When Your Family Cannot Accept Who You Are and the Holiday Blues

I’ve been really angry and upset since yesterday. Like really, really, really wanting to scorch the earth angry. I’ve been needing to get it out but at the same time I’m hesitant because of reasons which may become more clear. I considered writing about it on my super secret blog of which only a handful of people are aware, and the object of my anger is not. But, then, I’d still feel like I’ve been gagged and stripped of my identity. I also figured maybe someone else will need to read what I have to say if they are going to make it out of the holiday season alive and not give into the thoughts to end it all.

And if the object of what has set this off reads this and continues to ignore my demands to not be contacted, then I’ll deal with those ramifications later.

Yesterday, Kid2 arrived home from school and informed me with a very hesitant voice, “Your mum came by school today and gave me a Christmas card to give to you.” I just looked at him, held petrified in my spot. He continued, “Yeah… I was going to open it first to make sure it’s safe and won’t be more upsetting to you than I know it already is, but I wasn’t sure if that would make you more upset or not. So, do you want it?” With a heavy sigh, I responded, “Sure. Hand it to me,” and my body started to shake and I wanted to vomit. (Ah, the wonderful physical things that continue to happen as a result of the type of abuse I had to endure at the hands of a mentally ill alcoholic, even years after you’ve done all you can to eliminate them from your life).

I looked at the envelope and it said, “Julia.” My brain yelled, “Dear God, woman! I haven’t been Julia in a very long time! My birth certificate doesn’t even say that name anymore! I am Jules! You need to get that through your head! 

I opened the envelope, to behold the most feminine, the most pink, with butterflies and roses, “For My Daughter” birthday card I’ve looked at in quite sometime. (This is the first birthday or Christmas anything I have received from her in seven, or so, years.)

I open it up to find another “Dear Julia.” Seriously, you need to start respecting who I am as a person! I am 37-years-old and, if you ever want me in your life, you need to start seeing me for me and not what you wish me to be!

Then, I looked at the cheque she enclosed. She made the cheque out to “Julie.” Okay, I have never ever gone by Julie in my life. Brain: I know you were heartbroken when you learned that I go my Jules and not Jewels like you wish, but even you hated when people would think it was okay to shorten my name to Julie! Can you be any more passive-aggressively disrespectful? Wait… I’m sure you can because I’m the monster.

This morning, I woke up nearly screaming thanks to a nightmare about my mother banging down my front door. (She’s tries this before. She used to spend days and hours knocking on my doors, while I was held prisoner inside my house. Or spend days after days calling my phone, redialing when it hit voicemail, for hours on end. Before the wedding, after someone else in the family decided to not respect my wishes and tell her I was getting married and she cornered me at Kid1′s graduation, I had three weeks of nightmares that she broke into my house and announce herself as I was walking to the kitchen, half-awake, to make morning coffee. That was horribly structured sentence, but my brain is horribly structured right now.)

I don’t know how long this bout of post traumatic stress crap is going to last. I don’t know how depressed I’ll get as a result.

All I know is that I really wanted to enjoy my first Christmas with my partner with us living in the same house, instead of in different countries on opposite sides of the continent. I wanted to end this end of the year without feeling invisible. And all it took was one unwelcome card with a name that isn’t even mine anymore, not even on my birth certificate, to ruin it all. When you spend your entire life having to fight to be heard, having to fight to have your boundaries respected, it really doesn’t take much to tear down everything you’ve work hard to accomplish.

The above is one small reason why it is a very good thing that I don’t spend Christmas with my blood “family.” I hate when people feel sad because I won’t be with family. Then my brain does this whole, “Yeah… it’s a good thing. You have to trust me. I don’t know you well enough to tell you why. You just have to trust me.”

I don’t know most of you well enough either but here’s the thing.

If you are trans* and your family refuses to accept it, I want you to know that you have permission to cut off those ties. You are not a monster for doing so. You need to do what is best for you and the rest can just bugger off. It’s difficult to do. I know it. Boy, do I know it. But, in the long run, you’ll be better off for it.

I don’t want to be all trite and say, “It’ll get better.” Because, honestly, sometimes it feels like it gets worse. But, I can tell you from a lifetime of experience (I’m 37), it does get easier. The more you stand up for who you are and demand that your boundaries be respected, it get’s easier. Please try to keep that in mind over this holiday season.

4 Responses to When Your Family Cannot Accept Who You Are and the Holiday Blues

  1. *hugs tight*

    I’m so sorry that you have to deal with such cruelty!

    There are many other bits and pieces of things I want to say in your support, but nothing else coherent comes to mind. I just want to be a friend and help relieve the tension and other horrible feelings you’re dealing with because, while I haven’t had it as bad as you, I know what those sort of feelings can be like, and sometimes it helps knowing that others, even people you don’t know that well, understand and have your back.

  2. Oh Jules, that’s horrid! You have every right to spend Christmas with who you choose to, and you are. You are with your family, the family that matters the most to you. You can have a wonderful Christmas together, I know you can and will.
    That woman has no right to treat you so disrespectfully, you don’t deserve it at all. You deserve to be treated with love and respect and care and consideration and thoughtfulness, that I know you have with your partner and children.
    I understand the stress triggers its caused you, and that they are hard to deal with – my children understand mine and are very careful to keep me, my mum and alcohol separate from each other as they know the stress and anxiety she triggers in me when she’s drinking. Flashbacks are dreadful, dreadful when they happen and dreadful to deal with afterwards.
    I hope and pray you have the best Christmas ever, your first together as a married couple in your home with your children xoxoxoxoxox

  3. It’s so strange seeing the words I thought only I ever heard in my head. We have vastly different lives, but quite a few of the same struggles. It’s so hard to explain to people what happens when you cut ties with a family that makes you feel pain. I have no contact with any blood relation besides my own child, and I have never been happier. I applaud you for allowing your children to understand why and how true love works and feels, and that you have raised them to be in tune to feelings, and not just media :) The more I learn about you Jules, the more I respect you. Thank you for consistent honesty and truth.

  4. Hi,

    I’m sorry for what you have to go through. I’ve had friends that are trans/ gay/ etc. and they suffer so much from family. But even in my limited experience family is very indifferent to their child’s happiness. I find there is a general desire for parents to be upset and critical of their decisions with whoever they chose to be or be with. Not matter what we should only want to love and be with those who love and accept us. :) and parents who can’t do that… and they come in many forms are flawed. So they are the ones that suffer in the end.

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