predated the really bad stuff and also that I have always been me regardless of what others have done to me.

Whether you transition or not is a choice only you can make, but don't let your past dictate your future or who you are.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2019, 10:44:01 am by BlueJaye »

Offline supertall_nobody

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Re: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2019, 09:08:01 am »
Listlesswanderer

The others covered the advice side.  I just wanted to say I sympathize with your current day situation.  I have had moments of hoping the marriage would dissolve just like you.  We are in counseling and I have had some bad experiences with her therapist at times (though a bit better in the past couple of visits).  It is amazing how a therapist's own biases can dramatically influence the quality and productiveness of the sessions.  In some cases causing new wounds or exacerbating tensions.

I hope the best for you in your next steps.

Offline Listlesswanderer

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Re: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2019, 02:19:50 pm »
Listlesswanderer

The others covered the advice side.  I just wanted to say I sympathize with your current day situation.  I have had moments of hoping the marriage would dissolve just like you.  We are in counseling and I have had some bad experiences with her therapist at times (though a bit better in the past couple of visits).  It is amazing how a therapist's own biases can dramatically influence the quality and productiveness of the sessions.  In some cases causing new wounds or exacerbating tensions.

I hope the best for you in your next steps.

Thank you Supertall, I certainly appreciate the sympathy--I totally agree about therapist bias--I forgot about a couple of other therapists I have had (1) college therapist--told them about sexual abuse and other deep rooted substantial issues, got no referral and was told to "find someone else who can help with that", obviously her bias was helping with innane things like missing home and studying for finals, I come in with something super heavy and get basically almost zero help--other than being able to voice it aloud for the first in my life (cannot emphasize how huge this is for someone who experienced sexual abuse, at least for me personally)--I was motivated to actually seek therapy by a radio DJ in San Diego who gave a brief talk in between songs about being survivor and that its not shameful (not a therapist...), (2) SD Therapist 1; had me talk to a chair, helped convince me that I was into transgender erotica only, but not in any way "homosexual" (let alone transgender), this type of therapy seemed childish, and was certainly one of the techniques he learned and thought helpful, (2) SD Therapist 2; Probably actually the most harmful therapist I have had, I discussed dressing and other activity and as asked if I did anything "live", I still do not know what that means, I assumed he meant with other partners and said "no"--his bias was that I would not want to be and that it was not desireable to be transgender--he also advised to find someone female and nice (which layed the groundwork for me choosing the wife I did), (3) LA therapist 1; thought he was transgender, found out he was not, promoted unethical billing practices and overcharged me, tried to wedge my wife away when she suggested (rightly) that he was overcharging me, would text me and invite me to his personal events; anti-transgender and anti-homosexual, felt it was trauma-based and that I was simply a man, I had to quit him even though I was starting to fall into the role my wife wants because he pushed divorce (I know ironic, since I kind of want divorce--albeit an amicable, easy no pain divorce--yes, yes, I know; not possible), (4) Youtube therapist; 1000MPH transition now, no option you are 1000% definitely MTF and everything will be 1000% rosy if you get in HRT and start surgeries; bias seemed to be transition, but more darkly I began to feel a sense that she was trying to refer me for procedures for financial gain, I have no proof, but it was just so dismissive and almost more like a BDSM relationship than a therapist/patient (she calls it "coaching", but is a therapist), found out she misrepresented her credentials; had a manic episode caused by weight loss drug (MD prescribed) and sought her help, she ghosted me, so uh yeah :(, (5) Cis-female gender therapist with little experience; super sweet, but manipulable by me in the sense that her agenda was definitely in favor of gender variability, which helped me but alienated my wife--probably the best therapist, even though she overcharged and got snippy when I said my wife wanted me to stop (I noted this already, but redux "you certainly have enough money for therapy" was what she essentially said).

Right now my therapy is a message board I guess....

But to diatribe further, if you consider the summation of a human being, biology, environment, experience, culture, language, intellectual capacity/ability/learning style, sensory ability, language and linguistic ability, and put it all together, then take another human and have them interact the possibilities are endless, and unfortunately the risk of bias or a loss of translation are omnipresent.

