Friday, April 9, 2010

Silent Deceit

Late-acknowledging transgender people, myself included, seem to almost invariably have fallen into a pattern of quiet deceit, and the process of coming out begins with only cracks in the deceit.

If you're like me, it probably began in your pre-adolescence years, struggling with the fact that you could be hurt in some way if you said what you were really feeling. How can you tell the girl you like that you want to be like her? And you certainly aren't telling the guys, to give them something more in their arsenal to sling at you in the form of verbal taunts and physical beatings. So you begin to quietly deceive, letting slip gender neutral interests that you're allowed to have and share in private with your friend. What's the point of telling anybody, you told yourself. It won't make a difference anyway. But you know that you know how girls think, they're who you want to be with, and you start crafting the perfect heterosexual gentleman, because you know you can be better than the cruel boys. And so the deceit slowly turns inward.

Of course, what's hidden won't stay hidden. All things rise to the surface occasionally, and so it is with the deceit. Who you are comes out in weird ways, forcing you to patch up the wall that's holding it back. One of your last patches may be to marry that woman that you love so much and start a family. You wonder when you can safely tell her about these things that make you different.

The time never seems right, or you can't get an alone minute, and the patchwork dam starts springing leaks again. You think to yourself that maybe if what's being held back is allowed to flow and kept hidden, the pressure drop should be enough. So you start giving in to your desires in secret, late at night on the internet, after work, on the drive home and you find yourself dealing with the holes slowly getting larger.

At this point, you may contact a gender therapist in an effort to build a more solid damn of your feelings, and she encourages you to find more ways to relieve the pressure before it kills you, but to do it carefully.

At this point, your spouse may have noticed some of the flotsam, like a pair of panties in your car, and you now have another kind of damage control to do. You only tell her about the leak, and she supportively gives into it. Of course, you wouldn't tell her about the rest. Your denying what could hurt her and you. Your silent deceit continues.

As the evidence of more leaks continues, she feels that she doesn't really know you. She asks herself if she was such a horrible woman to cause you or let you start becoming a woman. And she's thinking these thoughts while you're struggling with why you're urges to become a woman physically have become so profound. She wants to know, she wants to know what you feel, and begins to feel disconnected and hurt by the fact that you claim to be a woman, but you won't share your thoughts and feelings. She is quite possibly going to lament the husband she thought she had, despite your insistence you're still there. You begin living with the ghost of your formal self.

This made me try to take my own life on numerous occasions. It's why, unless things change, I can't go back to living in the same house. To me it's better to be a distant parent than a dead one.

Our anxiety ridden thoughts rarely emerge ready to share, at least to garner empathy, and sharing them at those moments does more harm than good. But if your thoughts, particularly your feelings, emotions or desires don't seem tamable and may result in an impact to your relationship with your spouse, you need to tell her. Breaking silent deceit is something that takes willpower, time and remorse. If something is going to be hard to say, I still give myself time to simultaneously wait for the right moment, explore my feelings in more depth and try to understand her feelings and her response. The idea of not sharing will instinctually eat at me, but I put a moratorium on the silence, a deadline of when the thoughts need to come to the table if not resolved, unlike burying them with resentment like I did in the past. Some things will hurt when spoken, but they will heal.

Silent deceit, on the other hand, is like a dagger inserted slowly which has caused severe damage by the time it's felt: both to yourself and the person who has trusted you.

Sharing seems to be instinctual between women. It is quite likely that your honesty will be treated as suspect in the beginning, but forthrightness over time will let her know you are truly, deeply regretful for the pain you caused, and may allow you to build a deeper emotional relationship, a more supportive one.

Hugs and God Bless,


  1. Good advice, Sophie. It'll be hard to remove myself from the patterns I've developed, but it's worth the risk. Something for me to contemplate.