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Thread: Tips to accepting yourself?

  1. #1
    Member AlexisRaeMoon's Avatar
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    Dec 2011

    Tips to accepting yourself?

    I'm not sure if that title does to justice to what I'm about to write, but here goes: I've been a member of this site for like 6 years now, and one of the reasons I keep coming back is because all the great stories shared by others in regards to coming out with to their SOs (hang tight, there's a reason I'm not posting this into the Tips to an SOs Acceptance thread...). Obviously, I'm still "in the closet," and even though I've been in therapy for about a year (for several reasons), and we've focused a lot on why I've had so much trouble talking to my wife about crossdressing, it still hasn't happened yet.

    And over the years, I've attributed the fact that I haven't worked up the nerve yet to the fact that I'm worried about her "acceptance," what hit me like a bolt of lightning today was that what it really comes down to is I haven't accepted myself fully as a crossdresser yet. I'm certainly way further along the path than I was a few years ago, but I realized that all the reasons for why I avoid telling her are really just an inner dialog that I'm having with myself. With my therapist, we've talked through and basically debunked all the excuses I give for why I assume her reaction to my crossdressing would be negative. The one big one I keep getting hung up on is that she'll just be really mad that I never told her earlier, and the last thing he said at the end of my last session was basically, "You're making too big of a deal out of this. I think she'll understand how hard this is for you."

    Again, all the dialog is in my head, and it's always negative because I still, when it comes down it, feel weird about it myself. So, I guess my question is this: what advice do you have for accepting yourself? I repeat all the mantras, and try to tell myself that this is totally fine, but there's still that "big brother" voice of society somewhere in there still making me feel like it's not "ok" to be a man who likes to wear women's clothes. Therapy has definitely helped me come along way, but I feel like the main thing holding me back from being totally open with my wife is that fact that, on some level, I'm still not comfortable with it myself.

    All suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance!
    "She was everybody else's girl. Maybe someday, she'll be her own." - T. Amos

  2. #2
    Gold Member Dana44's Avatar
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    Mar 2015
    Central Texas
    I agree with your assessment. If you love yourself as a crossdresser it is easier to communicate. .Yet still try talking to her. one never knows the acceptance. Yet it is worth a try.
    Part Time Girl

  3. #3
    Yeah Ok like whatever Tracii G's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Between here and there
    The only tip I can give to accepting yourself is because you have no choice.
    If you don't make a commitment to yourself and waffle back and forth you might as well give up dressing much less discussing it with your wife.
    If you are genuinely TG there is no alternative is there?
    If you are a closet hobby CDer and you can't get a grip and accept yourself why bother?
    Whats the use in dressing feeling like crap for lying to your wife and family then what does that say about you?
    Constantly going back and forth trying to figure out the reasons why,beating yourself up over it and being in a state of turmoil what good is that just stop dressing and stop prolonging the agony.
    I sat myself down , had a long talk with myself and came to the conclusion I was female in heart and mind and went with it because it felt right.
    I feel sorry for the ones that fight with all this on a daily basis and just can't let go.
    Last edited by Tracii G; 10-12-2017 at 12:08 AM.
    Head Executive Chief of the Dept of Redundancy Dept.

  4. #4
    Member nikkim83's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
    Listen to Tracy she goes straight to the point. Be true to yourself first.

  5. #5
    Gold Member bridget thronton's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    midwest USA
    For me sharing with my spouse was part of accepting myself. Not sure one came before the other. But I knew I could not continue hiding things from the woman I loved. It was hard but I told her. She of course pointed out that I needed to be the one who told our kids (not some random person who saw me out and about). Was quite scary - but they were both both OK with it and my life is much less stressful.

  6. #6
    Gold Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
    One thing my counsellor tried to cure me of was living with assumptions, our mind goes round in circles often destructively so, we have to break the cycle, that is when I came out to me son, the fears were in my head rather than reality . As it turns out he's OK about it whuch was a huge burden off my wife's shoulders .

    Accepting yourself is the biggest hurdle , you can't move on until you do .

