1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

I don't know if I can handle the pain she'll go through

Discussion in 'For Parents and Family Members of LGBT People' started by tgboymom, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. tgboymom

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    My child is 28. I found out two years ago that she wants to be male. She doesn't live nearby, but from conversations, I know she's unhappy so I jumped in (where it might not have been my place any longer), and found her a therapist. Her first appointment is happening right now.

    I thought I was looking for a shrink to help her deal with her feelings, but she just told me last night that her primary goal is to get a letter recommending hrt and a double mastectomy.

    There is no way she can pass as is... she's very top heavy, but it kills me to my soul just thinking about the horrendous physical pain she'll have to endure after a surgery like that. I've been reading posts in other forums and I'm getting a good idea about the side effects of hrt. I just don't want all of this pain and suffering for her. I asked that at least she come home so I can take care of her and I can find a reputable surgeon rather than a bargain basement hack. She said she'll be alright.

    No no no this isn't right. I'm enabling her to go forward with this mutilation by paying for therapy as well as potentially hrt and surgery.

    I pray that if it is God's will, that this burden be removed from her mind and she finds peace... but there is no answer.. so I cry myself to sleep in anguish while forcing an upbeat and supportive attitude when we speak on the phone.

    I'm tearing my hair out. She's too old for me to protect her any longer and I just can't "not care". This is my baby and I've spent my life advocating for her in all areas. I can't see that enabling such dangerous and painful procedures is protecting or advocating for her.

    I pray I die before it gets to that point.

    I'm at a particularly low moment. She wanted the therapy so badly and was unsure how to do it and is thrilled that I set that up, but now I think it was a mistake. I just want her to be happy and enjoy her life, but I don't know how, in all good conscience, I could continue to provide funds for procedures that will be so traumatic. :tears:

    Mom
     
  2. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,686
    Likes Received:
    3,539
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Hi,

    First, it's courageous for you to talk about what you're feeling, particularly knowing that, in a community where there are a lot of transgender people, you might stir up some not-so-pleasant responses. But I think the community can handle this and respond with sensitivity.

    What you're feeling is understandable. And at the same time, I think it's important to try to understand what your child has been going through. Remember that you are just now hearing and beginning to digest this. Your child has likely been living with these feelings for close to 28 years.

    For those of us who are cisgender, I don't think there's any way we can truly understand or empathize with what our transgender brothers and sisters (or children) are experiencing. It's easy to believe that sending your child to therapy created this problem... but that isn't the case.

    Your son (and you may want to start working on getting used to referring to him that way) has been in pain. Therapy is helping him to understand who he is, and he sees a path to a life that is better.

    Do transgender people who transition from physically female to male always live happily ever after? No, they don't always. Are there serious side effects from HRT? Yes, there are. This is not a path that's without difficulty. And there are a substantial number of people who, even after transition, remain very unhappy and depressed.

    But there are many others for whom the process is life-changing, affirming, and resolves the difficulties that have plagued them throughout their lives. Your son will hopefully be one of these successes.

    I understand the desire to make the right choice. And since it is your money, it is ultimately your choice how to spend it. But I think if you spend time with your son with an open mind, and perhaps get some therapy your self, from a therapist with some understanding of trans issues, you'll come to understand why the most important and valuable gift you can give to him is to support and love him and help him do what he (and the professionals he is working with) believe will be best for him.

    I would also very strongly suggest getting in touch with PFLAG. They have local chapters all over the country, and I think talking with other parents who have been in your situation will be powerful and life-changing for you as well.

    Feel free to talk more about what you're feeling. I ask only that you try to also be sensitive to those in our community who are struggling like your son is, and who could really benefit from positive, supportive words from people in your situation.
     
  3. tgboymom

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    Thank you for your response, but I think I'm being misunderstood. I've had surgeries and have dealt with healing from the physical pain. I cannot conceive of encouraging my child going through this physical pain... and much worse.

    Today was the first therapy appointment. Again, I'm not just paying for it, but I'm the one who put in the time and effort to FIND someone. I've known for 2 years. My child has known for 10 and I did nothing in the past two until now feeling that it wasn't my business and it would be invasive for me to assume that taking care of my child, at this age, is still appropriate. We're talking nearly 30 years old. I didn't think it was appropriate to bring it up in every conversation because honestly, my sex life is not open to discussion... some things are private. I was trying to be respectful.

