Detransitioner Viewpoint: On My Relationship With My Parents
PITT is proud to present the first in a series of Detransitioner viewpoints. To this point, PITT has been exclusively a compilation of parent stories and essays. Now, we’re going to try something new. We are fortunate to have met and spoken with a growing group of very brave detransitioned men and women who are willing to put themselves out there for the greater good, at great personal cost. We have offered our substack as a way for them to tell some of their stories and we will be doing this about once per week, on Wednesdays, for as long as they are willing.
We are parents, and we see our children in these men and women who have been led astray by gender ideology. We can all learn from them and help each other as we navigate through this harrowing landscape. This is how we change the narrative and show the nuance of this complex issue that has infected our society.
Please take the time to read their stories.
If you are a detransitioner, and would like us to publish your anonymous story on PITT, please email us at email@example.com.
On My Relationship With My Parents
I love my parents and I don’t blame them. Being a parent is tough and there are no instructions. Additionally, we all have flaws, pains, and trauma too and sometimes this can ripple across generations. Unintentionally, many people will transfer the scars of their own childhood onto their own kids.
My dad was a miner and an engineer; my mother was a child-minder but also worked in an office starting when I was about the age of 4. Growing up we didn’t have much money but, despite this, my parents made sure we never went without. They grew up believing that material value dictated wellbeing, so they always broke their backs to make sure we had things.
I wanted to be close to my parents, but there were some obstacles. My dad has Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s a man of few words and doesn’t really do the big talks very well. He came across to me as not always agreeable but, nonetheless, he was my hero. I used to look up at him with awe—he was confident, tough, intelligent, and a strong guy. Emotionally though, he was nearly absent, damaged himself from a physically abusive upbringing. I always felt like he yearned to be closer with his kids, but just couldn’t.
My parents argued a lot, and there were some intense moments—but I always thought they loved each other. By about the age of 12, I discovered that my parents’ relationship wasn’t what it had seemed—I had no idea my Dad had been unfaithful and physically abusive to my mother since before I was born and had continued these behaviors throughout my life. While this of course damaged my mother greatly, they had agreed to stay together for the kids, or at least until the youngest (me) turned 16.
That didn’t quite last though. When I was around 15, my dad left and a few months later he came back, drunk, and tried to force his way back into our home. He grabbed my mother by the hair and threw her down. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what to do. Eventually I rang my sister who lived 100s of miles away and she called the police that evening.
Cue a really traumatic divorce, which included all manner of crazy things. At that point, my mother had to leave the family home, and she moved in with my now step-dad (who’s great!), and I was left alone with my Dad for the next two years, until age 17. This was a difficult time for me. My dad would go out a lot, sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a week and, being a fairly cotton wooled kid, I had no idea how to take care of myself. My mother would come and bring me meals twice a week when my Dad wasn’t there (which was often).
I was a late bloomer. At age 16, I had just started puberty but my voice hadn’t changed yet and I still looked way younger than my age. In my dad’s absence, I was spending all of my time online, communicating with strangers. During this time I had free rein to dress female all the time, and to disengage with the real world.
After failing senior high school with terrible mental health, I left the family home and moved in with my mother and soon-to-be step dad. This was when I was 17 years old. It would be about 6 years before I started to rekindle the relationship with my father, in a slow process, with both of us trying our best to make an effort.
By age 24 or 25, I realised I wanted to transition, and I told my father. He freaked out and was so angry he couldn’t stay in the room. He wandered around, leaving the room, huffing and puffing like he was about to explode and exclaimed “Do you want my permission? Because you don’t have it. I don’t get it!”
I told him that no, I didn’t need his permission. But I did actually—I really wanted to talk with him about it. But because of how I delivered it and his reaction, I had my perfect excuse to become even more depressed and feed a victim mentality. I could say “Woe is me, look how my dad’s treating me!”, and report back to the trans community about how my family didn’t understand.
My mother, because of my dad and her own upbringing, wasn’t a confident woman. She is a nice person, with a great heart, but what ended up happening to me as a child was that she would treat me like a magic mirror, to validate her and boost her self-esteem. She would ask me if she was beautiful, if my friends talked about her, if she was the best mother in the world—and these were all scripted questions with an expected answer. I knew what I had to say and she would smile and hug me after I said it.
But that drained me. Even into recent years (I’m in my thirties now), she still does it occasionally, and I just don’t respond. The constant reassuring was overwhelming— during the divorce, during childhood, through my depression, anxiety, during bullying and during transition, I was always looking after her feelings. I knew it was my job to reassure her and, knowing what she had been through, I made damn sure I did it.
She didn’t do this because she was a bad person—she was damaged—but it just transferred onto me and my sense of self was obliterated. I found myself seeking validation the same way she did with me, but with internet strangers—and because I had other issues going on it was easier for me to fall into that trap of having my self-esteem reliant on the internet.
To this day, I still need to check in with internet strangers, through twitter polls and discord groups. I never quite recovered my confidence, although my self esteem has been slowly rebuilt, by myself, for decades.
The annoying thing is, that when this is fed back to me about how much I’ve changed, how much calmer and collected I am after doing the hard work in therapy for years, my mother will say things to me like “You’re strong, like me”—as if the credit was never mine to begin with.
There are many more like me, whose parents love them but won’t or don’t fight for them.
I haven’t seen my dad in close to a decade now. My relationship with my mother is okay, but I can’t hug her or lean on her the way I’ve yearned to for years. I don’t blame either of them, because it is what it is—I just wish I didn’t have to fight my own way out of this, and that my parents were like the parents I’ve met in PITT/Bayswater that are fighting for their kids.