  7. #7
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    San Francisco Area
    There are a lot of perspectives to looking at this. I tend to be mostly a very pragmatic person. I look at something, some type of situation, identify the alternatives and pick one or more to try. When I started dressing in 2006 from a total zero interest before, I just accepted it for what it was to me at that time, something that a great big smile to my face and lot of enjoyment. It was totally non-sexual. One of the ways I looked at it, in my specific circumstances (single, living alone in my own house, retired, beat a bout with cancer) was if it didn't hurt anyone, including me, I would do it when I could. What I learned more about this blessing to me, and a curse for some others, was that I could not really do anything about it, so why not enjoy it and deal with the keeping it my secret as best that I could.

    I totally agree with your therapist that you should just accept that you are infected or gifted something special, something that you can not really get rid of, based on all the stories that I have read here. That is how I dealt with my cancer. I had it and I needed to and wanted to treat it, so I did. I hate public speaking about a fixed topic, even though I can talk to anyone when I want and can take over a meeting to get my point across. So, when I was required to speak to a big crowd, I realized that the actual time speaking would be limited. So, I started building courage for those minutes that I would be speaking and kept thinking about when it would be completed, doing a good job or a bad one, but I always focused on that light at the end of the tunnel when I would be done.

    So, after all your therapy, why not try to accept that you are who you are, whether you like that or not and start focusing how to fit it more or less comfortably into your life as a person and as a married person with relationship responsibilities. Once you learn that what you do, contrary to popular opinion, is not bad and does not hurt anyone, and will not go away you may be able to find your path to accepting yourself and to communicating better with your spouse.

    Shorter version: Llike cancer or something else that is serious, if you can't change or eliminate it, learn how to accept it as a permanent part of your life and then share that with those that need to know. It will be a very liberating moment when you get there. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Member LaurenS's Avatar
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    Jun 2014
    Western Oklahoma
    Great points, especially Tracii and Allie.

    For me, it was experiencing multiple tragedies in a very short period of time.

    Life is too short.

    Until I saw death up close and personal, that phrase was a cliche to me.

    spent decades with guilt. I’m not out, but at least I don’t beat myself up about it anymore.

    since realizing the phrase is so meaningful, I’ve learned how beneficial pragmatism and stoicism can be, and now actively work on improving my life and those around me so we hopefully all reach a higher plane of happiness.

    Rising smiles lift all ships.
    You are you. You are beautiful. Labels are worthless.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2010
    Virginia Beach, Va.
    My answer is you and I are biologically males but we were born with a portion of our brain being female therefore we like/desire a lot of the same things that women do. Males don't think like this because their brain is all male. So you like a lot of the same things (dressing female, the female look/presentation, emotional state) your wife and other females do. You were born with this brain and you can't change it. If you and your wife can understand this and she can accept this and your wife can use this to your sharing more than the average couple and bring you closer. You would be sharing more things including feminine things like close girlfriends do with a bonus of her having a husband too. Hope she can understand and accept this.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator GretchenJ's Avatar
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    Nov 2013
    Northeast US
    Tracii's post ring true with me on so many levels it's scary.

    As someone who has recently come out to my SO, and not by my own choice, after 40 plus years of hiding, after the yelling , the crying, the confusion and the multiple long nights of just talking through it, we are now stronger and closer than ever before. That daily conflict that Tracii talks about is so real and at times crippling. Having that removed was one of the best moments in my life, and now my wife wants to share this part of my life with me and is constantly looking for available time for us to be together, as actually said she was sorry that I hadn't told her years ago.

    with this said, there is no guarantee what your SO final reaction will be, so I am not going to be one to tell you that disclosure will automatically result in acceptance. All I can offer you is that if you decide to disclose is that you keep the communication lines open, that silence from your SO may not necessarily be a good thing, as she may be running down what-if scenarios in her head that may be way off from what you are hoping from her.

    Good luck to you and PM if you need someone to talk to.