    I was feeling my child's emotional pain, so I said "I'll find someone for you to talk to", like at 10 years old when there was a fever..I'm the one who called the doctor. At this age, I thought it was inappropriate and that if J wanted to make progress, there would have been some attempt. J has some anxiety looking for information by making calls, so the mama in me jumped in. Btw, the first appointment went very well. J called to tell me because if J didn't like this person or was able to accomplish the goal there, I had another lined up.

    I don't think it's disrespectful to say that I wish that major, invasive surgery would happen HERE, where I could take care of J afterwards, instead of 900 miles away. What if there is an emergency? Who will take care of J? What am I supposed to say "ok honey, go get this invasive surgery and you're on your own"? I've been as supportive as I can be. I've continued financial support and offered moral support when J brought it up thinking that being Trans should not define my relationship with my child.... that there are still other things to discuss, just like nothing has changed between us.

    As a mother... it's heart wrenching to KNOW that your child will be in so much pain.
     
  4. yaoicore

    yaoicore Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    florida
    Gender:
    Male (trans*)
    wish my mom was like you. my mom could just go with it but since life is not perfect I have to deal with it. I am up set that stuff have to go this way. that is why I don't want to go back to living with my mom even though she allow me to wear boy clothes. I don't know how she would react if I told her that I was trans, because she think that the only reason that I use to dress like a boy is because it was just some kind a silly child hood phases that I was going through at that time. I'D probably change when I got older she still want me too get marry and have kids. we talk about it over the phone a lot I try to come out about it but ever time I do I'm always got caught off guard and I always change the subject. I feel like the only way I'D ever be happy if I had a 100 percent sex change not just breast surgery removal or just the bottom surgery I the whole thing.
     
    #4 yaoicore, Jun 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015
  5. tgboymom

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    First, I'm sorry about your current situation. I grew up in an atmosphere where I was not only unloved, but used for a paycheck as soon as I got a full time job at 12 years old. I married as soon as I could and was out of the house as soon as I legally could leave.

    Let me tell you that J didn't really initiate "coming out". I've known about the boys clothes for years, but when the hair got shorter and shorter, I started asking questions.

    Parents often struggle with what is the right thing to do. It is like there is this person that we are responsible to teach how to be productive members of society. We're responsible if we screw it up.

    In my case, I was blessed with an amazingly intelligent and talented child and I knew I didn't deserve a child like this so maybe I went overboard and I was over indulgent... very over indulgent but the bottom line is that I'm not going to live forever and be there to pick up the pieces. I need this child to be ok, to be self sufficient or the inheritance is going to go real quick! This trans area is where I had no clue what the right thing is except to continue to love my child. J was afraid that the Trans thing would separate us because of my religious beliefs. My child chose Christianity as well and was baptized at 18. The only way it would be an issue is if J started talking God down, which won't happen. When I found out, J was 26 and living in another state with a boyfriend. I encouraged J to find a Christian fellowship more accepting of LGBT parishioners. So I've known for two years but at 26, I had no right to take action. I stood back and watched and waited. My concern is that J wasn't doing anything about a transition, yet was unhappy. I'm this child's mother. I used to tell J as a young child that we aren't two separate people...we're like the same because we shared a body. That doesn't change with age. So I jumped in to take action.

    From what I understand, every trans person has an idea of how far they want their body to change. I've had to question J to find out. Being so top heavy causes the gr ea test amount of distress for J. I wouldn't be flipping out if there was a painless way to do this, but there isn't, and I think the natural thing to do is come home so I can take care of J.

    It's very difficult for a parent to see anything other than a small child in distress, even at J ' S age.
     
  6. Eveline

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,082
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    home
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    A few people
    One thing to keep in mind is that your son is doing the operation for relief of dysphoria. This is not an operation that is forced on him and as such the recovery should be much easier than you imagine. She will be most likely happy and content after the operation because it is over and she will feel as if a huge weight has lifted.

    You have known for two years now and you are clearly avoiding calling him your son. This might be one of the reasons why he feels uncomfortable coming home to have the operation beside you. You might be causing him a huge amount of emotional pain when you refer to him by his birth name or as female and you should keep that in mind when talking to him. On the other hand, if you do refer to him as your son and use his chosen name it would help him cope with the dysphoria and gives him the strength to move forward. As someone who is just at the start of the journey, the thought that one of my family will ever use my chosen name is dream like. I know that if it would happen then I would feel as if I could cope with anything.