Sympathy back to you for certain, I wish I had more time to write confusing dribble but the family is back :)
Life moves fast? I remember when I couldn't wait for the day at school to end, and now I count in years for my life to change.

Time is all we own, and it is preciously wasting.

--Josephine

If only I had someone to hold my hand...

Offline LizK

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Re: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2019, 04:46:42 am »
I am a survivor of child sexual abuse and I can empathise with the difficulty you experience around this. I have also just completed my transition and find myself finally after many years in a state of peace.

One of the first steps I took in sorting my gender issues was to deal with the trauma of the child abuse. I had already seen a therapist at 18 for the gender stuff but had rejected her and her methods...which seemed to consist of making me talk for months and then in once session hitting me with a traumatic re-creation of my abuse along with suggesting I was Transsexual. I walked out of her office and never returned even though I had resolved nothing and simply rejected it all diving head first into a bottle of alcohol where I remained for the next 20 years. It was another 13+ years before I sought help for the child abuse as I had begun to experience further trauma from the events. I went through another two therapists with the last one eventually guiding me to a place of peace over the abuse. During the most traumatic of these sessions I did disassociate for the first time in a number of years which was a very scary turning point in my therapy.

I had hoped dealing with this would help my "Trans" issues and that it would simply just go away but it essentially made no difference and now without being able to blame the child abuse any longer I was forced into accepting that the trans stuff was separate. The child abuse was related only in the sense that maybe I was a little more vulnerable to the abuse because of my gender difficulties and of course predators such as child abusers are quite often good at picking up on these issues.

Maybe you should look at dealings with the childhood abuse stuff first if that hasn't already been dealt with and see how you feel. Finding a gender therapist that you connect with can be difficult but I would encourage you to find someone who can support you if you do decide to start exploring your gender identity further.

Take care

Liz

Offline Listlesswanderer

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Re: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2019, 10:31:58 am »
Hi, Listless Wanderer, I want to point out a few things that may help you.

Gender dysphoria has been linked to biological development factors. In the debate over nature vs nurture, the evidence points pretty clearly toward nature.

What you experienced as a child was certainly awful, but I really doubt that it caused your gender dysphoria. Sexual abuse is frequently blamed for people being transgender and it is not true. Before I came out to one of my close friends, I had a  conversation with her where I was trying to feel out where she stood on transgender people. Straightaway she said, "I really feel sorry for them, being transgender is a result of childhood sexual abuse". She got this misinformation from some very dubious sources and I won't name them (I don't want anyone reading their garbage). Many people believe this and I encourage you to draw a distinction between who you are and what other people did to you.

Quite a few of us have experienced abuse of one variety or another. My childhood experience did not include sexual abuse, but a ton of physical and emotional abuse and domestic violence by a father who was both a drug addict and dealer. My wife tried to blame my gender dysphoria on my childhood. But I knew that my gender dysphoria predated the really bad stuff and also that I have always been me regardless of what others have done to me.

Whether you transition or not is a choice only you can make, but don't let your past dictate your future or who you are.

I always appreciate your perspective BlueJay, for me most of my dysphoria was more of a sense of being overly sensitive, not at all into sports, always being anxious and nervous with other boys and not fully understanding how they interacted. By the time I had experienced sexual abuse around age 12 (I forgot about the father of a friend who took me upstairs to show me male pornography when I mentioned I was nervous about showering in middle school), I had so much anxiety I avoided speaking with friends and started to gravitate to what can only be described as marijuana drug friends who were automatically accepting.

I tried to self-medicate and did experiment with (almost exclusively) marijuana, but while it did help me reduce my anxiety I found myself very much on the wrong path--as I reflect on why, I grew up in a very small town during the late 90's and early aughts and it was extremely accepted and fashionable to use anti-homosexual slurs (I never even heard the terms transgender, etc. until my mid-20's in a sexual psychology course taught, somewhat ironically, by a very out and out anti-transgender psychologist at a junior college; very nearly asked him for help, stopped short--probably was a good event of chance that I did). And so the sexual traumas plus the shame of not being able to speak it aloud to anyone due to such a perceived sense of it being potentially something that the entire town could somehow become aware of and shame me for, only added to my sense of needing to withdraw from people.

