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Let's talk self doubt


Myles97

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Myles97

Hey folks!

I am still early on in my transitioning journey, but one thing I have already noticed is the lack of discussion (not here per se) on self doubt! I have quite a few friends who are also trans men, and follow several trans folks on all social media’s. One common thing I notice is that they all say they have always been 100% sure of their gender identity. While this is great and exciting, I think it can be harmful to other trans folks who struggle with self doubt. I personally have been struggling, thinking “well if I am having any self doubt at all I must not be trans because so-and-so said they knew 100% since they were 4.” Or whatever. Yes those people exist, and their journeys are entirely valid! But there are also folks who struggle with self doubt. And who question. And I am slowly learning (thanks to many of you) THAT IS OKAY!!! It is likely that your brain was developed in a cis-het society/family that has consistently pushed forward those ideas and beliefs. Of course when you finally start to realize that you may be trans, it’s going to feel foreign! It’s going to feel unacceptable or impossible. That is natural. And even after you accept it for yourself, you will likely still have doubts!! A life time of being told one thing and then experiencing another will do that to you. You are still valid. You are still whatever gender identity makes you happy. You are not any less because of self doubt. I do not think that self doubt is always indicative of a “mistake” or a sign that you should not transition. It’s okay to be nervous and to have questions about making such a huge change. It’s normal. It’s also okay to explore your gender and decide that you are cis, or that you are a different identity than what you initially thought. It’s okay to have self doubt and still identify as trans! Self doubt does not mean you aren’t who you thought you were, it just means you are still adjusting. Do not draw boxes so tight around yourself that you cannot breathe. I would greatly appreciate any folks who could comment on here and talk about self-doubt you have experienced and how you have navigated it. I hope this post helps other people, but I think I needed to write it just as much for myself as for others. Thanks for always being my space to exist. - Myles. 

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Jackie C.

This is a very valid point. I mean if you're in the public eye, you want to appear as confident as you can be. Detractors will tear you to pieces over the smallest signs of weakness. I think self-doubt is more common than that though. Maybe not in people who were confident enough to post their stories on YouTube, but for the rest of us?

 

Take me for example. There were signs. So many signs. There wasn't any education though so I just assumed that everybody felt like I did. A totally unscientific timeline might look like:

  • 3 yrs. - Started turning underwear around to look like a girl from the front. (Spontaneous invention of tucking?)
  • 4 yrs. - Playing in mother and grandmother's closet and trying things on. Quickly reprimanded and beaten.
  • 5 yrs. - Preferred playing "house" with the girls to anything the boys were doing. Building toys were an acceptable substitute, coloring was good. Cars were right out. Teased by the boys.
  • 8 yrs. - Realizing it was possible to hide dressing in mother's clothes considering she never accessed one of her dressers. The one conveniently kept in my bedroom. Score!
  • 12 yrs. - "Oh no. My D&D character has inadvertently put on the belt of gender bending (a real item in 1st edition). Whatever will I do?" Wow. How do I keep finding those? What a crazy, random circumstance.
  • 13 yrs. - Back to mom's clothes, but it's more for bra stuffing as puberty has started to kick in and I like wearing the stuffed bra when my parents aren't home. They aren't home a lot. No idea that trans is even a THING past the occasional "joke" in the men's magazines one of the neighborhood boys keeps bringing around.
  • 15 yrs. - REALLY into girls. "Wouldn't it be amazing to be a girl?" Every boy must feel like that right? I mean girls are so amazing. Why would anybody want to be a boy? Have to keep it quiet though. You wouldn't want anybody to think you were gay. (Hey, it was 1985 in the Midwest.)
  • 16 yrs. - Well of COURSE I play female characters in the arcade. They have smaller hit boxes.
  • 19 yrs. - Well of COURSE I play female characters on the computer. Who WOULDN'T want to watch a girl butt for 100 hours? Paired with, "Of COURSE I play female characters in RPGs. Why wouldn't I make the girl of my dreams?"
  • 25ish to 48 yrs. - Become a miserable bastard. Continue game behavior, but don't think anything of it. Everybody feels like this all the time, right?
  • 30 yrs. - Discover your best friend since Junior High is bigender.
  • 48 yrs. - Goes full femme while wife is out of town. Gender euphoria is like mainlining pure love. Egg cracks. Well damn. I'm transgender.