  11. #11
    Gold Member Jaylyn's Avatar
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    Apr 2013
    Arianna those who have posted have some good things that should be considered by you. I've enjoyed the CD I guess all my life. I was married almost 40 years before I had the discussion with my wife. I felt very relieved and she felt like she could see into me deeper than ever before. Mine I found out said she already suspected that I liked feminine soft things, and she said she knew I liked makeup because she noticed I always watched her put her makeup on. It brought my wife and I closer together for the last six years, but she has recently kind of turned off but knows deep down I probably still do it. You also need to ask your wife's input on it if she accepts what you tell her. One of my wife's was she didn't want the kids to ever know and for me not to ever let anyone else find out by going out in public. Thus I'm still kind of like in a DADT type situation, which I can handle ok.
    Just getting it off my chest and her knowing was a big weight lifted. I almost feel normal now.
    I hope it all works out for you for the best. Only you will know when the time is right but you should let your mate know how you feel. When that weight is lifted you kinda know you've accepted yourself to some degree.

  12. #12
    Aspiring Member Jean 103's Avatar
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    May 2013
    Central Coast, CA
    It's two different things. You and her. You being at ease may help you to talk about it, there is no guarantee to how she will react. You lied to her and are continuing to do so. If you read all the threads, you know that this is a main topic on site. That and it doesnt always work out. Good luck

  13. #13
    Junior Member halljennifer's Avatar
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    Sep 2017
    Edmonton Alberta

    I came out to my wife back in June, just days before my 30th birthday. The decision to do so was mine, it was not forced, due to C finding out about Jennifer. At this point we have been married for 4 years, and have a beautiful 2 year old girl E. My guilt for hiding this from C for the last 7 years of our lives, and hiding it from the world for the last 30, got to be too much for me to handle.

    So I had two options, both of which would have consequences in one way or another. Tell my wife about Jennifer, or live in the shadows, with a potential for C to find out on her own. So I chose to tell her about it. I did so out of love and respect, and I ensured to reinforce that throughout the many nights of long conversations, and tears. The host of emotions from C were wildly varied, one day supportive and loving, then the next dismissive and cold. I was prepared for that, but it still hurt me nonetheless. I wanted to be able to comfort her, but was sometimes unable to open the floodgates. Sometimes I could.
    I am sure a lot of the emotions we were feeling were due to external factors as well. We have a rather solid relationship, and I am sure this is just a test along the way.

    As of today, she has accepted me, in a certain capacity. As to what it is we are still defining boundaries. However we went out shopping this weekend, and purchased some clothes for Jennifer. It was fantastic, we both had a great time, stopped for sushi and sake, and shopped till we dropped.

    It would be safe to assume you know roughly were you are and want to be in life. Or at least have some direction. All you need is a direction, and either your spouse will follow willing or not. You have to be ready for either outcome, and accept that fact. I kept it honest with C, and I think that was a saving grace to our relationship and marriage. I will always answer her questions truthfully, even if it may be unsavoury for her. But it will be truthful!

    By no means am I a psychologist. I am just a confused guy who wants to be a girl. Which in itself is where our spouses will more than likely get hung up. But I would say my experience has been positive in this regard, but be ready for a roller coaster. There was a lot of work that went into our relationship to make this work. Your SO's acceptance will not be Fed-ex'd over night on a red eye flight. Life will not continue on as normal, it will change, due to you introducing a very large change into the dynamic of your relationship. It is up to you and your SO as to if it will be a positive one.

    Best of luck Arianna,

    If you would like to talk, please feel free to pm me.

    😘 Jennifer

  14. #14
    Transgender Person Pat's Avatar
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    May 2014
    Boston Area
    Quote Originally Posted by AriannaRenee View Post
    And over the years, I've attributed the fact that I haven't worked up the nerve yet to the fact that I'm worried about her "acceptance," what hit me like a bolt of lightning today was that what it really comes down to is I haven't accepted myself fully as a crossdresser yet.
    When you have that insight, you're very close to breaking out. The awareness of it will drive you. Self-acceptance (or lack of) is the thing lurking behind most of the threads where people are talking about their problems. And Tracii pretty much nails it - you have to accept yourself because it's who you are -- you have nothing else.

