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What Holds You Back From Moving Forward?


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I believe I am what has held me back my entire life. Yes I have lived with traumas and life experiences and not knowing what was happening to me and what to do and when I sought help it never really helped - but life is learning and continuing to learn. I also realize there is no one I have control over but me and no one else and like an addict - you can't change until you bottom out and I have with my gender identity and gender dysphoria. I am doing what I know to do and have the commitment to realize that as it is said - to love your neighbor as yourself - WELL - I finally realized you can't love your neighbor until you learn to love yourself because you can't give what you don't have.


What Holds You Back From Moving Forward - mine was fear and feeling alone - what is or was yours?

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Jackie C.

Let's see...

  • Internalized Transphobia:  You can't be one of THOSE people. Thanks mom.
  • Hopelessness: You're only going to live to be 40 anyway. Why try?
  • Depression: Items #1 and #2 contributed to a general attitude of: "Everything sucks. The quicker this is over the better."
  • Crippling Self-Doubt: You are a loser. You've always been a loser. You're lazy and worthless. You can never do anything right. Everything you like is stupid and everything you've ever tried is wrong. Thanks again mom.

Fortunately, I eventually got better anyway. It was a near thing though. The suicidal ideation was STRONG when my egg finally cracked. My brain said, "Eh, at this point what do we have to lose? If it doesn't work out, we can suck on a tailpipe next weekend." Fortunately, the euphoria chased the suicidal ideation out of my head pretty quickly and helped clear out some old cobwebs.


I guess you could sum it up with childhood trauma and terrible, terrible parenting.



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For name & gender change documents, I worry about getting into a complicated legal mess.  It's probably unlikely, but I'm scared of it anyway.  Despite being openly trans, I'm a very timid person.  I was terrified at first.

Unsurprisingly, I was never an Alpha Male.  LOL

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I was never an alpha male either. 

A couple things stopped me from transitioning. Mostly fear and shame. Fear of what people would do to me when they found out, and shame of failing as a man and not living up to others' expectations. Also, I had started losing my hair at some point in my 20s and then I was just like "oh, this is it then, there is no way I can do this." So, another main thing holding me back was lack of knowledge. As far as I knew, "transsexuals" were these weird people that got their stuff removed. Nobody even knew one. I didn't even know about ftm. I didn't know about good wigs even or hormone therapy. It was just me all alone, trying to figure out how to look like a girl, failing at it, and then sadly giving up. I didn't have the words or ability to express what was going on with me. I just knew I wanted to look like a girl, and for a while I tried to make myself look like the very feminine male characters from some video games, especially Dynasty Warriors. I really started experimenting more after coming out to family and some close friends as bi, I tried on a dress and heels for the first time with some friends and just loved it. But then the dark thoughts and fear started crowding in again and I felt what I was doing was ridiculous and wrong, so I quit. It would resurface many times over the years, especially if I got drunk or there was another guy around that I liked. November 2019, a year after my divorce, is when I got a very strong urge to pursue this again - I decided to do it right, I did the research, learned quite a lot, and made the decision to be the real me.

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And fear of making the wrong choices (which Drs, which types and order of procedures, etc)

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     Shame and fear of how others would react and not wanting to disappoint my parents.  Growing up from the time I started kindergarten to when I graduated I was always subject to violence and bullying.  My parents knew of the bullying as well as the  teachers and principles. My mother just kept telling me that if I didn't just act the way I did the other kids would leave me be. My father took a different stance, he thought I should learn to stand up for myself so his approach was either you fight back or I will beat you myself.   It took me a very long time for me to change my believes about myself.  Overtime I got really good at hiding and avoiding others primarily for my own safety. In high school I had the opportunity to join NJROTC which I did because I did not want to deal with the gym locker room. 

      I enjoyed the experience but still wasn't sure what I wanted to do. My Junior year of high school I took a severe beating by a group of guys so I convinced my mom to let me sign up for the Navy and told the recruiter I wanted to go to Navy boot camp ASAP so I left three days after I graduated high school the next year.

       I struggled in my first couple of years in the Navy.  I got better at fitting in and I made friends with a female Sailor and we started hanging out all the time eventually she introduced to me wife. The dysphoria got worse after I married and eventually I came out to her a couple years into our marriage. Eventually our marriage came apart a divorce was eminent then by the grace of God things changed  and we worked things out. At that point I was choosing the Navy; a job that I loved and was good at over authenticity, I had convinced myself that I could tolerate and live with the dysphoria. At this point my wife and I had endured four more deployments and the birth and death of our daughter. 