I cannot imagine what you went through as a child, although, during my experimental drug phase I could definitely understand how things could get--I had a friend whose mother's boyfriend burst in the room drunk and broke a corded phone over his head with really no provocation; saw my mother's daughter's friends using in houses where the oven was used as a heater and women would walk around in underwear at all times of the day, often slipping into rooms with strange men.

You are certainly right not letting the past dictate my sense of self or what I can be, not that its so truly tremendous, but simply being on a message board like this has been such a freeing experience I could simply not have imagined doing as little as two years ago.

It's so nice that you are able to have friends, I have had friends in the past, but most are essentially either gone or more work acquaintances; I might try to find a support group where I am again, the closest one I found was quite far and impracticable--you are motivating me to try again.

To stop for a moment about myself (sorry; pent up after 8 months of ignoring this problem)--have you been able to make any substantial steps toward transition considering your wife's position?

At one time I was able to do certain stealth things which may seem minor, but that resulted in feelings I cannot even describe (body hair removal, out of the way clothing, nail painting, and more substantial presentation in the home), and a marked reduction in anxiety and suicidal ideation (sorry to slip it in, but it is pretty constant except when I present as female); but it just became too much with my wife and we were heading towards divorce (which I do understand may ultimately be necessary). I stopped to preserve the family for now, with the knowledge that down the road I would have to revisit (I have a history of this, I spent 10 years without friends or romantic attachments to complete undergrad magna cum laude and go to professional school--so I kind of go dormant sometimes I guess; right now I have to complete a large business deal involving family and so I don't really want to move forward with much until that's done).

Returning to reality--yes transitioning would make me a more functional person internally, even though I can put on the proper show for work and everyone without it, for me on a personal level it would be better--if only society was not so Orwellian still I doubt we would have to engage in these cloaked conversations on this beautiful (yet antique by technology standards) forum.
Life moves fast? I remember when I couldn't wait for the day at school to end, and now I count in years for my life to change.

Time is all we own, and it is preciously wasting.

--Josephine

If only I had someone to hold my hand...

Offline Listlesswanderer

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Re: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2019, 10:45:06 am »
I am a survivor of child sexual abuse and I can empathise with the difficulty you experience around this. I have also just completed my transition and find myself finally after many years in a state of peace.

One of the first steps I took in sorting my gender issues was to deal with the trauma of the child abuse. I had already seen a therapist at 18 for the gender stuff but had rejected her and her methods...which seemed to consist of making me talk for months and then in once session hitting me with a traumatic re-creation of my abuse along with suggesting I was Transsexual. I walked out of her office and never returned even though I had resolved nothing and simply rejected it all diving head first into a bottle of alcohol where I remained for the next 20 years. It was another 13+ years before I sought help for the child abuse as I had begun to experience further trauma from the events. I went through another two therapists with the last one eventually guiding me to a place of peace over the abuse. During the most traumatic of these sessions I did disassociate for the first time in a number of years which was a very scary turning point in my therapy.

I had hoped dealing with this would help my "Trans" issues and that it would simply just go away but it essentially made no difference and now without being able to blame the child abuse any longer I was forced into accepting that the trans stuff was separate. The child abuse was related only in the sense that maybe I was a little more vulnerable to the abuse because of my gender difficulties and of course predators such as child abusers are quite often good at picking up on these issues.

Maybe you should look at dealings with the childhood abuse stuff first if that hasn't already been dealt with and see how you feel. Finding a gender therapist that you connect with can be difficult but I would encourage you to find someone who can support you if you do decide to start exploring your gender identity further.

Take care

Liz

Hello Liz, thank you so much for your reply!

