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Thread: Dressing as therapy or reaction.

  1. #1
    Silver Member Geena75's Avatar
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    Dressing as therapy or reaction.

    This is a bit of a story.

    In 2012 my mom passed after a couple years of progressing dementia. I had a resurgence of the urge to dress around then and explored with some stray items I found. That fall, my wife's father fell ill and, cancelling our annual anniversary trip, she went to TN for two weeks to help out -- hardly heard from her the whole while. In her absence, I dressed more and explored crossdressers on-line. The following spring, her father took a turn for the worse, and she was off again. I joined CD.com, bought shoes and nylons, found a dress, and eventually shaved my legs. I lingered at that level for some time. Fast forward to 2021. Was enjoying the occasional dress up around home. That spring my father died. That summer I ventured out for the first time, and it became a progression up through recently when I removed the beard until further notice (perhaps spring), am shaved from the waist down, and have been going out and about.

    It struck me that each time an event happened which caused me sadness/depression, I advanced in cross dressing. Am I doing a sort of virtual therapy on myself? Maybe it is just an escape from the bleak reality of the moment. I'm inclined to think the latter, other than just coincidence. When my life has so many pits of depression to fall into, I find it easier to avoid them via Geena time. Regardless, I am feeling very good about being Geena.
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  2. #2
    Miss Conception Karren Hutton's Avatar
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    You might have something there, Genna! I restarted crossdressing after a long lull period after my father passed away and I was diagnosed with a couple pesky brain tumors. That was over 20 years ago and except for a few short periods of time, it has remained a constantly strong urge.

  3. #3
    Gold Member bridget thronton's Avatar
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    Glad you are feeling good about being Geena

  4. #4
    Gold Member Crissy 107's Avatar
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    Geena, Interesting theory, I think you may be correct.
    Crissy

  5. #5
    Senior Member Debbie Denier's Avatar
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    Your story is a mirror image and very similar to my own Geena. In 2011 I lost my father . Started dressing for the first time regularly in nearly 20 years. It was a form of escapism that made me feel much better. I became careless. Wife found stash. Enforced purge. She was not satisfied by my explanation.Dressed at mothers for next 9 to 10 years. Mother passed away Sept 2020. Joined CD.com bought more clothes. Not as advanced as you are but think I would be if not for wife?s debilitating health and 2 daughters at home.Agree it is escapism but much better than turning to drugs , alcohol etc.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Angela1954's Avatar
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    Interesting posts. I knew I was different from the time I was young; as I tried on my mothers tights (called leggings today). Fast forward after my divorce; which had nothing to do with crossdressing I began dressing fully, using makeup, and venturing out. A few professional makeovers gave me more confidence. My feelings were always buried deep inside and I tried to ignore them. But as you all know that never works. I'm 68 now and cannot transition, mostly due to family issues, i.e. none of my children or close friends know. But I do find solace in my recognition of my female persona.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member alwayshave's Avatar
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    Geena, I would agree that dressing is therapy. Not a reaction as I have dressed since I was about 4 years old. But if it helps you, does it matter why? A long as you feel good about Geena.
    Please call me Jamie, I always_have crossdressed, I always will, "alwayshave".

  8. #8
    Senior Member GretchenM's Avatar
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    You are correct, Geena. This is a well documented reaction to severe stressors in our lives. There are all sorts of explanations, but the actual cause or causes is unknown. One of the best explanations can be found in the book "Psychobiology of Transexualism and Transgenderism." Death of loved ones, returning from war, as well as personal tragedies such as a severe accident seems to bring this out in various forms of gender variant people. It can last for quite awhile or fade soon, but the need to turn to this part of the identity provides a stabilizing force and helps the person to deal with the life change. So, yes, it is a kind of therapy the brain engages in while it is adapting to a new environmental difficulty that leaves a hole in the fabric that needs to be reconciled. It is one of the pieces of excellent evidence that these kinds of gender shifts are very real.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kris Burton's Avatar
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    Very interesting indeed Geena. Over the years I have been in and out of therapy, fighting depression, anger management, debilitating shyness and deep regret of a repressed childhood and young adulthood. Despite a successful marriage of 40 years I have been haunted by these things, and no therapy seemed to help for very long as I sunk back into the same negativity. Not a very easy guy to deal with - just ask my wife! However, after finally giving in to my impulse at age 69 to crossdress the cloud finally lifted. Even when I am not presenting as Kris I am a much more positive and fulfilled person - in either male or female mode, not looking back with regret but rather forward with youthful anticipation. I feel better psychologically than I have in years, maybe ever. So therapy for me? Absolutely, of the most effective kind!
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  10. #10
    Aspiring Member NancyJ's Avatar
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    I would venture that the answer is not as straightforward as it seems. Saying that crossdressing is therapy for emotional hurt implies, on some level, that it helps us address that hurt. Although the escalation of your dressing seemed to be in response to your wife’s absence and your experience of loss, it seems to have been more of an escape from the experience of grieving, maybe even a substitute, than a way to help you wrestle with the emotions involved. I would say that therapy helps us confront and deal with difficult emotion, not cover up feelings. What if you were describing increasing any other activity: working out, running, drinking, working, in response to the experience of loneliness and loss? Would those behaviors be therapy?