I mean seriously, there's a ton of self-doubt in there (self-loathing too). I think a lot of it is rooted in lack of education. I mean I didn't know trans was even a thing until I was out of high school and it was always represented as some kind of terrible perversion. Lots of internalized transphobia from the society at the time (and one of my parents). It's basically why I talk to my therapist once a week instead of seeing my parents.

 

Hugs!

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KathyLauren

Self-doubt is very common.  My impression from seeing lots of introductory posts over the years is that doubting yourself is more common than being 100% sure from the beginning.  Like you say, though, it is okay.  It doesn't mean that you are not trans.  It just means you need to think about it some more.  Nothing wrong with that.

 

My self-doubt was sufficient to keep me from even thinking about being trans for 60 years.  Any time the thought came up, I'd smack it down right quick.  And yet here I am today.  The fact that the thought kept coming up anyway was what got me through the doubt.  Something I realized eventually was that, if I keep asking myself the same question over and over again ("Am I trans?"), it probably means that I keep coming up with the wrong answer.  Once I switched my answer from "Hell, no!" to "Yes", I stopped asking the question.

 

I don't recommend leaving the question hanging as long as I did.  If resolution of the doubt is not coming, it would make sense to talk to a therapist about it.

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Myles97

Thank you @Jackie C. And @KathyLaurenfor sharing your timeline and experiences. I totally agree that is cis-dominated spaces us trans folks do feel the need to make ourselves seem confident and certain. I am worried myself that any lack of confidence may translate to my parents that I am “just going through a phase” or whatever they try to say when I come out. I have never had much confidence in general, but I am trying to not scare myself out of following what I know will make me happy. Thank y’all again for normalizing self doubt.

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Jackie C.
1 hour ago, Myles97 said:

I am worried myself that any lack of confidence may translate to my parents that I am “just going through a phase” or whatever they try to say when I come out.

 

I got, "You're just confused," "It's the medication we gave you when you were little," and "You probably just have low T, it's hormonal."

 

I'd say that the trick is to have data from a professional to back you up, but I got, "They're a member of a predatory trans-business pipeline out to take your money." Paraphrased. I don't speak crazy as fluently as I'd like.

 

Before you find that discouraging, that was only half my parental units. Dad said, "I didn't realize you were so unhappy. I'm sorry and I want you to know that I'll still love you the same no matter what." Dad is getting cookies for his birthday. I don't talk to my mother anymore.

 

Hugs!

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Myles97

@Jackie C.your dad sounds amazing. I am so glad you have him!! I hope that your mom comes around eventually, but if not I am sure you know that she is the one missing out. From what I know about you so far, you are a wonderful soul!! I am hoping my mom will respond like your dad did. I think I am going to tell her tomorrow. I was originally going to tell her last night, but that didn’t work out. 

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Elizabeth Star
2 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

This is a very valid point. I mean if you're in the public eye, you want to appear as confident as you can be. Detractors will tear you to pieces over the smallest signs of weakness. I think self-doubt is more common than that though. Maybe not in people who were confident enough to post their stories on YouTube, but for the rest of us?

 

Take me for example. There were signs. So many signs. There wasn't any education though so I just assumed that everybody felt like I did. A totally unscientific timeline might look like:

  • 3 yrs. - Started turning underwear around to look like a girl from the front. (Spontaneous invention of tucking?)
  • 4 yrs. - Playing in mother and grandmother's closet and trying things on. Quickly reprimanded and beaten.
  • 5 yrs. - Preferred playing "house" with the girls to anything the boys were doing. Building toys were an acceptable substitute, coloring was good. Cars were right out. Teased by the boys.
  • 8 yrs. - Realizing it was possible to hide dressing in mother's clothes considering she never accessed one of her dressers. The one conveniently kept in my bedroom. Score!
  • 12 yrs. - "Oh no. My D&D character has inadvertently put on the belt of gender bending (a real item in 1st edition). Whatever will I do?" Wow. How do I keep finding those? What a crazy, random circumstance.
  • 13 yrs. - Back to mom's clothes, but it's more for bra stuffing as puberty has started to kick in and I like wearing the stuffed bra when my parents aren't home. They aren't home a lot. No idea that trans is even a THING past the occasional "joke" in the men's magazines one of the neighborhood boys keeps bringing around.
  • 15 yrs. - REALLY into girls. "Wouldn't it be amazing to be a girl?" Every boy must feel like that right? I mean girls are so amazing. Why would anybody want to be a boy? Have to keep it quiet though. You wouldn't want anybody to think you were gay. (Hey, it was 1985 in the Midwest.)
  • 16 yrs. - Well of COURSE I play female characters in the arcade. They have smaller hit boxes.
  • 19 yrs. - Well of COURSE I play female characters on the computer. Who WOULDN'T want to watch a girl butt for 100 hours? Paired with, "Of COURSE I play female characters in RPGs. Why wouldn't I make the girl of my dreams?"
  • 25ish to 48 yrs. - Become a miserable bastard. Continue game behavior, but don't think anything of it. Everybody feels like this all the time, right?
  • 30 yrs. - Discover your best friend since Junior High is bigender.
  • 48 yrs. - Goes full femme while wife is out of town. Gender euphoria is like mainlining pure love. Egg cracks. Well damn. I'm transgender.