I sussed something out of your post that may be extremely helpful to my situation--I mentioned to my wife last night that I really need to explore my gender issue in therapy and that we need therapy as a couple and she was open to it. I now avoid any talk of an actual transition with her as she is 100% interested in me continuing to be as I am--but that does not mean that burying everything as I used to is a good strategy.

She was open to therapy again, but nonetheless if I go straight to a gender therapist she will likely become nervous and obstructive--finding someone that specializes in childhood sexual trauma, however, would be something she would definitely support (because as noted by BlueJay, she is definitely in the camp that any potential transgender identity is irrevocably tied to my childhood sexual trama); and it would be a better approach as well to handle that issue more explicitly.

I have explored it in therapy, but not deeply and specifically (except I tried this type of EMDR therapy I think it was called with a light that makes you sweep back and forth with no result, and certainly not with a therapist specializing in that area. That said, I think the trauma itself was horrible--but having to hide myself in a small town as far as being different, I think that is really more of what I am dealing with--that feeling of living in a judgmental police state where you cannot express yourself, even to say something aloud let alone present as female.

This started the cycle of closeted behavior that buried everything so deep in me that it took the deaths of my grandparents (anti-transgender for certain) who I lived with during college and professional school, for me to even begin truly exploring actually being transgender. For the most part prior I was seeking confirmation in therapy that I was not transgender.

This was unfortunate because my own anxiety bias was not only picked up on by several therapists, but encouraged by them (mostly male therapists), female therapists have been opposite--thus leading me to desire a more neutral therapist who can truly help me determine what I actually need to do.
Life moves fast? I remember when I couldn't wait for the day at school to end, and now I count in years for my life to change.

Time is all we own, and it is preciously wasting.

--Josephine

If only I had someone to hold my hand...

Offline LizK

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Re: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2019, 12:03:40 am »
I understand the level of complexity this kind of trauma can lead too. I remember talking to my therapist(gender) about the child abuse and we even explored it in the context of Trans stuff but it lead to a dead end as I no longer carry the trauma I once did about it and the time lines whilst close do not match up. I wanted to be a girl long before I was abused and can trace it back to 4-5 years old the abuse was 12-13 and I was already struggling with my internalised gender issues. I did use the abuse as an excuse for my gender issues for many years until it was pointed out to me they were separate which despite all my conflating of the two the timings didn't add up.

It destroyed the neat little package I had formed in my head where I was able to not only blame the child abuse for my being Trans but it also gave me somewhere to focus my anger about it. It was so long ago now that to try and blame me being trans on abuse when I was 12 that I have long ago resolved was futile as it means nothing to me now and is just an event that happened in my life, which I don't think about, except when I chat with fellow survivors. If you do still suffer from unresolved issues of child abuse then I would highly recommend you dealing with them...it is personal and complex but worthwhile to help obtain the peace we are all striving for.

Offline Listlesswanderer

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Re: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2019, 03:05:26 am »

It destroyed the neat little package I had formed in my head where I was able to not only blame the child abuse for my being Trans but it also gave me somewhere to focus my anger about it. It was so long ago now that to try and blame me being trans on abuse when I was 12 that I have long ago resolved was futile as it means nothing to me now and is just an event that happened in my life, which I don't think about, except when I chat with fellow survivors. If you do still suffer from unresolved issues of child abuse then I would highly recommend you dealing with them...it is personal and complex but worthwhile to help obtain the peace we are all striving for.

It's odd, all of the years of my being terrified that I might be homosexual (not really dreaming that I could even possibly be something as foreign to me as transgender) were very derivative of the sexual abuse I feel, but as I have told more and more people it has gradually lost most of its power (I was terrified that the knowledge I had sexual contact with someone of the same biological sex would be deemed worthy of the strongest of shameful opprobrium; which has consistently turned out to be false, particularly since it was abusive in nature).

The impasse I have is the feeling of terminating my male self which my wife and son seem so dependent on from a role model perspective, and also from an economic perspective (my boss has made transgender jokes, but also puts out some odd signals that make me wonder what is really going on with him) and letting my family down.

