When your family rejects you because you are trans, is it possible to replace them with a new family of friends and supporters who accept you for who you are?
My sense is an emphatic no. no matter how connected you become to the new family, the pain of not being accepted and included by your birth family never goes away. I firmly believe that those who claim you can replace your birth family are rationalizing and failing to admit that the pain is still there.
I knew I was “different” from the time I was a small child. But I learned that being different growing up in the early 50’s resulted in a lot of pain, physical and emotional pain. So, I learned to sublimate my true self and get on with life.
And I was successful if you gauge success by being able to fit in and do quite well on most metrics. I had a good job, was successful professionally, had a great traditional family, at least until I could no longer deny who I really was.
Then, all that disappeared very quickly. When I came out to my wife in the late 1990’s, there was no successful role model I could show her to try to convince her to stick with our marriage. So, it collapsed and that led to my career collapsing as well.
There is no doubt, the loss of my job and financial stability hurt my wife and daughter immensely. Still, I had been the primary provider for much of our marriage and our lifestyle was considered lower upper class at the worse.
After our marriage ended, my ex became extremely angry toward me and that resulted in my relationship with my daughter degrading quickly. For the 20 years since our divorce, my ex has effectively blocked me from having a meaningful relationship with my daughter. And now with my granddaughter as well. I will not bore you with the details, but I can count the number of times I have been with my granddaughter on my fingers. And the number of times I have been physically near my daughter these twenty years averages less than twice per year.
Last year, my daughter and son-in-law broke up and divorced. Because my son-in-law has been the bridge between my daughter and myself, I was shaken severely. I thought I would lose all connection with my daughter and granddaughter. So I decided to move down to Florida to get closer in the hope that I would be fortunate enough to be “available” when an opportunity arose.
Sadly, it is not working out that way. In the two months I have been living just a few miles away, I have seen my daughter exactly twice. I have not seen my granddaughter at all, save on Facebook.
But I see on Facebook that my ex and her husband are often with them, especially for those important childhood events.
Because my ex still has so much hate for me, I will never be able to develop a true relationship with my granddaughter at long as my ex is in the picture. And I do hope she is around a long time for my daughter’s sake.
So, I wonder what I accomplished by moving to a place where I know no one. Instead of lessening the pain of not being included, being physically close has eliminated my ability to rationalize and excuse because I was “so far away.”