Thursday, March 29, 2012

Therapy the Fourth

Interestingly, my dressing root causes, as my wife saw them, did not come up much this week.  I did mention that I considered last week's session "an intervention, not couples' therapy."  The therapist said nothing in response to this.  After the session, my wife said "did you notice she didn't argue with your statement?"  I said yes, and asked what she thought that meant.  She said "she knew arguing would be pointless."  I said "I read it as agreement."

During the week, my wife said that she isn't interested in helping me dress because she feels she's contributing to my "reliving my trauma."  It seems that so far I have not shaken her belief that I do this because I thrive on humiliation, trying to recreate some childhood abuse.

And I just now made an interesting connection: a few days ago, my wife decided I should try to do stand-up comedy.  She said she thought I'd enjoy it, and I could do it in a dress if I wanted.

There's a story which is attributed to Edmund Kean, a Shakespearean actor who died over a century ago.  He was on his deathbed and a friend said "this must be very hard for you."  The actor said "dying is easy.  Comedy is hard."

I'd love to get up on a stage and make people laugh.  I also know that most likely would not be the result, the stress of trying to get the exact wording of each bit would probably kill me, and the effort to find the right comic voice would be beyond my ability.

But she kept repeating that I should try this and I think I now know why ~ she thinks this is a socially acceptable way for me to humiliate myself.

See?  Writing is therapeutic.  I wouldn't have figured this out if I wasn't writing about it.

With dressing more in the background this week, I think I see much bigger problems, and ones without solutions.

I hope there are solutions, but I think she sees an endgame and she is starting to panic at the thought.  She mentioned a few times how bad divorce is for "even grown children."

I'll be back to writing about the horrors and trauma of going out with Sharon and Cynthia tomorrow. :)


  1. If I remember correctly, your wife does not want your sons to know. Maybe it is time that they were told. If, as I suspect, your sons are accepting then perhaps some of these issues might go away. She is reflecting her "humiliation" back on to you and by making you hide it, it only reinforces humiliation. If it's out in the open and there are limited consequences (if any) then perhaps her theory will collapse like a house of canards

  2. She is trying to tell the cat to change its stripes, never going to happen. I agree that as hard as it may be, the immediate family needs to know all. Once that happens, and it could go either way, but the odds are that family love trumps. It very well could bring the so around to more of a understanding role. Best wishes, and it will get better.

  3. Divorce is bad even for grown children? I can't imagine where she got that from. It is sounding more and more like my theory is correct, and she realizes that if you divorce, there will be nothing preventing you from telling your sons about Meg. Only by staying married to you can she exert the emotional pressure needed for you to keep Meg from them. Married or not, she is scared to death of the world (not just your sons) finding out about you.

    Once your sons are grown, they will (hopefully) want both of you to live happy and satisfying lives, and it won't matter one whit to them whether that is best accomplished by you two living as one or two households.

  4. Meg,
    I’d recommend, find a therapist that understands a transgender person. Go to see this person before you meet with Her therapist. I sure you can find one who has had to deal with the same questions or problems. It seems as (you mentioned) that she may “stacked the book” so to say, against you. I remember, my wife seeing a therapist, years ago, who told her it was common (in the 60’s) to blame every “social”~ problem on childhood trauma or abuse. So the book she’s reading is full of ancient philosophy.

  5. This is all very sad, often when there are difficulties in a marriage the advise is to go to counselling, at the moment this doesn't seem to be helping much. Leaving aside any religious or financial reasons for staying married surely the sensible approach is to look at what you both want out of life and then to assess whether you can achieve this better together or apart.
    I do hope it works out for you and that you can stay together, and be more together.

  6. Oh Meg,

    Anything I can say is filtered by my life and how I feel things. But I can infer a lot from what so many of us have in common.

    So does this resonate? When you get dressed and feel and see yourself as Meg does the "buzz" of (huge air quotes here) "dysphoria" reduce? Do you find yourself more comfortable and more at ease with who you feel like and and what you see in the mirror? If you can explain to them what happens in your head then you should be able to; A) write a really good book about gender issues, and B) help them both see that there is no self humiliation involved. You don't go hang around in bars trying to relive some strange scene, and I've known gals who do just that, you go out with friends and have a meal and chat. Is your goal to go to the makeup counter at Nordstroms and have someone help you look like an age appropriate woman? Then let them know your goal isn't to be heckled and pointed at but to go about your business with a calm quiet glow that bouys you along. You just want to be proud.

    I know that the hardest thing about gender issues and our "peculiar actions" to explain is WHY. I sure wish I could articulate it and I can't really. All I know is that when I stop worrying about getting caught, or hassled, or noticed my personal "dysphoria buzzing" drops down to a little harmonic hum. I toodle along and do errands and forget that I live most of my life as a guy. Well, until I find that my waist nipper is a bit too nippy or my hair gets in my eye and it makes my mascara run or some such stupid thing. I've never met a trans person who wants to be humiliated, and I'm betting your therapist knows this.

    But again, this is just what happens between my silly ears. Tell them what you genuinely feel because, no matter what it is, it's real.

  7. Hi Meg--from each of your descriptions, your therapy sessions sound like two against one. That's not therapy. You should tell the therapist this and then find someone, as stated in another comment, who understands transgender issues. I'm troubled that the therapist wouldn't have responded to your description of last session as intervention, or even asked why you felt that way. From your description it sounds as if your "therapist" isn't really interested in exploring your feelings but rather sitting in judgement.


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