    I know how hard it is, I've had some of the most harrowing conversations in my life with my mother since coming out and I can see how hard it is for her every time we talk. She feels as if she is losing her son and she is, like you, afraid of me mutilating my body. She still hopes that I will change my mind and that I will go down a different path. Truthfully, I would without hesitation do so, if I believed for a second that I had a chance to live a happy and full life. This will never happen, I'm older than your son and dysphoria just becomes worse every year that passes. It continually to eat at you, you can't leave the house without a feeling of stressful sickness surging through your body. This is not something that you can just let go. It's your mind attacking your body and making you numb and disconnected as your body is rejected. You are not losing your child, instead you are seeing him blossom into the person that he was meant to be... think of him in a cocoon and he needs to fight himself out of it in order for him to blossom into a beautiful butterfly.

    I'm a cancer survivor and over the years this has been much more devastating for me. If your child had breast cancer, you would accept the fact that the breasts need to be removed. You have to look at this in the same way, there is no choice here as the alternative is much worse, an empty and painful life.

    I'm glad that you love your child and want to be there for him, hopefully my words helped you in some way, feel free to express your misgivings with anything that I said as it might help you come to terms with the situation and it is better that you express here your fears and anger than you do so when you talk to your son who might not be in a situation to handle it.

    (*hug*)

    Yael
     
  7. tgboymom

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    I have no misgivings. You were quite eloquent and insightful.

    I am aware of J ' s given name, and it begins with a J! I use the initial for anonymity. I do have a difficulty using pronouns, but J understands that it is probably my attempt to avoid mourning the loss of my daughter, as well as having no access to anyone else who might be using the proper pronouns. There's just my X husband and me.

    I wish you continued good health! Congratulations and God be with you. It's wonderful to hear from a survivor.

    If J doesn't want to be around me because I don't always use proper pronouns (so generally I try to avoid them altogether), then that would be a shame since from the time of my child's birth, I have provided, protected and advocated without limits. No one will ever love J like I do. A mother's love is infinite and absolute and unconditional. I even accepted without any challenge that J doesn't want any children where other mothers might have thrown a hissyfit. If I have to throw a fit, I keep it to myself The only thing I have asked is that if I provide the means to this transition, that J take that 160 IQ, and God given artistic talent back to school to make sure that this child won't one day be homeless. I asked this, I have not "demanded".

    I will be gone, and there are no siblings or other family to go to when times are lean. I feel it's terribly important. J still inherits everything my X husband and I have. I've made sure of it, but it's not enough to live on! I have the same concerns as when J was 16.

    I'm not the only person who has a problem with pronouns, probably because there is no binding 38f's, hiding the higher pitched voice and full red lips until hormone treatments are underway. Also, although I knew as well as the friends in the tg community, J didn't come out to the world until last month! I've been saying "she" to respect privacy! I've never done this child wrong and this is so huge, that we could get cut a little slack. :wink: my ex is nearly 70 years old. This is difficult.

    J was naming surgeons who will perform the procedure and the prices which scared me to death! I only had a breast reduction 25 years ago and that's no where near as involved as a double mastectomy, and it was 3 X as costly. I do worry, I can't help it. I've spent 28 years keeping this child from danger. Maybe this is, in fact, J ' s way of cutting all ties with us. I guess I'll have to consider that.

    ty
     
  8. Eveline

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,082
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    home
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    A few people
    About using the proper pronouns. As I mentioned, this is not a small thing and should not be considered to be one. I understand why you are struggling with using the proper pronoun but it's also important to understand that using 'she' instead of 'he' can be extremely hurtful to your son because it increases his body dysphoria and his mind reacts accordingly. I'm glad that you are using his chosen name and I'm sure your son really appreciates it. I have no doubt about it that your son loves you as you love him and I can understand why you would find it incomprehensible that something as small as using a pronoun can potentially lead to the creation of a distance between the two of you. However, the pronoun can mean everything as it can symbolize complete acceptance on your part or alternatively, rejection.

    Just to be clear, if your son has never complained or acted insulted when you used the wrong pronoun it might not be as big a deal as I make it out to be. However, I do know that there is a large amount of importance in using the correct pronouns for most of us and as such you should probably take that into consideration.