    How do you do that? All I can tell you is how *I* did that and it might resonate with you or it might not. I don't think there's just one way.

    For me, I sussed out that there were certain behaviors of mine that were driven by a model of "manhood" that I was trying to project to the outside world. These days I'd say it was a protection mechanism because early in my childhood I learned that the behaviors that were natural to me would not be tolerated. I didn't eliminate those natural behaviors, but I suppressed them and instead projected what my family, my friends, my faith and society wanted to see in a male child. (There's no shortage of role models for being an ideal man.) Basically I was lying to everyone every day. When I crossdressed in secret, or daydreampt I was able to allow some of those suppressed behaviors out and it was very restorative for me. I could drop the pretense and for a couple of hours let the real me out. Then I'd take what comfort I could, slam the door shut on those feelings and loath myself for having been so weak.

    So how'd I get to acceptance? First I had to find out I wasn't the only one like me. I was born in the 1950's so that information was pretty deeply hidden most of my life. Then I had to find role models -- people who were like me who were able to live as I wanted to live. I found them on this site, I found them by reading TG literature, I searched for them in my social circle. And the first acceptance I had to do was to accept that those people were OK. And if they were OK, I could be OK too. Then I had to set about the work of unwinding the false persona I had built up over the years. I had to examine what behaviors were false, I had to determine what was the "true" behavior for me and I had to figure out why I wasn't giving myself permission to express the true behavior. And that's where acceptance came in - I had to accept that it was OK for me to express true behaviors. This requires a lot of self-forgiveness: I grew up with a Rudyard Kipling sense of what a man is. I had to forgive myself that I wasn't that kind of man. And then I had to give permission to myself to be the kind of man I really was -- it didn't happen instantly. I tracked down and changed one behavior at a time. It took years. I had lots of illusions about what I might be: a fetish dresser, "just" a crossdresser, two personalities in one body, etc. And as I became more and more myself, my model of who I was changed. I felt better and better about myself and the world around me benefited because honestly they needed me not another hollow man acting a role. In the end my family and friends saw me smiling more, they saw me happier, and I like to think they could sense that I was now telling the truth in my actions. So their acceptance? Pretty much guaranteed. Not saying I haven't lost a few friends along the way -- they wanted me to be the fake character I was projecting. (Kind of like how some people would never let Leonard Nimoy - the human - be anyone but the Spock character he played.) Perhaps they were projecting their own false characters (doesn't have to be about gender - there are lots of opportunities to be false) and they were discomforted. Dunno.

    I will say that as you make your journey, watch out for traps. Watch out for behaviors that you adopt because you think you "ought" to. It's easy to go from wearing a male disguise to wearing a female disguise and never be yourself. That's not self-acceptance and you'll just end up in a wrong place being mystified that life didn't get any better. For me, the answer was follow my happiness and accept that what I found was what I was supposed to be all along.
    I am not a woman; I don't want to be a woman; I don't want to be mistaken for a woman.
    I am not a man; I don't want to be a man; I don't want to be mistaken for a man.
    I am a transgender person. And I'm still figuring out what that means.

  15. #15
    Lisa Allisa's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    s.nj near Berlin
    Sorry but I can't advise on your wife's acceptance or not since I've never been married but I can hopefully help you accept yourself. I struggled for ages with my own acceptance than one day, and I don't know why, I just looked over my life and when I realized I was living to please everyone else, their ideals, their aspirations of me and basically their idea of what a man is. I am a hard worker, honest, responsible person so I said "why am I not living how I want to?" I was not really happy, sort of a cold fish, than I said that's it I'm going to live "my" life, the clothing made me happy and feel good so as I progressed I found out more about myself than I ever thought was possible. Bottom line I guess is now I'm so much more a better person and if it was my CDing that opened my eyes to this self acceptance than I feel so grateful and lucky every time I step through my front door dressed as I feel because I am a productive part of society even if that society looks down on me. I hope my story helps you or at least gives you something to think about.
    "you are a strange species and there are many out there;shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you ,you are at your best when things are at their worst" ...[ Starman]
    It may of course be a bit disturbing to sense that one is really not so firmly anchored to the gender one was born into.

