Sunday, 22 June 2008


Another day on the roller coaster; another day when dysphoria clouds my judgement & my life hurtles out of control directly at my loved ones. A crash just waiting to happen.
(The image to the left has been manipulated using Adobe photoshop, stained glass window effect, on one of my early paintings, which was genuinely 110% blurred by my dysphoria)

My dear Mum has been behaving increasingly erratic & agitated in the last week or so. She was 80 years old in March. The poor love is tired & emotional. I have been becoming increasingly worried she may have the early stages of dementia. Nothing I can do to help is right. My beloved Mum has been using the slightest excuse to lash out or turn a harmless conversation into a vile argument. I feel so helpless. All I want to do is offer her my love, to show how much I care.

I blamed myself for her turmoil. This week I had to tell her I was going to have a consultation with a surgeon who may in a year or two carry out my gender reassignment surgery. Why did I have to say anything, why? I stupidly thought she would need to know because I would be missing for most of a day to travel to London & back. By telling her I thought we could make arrangements to have everything done they needed. This was clearly a bad idea.

It’s all too much for my beloved parents to grasp. They have steadfastly refused to see any medical people to find out anything about their offspring’s condition. A condition that has blighted all my life & spread to them like a disease, when I finally told them way back in 1996. They reacted very badly & were frightened for my future & also how their friends & neighbours may react. They constantly voiced their fears to me & asked me to never transition while they were alive. Relentlessly on & on until those fears became mine. That was then, 12 years ago.

Now I have found I needed to transition or die, somehow we had to work through this together, whether they wanted to accept my condition or not. It felt so unfair to put them through my transition at their advanced age, yet when faced with suicidal thoughts it was something I had to selfishly do. How I wished they did not have to go through this.

Gradually over the last year with the odd bumpy ride they have moved from total denial to acceptance & oscillated to & fro for the last few months as my transition becomes our reality. They made a huge leap forward in January after I had 11 hours of facial feminisation surgery. I naively thought they finally understood what was happening to me. I have tried really carefully to gently explain what will happen to me in the future, respecting their feelings as best I could. Having known I was transsexual for so long & carefully given all the information I felt they needed I have hit a brick wall. They prefer to use the tabloid press as their source of reliable information. Even so I at least thought they would realise or at least accept I will need to have gender reassignment surgery. Sadly they have chosen to deny it is necessary.

They went through a stage of deliberately referring to me using the wrong pronouns & name a short time ago, which after 6 weeks of mental abuse, resulted in me briefly attending hospital as an out patient. Having had the wonderful gift of their acceptance only to have it taken away & thrown in my face & then given back, it has not been easy for any of us. It is a day to day existence of emotional highs & lows.

It has been very spiritually uplifting for me. My self belief has begun to blossom. Everything has been going so well. I have never felt this way in my life before. Then CRASH, you get the nightmare times like the last 24 hours.

As a teenager & only child I had seen my Mum suffer the loss of her Mum, Dad & beloved Sister. It was heartbreaking to witness & my Mum has to this day never really recovered. She used me as her emotional confidante as Dad sadly could not deal with emotions very well & just shut down. Every anniversary, every birthday, song on the radio or television was a time of mourning & emotional melt down. Bizarrely Mum appeared to have some sort of jealousy that my Dad still had most of his family for many years after all hers were gone. Charming for my Dad & I, who were as far as I know, still alive. I felt my Mums sense of loss deeply & the mental scars I have are deep. I have never been able to separate from my parents, which is very unhealthy for our relationship. I am terrified of losing them. Mum knew this & would manipulate me by mentioning “when we are gone, or we will soon be dead” any time I did anything that displeased her. I was eventually to realise such emotional blackmail was a very cruel way to control an offspring.

I have had over 12 years of counselling of which 50% have been about my enmeshment issues. Unlike with my gender dysphoria. My enmeshment issues have not really improved, although I am more aware sometimes when it’s happening. When I learned through the sessions the damage that the sense of loss & hopelessness I felt was something perhaps that my Mum should realise, we had a very open discussion. About 10 years ago she stopped reminding me when certain anniversaries arrived & with the passing of time, she seemed to be coping a little better.

In truth she was probably just doing her best not to dump her feelings on me. How pitifully sad, how ironic! Look at what I am doing dumping all my emotions here on this blog. My beloved parents simply come from a different generation. How can they posibly be expected to understand whats happening to me. Today is a day I should be respecting my Mum & her sadly departed Dad, yet selfishly so much of this blog posting are all about GD.

I have just had a concerted 3-4 days of constant mental anguish & see no end in sight, just tragedy. We are devoted to each other. I am so lucky to still have my parents. They both love me, & care for me. I care so deeply & am screwed up so much, if I am honest when they finally depart this world I may join them very quickly. I try so hard to respect their feelings but I must be making an awful job of it. I must deserve to be punished.