From an emotional point of view though, one of the things I just cannot seem to get over is the idea that my birth father simply abandoned me with little conscience. He never had other children, and once I was formally adopted and no longer a child-support burden, showed no interest in seeing me when I visited his parents, and when I was in tough spot and called him (for what reason I do not know) not even to ask for help, but just to see what he thought (it was involving the care of his parents, which he should have been doing, but I was) he immediately began telling me how there was simply no way he could help.

That void I just have not been able to fill or heal, and I just don't get it. I just feel like if I transitioned he would be someone saying "yup, I knew it, something wrong with that kid." or some other nonsense. My eyes well up every time I think of him, and he was nothing to me in practical terms, but my mother was very emotionally abusive (she used to pound her fist in my face and tell me about her romantic issues) and my childhood was rough--maybe I mourn him not being there?

This also connects to the sexual abuse for me too since I told my mother about it indirectly and she nonetheless put me in harms way.

I know, I gotta get back in therapy. Working on it, working on it...
Life moves fast? I remember when I couldn't wait for the day at school to end, and now I count in years for my life to change.

Time is all we own, and it is preciously wasting.

--Josephine

If only I had someone to hold my hand...

Offline Listlesswanderer

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Re: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2019, 07:39:12 am »
Today

It's been a rough week, career events (neutral for me luckily, for the most part) have led to substantial stress, and while my wife has oddly been encouraging some female expression, she has made a couple of comments that bothered me.

When I had been more out, and more leaning towards transition I came up with a female name similar to my own, let's call it Leona (not the name, but for anonymity I'll stick with it), and with my sudden and unexpected career stress, which I am handling well, my wife said, "well I guess Leona is going to come out again, huh?"

This is due to to her theory (which I admit at times to get her to relax I encouraged) that my feminine self is triggered by stress and is in fact a coping mechanism. I actually thought this for years, and then I realized that when I was living more towards female (dressing most days in the home, changing my mannerisms with my wife, contemplating HRT and actual transition) I had a sense of calm I never had before. I am substantially anxious and often depressive, occasionally manic (unfortunately, a weight loss hormone triggered a severe episode which makes me concerned about HRT), and desperately in the need of a break from working for a while (particularly since financially, with some life adjustments I could take some time off without a real issue) in order to get myself sorted out.

General Question

Aside from how I am feeling, which I acknowledge is something that is really just borne of a selfish need to express myself, I had a disparate thought:

I began manifesting a tendency to present as female (privately only) at age 12 after several sexual abuse traumas, and my feminine gender expression prior was not completely absent (I preferred to have female friends, was anxious around male friends, fantasized about being a female mud-wrestler--a relative watched some type of event when I was 4-5 and it stuck with me for years, but otherwise did not dress as a girl or express a desire to--that said I also did not have any idea that was even possible, I may have some form of ASD or something similar (as my mother recently told me), but it seems that my gender identity was not necessarily immediately apparent at birth.

And so to the question--is it likely that I am truly a MTF individual, or am I more likely just a bit gender-fluid?

Does the fact that my gender expression was later, and somewhat coincident with sexual abuse trauma mean that my female gender identity is not derivative of my nature, but something environmentally contrived? My wife and mother feel I am less transgender, and more of a crossdresser. I feel I am more transgender, but not all the way MTF. I can be very rough and firm and ambitious--admittedly, not actually gendered traits, but in my field these are often more male-like qualities that I fear losing in transition (not internally, but due to external factors) that I associate with my male format.

I vacillate so much and feel such polarization in myself, I am not even sure. I have to admit, in a vacuum without responsibility and family attachments, I would likely transition (probably everything but SCS) and probably would prefer to be in a relationship with a transwoman or male of similar intellect (whatever that means--my wife gets tired of my talking and ideas, so that's hard...)

I am meandering a bit, but as I think about it--if I were alone it would be an easy decision, it's the crushing weight of the judgement of others that are holding me back. As LizK described, I have faced my childhood sexual trauma's head on, explaining what happened to my mother was huge because I felt she had some knowledge of the situation but was not able to help me, and now at least she knows why I did not talk to her for a decade--I needed to heal.

