Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!

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StitchWitch

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So, very recently -- ok not so recently as I was in denial for quite a few months -- my husband came out to me as a Trans-woman.

We both have a laundry list of problems, depression chiefly among them, which have dogged us both since childhood. My wife's parents are abusive/manipulative PDs and we think she is DPD as a result. I myself come from circumstances -- my mother is BPD and my father was a very abusive Narcissist -- and I myself am very likely APD.

When my (then) husband told me that he was a she, I wasn't particularly surprised. I think she'd been hinting at it for years subconsciously maybe? IDK. Either way, I suspected but really didn't think too much about it to be honest. Since her admission, I feel I've been, I think, really supportive of her. I help her pick out clothes, I'm sewing her dresses and the like when she can't find things that fit her measurements, giving her advice on makeup, listening to her frustrations, and encouraging her to be herself.

My own PD, however, is complicating things. Sometimes I find myself not caring for myself emotionally; I'm so focused on helping her through her transition that I've not really thought how this is affecting me. Part of me thinks I might be too afraid to examine my own feelings. As an APD in this situation, I am feeling a lot of pressures, anxieties and the like: Pulled/pushed by my own co-dependence; fear that once she's completed her transition, she'll leave me for someone else; fear that I'm no longer attracted to her because she's a woman now. Frustrated because she's become clingy to the point I feel suffocated nor that I have any personal space or time. Frustrated that everything lately has been about her and possibly a bit walked on/taken advantage of.

I do love my spouse. I feel like she's the same person she always was, it's just her gender that's changed. That said, I'm having a difficult time feeling attracted to her anymore. Worse, I feel like I'm mourning the loss of my husband which is not only confusing but upsetting to me because, clearly, part of me is having difficulty understanding or, at the very least, accepting/reconciling she's still the same person. ...I don't even know if this makes sense to be honest... Sometimes I feel like I'm being over sensitive or crazy.

I'm in therapy at the moment and on medication for depression. My therapist seems... unorganized. Now, I want to state here that I am no stranger to therapy. I had a really, really great therapist for nearly two years and, if we hadn't had to move, she'd still be my therapist. I also had to go about two years without talking to someone and, due to circumstances too long and complicated to explain here, I had a nervous break down last summer. Which is, of course, why I'm on medication and seeking therapy. I don't want to be anxious and depressed all the time.

So my therapist seems to forget (or possibly "forget") that my spouse is transgendered each week we've met and often refers to her by her dead name (which causes more confusion when I try to set him straight). Also, I really feel like he's not understanding the issues I've come to see him for. He's overly fixated on my past relationships with my PD parents and extended family which I don't really think is helping me. Maybe there's some method to his treatment I don't see or, perhaps, I'm being too critical...? We've only had three sessions but I find myself becoming increasingly frustrated and/or dreading going to see him again.

So that's my situation. Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for listening/reading. :)
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The Hermit

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2016, 01:16:46 AM »
I'm not a psychologist, and I'm not avoidant, but it does sound like you have APD. Have you been diagnosed?

It sounds like this is really affecting you, I never dealt with your situation, but I have some experience with LGBT stuff, what you're feeling is very normal. It doesn't make you a "bigot", if that's what you're feeling (don't know for sure), nor does it make you "oversensitive" or "crazy", to feel the way you do. You may or may not be attracted to your woman, I think it's more because of the feelings you have about the transition than "I-don't feel attracted-to-her-anymore", if you took away your feelings about the transition, or those feelings were resolved, would you still be attracted to her? Are you attracted strictly to men? If not, you might be friends with her, maybe?

You need to get a new therapist if he's disrespecting your woman by calling her by her dead name and not understanding you. He doesn't sound like he knows what he's doing, and it might be better for you if you found somebody else.

I hope this helps. Take care of yourself.