    I can just imagine how hard it can be for you to cope with the fears and guilt inherent in your child's transition and there is undoubtedly an element of traumatic loss in the changes that your child is going through. Trying to avoid the sense of loss will do you more harm than good in this case as the only way to really do avoid coping is to repress the thought which creates a need for you to avoid talking to your son about his transition for risk of unlocking the painful thought. Coping with the loss is best done through therapy and I would suggest for you to go to one for a few sessions just to help yourself come to terms with the situation better. However, it is likewise helful to share it with others through writing and as such what you are doing here should also help you cope with it if you feel comfortable enough to open up completely.

    However, I feel that it's for you to accept the fact that you aren't really losing your daughter, your child still has all the memories and shared experiences and so do you. This is the glue that ties you together and is at the heart of your connection. It can help to think of transitioning as a long journey, full of trials and experiences, as the journey moves forward your child grows as a person, opens up to the world and becomes stronger and learns to love his body. The person that returns from the journey has changed as a result of these experiences both physically and mentally and as such is different from the child that you remember. However, deep down he is still the same person that you loved and cared for. Your daughter has grown into your son and is now ready to cope with anything that the world will throw at him. Your concerns are natural but these concerns would be there even if your child remained a girl, transitioning will most likely make it easier for him in the long run because of the confidence and peace that he will find as a result.

    Thank you for your kind words,

    (*hug*)

    Yael
     
  9. Invidia

    Invidia Guest

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    Messages:
    2,802
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Far above the clouds, gazing deep below the Earth
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    I can't say anything much that Chip and Yaeli haven't already.

    But just try to imagine for 10 seconds what it would be like, feeling uncomfortable showering, peeing, putting on and taking off clothes, hearing your name, seeing the sex characteristics of your face in the mirror, buying things in the store, people looking at you etc. etc. etc.

    It is incredibly hard for him. He likely tries to hide his agony.

    You might also have seen the exceptions online, the extreme cases having gone band.

    You might ask yourself, like my mentor in my last class said: "Is it more important to add years to your life or life to your years?" Also, I don't know much about female-to-male transition, but I doubt it is as risky as your seeming impression of it. THere are risks, yes. But are they worth it if it means you're child will be able to escape the grey existence he's likely currently inhabiting? I would say probably yes.
    Also, you might want to weigh your fears versus his happiness, because now they seem to be opposed.

    With your support, the support of loved ones, and transition, he will at least have a chance to be happy. He likely won't otherwise.
     
  10. tgboymom

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    I think I'm exhausted. I can't respond intelligently in this condition. I'm not a crybaby, yet I can't control myself, can't sleep, can't get out of bed, can't do what needs to be done around here. I can't talk to J on the phone because I don't want to break down. I can't talk to my husband (who is not J ' s father) because I don't really know what he's thinking.... not really. I can't talk to J ' s father because he responds in anger even in my despair. I did get a shrink a long time ago who felt that this was a phase caused by outside influence. I paid a professional to blow smoke up my butt, and let him lull me into a false sense that this will all be ok because J would never go through with it.

    Right now, an entire lifetime of being tough and pushing forward has been gut punched out of me. I need to stop thinking and try to sleep if sleep will come.

    Maybe this distance is best. I've probably over emotionally invested in my only child.

    How's that for "open".

    Thanks
     
  11. Eveline

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,082
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    home
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    A few people
    I'm sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable and hurt, it's a sensitive subject and it can be hard to find the right words . It can take time to find a psychologist that understands you and connects to you at the level needed to cope with grief. In general, psychologists that act as if they know what's best for you can be problematic. That's probably one of the reasons why you responded badly to my post... going to a psychologist is about trying to come to terms with your own story and helping you understand it better. This is something very personal and the psychologist should just be there to guide you through the experience. He or she is not there to diagnose you or tell you what to think. I know how hard it can be to trust another therapist after such an experience as I've been there myself.

    Please don't feel that anyone here is judging you, you were extremely brave to come bere and share your story and you didn't make a mistake in doing so. There is nothing wrong in crying, venting and expressing grief about the situation that you find yourself in.

    I hope you feel better soon,

    (*hug*)

    Yael
     
  12. tgboymom

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    No sweetie, I didn't respond badly specifically to your post. I've been hardly able to read through the crying which is making me even more upset. I guess I'm seeing how real all of this is, and I feel absolutely incompetent realizing that my kid has been hurting this badly for so very long. This is not a bandaid or aspirin or pot of chicken soup hurt. This isn't a "c'mere and mama will make it better" thing. I have to accept my daughter is gone and my heart has broken in thousands of tiny pieces. I feel like my head will explode from trying to wrap my brain around this whole thing. I need to stop crying so I have to stop thinking.