And so, as I have gotten farther from the sexual abuse I have become more affirmed in my trans identity, not the other way. It seems like an inexorable path, but one that has to wait until my family is more mature I guess--I have seen this in other marriages I have learned about where a spouse is either dead-set against or mostly against a spouse transitioning (my spouse is mostly against).

I had completely stopped everything, but now am feeling like I need to at least do something (even if my wife will just blame career stress), maybe it is time to start again...

 ???
Life moves fast? I remember when I couldn't wait for the day at school to end, and now I count in years for my life to change.

Time is all we own, and it is preciously wasting.

--Josephine

If only I had someone to hold my hand...

Offline Listlesswanderer

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Re: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2019, 04:17:04 am »
Talking to myself, but nonetheless had what seemed like exciting news to me. I have had trouble expressing what I "am" as far as transness and I think I have a good idea after reading something about being (I apologize if this terms is not what I understand it to be) transfeminine and so much of the article resonated with me.

I have a semi-strong masculine side that is very effective, executive-like, the doer side of me. And a very strong influence from my feminine side, but this is expressed only secretly. And when the "she" in me is out the freedom is like a sort of tonic--but then I feel the dread of anyone every seeing me like I feel complete and it just makes it feel so very low; and so over the years I developed a tolerance and had the courage to come out to close family (and a couple of friendly strangers) and then the damage to my marriage were just too much. My wife was getting ready to divorce me and start a custody battle, and she was not above (her dad sold used cars) leveraging things against me (or at least she made this explicit threat and started doing passive aggressive things like calling me "Maddy" derisively, inputing my name in her phone as "Maddy", and just pouting in general.

And so even on the home front, the safety zone, I had friction and I had fear contorted into subtle hatred centered on my "transness" (whatever that really means, I don't fully know, I just know it is embedded in the fabric of my neurons and won't ever truly leave me without being actually, physically, excised with precision). I don't want this, not really, I am just a honest human in the end, one who realizes what I am and wants to actually live and express myself as I am, and with realization of how hateful our society is, I just have simply clammed up.

I have a boss deliberately making jokes about people like me for no apparent reason, and this is when I am thinking of coming out at work. Truly thinking, well... maybe??? [shrugs], I might not get let go? The jokes certainly didn't help either. And I don't want people to feel sorry for me here, we all are suffering from something, humans, and us particular humans; but it does help to have a place to make physicial and public, the nature of my feelings--even the ugly ones that I don't want people usually to see. I can leave them here and come back and know they are real, even if I want to lock them away as a "wierdness", a "transness" or perhaps (I have limited knowledge of the terms as far as precision) "Queerness", I kind of like personally, using the expressive self-descriptor of "other" or "the feeling of living in a police state, where your identity could destroy your life"--that's how I feel. And I know many of us may feel like this too, but we have to at least be somewhat joyous that we live in a time where we are actually even known. Just that is huge.

I grew up somewhere in a small town, and I never heard of anyone like us--except in a negative or punitive cinematic context--which I still see even now, both anti and pro, as commentary on the zeitgeist of our acceptability--and I struggled.

I struggle now, and will tomorrow and forever--at least that is my feeling. I don't want to misconstrue this post as activism, it is not, but in reality a lot of our feelings are just forced on us by others, and until that truly changes (and education seems like a useful tool that is working, I realize that society needs to heal its own bigotry for us to be able to blossom into what we really are, whatever on earth that truly is--I don't even know how to really put it into words because we are just such complex beings that are the product of a truly amazing process--whether scripture or science is the true story--and so I am taking a lifetime to come to terms with myself in the context of our society (which luckily seems to somehow be getting better one step forward and one half one back, at a time--even if there are those who resist or rollback such progress.