    There is an expression about therapy: “There are two kinds of therapy, therapy that feels good, and therapy that works.”

    Please understand where I am coming from. I (obviously) have nothing against crossdressing. But, no, I do not think it is therapy. What you describe is an escape. I have used it, too! And I have been in therapy. Nancy
    Last edited by NancyJ; 12-05-2022 at 04:05 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Heather76's Avatar
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    Your theory makes sense to my uneducated mind. In my simple terms, your male self has to deal with all these events. However, Geena does not "know" these people so she has no sadness in her heart over the loss of them. She is still in her happy place which allows you an escape, if only temporary, from the sadness you otherwise feel. Regardless of the true cause and effects, if the escalation of crossdressing has afforded you the ability to better deal with the losses in your life, don't question it. I would suggest you just keep progressing as it seems to work for you.
    It's never too late to enjoy a happy childhood.
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  12. #12
    Aspiring Member NancyJ's Avatar
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    Heather, Reread Geena?s post. She describes beginning dressing after losing her mother to dementia. Then, increasing her dressing when her wife leaves to help with an in-law. Nowhere does she say she did not know her in-laws. Of course she knew her own mother, and she was dealing with the prolonged absence, and emotional preoccupation, of her own wife. Just because a behavior “feels good” or helps us not feel emotional pain does not make it therapeutic, for example, overeating.

  13. #13
    Aspiring Member Fiona_44's Avatar
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    Geena,

    I can relate somewhat to what you are saying.
    All my life I was a closeted lingerie fetish cross dresser. My wife passed away one year ago and six months after she passed I started getting the urge to dress fully and go out in public en femme. I agree with Nancy that CD'ing can definitely be a form of escape. That same point was raised by the bereavement counselor I talk to on a regular basis who knows about Fiona. She cautioned me not to use CD'ing as a way of completely shutting out the grief and emotions from my wife's death. Her thinking is that by doing so you only interfere with the long, necessary, unpleasant process of learning how to deal with the grief. Additionally, by using it as a complete escape, it only becomes harder to deal with the flood of emotions that come roaring back when you return to male mode. So I have learned to deal with whatever emotions arise when I am Fiona and not to shut them out. I even visit my wife's grave dressed en femme which is just another way of insuring that being Fiona is not solely an escape from reality. And after thinking through everything I have come to the wonderful conclusion that being Fiona is just the real me emerging and not just a temporary escape from reality.
    "I may be going to hell in a bucket baby but at least I'm enjoyin' the ride!" - Grateful Dead

  14. #14
    Female Illusionist! docrobbysherry's Avatar
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    Of course dressing may be different for all of us. Escape, relief, reality, empowerment, social outlet, hobby, turn on, dual personality, and probably very many more!?
    Personally? Over my 25+ years of dressing I think I've experienced nearly ALL of those feelings!

    And, they r all valid reasons to dress. My shrink said unless my dressing was causing problems for me and others in my life? She didn't care why I dressed, she wanted to move on!
    U can't keep doing the same things over and over and expect to enjoy life to the max. When u try new things, even if they r out of your comfort zone, u may experience new excitement and growth that u never expected.

    Challenge yourself and pursue your passions! When your life clock runs out, you'll have few or NO REGRETS!

  15. #15
    Silver Member Maria 60's Avatar
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    You definitely hit some sort of hammer on the nail to say. When I was going through some intense family matters. My wife pointed out to me that I was dressing more and she felt like I was escaping myself and that my fem side didn't have the same problems. I believe this way is better then popping antidepressants or get aggressive and take it on the family. We don't hurt nobody when we dress up, we only help ourselves and that's all that matters. It's great therapy. I'm glad you feel good about Geena in those moments.

  16. #16
    Silver Member Rhonda Jean's Avatar
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    Neither for me. An escape as NancyJ describes is probably more accurate, but not simply that, either.

    It has been pointed out to me in therapy that my female identity lived an idealic life. No worries, no bills, none of the ordinary stress of life. My male-side concerns of ordinary life just did/do not exist in my female life. Instead of worrying about money, job, kids, parents, etc., all I worried about was how I looked. I was obsessed about being as attractive as a woman as I could possibly be. As long as that was my top concern even in my male life, all the other concerns were diminished. Unrealistic? Yep. To me, that's a positive. I'm not transitioning. Why add the down sides of real life to my female life? Leave those on the male side and let my female side live out the fantasy life in every way possible! When my girl side was happy, I guarantee my boy side was happier because of it!