    Thank you for understanding.
     
  13. suninthesky

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    You're going through a process that many people go through when a loved one comes out.

    Denial
    Anger
    Bargaining
    Depression
    Acceptance

    Not necessarily in that order. Feeling those emotions is completely normal and you're not alone. Some people take days, months, years to work through those emotions. The only thing you can do is give yourself time to work through and feel. It's the same thing us LGBT folks go through when we come out to ourselves. You child has had a lot longer to come to terms than you have, so you need to slow yourself down (which I know can be hard gifen J's desire to transition medically.)

    I encourage you again to look into PFLAG. The people there have been through exactly what you're going through. They likely can also recommend a reasonable and good therapist that will guide you.

    Hang in there; we're here for you. And it wouldn't hurt to go do something nice for yourself (take yourself out to dinner, go for a walk, go to a movie). It could help and you deserve it to help cope. Keep posting here, I think you'll find people here are very understanding.
     
  14. Eveline

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,082
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    home
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Looking back, despite everything I went through, I wouldn't change the past. I look forward to a future in which I will feel whole but the past has come and gone. Every year, I learned more about life and learned to cope better. Our experiences make us who we are and your son would not be the same person that he is if he had not gone through the trials that he faced. I believe that when a person goes through hardships it helps them see the world more clearly and appreciate happier times. Don't lament the past, look forward to the future, a future that will hopefully be free of pain, a future in which your son will feel connected to his body in a way that few people are and be happy with who he is.

    (&&&)
     
  15. tgboymom

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    You are wise beyond your years! That is all very good information.

    ty very much
     
  16. tgboymom

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    J's first therapy appointment yielded a possible diagnosis of bipolar disorder. My only experience with folks who have not been medicated included violent episodes. J has NEVER been violent, and only even argumentative as an adult which is just J asserting the right to independent thought, actions and lifestyle. .. nothing unusual. J is extremely gifted both academically and artistically... visual media and music.

    J is anti drug and rarely drinks.

    What does this mean? Is this yet something else I missed?
     
  17. blurry

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ontario
    Gender:
    Male (trans*)
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Out Status:
    Some people
    It may not be bipolar disorder, but many mental health issues have different ways of presenting itself. It's quite possible that J only has flare-ups rarely or they don't manifest as violently as others. I would wait for the professional to go a bit more into detail so you and your son (was about to say daughter, pronouns are tough to get used to...) understand what is going on and what form of bipolar disorder it is, if it's even that. It's possible that his emotional state is tied to his transitioning state but it probably isn't solely tied to it. Try not to overthink until you know more ma'am...it's tough but having a stable mind makes it easier for you and those around you coping with these changes.
     
    #17 blurry, Jun 18, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
  18. shu

    shu
    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    shibuya
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Honestly, it is most likely even more painful for him to have to have to hear his own mother not try to understand his decision. He is under so much stress already from not passing, and he will be helped infinitely by the surgery he wishes for. It will help him be more comfortable in his own body. He needs you right now, think about what he wants. I know you want to help him, so please, be by his side and be there no matter what happens. That is how you can help the most, just by being with him.
     
  19. tgboymom

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia

    Oh THANK YOU for acknowledging that pronouns can be tricky. I don't even speak with my own siblings anymore so I can avoid it. I figure that if I can refer to J in a non gender fashion, then when J starts to look like a boy, it will be easier.

    I'm concerned that maybe the therapist isn't on her game. Bipolar.
    I lived with this child for the first 22 years...wouldn't I have seen something?

    When I began my search for professionals in J's town, I was very disappointed. I interviewed these shrinks and was told by more than one that finding resources for trans people would be difficult in that town.... a college town no less! The nearest specialists were 4 hours in one direction and 2 in the other. One guy actually told me that my child is only feeling this way because of Caitlyn Jenner ' s recent publicity. I was like sir, didn't you hear me say that I heard this 2 years ago from this kid? VERY DISAPPOINTING!

    This makes no sense. :bang:
     
  20. Eveline

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,082
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    home
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    A few people
    One thing to keep in mind is that at the early stages of transitioning it's common to go through extreme mood swings as the dysphoria increases substantially during that period and there is also a sense of euphoria and increased productivity when you do something towards transitioning. These mood swings can easily be misdiagnosed as bi-polar disorder by a psychiatrist who is unaware of how these early stages feel.