I mean seriously, there's a ton of self-doubt in there (self-loathing too). I think a lot of it is rooted in lack of education. I mean I didn't know trans was even a thing until I was out of high school and it was always represented as some kind of terrible perversion. Lots of internalized transphobia from the society at the time (and one of my parents). It's basically why I talk to my therapist once a week instead of seeing my parents.

 

Hugs!

Too scary close to the story of my life. 

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Jackie C.

Aww, thank you! Melty heart.

 

Hugs!

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AgnesBardsie
2 hours ago, KathyLauren said:

Once I switched my answer from "Hell, no!" to "Yes", I stopped asking the question.

Love this discussion. Myles, great question. It's very important to probe these sort of anxieties, and I agree with you about not drawing boxes too tight! We don't fit into nice neat little boxes! You have to be comfortable in your own skin.

 

Like Kathy said, once you accept your own skin, you stop asking the question, and that helps with the confidence issue. 

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Myles97
2 hours ago, AgnesBardsie said:

Love this discussion. Myles, great question. It's very important to probe these sort of anxieties, and I agree with you about not drawing boxes too tight! We don't fit into nice neat little boxes! You have to be comfortable in your own skin.

 

Like Kathy said, once you accept your own skin, you stop asking the question, and that helps with the confidence issue. 

You are so right! Thank you!! 

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Shawnster

I,m overflowing with self doubt!!! 50yrs old and just starting HRT.... and still doubting..... am i doing the right thing???

I'm kinda on auto pilot, start the hormones..... and see where i wind up....

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Myles97

@Shawnster thank you for sharing! I’m glad you’ve started your journey. I’m also glad you can relate to the self doubt, though I am sorry you struggle with it too! We got to keep remembering to relentlessly pursue our true selves and happiness!!! 

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Elizabeth Star
6 hours ago, Shawnster said:

I,m overflowing with self doubt!!! 50yrs old and just starting HRT.... and still doubting..... am i doing the right thing???

I'm kinda on auto pilot, start the hormones..... and see where i wind up....

I started the same way. Ok, I was 45 but still a lot of self doubt. I quickly realized I liked the direction it was going. I feel a lot more connected to the world and myself these days.

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RhondaS
5 hours ago, ElizabethStar said:

I started the same way. Ok, I was 45 but still a lot of self doubt. I quickly realized I liked the direction it was going. I feel a lot more connected to the world and myself these days.

I was worried when I was getting the medical part of the transition started that it was weird that I wasn't having that many doubts, especially compared to the amount of anguish I put myself through to get to that point. 

 

Have found that my results so far have matched Elizabeth's...I feel more connected to the people I've come out to...don't have much interaction with the rest of the world under current conditions. 

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LusciousTheLock

This is a great thread. My self doubt came from the fact that I had tried so hard to be a cis male. What a great bloke I was. Bought my first house at 24, married at 25, four children. Worked hard, played hard. Petrol-head and sex addict. We even made adult movies in my 20's!

 

It was all lies, and I was hiding from the truth. The self doubt was always am I mad? What happens when someone finds out?  later it became am I too old to do something about it?

 

I can pretty much mirror Jackie C's timeline. Thank god World of Warcraft had bald female orcs!

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Myles97

I personally feel my self-doubt through the roof right now. Thoughts about my gender are literally consuming me. I think it’s because I have been trying to come out to my parents the last three days and can’t work up the nerve to do it. It’s making me so angry at myself. It’s starting to get to be a bit too much. I thought telling a friend would ease a bit of the burden but it didn’t. I still feel overwhelming dread for having to tell my parents and it has me consumed with self doubt. I guess my brains way of trying to convince me to just stay in the closet. 