    By 2015 we had two more children  both had been diagnosed with ASD.  It was at that point that it just became extremely difficult for me to function and deal with everything on top of the dysphoria. My wife encouraged me and made arrangements for me to see a therapist, so I did and started to attend group as well.  Meeting other transgender people for the first time really changed my life because it gave me hope. 

     I was at 18 years in the Navy at that point and was very torn on what I wanted to do. I choose to stay Navy and endure.  I kept going to group and therapy when i could and  once the DOD changed the policy I started taking HRT.  Things never really worked out with coming out in the Navy or with medical just to many road blocks. I enjoyed being a Navy Chief so I continued on in my career.  The thing that caused me to move beyond the state of limbo was the two suicide attempts, barley surviving the second one. I held things together after that because I was so grateful just to be alive.  

     I retired from the Navy in 2020 and things didn't get better so I reached out to the VA for help.  They have been very helpful with the transition out of the Navy.  Along the way I stopped fighting with myself and made the decision to transition and start living full time.  For me it has made all the difference in my life. 



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I guess I mirror Jackie C with the added benefit of self doubt and shame. I was the creation of a rebound relationship. I was a mistake, I shouldn't have been. I was told as much. I ruined my parents lives and to boot I wasn't quite normal either. Strange how I spent so many years trying to be what they wanted, rather than what I wanted. 

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I forgot about the "mistake" and " why was I born this way it isn't fair"  feelings.

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Thank you all so much for sharing. I know I've struggled ALL my life and I wish I had a way to lessen you pain as I know how it feels and you have eased mine just knowing I am not alone. I love you all.

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Life's a journey. Its taken me forty years, but the fact that we're on this forum means we know we were not wrong. We're moving in the right direction. The speed at which we travel doesn't matter. C'mon concentrate on the positives :D

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@LusciousTheLock A big Amen! 

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So where is the quote all button. Because everyone of your posts have things about me. Jackie's list is about dead on. except it is thanks Dad, not Mom. LOL.


growing up, I hid that I was a girl so much that I didn't even realize that I was one until I about 4 years ago. Little things I denied, never knowing why I joined the Air Force. now I do.


Now that biggest barrier is my family. I dearly love my wife and want to stay together yet she doesn't understand, and doesn't accept it. With family counseling has helped and I have made some concessions. To say married.  I am going forward as I have started HRT. Nobody outside my medical team knows.



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Elizabeth Star

Hmm. Jackie, please get out of head. I did the tailpipe thing. My advice....don’t. At times it feels like this is just an awesome peaceful dream and I didn’t survive. 

So what’s holding me back? Right now, my wife but without her holding me back a little I would have probably rushed through transition and probably made some bad decisions along the way. 

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Jackie C.
1 hour ago, Elizabeth Star said:

Jackie, please get out of head.


Mind Taking. Accept no substitutes.


At the time it seemed like best plan. Minimal expenditure and mess. I'm well past it now and my life is much improved but at the time... Well, depression and dysphoria are a wicked combination. Do not reccomend.



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In my case, what held me back in puberty and teenage years was cluelessness and fear & shame.

- Cluelessness: I didn't know what happened to me. I wanted to be a girl but my body was not going in that direction Some boys insulted me as if I were gay, but I did not feel gay - I liked girls not boys.

- Fear & shame: I was caught between my father's agnostic LGBT-phobia (fixation that his son should "be a man", etc.) and my mother's religious LGBT-phobia (those people are sinners, etc.). Even if I had not been clueless, I highly doubt I would have had the guts to transition.


Then I somehow managed to shut my feelings for 30 years, in which I was quite unhappy and always felt misfit, until a month ago. Now I'm trying to understand who I am and what to do.

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When I was 26, First, my entrenched binary socialization held me back. Secondly, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-3,4,5). For the longest time, the DSM labeled me as a psychiatric disorder. I would have lost my security clearance, thus my job. And third, commitment to family. I started one. Important to see it through in a binary world even if it meant personal sacrifice.

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I transitioned 25 years ago and didn't do everything I should have, because I didn't have to. Now that I don't have youth, money or initiative, I wish I had finished the job back then.


