Toxic shame

I am dealing with my shame. I keep saying I have done it, and I just go deeper in, and I will deal with it. I was with a group, and afterwards one of us wrote about his experience. He referred to me as “One of us, a crossdresser…” which I find worse than discourteous: wilfully ignorant and intolerant, even though to my face he was quite polite. And that hurts, and I look at people with distrust: this educated, middle-class, arty-type, if he is like that anyone could be. He corrected himself to “transwoman”, though not to “trans woman”- “trans woman” is better because it is a woman, qualified by an adjective; “transwoman” is a thing apart, not really a woman. And why the adjective at all? Compare and contrast, “One of us, a Black woman…” John Terry is prosecuted for less.

I went into my ritual space, and wept over the shame I had felt at being transsexual, and the pain and effort of trying to make a man of myself. I accepted and felt that pain and shame which I have suppressed and which I will not suppress any more. I lived it, I was it. It is alright to feel this.

I am aware of the dangers of rumination, and I do not think that is what I am doing. It feels like working through my shame. I have cognitive techniques to deal with it- my struggle showed courage, something innate is not something to be ashamed of, it is blessing to empathise with both men and women; and I have an idea of what it might look like to be free of the shame, self-accepting, not hurt by thoughtless remarks of others. I would not need validation from others, so could accept them as they are, and see them more clearly. I would not be projecting onto others.

Practise. Practise. Practise.

4 thoughts on “Toxic shame

  1. I lived with the shame of my gender dysphoria since 4 or 5 years old. Indeed it is toxic. It nearly killed me a couple of times. Since transitioning almost a year ago much of the GD has dissipated but I still carry some shame that is persistently hard to shed. The shame comes about when I’m meeting or talking with cis people. My voice, which I’ve worked on a lot, is feminine but unnatural.

    People around here are quite nice and accepting and yet my shame pushes me to withdraw. I get quite sad about this. I’m working on it with my therapist but I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.


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