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Scottyjewel

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2016, 08:36:15 AM »
I don't know if you and your wife have researched trans support groups in your area, but they usually have lists of professionals (including therapists) who are familiar with the issues surrounding transition not only for the person transitioning, but also for their families as well. 

All the feelings and questions you have are valid - it's a huge change in your life.




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kiwihelen

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2016, 09:35:13 AM »
I was also going to suggest speaking with the local Trans charity and get a recommendation for a therapist.

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StitchWitch

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2016, 12:08:39 PM »
I'm not a psychologist, and I'm not avoidant, but it does sound like you have APD. Have you been diagnosed?

I haven't been diagnosed. My therapist has been fixating on my parents' contribution to my own problems mostly and hasn't even mentioned anything about whether or not I might have my own disorders. I've tried asking and I get the feeling that, when I brought it up last time, he was annoyed that I tried to self-diagnose. The only thing he's said so far is I could be bipolar (which I don't agree with).

It sounds like this is really affecting you, I never dealt with your situation, but I have some experience with LGBT stuff, what you're feeling is very normal. It doesn't make you a "bigot", if that's what you're feeling (don't know for sure), nor does it make you "oversensitive" or "crazy", to feel the way you do. You may or may not be attracted to your woman, I think it's more because of the feelings you have about the transition than "I-don't feel attracted-to-her-anymore", if you took away your feelings about the transition, or those feelings were resolved, would you still be attracted to her? Are you attracted strictly to men? If not, you might be friends with her, maybe?

You need to get a new therapist if he's disrespecting your woman by calling her by her dead name and not understanding you. He doesn't sound like he knows what he's doing, and it might be better for you if you found somebody else.

I hope this helps. Take care of yourself.

I think you're really on to something there with regard to the stress/anxiety over her transition causing my disinterest. On the occasions that I am able to just set that all aside, I do see that I still care very deeply for her. We have always been a really lovey-dovey couple, so to speak, always hugging, holding hands and the like at home and in public. And I still enjoy doing so.

So, I think dealing with my own anxieties and the stress about the transition is really the issue. And, now that I know, I can effectively communicate that to the next therapist and get a treatment plan in place. Thanks so, so much for your thoughts; it's always so helpful to hear someone else's take on something.

Glad you agree about the therapist. I had another session with him after I wrote this post and, although he did better and didn't refer to my wife by her dead name, he continued to be really kind of clueless when I brought up some of the things I said were causing me anxiety or expressing my fears on how people will treat her once she starts dressing in public. And the words "over sensitive" got thrown around and I don't really feel like I am in this instance. Not that it matters, I will not be returning to that office for treatment!

I don't know if you and your wife have researched trans support groups in your area, but they usually have lists of professionals (including therapists) who are familiar with the issues surrounding transition not only for the person transitioning, but also for their families as well. 

All the feelings and questions you have are valid - it's a huge change in your life.

Thank you Scottyjewel, just hearing someone say/write that really, really helps.

I tried finding a support group and located one in my area targeted at straight spouses of LGBT folks. When I wrote to them to inquire about meetings and the like, they said they didn't have anyone in the group familiar with transgender issues and I should try another group (located like 5 hours drive from me). I kind of gave up after that - mostly due to there's a whole lot going on in my life at the moment (kids back in school, I'm back in school, pets, wife's crazy-weird military work schedule which keeps changing like daily) - but now that things are sort of settled down for the moment, i.e. we're back in the school routine, I am going to focus on that after finding a better therapist. In fact, I've located my area's LGBT outreach page and am looking at their resources right now. Thanks for reminding me :) I'll be contacting some organizations soon to see about support groups and the like.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 12:20:33 PM by StitchWitch »
I don't negotiate with emotional terrorists!

