missmayinga asked: I was wondering if you could give me any advice on supporting a girlfriend who's struggling a lot w/ dysphoria at the moment? I know that I'm not really ever going to understand exactly what she's going through, but I hate sitting there like a clueless idiot and not having any idea what to say when she's obviously feeling so shitty about herself. :[
I’d give you generic pointers, but dysphoria can manifest in so many different ways that there’s no guarantee anything will work. What might help me feel more secure might feel patronizing or insulting to someone else, for example.
I recommend asking her what you can do to help, if anything. Ask her and listen to her. If she doesn’t know, that’s ok. It may take her time to figure herself out. Don’t force the issue over and over, but let her know you’re willing to listen and learn.
Remember: This isn’t about you feeling like a “clueless idiot”. (Spoiler alert: you aren’t! This is just outside your experience and that’s nothing to feel bad about.) This is about her feelings of dysphoria. It’s great that you care about her and want to help, but make sure your own feelings of helplessness don’t drive you to aggravate the situation.
By talking to her, you may find ways to help. Or it might be the case that there’s nothing you can do to help, and you will just have to accept that for the time being. Whatever you do, don’t think of this as a problem to be “fixed”. It’s simply a condition that is.
I wish you both the best in finding happiness together.
Here’s some other feedback I totally support:
i would also advise you to make sure you’re taking care of yourself - talk to friends, ask for advice, be open about your feelings. when we take care of others, sometimes we forget to care for ourselves. be good and forgiving to yourself and her.
One of the best ways in which my boyfriend has helped me with trans-related ickiness hasn’t really been helping me with dysphoria (because who can ever really help us with dysphoria?) but helping with social interactions. Going to the doctor with me. Aggressively using my name and pronouns when others don’t. Hell, he held my hand during my first pap smear, which he knew our doctor found odd but he did it anyway. The best way to help trans people (methinks) is to help us fight our battles.
Sometimes I try to remove my current anatomy through sheer willpower, as if I can think it into the correct arrangement. Sometimes the dissonance is so strong I want to scream. Sometimes my inner sense of body is so strong I no longer feel what’s physically there. Most of the time, though, I just want it all to be over and done with. In the past. Like a relationship that wasn’t horrible but doomed to fail.
Y’know, if not for the fact that I have crushing bottom dysphoria, I would probably actually really like my junk. If it were attached to any other woman, I’d think it was cute.
I guess I’ll just have to settle for letting my partners enjoy it… ^___^
Same here! It’s a wonderful lump of flesh. It just has no business being attached to me!
This is why I’m done with the narrative that dysphoria means you hate your body. No, the dysphoria I feel isn’t hate. It’s awkwardness, confusion, displacement, discomfort. I may be angry at the situation, angry at the fact some things can’t be changed, angry at the fact I’m not in a position to fix the stuff that can be fixed, but I’m not angry at my body. It’s a perfectly fine body. There are just parts that are out of place on me specifically.
Besides, it’s not like my body had any say in the matter, either. It’s just doing what it does. It didn’t choose any of this either. So why blame it?
99% of the time, orgasms make me feel like shit
Reblog if this applies to you too?
They’re usually a mixed bag, thanks to conflicted feelings re: sex, flashbacks, and dysphoria. Every now and then, though, the planets align, and when they do, it’s freaking AMAZING. Amazing enough I keep at it in the hopes I get another good one. (They’re happening more often!) Plus, my sex drive is there whether the orgasms work out for me emotionally or not.
[TW: rape, dysphoria] There’s not much difference between the betrayal I felt when my body masculinized and when it responded to being raped.
A lot of other aspects are different, but the “betrayal of body” part is so similar that one trigger can bring up the other.
Re: The Difference Between Dysphoria and Negative Body Image
This. THIS. I could be the best looking, most fit man in existence, but it STILL wouldn’t feel right to me. My body and my face seem so wrong to me. The problem with dysphoria is that you can’t change certain things. My shoulders are wide, and no diet or exercise will make them narrow out. It’s like playing a video game. You’re not actually that character on screen, you are just controlling them. To me, I’m in the most realistic video game created, and my character is the body I have now, but I never have a chance to change that character, and I can’t turn off the power and go back to the world where I’m the “real” me. I’ll always be stuck here.
Definitely. Especially since sometimes I even like myself. I’ll catch a glimpse of myself at a certain angle on a good day and it’ll look like ME, and more than that, I’ll even think I look a bit attractive… but then later I see the whole picture again and it shatters it. And it’s so frustrating to think that there might actually be the correct-looking “me” in there, I just have to work my ass off to dig myself out. And especially frustrating to realize that if I’d just been born with a single chromosome switched from X to Y, I would probably have none of the problems with self esteem that always plagued me.
(emphasis mine) That’s how it feels for me, too: Like there’s this disgusting shell I have to scrape off, like the real me is in there, just covered up, with a little poking through to the surface here and there. I see little flashes of myself briefly, and then poof, I’m gone.
I have dreams where I’m at some stage in my childhood or teen years, except I’m living as me instead of doing the boy act. I’m not some super-pretty idealized femme like cis people imagine we strive to be. I’m just me, the right way. Still just as tomboyish, still just as nerdy. My hair is still just as flat and fine. My nose is still just as weird. My ears are still big. I’m still just as awkward. But there isn’t any testosterone poisoning, and that makes all the difference.
It feels like coming home.