Invalidation, The Other Side



In my last write up, I spoke about my feelings of invalidation. How brushing off my fears and concerns, my hopes and dreams, made me feel as if I were meaningless. 

I would later read a post by the partner of another trans woman and she gives a very moving account of the other side of this issue. You see, nothing happens in a vacuum, to every story there are at least two sides and this is as true of the trans story as any other.

It is almost impossible to truly put ourselves in another’s shoes even when they are walking a similar path to ourselves. This is so much more true when they are going through something we have never imagined. How difficult then is the path we as trans people walk when there are those we love on the other side?

This brings me to the point of this post. You see, I find myself doing something similar to “P” in the above post. Living with a deep seated feeling of guilt and responsibility, we both have assumed responsibility for our partners feelings and reactions as if they are incapable of having them on their own. It isn’t right for all the same reasons I spoke of in regards to myself. What’s more, because I have faced these feelings I think I should be more aware of how my own actions and words can make someone else feel the same things… but naturally, I became so involved in my own head I miss the obvious. A is her own person with her own feelings and thoughts, hopes and dreams. By demanding I take responsibility for them I have then invalidated her right to them and this is wrong. If I want to be able to own myself, then A must be free to do the same. I have apologized to her for being presumptuous and promised to try and correct my behavior in the future. Of course, words are cheap, it is going to take me doing what I say to show I mean it, but I believe I am moving in the right direction.

Transition is such a complicated, multi level process. A life changing undertaking in which we have so much to learn, to unlearn, to become aware of both in ourselves and those around us. There are going to be mistakes, missteps taken in ignorance and misunderstanding. But how much better will we be, as people, as partners, as parents, for having made the journey.