I don't know if getting older just makes me less worried about the perspectives of others (I have many great acquaintances, but exceedingly few true friends outside my (lovely but, yes, difficult) wife, but I feel like I am just getting ready at a pool; where there is a diving board, jutting out past the pale blue water, and everyone stops and looks--I am getting ready, ready to jump off the diving board. And I put on my gear, and I start to climb and then I back off. The next week I do it again, same thing; each time I just go a little, tiny, bit more. And now I actually have stood at the end of the diving board, and turned back.

Hmmmph, I mean that was scary! I don't even know how I pulled it off except I have a degree in persuasion I suppose, or people just rely on me, but I came out and then went back in for everyone except my mother and wife. I just couldn't get over the edge, it just was too much, and I started to feel like a man again, and I do now and its just not quite right either way. I just cannot be fully one or the other, because they are shorthand for different concepts in my mind--acting this way is feminine and this way is masculine; and so I get turned around and don't know which is right, and feel that external events make me feel what I call "negative-feminine" where I am disparaged or set aside and I feel vulnerable and associate this with (not necessarily at all correctly) with being viewed as feminine (it's almost like an internalized safety device to make me feel shame that my behaviour does not conform, but that's not my fault!)

I believe (yes it may be wrong who really knows) in evolution and I believe we are the products of billions of years of it. So who knows what's rolling around in that attic of mind, informing us of our hopes, desires, dreams and fears, but in my mind, I know a far away tempest is roiling, at times furiously (luckily for me this is very rare), moderately (a common state without anti-anxiety measures) or softly. I always do think about, and it has become more normal, but still just too hard.

I just cannot take that plunge yet, but maybe, just maybe soon? The egg is beat up and scrambled!

Love Josie, (facepalm)
Life moves fast? I remember when I couldn't wait for the day at school to end, and now I count in years for my life to change.

Time is all we own, and it is preciously wasting.

--Josephine

If only I had someone to hold my hand...

Offline caritas

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Re: Spousal Detente; Non-Transition; Dis-association; Kids; Money and Love
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2019, 03:28:10 am »
Your wife's behavior sounds absolutely awful. It sounds like you need and want to transition in some way, but at the same time need and want to be a parent, and she has threatened to try to take your child away if you pursue the path of being out as your true self (which also is still being discovered and may change). It may be coming from a place of ignorance, intolerance, or fear, but regardless of the motivation, what she is doing and/or has done is horrid.

I do think in general that kids are the most flexible, accepting, and understanding parties when it comes to transitioning, but obviously losing custody would be devastating to both you and your child.

That, plus using "Maddy" derisively, when Maddy is the name of someone inspiring and brave, to be honored and loved, not derided.

I think I would have some kind of mental breakdown if I were experiencing that kind of abuse.

I don't know what country or state/province you live in, but perhaps you could talk to an attorney or other expert about what custody result(s) you might reasonably expect if a custody battle does occur?

Also, there may be some things that you can do now that would increase your chances of getting custody such that if you get divorced in a year or two you'll be much more likely to retain custody. I don't know the laws where you are but it could be things like making and going to your child's doctor's appointments, making their lunch for school, making them breakfast... all the things that, in short, constitute "providing care" ... and even if you aren't in a position to do the majority of those things (like if, for example, you work a lot and your partner is a stay-at-home parent) even doing as much as you can on a regular basis may tilt the balance and allow you to get a more favorable custody agreement than you would have otherwise.

Well, again, I don't know your jurisdiction so that may be completely wrong... but a lawyer in your area ought to know.

It's great that you have a positive relationship with your kid!

And: as dreadful as things like Divorce and Maybe Losing Custody sound, it also sounds like you're living in a kind of hell right now. I'm not pushing any rash moves, or any moves at all, but I hope you know that neither of those things is The End of the World if it comes to that. Wouldn't want you to lose your sanity or lose your self-love and self-respect. You are amazing, and don't believe any boss, spouse, or society who tries to tell you otherwise. They are only doing so out of their own insecurities... fear of the truth... that the bedrock of their own identities, based on ideas like Gender Is And Should Be Rigid And Based On Genitals, is actually a fiction. That must be hard on them, but it's no justification for being awful toward you.