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Jackie C.

Telling parents was the (second) hardest one for me.

 

My friends were all, "Yup. That makes sense." The only question I got was, "What do you want us to call you?"

 

My spouse was the hardest. The minute or so between when I told her and her response after she thought about it was the longest hundred years of my life. At the end though, she was more, "Eh, these things happen. I love you no matter what you look like. Besides, I like breasts."

 

I dragged my feet for longer with my folks. It was 3-4 months later when I came out to my mother during a session where I was showing her cool things she could do with her computer. I was seeing my endo for the first time either that week or the week after. She responded poorly. Her body language immediately closed up and was all, "Well, your doctor can straighten this out."

My doctor did straighten things out, but not the way she liked. 😉

Now she's anti-doctor. The only true doctors who know what they're talking about are apparently veterinarians now (she's a vet). She's rejected the entire medical profession and all psychological fields because they're either wrong, stupid, predatory or some combination of all three. Like I said, the crazy is strong with her.

 

That reaction made me put off telling my dad until after Christmas. I didn't want any holiday drama to make things any more tense than they were already going to be. I came out by e-mail. If my mother was so against me I was afraid that dad would do something violent. Of course dad was lovely, so I was worrying over nothing.

 

My advice to you would be to develop a plan. Start with the parent you think is going to be most supportive. Don't make the same mistake I did and go with the homophobic one. One-on-one time is important. The power dynamic is already skewed in their favor, you don't need them to outnumber you. Sit them down and say your piece. Provide documentation if available. For example; "I've been to this psychologist and they gave me a diagnosis of gender dysphoria." Slap down a copy of your letter of recommendation. Then answer questions because they'll probably have questions.

Once the first parent is done, give yourself a break and then contact the other parent. I've been told that other people's parents talk to each other and it's better if they hear it from you than their spouse. Repeat the exercise. Answer their questions, then let them discuss amongst themselves.

 

Maybe they'll be onboard, maybe they won't and maybe they'll be onboard with conditions. No matter how it works out, you have discharged your duty and the event is fading in the rear-view mirror as you move forward.

 

Hugs!

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Delcina B

Myles,

Great topic! Self doubt definitely, preceded by years of denial. I'm at the point where I need to explain it to my wife; I'm not exactly sure how she will take it. But I realize this much, I am a happier person & kinder to others when I'm my femme me. I try not to rush things, as long as I relax it seems to naturally evolve as it's supposed to.

 

Hugs,

Delcina

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Myles97

@Jackie C.i just sent the text to my mom and sister and I am -censored- terrified. Please send good vibes my way 

 

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Jackie C.
1 hour ago, Myles97 said:

@Jackie C.i just sent the text to my mom and sister and I am -censored- terrified. Please send good vibes my way 

 

 

May the Spider-Goddess hold you in her legs and wrap you safely in her divine silk.

 

Hugs!

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Charlize

I was certainly filled with fear and self doubt.  I’ve met some who said they never had any doubts.  That’s as amazing to me as a cis person who has never had doubts about gender.  I can only wish that was me.  It must be lovely to honestly have no doubts.  Perhaps your doubts are, despite the pain they cause, the best way to understand your path.  As I faced and moved through the doubt and fear I think there was a growing process.  What was once fun and exciting became my life, with the ups and downs life brings.  I’ve found peace with the doubts and in so doing, found peace with myself.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Charlize

I hope your family can embrace you as you are!  Please remember that all of us here have known about our gender issues for long periods.  It may take others some time to understand and accept

 

hugs,

 

Charlize

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Myles97

My mom hasn’t replied. But my sister called me and said she loves me no matter what. And she is so proud of me. And she is happy to have a brother now. She is calling our mom to help mom process through in a positive way. Hopefully mom is as happy too. My sister is a saint. Please keep sending good vibes and happiness that my mom responds as well 

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Myles97

Update: Both my mom and sister are happy for me. My mom didn’t want to call and make me uncomfortable, so she let me call her. They told me it’ll take some time to get used to, but they support me 100% and are only sad it took me so long to tell anyone. They are sad that I suffered so long in silence. I am finally starting to feel some relief. 

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Jackie C.

Congratulations! I'm glad your family is supportive!

 

All hail the Spider-Goddess in her many-legged glory!

 

Hugs!

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