Happy Mother’s Day

Posted by – May 9, 2010

A happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers.

This isn’t the cheeriest article about parents – and the children who have stopped speaking to them – but I thought it was an aspect of family/parenting that we otherwise don’t talk much about as a culture.

6 Comments on Happy Mother’s Day

  1. StellaTerra says:

    I have cut off communication with both of my parents. I came out and they had separate, but equally troubling reactions. They both believe strongly that I am not transgender, no matter what I say, and I felt like I needed to be away to deal with my transition and begin to feel confident in my identity.

    I don’t like the two references to parents’ money in the article. My decision to not speak with my parents has nothing at all to do with money. I think it’s a very parent-centric view to cite examples where children want money, it’s too easy to dismiss as being the petulance of jilted children.

    My father compared me to an axe-murderer. My mother said that I was being selfish and disrespectful in wearing women’s clothing, and that if I respected her I would wear men’s clothing. I really don’t appreciate this article, or taking sides in family disputes on spec. And then they send me e-mails all the time telling me about how my silence is hurting them. I say to them *nothing*.

    I am feeling very angry right now, on a day devoted to mothers, when I want so badly to be with my mother but know that it would hurt so bad to do, that you would post this kind of an article, Helen. In the TG community there are many, many people who are estranged from their families, with any number of different stories. We feel enough shame all around us already.

  2. helenboyd says:

    Stella, I’m not sure if you read this bit carefully:

    “But this is not a story of adult children cutting off parents who made egregious mistakes. It’s about parents who were good parents, who made mistakes that were certainly within normal limits.”

    Not accepting your own child’s transness (or sexual orientation, or both) is definitely in the “egregioius” category for me.

  3. kimberly says:

    Stella, while I grieve for your estrangement, there are those rare families where the parents were giving and supportive. While my parents both passed before I came to terms with my gender struggles, I am confident they would have understood and accepted me, because that was their approach to every other challenge I encountered growing up.

    I think Helen’s point is that there are myriad reasons for rifts between parents and children, beyond gender identity or sexual orientation. I too was struck by how money was used, but as leverage to bring conformity to the parents way of thinking.

    I hope you find some peace.

  4. Osa Morena says:

    And there are those of us in the community with a child who lived with us through transition and is now a young adult, who refuses to talk to us. It seems to me as if any mistakes we may have made were of an ordinary sort, not about transition. And we are not into competitive grief here at our home, that’s not my point, but it breaks our hearts nevertheless.

  5. StellaTerra says:

    Helen, yeah, sorry. I think I was really keyed up this morning and got triggered. Sometimes I feel like I let them convince me (without any continuing contact) that my their nonacceptance is understandable, while my silence is reprehensible. I hope everyone had a wonderful mother’s day.

  6. kiri says:

    Egregious or not egregious? Or perfectly reasonable? From whose perspective?

    Everyone will have their own answers, but some of the questions I ask myself are, will I gain lasting satisfaction from behaving as badly as they did? When they’re dead and (presuming) I’m still here, will I be glad I handled it this way?

    Sometimes it isn’t constructive to focus on who is right and who is wrong, and it’s more useful to consider: what’s their experience? How does this situation look from where they sit? And, if I don’t like the present situation, what possible pathways to change are open, or could I open?

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