Hi Girls, Patricia here! I want share some of my experiences dealing with shame and guilt I’ve experienced in my life with crossdressing and other endeavors. I’m sure most all of you will be able to relate to parts of my writing today!
This may be more personal than we are used to seeing, but I am pressed to share these thoughts.
I have been dealing with addictions for most of my adult life. My drug addiction centered around marijuana. “Not addictive” you say? When you don’t stop until the baggie is empty and it causes problems, it is an addiction. I worked on that for a couple years, then worked on codependent issues for a couple years. My last program has been ongoing for about 25 years. My progress has stripped the layers down to a shame-based issue. But where did that shame come from?
Being one of those people who does not spend hours upon hours meditating on the past, looking for answers, I just accepted I was not acting out as much as I used to.
Looking back on the last few months, since I came out to my SO, I have not acted out at all. I don’t have any desire to do pornography or my other acting out behaviors. Intimacy has stopped being a mostly sexual thing and taken on broader aspects.
So, we come back to the questions, where did the shame come and how has dressing helped? I don’t know where I first got the idea to dress, but I do remember when I was about 6, I would sneak into my parents’ room and try on mom’s underwear. On one particular day, a neighbor girl came over and I told her what I did. She wanted to see, so I snuck into my parents’ room, put on something under my clothes and snuck back to my room to show her.
My dad had some college friends over to study and someone noticed. Dad came into my room and caught us. Start with embarrassment of being caught in mom’s lingerie in front of the neighbor girl, scolded, and then dad had to make a lame excuse to his friends. It was just a game, until dad got a hold of it.
The next year, he caught me in bed holding a pair of mom’s panties. Don’t remember how I got them, but I do remember being caught and again being shamed for something that did not seem wrong.
Things were quiet until I was about 12. My grandmother moved in and my parents stored some of her clothes in the basement. I found them and started wearing the things that fit. I was fine for several months, until (you guessed it) dad caught me again. This time he threatened me with a psychiatrist. Now mind you, he had a Master’s in Psychology, but could not see his way to get me counseling. Of course, he would have had to admit his son was a crossdresser and that wasn’t happening in his family in the early 60’s.
My dressing quieted down but the shaming did not stop. I went out for sports, not as a toxic male, but to have fun. I was a wrestler and although I did like to win, it was not the end of the world if I didn’t. I now realize it was the coaches’ jobs to “motivate” me by constantly saying I was not living up to my potential. I kept getting all these “to be a man” messages and told what an athletic and academic disappointment I was. About 10 years ago I started doing affirmations and have gotten over the “less than” feelings.
It did not help that it cost me my marriage when I came out about crossdressing to my first wife . I was in school 15 to 21 hours a semester and working full time. I had been at this for 2 years and was stressed to the max and running exhausted. I don’t know why I chose the foolish move, but I got into bed dressed in her lingerie and she moved out the next day. Not the way to come out unless you really need to shock them. More shame.
But I still had the shame until last August. I had been dressing for about 10 months but had not told my wife about it. I did not want to live in fear of being caught while changing back and forth and adding more shame to the mix. I sat down and told her first. Her acceptance has made a big difference and reassured me that there is no shame in being myself. This freedom from shame and the resultant behavioral changes have been over the last 7 months and are quite welcome.
There will be plenty of people who will try to shame me, but do I have to value their opinion first? A lady misgendered me in the grocery store the other day. My reaction was to wonder what I had missed, should I have shaved or was it my breath? I did nothing to be ashamed of and that is my bottom line.
You CDH girls probably have a similar story relating to shame or guilt you’ve experienced with your cross dressing over the years? If so, please feel free to share your story with me and the rest of the girls here at CDH! We would love to hear from you!