We are alone by choice. Spouse and Children are with Spouse’s family for holiday celebrations. This is not for us right now.

The problem is that we are slipping further and further into dissociation and delusion in general. We are living in conflict in our head much of the time. Punisher invents scenarios, dramas, delusions to justify our emotions or guide them into shame, guilt, or victimhood.

This is unhealthy. It is hard to choose differently. We will try to choose differently right now. We are having strong delusions probably because we have strong emotions. We can tell Spouse wishes we were together for the holidays. We could be. We choose to not go with her family because the effort, risks, and fears are too much.

We have found ourself recently in situations that felt dire. We were with Spouse at the doctor for Younger Child, and we could not “take it” anymore: our perception of Younger Child’s suffering, our own suffering. We had to escape, so we did. We fled into the hall and cried.

That is not illegal, immoral, bad, or even a poor choice. Still, it felt too vulnerable. We were unable to control our emotions–in public–and we felt we might lose grip with reality. We did not. We cried and then went back in the examination room.

We lack a purpose. Or we lack a passion for that purpose. We need to heal. We are a guide for Spouse and Children. And we are on a Journey. These are all full of fear and weariness. Primary therapist says fear is at our center. Once we can put Love at the center, we will see and feel differently.

DID therapist says we can challenge our negative, faulty, deluded beliefs. Replace them with positive ones that pass fact-checks.

Okay, let’s try positive truths.

We are strong. That is fact. We can survive a lot. That is fact. We can face additional challenges. True. Even if Birthing Parent dies, we will face it. If Violent Parent dies, we will face it. Older Child will return to college in fewer than two weeks, and we will survive it. Somehow. We always do.

Still, we are fighting with these outside people in our head. We are dealing with Spouse’s rejection of our gender nonconformity in detrimental ways. Is there a better way to deal with this? Maybe we should talk about it more with Spouse. Maybe we should ask to go to therapy together to talk about it. Maybe Spouse feels differently about it after some time. Maybe not.

Therapists say we have a lot of abandonment issues at one time: Older Child went to college, both parents are fighting cancer (we forgot Violent Parent had a recurrence recently), and Spouse declared a lack of attraction to our expressions of gender nonconformity. With a history of trauma and abandonment, this is a lot to take at one time. And the parents are still alive! And we are still married! And Older Child is presently home for the holidays!

Still, we persist in punishing ourselves. Preparing for the “inevitables”: Parents’ deaths, Spouse’s leaving us, Older Child’s leaving the nest. One of those (Spouse) is not inevitable. Still, because we feel rejected, we keep playing scenarios in which it occurs. This is driving us apart from Spouse, pushing us closer to the outcome we do not need to have.

This is the purpose of a protector like Punisher: guarantee the worst outcome for us so that no one else can. If we convince ourself we abused them, then we were not the victim. That is not the truth, though. They did abuse us. It was not our fault. Littles cannot consent. That is fact.

We do not have to suffer anymore. We can try to choose to not suffer. What do we fill our head with when we are used to Punishing us all the time? We can write, as we are now. We can read. We can meditate. Even though these activities may lead us down the old path of delusion and punishment, we can try. Keep trying.

There really is no other way than to keep trying. Try to not guarantee the worst. Try to challenge the beliefs. We do not have to suffer. Even if our marriage did end, our life would not have to end. If we could learn to love ourself, that love would be primary. It is not. None of our loves are working. That is because fear is at the center. We need love at the center.

How do we get there? How do we practice love? Well, we went for a six-mile hike with Older Child today. We forgot we were the parent. We thought we were siblings. This happens to us. So we took on the Younger Child role and thought we were being bullied, teased. This was not true. Can we undo the delusion? No, it is over. We can turn a page.

Turn the page. We are the parent. We practiced love. Practicing does not mean succeeding or mastering. It means trying.

Keep trying.

Keep practicing.

Do not give up.

Challenge negative core beliefs. Replace them with positive, fact-checked beliefs.

Trust therapists. Trust love. Trust wisest selves.

Let that cycle take over. The one with positive beliefs. You cannot think your way out of this. You cannot rationalize your emotions or your past. Be in them. Feel your feelings and sensations. Name them and let them pass. This is the way.

Let these words heal you.

flock of birds
Photo by Efdal YILDIZ on

5 thoughts on “Agency

  1. I’m so sorry your Spouse isn’t supportive of your gender non conforminity. My fiance swore it would be a dealbreaker before, he flipped out when I bought a binder…. but over time he came to accept, even if he didn’t understand. Some of his negative reaction was because he feared I am FtM (I don’t know what I am, some kind of non binary perhaps) and he feared he would “lose” me. He isn’t attracted to more my more masculine expressions, but is slowly becoming more accepting as he (I think) starts to realsie hair is hair and short or long, it’s my hair.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the solidarity here. This is the first time anyone has given us the gift of relating. We are sooooo grateful!

      Spouse seems to be moderating, like your fiancé. We base this assessment on actions, not words. We try to talk about it. Spouse doesn’t have the words. And still Spouse keeps asking us to go in public, even when we’re presenting as multiple genders (please forgive us; we’re not up to speed on terminology for feeling partly boy and partly girl).

      Yesterday, we were presenting non-conforming, and Spouse asked us to walk at mall. We did. As ourself!!! In public!!! Together!!! Spouse saw a friend and engaged friend. We were left to engage or not.

      This seems like more accepting behavior. Maybe Spouse has fear like your fiancé does. Mostly, Spouse claims to just not be attracted to us in our non-binary presentation (if that’s the right term). We don’t judge that negatively. We have empathy. And Spouse is maybe adapting: it’s still us. Spouse loves SJ even if Spouse doesn’t get attracted to SJ’s appearance. Sometimes we’re subtly non-conforming and Spouse seems attracted.

      It’s exciting that for both of us, we can explore who we really are and still have someone love us! Yay for us!!! And hooray that our companions still get to enjoy us.

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For opening to us. 💕❤️


      1. I’m not familiar with all the terminology either but some people use genderqueer or Demiboy, demigirl. I’m still exploring myself though I’m grateful for a very inclusive Unitarian Universalist group though I’m a secular humanist.

        I’m glad Spouse is being accepting in his own ways! Sometimes the words don’t matter so much, they evolve and change but his actions of acceptance speak volumes!

        My partner would say he wasn’t attracted to masculine presentation but recently said he accepted me anyway, could maybe come around to some non conforming aspects. I hope you and your Spouse give each other room to explore and grow ❤

        I definitely feel incredibly fortunate to have my partner. That he loved me and I’m so thrilled you have Spouse. It’s a deep and strong love that can only grow!

        Thank yous for the gifts of your experiences ❤❤

        Liked by 1 person

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