  17. #17
    Resident Polymath MarinaTwelve200's Avatar
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    It just confirms my assertation that the psychology and reasons for cross-dressing are much more varied and complex with "Straight" crossdressers. ---As opposed to transsexuals and Gays where the reasons are often logical and obvious. (a few exceptions of course)

  18. #18
    Aspiring Member NancyJ's Avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with “escape,” of course, as long as we realize that is what it is and keep it reined in so that it does not hurt anybody else. And for those of us, like me, who experience gender dysphoria, dressing can provide a sense of relief or even a euphoric feeling. My main point is to not confuse these good feelings, or the absence of experiencing hurt feelings, as therapy. Not the same. Nancy
    Last edited by NancyJ; 12-06-2022 at 06:04 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member GretchenM's Avatar
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    You make some good points NancyJ. It seems to vary to a rather large extent as to what function that identity shift produces with the person who has suffered some kind of crisis. It can be an escape, a temporary refuge, but it doesn't really resolve any major issues except for providing some comfort while the person is dealing with the loss in a rational way. It can be part of the grieving process with a loss of a loved one, but for a person returning from fighting in a war it can be a liberation and a transition to a new life or one that was there before and became interrupted.

    Cisgender people do the same thing but instead of seeking comfort in a different aspect of their total identity they dive into a hobby or some other meaningful activity during the long period of grieving or adjusting to a more "normal" life after a major interruption that generates a bit of feeling of not knowing what to do.

    Thus this shifting can be therapeutic even though it is not full on therapy. And it can also provide the time to replace a major change with something more integrated and thereby help keep the person out of actual therapy.

    Almost a year ago now my wife and I lost our oldest daughter. I was living alone as I had been in our home in Denver while my wife was in Albuquerque caring for our daughter in her illness. My wife stayed there for a few months after the death and visited the many new friends she had made in the city and at nearby Pueblos before she came home. She then came home and we had each other again after 4 1/2 years of rarely seeing each other. It was a little touch and go for a couple of weeks, but we quickly regained our footing and we grieved together. It is still hard to deal with Jennifer being gone, but we are doing quite well.

    I shifted my gender expression to a mode that fit my wife's comfort and although I miss the immersion possible when living alone life is good again. But we both feel the tension building as December 20 gets closer. We can handle it now though and that grieving early on in our own ways provided the balance needed to get through those early days of grieving and avoid ending up in couples counseling to avoid divorce which sometime happens. Thus for me, that period of dressing a lot after Jennifer's death was therapeutic but not therapy.

  20. #20
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    Hi Geena , This the best Theropy Money can Buy, ?Orchid**OO**
    Having my ears triple pierced is AWESOME, ~~......

    I can explain it to you, But I can't comprehend it for you !

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  21. #21
    Aspiring Member NancyJ's Avatar
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    Gretchen, You have experienced a tremendous loss. No parent wants a child of theirs to proceed them in death. Thank you so much for sharing that most personal story.

    From what I have read in your previous postings in other threads, I think you are likely (like me) in the category of nontransitioning mtf transgender. It makes sense that you found solace in being able to dress as your preferred gender. When your wife is in the house you defer, out of respect, to her. I get that. I do the same thing. You seem like a very special gal who loves her wife. Nancy
    Last edited by NancyJ; 12-06-2022 at 07:14 PM.

  22. #22
    Member AmyJordan's Avatar
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    Hi Genna I'm so sorry for your losses I lost my sister very recently so understand it is a hugely stressful and upsetting time. I have found in the lifestyle we have and adopting a more submissive role that I am a far calmer and happier person and able to deal with things far easier. It is well documented that dressing relieves the stress levels in certain men so if it does for you carry on anything that helps get you through such difficult times is good

  23. #23
    Aspiring Member April Rose's Avatar
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    Dressing, or even thinking about dressing, has gotten me through some hard times and distressing situations. That's why I have long since stopped thinking of it as a pathology.

    Admittedly, there are times when it has caused me stress, frustration and embarrassment. But I think that is a result of the social environment I was raised in. In more specific cases it has given me the strength and patience to carry on.
    I am a vessel of the goddess. Let me express my calling to a feminine life through nurturing love and relatedness.

  24. #24
    Member JennyMay's Avatar
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    I remember one occasion when some things happened which left me not just stressed out but utterly destroyed. I lay in bed just totally unable to sleep. Eventually got out of bed and put on a skirt. It really helped. So yes, it can be therapeutic. So glad my wife is fullly aware and fully accepting.

  25. #25
    we strive for perfection tall sam's Avatar
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    Therapy or reaction -- or as some have mentioned escape. Is it not all a bit of these??? I used to dress for the sexual feeling then found it helps me escape and its now a way I can get a way from the stress of the day - its just gives me that few hours where my mind is pre-occupied by being a lady. When I am alone and following my divorce and many times before that when I felt alone I would become Samantha, the woman I like to be with. She makes me feel good, is sexy and fun, is not me and dosnt have my problems. So, its my escape and its a therapy. Happy days

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