  16. #16
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    Apr 2016
    Pat....that was an amazing post. You've summarized much of my experiences and feelings so well, and my current thinking regarding exploration

  17. #17
    Junior Member Bailee's Avatar
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    Oct 2016
    A really interesting topic. I think for many of us self acceptance can be a long road, especially having grown up in the dark ages that many of us did, when men were men and that's all there was to it. For the longest time I saw it as something I did, not someone I was. This web site and being able to share in the stories of others with similar experiences has helped a lot with my perspective. I came out to my SO about a year ago not knowing what the outcome would be, and her acceptance and support did amazing things for my own self-acceptance.

    Not sure that helps, but I would suggest that although her keeping the secret is a risk (although I'd argue not nearly as big a deal as you probably think it is), the possible benefits to you far outweigh the risks.

    As Popeye so often said "I yam what I yam"

  18. #18
    Member Zoeytgtx's Avatar
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    Oct 2017
    Middle of AR.
    My need to dress was causing more and more stress in my life because it was causing me to lie to my wife. I cannot do that very easily.Finally nearing the breaking point, she finally got me to tell her what the problem was. I finally admitted to her one long and teary night that I desperately needed to crossdress after fighting and repressing it since my late teens. Just admitting it to her took a huge weight off if me. I was cleansed! By verbalizing it, physically saying it, I came to better accept to myself that I needed to crossdress. After that, it has taken months to accept, but I'm fine with it now. I can talk about it openly because I accept who I am.

  19. #19
    happy to be her Sarah Charles's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Utah, north of West Jordan, south of North Salt Lake & west of South Salt Lake
    Tips for self-acceptance? I hate to quote RuPaul, but "How are you going to love anyone else, if you don't love yourself first?"

    The questions I kept asking myself and the secret I am protecting make me defensive. I don't fully open up because I fear letting anyone else see the authentic fullness of my personality. So what does that get for me? Time that I can't share with those I care about. Since I'm in a CD support group I have to find a way to balance that part of my life with the rest of my life and it complicates things, possibly more than it helps on either side. There is no way around or over this wall I've constructed. I just need to build a door through it.

    The next question becomes, When I open up will I change from who I've always been? I have fear that once I've revealed myself to others I become vulnerable. I might become more feminized. I might lose someone I care about. I might build stronger relationships because of the trust I've shown. I might be stronger because I can deal with my vulnerability honestly. I might be more comfortable and authentic if I display a little more of my femininity.

    How much of that is out of my control? How much of it is within my control? My attitude is key to the process and it seems that most of it will be within my control. But we often set the bar much too high when it comes to believing we have control over our world. Step back and look at life a little and see how much you actually have direct and permanent control over. Pretty much the only thing I have control over is my ability to respond to the world. I can do it in a positive and loving way, offering trust and hoping for the same in return. Or I can continue to doubt myself and continue to give everyone else the permission to doubt me as well.

    I'm still working on coming out to others, but some know and it's been a great relief to be on the positive end of support and love. Basically the same things I've been adding to my relationships my whole life seem to be coming back to me.

    So I guess my tip is see how you've been treating others and if you've been good to them, it's possible they will be good to you. If not, you have control over how you respond.
    Being transgender isn't a lifestyle choice. How you deal with it is.

  20. #20
    Gold Member Alice B's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    San Diego
    Hard to answer. I think I accepted the fact before I really started. It was something I just wanted to do, with no previous hints. I told my wife about wanting to dress right away and after agreeing on rules started to dress.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Micki_Finn's Avatar
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    Aug 2016
    Southern California
    This may sound backwards and not very helpful, but honestly the biggest step towards self acceptance for me was being accepted by another person (in my case my wife). Just having her see me dressed for the first time and NOT hearing “Oh my god you’re an ugly weirdo freak!” Went a long way.

