[TW transphobia, slurs, emotional abuse]
What a delightful note to start the new year on.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts on here about transphobia and how shit it can be to be trans, it should be fairly obvious that transphobia and abusive comments can come from any source at any time. There was one source I want to go deeper into though, as it is one that affects me on an almost daily basis, and it can be the hardest one to deal with.
What do you do when your family turn on you?
Gone are the days when everyone could move out of their parents house at 18 and not have to worry about getting a mortgage, a job they can afford rent on, and a peaceful life. The economy, coupled with Tory rule in Britain, means more and more of us are trapped at home as it becomes more and more expensive to leave.
When you have a parent or parents who are abusive, not always physically, more commonly emotionally, this can make home a very difficult place to be.
Very recent example: My da reads the Sun. I have been fighting with him for years about this, but he is so mired in his ignorance that he thinks I’m being contrary just to start a fight. In yesterday’s edition, there was an opinion piece about a story from the day before, that of a young trans man who had halted his transition in order to fall pregnant after a request to freeze his eggs had been denied.
It started off as one of my da’s usual rants: young people scrounging off benefits, why couldn’t they pay a private company to do it (spoilers, private companies are run by old white men like him, and will charge trans folks way more than their cis counterparts), why should it be up to the NHS to do it anyway?
This last is the point that caused the fight.
I asked him, in response to his question, why the NHS should have been expected to examine his knee, perform keyhole surgery and perhaps a replacement operation if he had needed it. He replied that his case was different, because he needed his knee to work, and “this girl” (good misgendering there) was choosing to be difficult, choosing to become male, and choosing to become a burden on the system.
I won’t go into the details of the argument, to be honest it’s still rather painful for me, but eventually I walked out on him, and haven’t been in the same room since.
And right now, I don’t intend to be again.
We can talk all we want about self care being important, and how you shouldn’t avoid a problem if you want to solve it, but the truth is, sometimes that’s the only thing you can do.
I have the “benefit” of years and hindsight to see now that my da is an emotionally abusive arsehole, not just to me, but particularly to my mum, so I can make a plan to be away from him, to live an almost separate life even if I do have to live under the same roof.
I’m 27 though, so it’s easier for me than someone who’s a teenager, particularly when we have a generation of parents who seem to think they own their child, and command respect just by being.
So yes, avoid the problem if you have to, use that as your self care. Call on your friends to help you be out of the house, or to be around when your abuser is, as these people rarely attack when they’re outnumbered. Go silent during meals, if you’re made to eat together like I am, think of anything else until you can get out of there.
Abuse is an awful thing, worse when it comes from your family. Particularly when everyone else will tell you about what a good person your abuser is. My mum used to tell me that my da was a good man because he didn’t beat her like her first husband did. I pointed out that she didn’t need anti-depressants until a few years after she was married to him.
Do what you need to do to be safe. You are valued, you are loved, you are beautiful. You have the right to exist without abuse, unfortunately it’s a fight to get there when you’re stuck with family.