All I want to do is help & care for them because I love them. I keep on stating that because it’s true.

They have never ever physically abused me. They are lovely parents & mean well. Sometimes verbal abuse & mental cruelty can be just as bad as physical violence. Unfortunately for me they do not comprehend the torture of every day, for over forty years being perceived as a gender you are alien to.

Through their ignorance & denial being referred to using the wrong pronouns at this stage in my transition, is pushing me to the edge once more. It’s only words, so I try to ignore them. It’s easy just to slip into old habits & forget but when it happens again & again it’s so hard being a carer in this situation. How must my poor parents be feeling, struggling to deal with their offspring transitioning, at a combined age of 123 years?

Seeing my Mum falling to pieces is heartbreaking & tragic. My biggest nightmare has been that the stress of me transitioning will kill them. The guilt I feel is immense. Then just when things cannot get any worse today she spits out, “it is all, your fault. You are tearing us apart. You just want more & more operations you are addicted, you’re sick, and you’re evil. You will never be satisfied, you are so selfish”. With that she burst into tears. So did I. I wanted to comfort her but got pushed away. Everything sensible was telling me to go, give her some space but my heart would not let her go.

Then though the tears she explained “today is the anniversary my Dad died. My sister found him collapsed on the floor”. This happened over thirty five years ago.

I was speechless. What could I say? I was worried sick about my Mums irrational behaviour & worsening health. Yet I was too wrapped up in my own selfish dysphoria to recognise her unstable behaviour was a cry for help. She was too afraid to tell me & being eaten up inside & simply could not cope.

We hugged & shared yet more tears. I had to let her go, give her some space to greave.
When I first came back to my flat, I briefly thought I could not go on much longer like this. Very dark thoughts were fleetingly gathering. My emotions were bubbling over, out of shear frustration. Gradually through poring out my heart out here, the storm clouds have abated. I feel totally exhausted. How must my Mum be feeling? So much for painting. Some things in life are far more important.

I so admire those women who transition & are able just to get on with it without whining & being full of self pity. Somehow they have a whole different attitude yet they have probably had more than their share of heartache along the way. How I wish I knew their secret.

It’s not so easy for many of us who are lucky enough to still have loved ones & complicated relationships to deal with. As an only child/daughter & carer to my dear elderly parents this has been a really nightmarish time for all of us.

Neither of us wants to hurt each other. We have survived another storm. That familiar question appears once more.

“Why do we have to hurt the ones we love?



Anji said...

Oh Debbie. I don't think that I can say much in the way of comfort. Your parents are from a different generation - almost a different world where men and women are very seperate. The thought of surgery must be so difficult for them to come to terms with.

I'm sure that no woman has gone through what you are going through without a lot of suffering. As you say the storm has cleared a little for now.

I think that your parents would hate to think that you couldn't turn to them no matter how difficult it may seem.


Debbie K said...

Dear Anji
Thank you for your kind words.
Just having someone hear my scream & responding helped.

Its just too painfull to share these intense feelings with my parents.

Mum thankfully seems better for finally shairing her feelings, which is a good thing.

It is so hard for me to know just how much or how little information to tell them.

I just wish I could do the right thing but I have no idea what that is.

Bless you


Nicola said...


There isn't much to be said that hasn't been said before. There's no reason to feel guilty as your parents have their own problems. Strangely, and although she probably wouldn't understand, your problems helped your mother today. She was always going to be upset but her father's death clearly still affects her very badly and I don't think she would have willing shown that emotion. But by giving her a less painful focus, you have her the opportunity to grieve.

You do have to remember that. Some of their moodiness with you transition is genuine but human nature is also that when they are having a bad day you are an easy person to take their upset out on, and your transition is easy to blame.

These days will come round just like wet days but a day of sunshine is always just around the corner.

Give yourself a *big hug*

Nicki x

Debbie K said...

Dear Nicki
Thank you for your kind & wise words. OMG you are so astute.
Sometimes when you are just to emotionally involved logic flys out of the window.

My Mum does seem so much better now, which is the main thing.

I shall share that hug with my Mum.

Thank you so much


Jessica Hart said...

Why do we have to hurt the ones we love?

You'll know from our private exchange of e-mails last week that I'm not the one to answer that. I ask myself the same question.

It seems to come with the territory. GID is no respector of people or relationships.

But whats the alternatives? Walk away? From what? From which direction? To which direction? Whats left if you walk away? No, we - you, I, in our own ways - we can only try and stand firm and not let the negative aspects, the hurtful aspects, of GID claim us.

Of course, easier said than done. I feel for you with your parents - a step forward, a step back. I pray that you, and they, reach a happy place.