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Sally Stone

As I sit here reading everyone's comments, I wonder if my own are even valid.  All of you obviously have a strong, overpowering need to transition, where I am not so compelled to do so.  Still, I do think about transition quite a bit and I'm sure if my life situation was different, I would give transition serious consideration.  What holds me back is that my male life isn't so bad and it's not repugnant to me.  Yes, I adore expressing my feminine persona, but it isn't killing me not to transition.  Additionally, I have an amazing relationship with my wife and I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that.  Transitioning certainly would change the relationship we have.

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I think I am a combination of @Shay, @AwesomeClaire and @Sally Stone.  Fear, shame, the need to please others and conform, keeping my marriage intact, and even some comfort of the familiarity of playing the "man" role my entire life.


But I know eventually I will have to find a balance between all of these obstacles and happiness ... its helps to be able to share these feelings with everybody here.

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@Sally Stone Your comments shows the fact that no 2 people are alike nor should they be. I am happy your life is such to be happy with your current situation. In my case - I am so relieved to not have to hide myself although it still is to my step-kids and a few others but not because I don't want to but because of consideration for my wife at this time for the step-kids and for safety in the case ofthe others. All in all I have found much greater satisfaction and growth not having to hide and be secretive and that makes the air smell sweeter.  

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11 hours ago, MelanieTamara said:

And third, commitment to family. I started one. Important to see it through in a binary world even if it meant personal sacrifice.

You kinda get locked into a situation where you feel compelled to follow through with your commitments.

I sometimes think that if I had known what transgender was back then, I might have gone in a different direction.  But that wasn't the case.  It was only when those commitments were no longer there that I felt free to go back and explore myself in a new/old way.

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Jackie C.
7 hours ago, Sally Stone said:

As I sit here reading everyone's comments, I wonder if my own are even valid.  All of you obviously have a strong, overpowering need to transition, where I am not so compelled to do so.  Still, I do think about transition quite a bit and I'm sure if my life situation was different, I would give transition serious consideration.  What holds me back is that my male life isn't so bad and it's not repugnant to me.  Yes, I adore expressing my feminine persona, but it isn't killing me not to transition.  Additionally, I have an amazing relationship with my wife and I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that.  Transitioning certainly would change the relationship we have.


Of course they are. We're not all alike and our gender dysphoria exists on a spectrum. You can be Sally part-time and that's perfectly fine. You're just trans in a different way than I am. It's all good. We're not about to start some sort of... well, not dick-measuring contest obviously... but we're not about to put up a sign that says, "You must be THIS trans to be valid." Your feelings are every bit as valid as mine and your perspective is always welcome.



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I'll leave a reply here because at least one person so far was feeling bad about not having enough validity.

At the beginning of my questioning phase (2 years long) before I started HRT, I often ran into roadblocks.  I wasn't on hormones yet and I didn't truly understand so much of what I was feeling at that time.  Thing is if you feel like you are a girl, you are. You feel like a boy you are. You feel like something in between you are. You are who you are. Every second. Every moment...

Sometimes who we are right now isn't what we think it should be but then again, why make the comparison?  You deserve to be happy in your own skin or at least as happy as possible given your own life circumstances.

I wanted to say that before getting into what is slowing me down... 

I need to get a name change done.  Right now I'm trying my darnedest to look for a job but the dysphoria of having to use my deadname is really starting to feel unbearable.  It's a head-game trying to be who you are while also trying to recognize as even semi-real in some sort of dissociative way.  It feels like you're doing something that's against everything else you're doing and the mental disconnect really really blows.

I've been pushing through deep emotions from all points of my life and have started connecting with my child self, and even started identifying my entire being as feminine from the beginning to now, and yet it wasn't always like that.

I was struggling for so long.  I was buried so deep within myself that to get to who I am I had to break through memory locks all the way back to the beginning.  I think that's probably a bit too relatable.. What holds me back are things that make me doubt myself and my path.

But whatever holds any of us back, I believe we can beat it all. 


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@Britany_Relia Brave words from a brave girl. I can relate so much to your words and you articulated my journey to a T. 

Thank you and know you've got me by your side ANYTIME.

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Sally Stone
5 hours ago, Britany_Relia said:

But whatever holds any of us back, I believe we can beat it all. 

That's really what it's all about Britany, right?  Beating the things holding us back.  Great words for those of us who are trans, but just as valid for every one else.  I couldn't agree more.

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