  22. #22
    Member GracieRose's Avatar
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    Aug 2017
    Southwest Ohio
    This is a great thread.
    Pat, your third paragraph hits so close to home that it is scary. I'm not as far along the acceptance path as you are. However, the dialogues that you girls have posted here since I joined, and over the 2 years that I lurked before joining, have been powerful support for me on that journey to understand and accept myself.
    Thank you all.

  23. #23
    Gold Member Lana Mae's Avatar
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    May 2016
    North Carolina
    I learned most of what I know about this in the last two years! I was just curious about the female part of me! I was convinced that there is two parts to all of us! Just some are more one or the other and some just don't care about the other! I was learning about me and saw no shame or guilt in that! I am me, both halves! Why should i be ashamed of that? This is honest as it gets and I accept that as a truth! This is a journey, down the river of life and where it is going I do not know but i am enjoying the ride! Hugs Lana Mae
    Let's play dress up!!
    "Foxy lady! You look so good!!" Jimi Hendrix

  24. #24
    Aspiring Member aprilgirl's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Indianapolis Area
    Quote Originally Posted by Micki_Finn View Post
    This may sound backwards and not very helpful, but honestly the biggest step towards self acceptance for me was being accepted by another person (in my case my wife). Just having her see me dressed for the first time and NOT hearing “Oh my god you’re an ugly weirdo freak!” Went a long way.
    That was certainly the case for me. My situation was a little different, as I first told a girl I was dating in my late 20's. We started a long distance relationship, after having met while on an out of state sales call. As things progressed, we started discussing living in together, and before making the decision to move away, I felt it best she knew. Funny side note, during one "state of the relationship" discussion, she asked if I had any secrets, and the only one she threw out there was "Do you like to wear women's clothing"? I wasn't prepared to come out at that moment, in spite of the opened door, and asked if that would be an issue. She said it would be something she'd have to think about. I knew her, and us as a couple, well enough to trust that ultimately everything would be alright.

    I ended up writing out about a ten page letter, which I never planned to mail, but believe it did help get my thoughts in order. On my next visit, I told her I had something very important to share, which took longer than I anticipated, as it truly was difficult for me to admit. Once said aloud, a tremendous weight had been removed, and the words just flowed. I was surprised by the lack of questions at the time, but the reality was this was so far off her radar, it was really to be expected. I ended up giving her the letter to read, which opened up more discussions, but only when she wanted to bring the subject up.

    Just as in Micki's case, I definitely believe the support received from my first serious girlfriend, went a long way towards me accepting myself as a crossdresser. Kim

  25. #25
    Gold Member
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    Oct 2010
    Western Washington
    I'm an "old fart" who is a child of the 1950's and 1960's. The biggest hurdle to overcome was self loathing and self hatred. Back then a man who wore women's clothing was deemed to be a homosexual. The names were vulgar. It generated a lot of confusion. How can I be gay and lust after young women and movie starlets? There was nobody to talk to. There was no resource materials. I was definitely a defective male. My church was not sympathetic to anyone not like those in the congregation, let alone accpeting of gays, lesbians and men who wore women's clothing.

    As a boy I was all rough and tumble. There was no an inkling of future behavior. Nobody punished me by forcing me to wear women's clothing; not a mother, aunt or cousin. There were few girls in my neighborhood to play with. I had crushes on girls in junior high. This desire to wear women's clothing has no roots.

    I tried banging all this out before, but, I got sidetracked with a meeting to go to. I had to have a heart to heart with myself. I looked at who I was. I looked at what I have done and accomplished in life. I am satisfied with myself. I also looked at those societal norms and expectations. I fulfilled my required male responsibilities. I do have some issues with a part of my life. I thought to myself "Wait!" I have looked around my neighborhood, among my friends, my coworkers. What have I done at the behest of societal norms and expectations?

    Well, I have been able to self rationalize my desires to wear women's clothing. What right does society have to say I cannot wear women's clothing when I have done other things which most have not done and would run away from. I don't know if a moderator will strike my words. If society sent my off to war to kill people and have done so, what right do you have to tell me I cannot express myself in any way I want, if it is not injurious to others? Amen!

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