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ExitStrategy

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2016, 03:33:00 PM »
StitchWitch,

As your wife transitions, your entire family is going through a massive transition, too. I think your feelings of grief and loss are completely normal. Your wife no longer uses her dead name, and is, in many ways, burying many of the pieces of herself that you first fell in love with. Be patient with yourself as you process all of these changes and the emotions that well up. While there might not be any support for transgender issues close by - yet... you might find others who have been taking this journey alone and could use one another's support and advice. And we can all be grateful for the internet! It brings us closer together, even when we feel completely alone.

One thing that you should recognize: You are a strong, wonderful, loving, compassionate, accepting person. Your wife chose to trust you to hold her hand through the most terrifying and vulnerable period of her life. What's more, your example gives your children a positive framework to process their own thoughts, feelings and questions. Whatever form your relationship takes from here forward, you have been her rock, one of the few constants in a moment when everything else seemed unstable or undefined. She's so very lucky to have you!

- ES

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sparrow

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2016, 07:28:08 PM »
I just wanted to say that my very kind and compassionate friend had to mourn the loss of her little boy like a death while being fully supportive of his unsurprising choice to publicly transition to a girl. She always knew and was great about it but she still had to grieve over "losing her son" (though "gaining a daughter".) Everyone deals with things differently so I don't think you or she should feel guilty about it.

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WeAreAllATadBitBroken

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2016, 07:58:47 PM »
might it be possible to continue 'seeing' your old wonderful therapist via email or skype?   just a suggestion for if you aren't able to find a local therapist that understands and can support you during all of this.

I know now there is no bargaining with the PD- because via research and experience you learn that when you deal with PD you sure aren't getting a bargain!

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KneeDeepinEggshells

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2017, 12:12:58 AM »
1. Very few relationships survive a transition.  If you find yourself less attracted to her, it may take looking honestly within yourself and then examining your options.  I work in mental health and I've seen a lot of trans* people who were more hurt by a spouse forcing themselves to stay despite feeling less attracted to them.

2. If the therapist isn't on board, get a new one.  Personality disorders are difficult to treat; the treatment REQUIRES a trusted therapist.  How can your wife trust a therapist who does not grasp her gender dysphoria.

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StitchWitch

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2017, 04:23:34 AM »
1. Very few relationships survive a transition.  If you find yourself less attracted to her, it may take looking honestly within yourself and then examining your options.  I work in mental health and I've seen a lot of trans* people who were more hurt by a spouse forcing themselves to stay despite feeling less attracted to them.

2. If the therapist isn't on board, get a new one.  Personality disorders are difficult to treat; the treatment REQUIRES a trusted therapist.  How can your wife trust a therapist who does not grasp her gender dysphoria.

Id taken a long break from this forumIve been in therapy all summer and falland wanted to post an update.

First, I did get a new therapist. She is amazing and has helped me immeasurably.

My relationship not only survived but is now thriving. Id dare say my wife and I are closer than we ever were. Weve cut all the toxic people out of our lives, made friends with people who value and accept us for who we are, and I have transitioned through the cycle of grief to find peace. It took a lot of introspection on both our parts as well as communication and the willingness to make things work. In the end, I realized shes still the same person I married just with a slightly different outward appearance.
I don't negotiate with emotional terrorists!

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Fiasco

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2017, 02:26:37 AM »
Great news! Im very happy for you :)

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Tamzen

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2017, 11:58:24 PM »
Thanks for updating! I'm glad you found a new therapist and that's great about your relationship thriving!

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yorkie

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2018, 09:27:22 AM »
I'm sorry this has happened to you, yes you will be grieving, and obviously, you are not attracted to him anymore. There are sites for trans widows etc that I would recommend more than the lgbt community. You have to do what makes you happy, not him.
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SomethingElse

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Re: Spouse is Trans and therapist doesn't seem to "get it". Need to vent!
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2019, 07:28:52 PM »
I feel empathy for you. It can be hard to take care of ones self when there is stuff that a spouse, close friend, or family member is going through. I feel like I know the feeling really well. I hope you find time to care for yourself? You are the only YOU you'll ever have, right? Good wishes.