December 6, 2018 at 6:55 am #7489
I have a transgender female age 20 that has been in such a depressive state that it is really starting to scare and worry me. She is in self-destructive mode at college that she will most likely be kicked out due to failing grades. She is on both HRT’s as well as anti-depressants. She is sleeping a lot and is always isolating herself; by only wanting to stay home and play games on her computer.
This is killing me as a single mom. Her sister (18) and I are 100% supportive of this transition. The kids father is an ass and is pretty much out of the picture. He is not as supportive and is a controlling, ego-centric and self absorbed individual.
I am all for her taking a LOA from her school for a semester to get her self-worth under control; but I am not sure what to say or how to best be there for her. I’m not in her shoes and can only empathize with her situation.
The support group that is in the area only meets on Sunday’s when I am unavailable to make it due to work schedule. I am honestly at a loss and could really use the support. I am new to the area. I moved out here for her transition (which she has only been on HRT’s for only 9 months). After her first year at college; I felt it was best for me to be her support system and now I feel like I am failing her. I will admit I am enabling by allowing her to just stay home on days off and play games. Trying to force her out by going out to dinner, dog park, or just about anywhere.
This is killing me to watch her just sleep the days away and destroy her future by failing out of the school she was so very exited to get into.
My heart is broken and I am just about ready to just take her out of school, give notice at both work and the apt and pack up and move somewhere to make a fresh start. But, I know that is not the answer.
My daughter is not willing to fully be female until vocal surgery so she can both sound and look the role.
sigh, ugh, and most of all many tears cried
December 6, 2018 at 11:56 am #7491
I am so sorry that your family is struggling with this, and believe me, depression is a family struggle. We’ve grappled on and off with this prior to our daughter coming out and beginning her transition, and while the overall trajectory has been positive, we’ve had many ups and downs. Like your daughter, she spent quite a lot of time in her room, with her electronic connections to the world much more active than her “real” relationships. I will say that it really scared me, but I can understand the process. My daughter compares it to the metamorphosis that takes place in other parts of the animal world — the transition from caterpillar to butterfly happens under wraps in a chrysalis. It’s hard to stay outside in the world when you’re a different person every day.
Having said that, though, I would keep encouraging her to make forays into that world. She had been in university in the UK, but not doing very well, so we decided she should withdraw and come home for awhile. At the beginning, we spent a lot of time together, doing the usual errands and chores — as time passed, that shifted gradually. She’s still not back in school, but has been working on and off, and volunteering for some political causes. She’s always been a political girl, and even when things are bleakest, that will get her energized — there might be something that your girl is committed to that could act as a doorway to a different level of interaction with the outside world.
If your sprout is taking anti-depressants, they’ve got some kind of connection to the theraputic world — does she have a counselor that she can talk comfortably with? Sometimes you need help from a person that’s not your family member, someone who is just there for the person you are right now.
I know how hard, and how scary this can be. Sending love to all.
December 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm #7492
Yours is not the only family who has encountered very similar issues with their older child. The hope that I can offer you is that this is something that is surmountable even if the way through is sometimes painfully slow. One parent, Mark< shared his experience with his trans daughter and how they moved through it as a family. I will share his previous letter below. The first part of the post is from another family who had initially written in and is followed by Mark’s response.
If I can, I will also share a resource document that he found very helpful in a separate post after this one. Keep an eye out for it!
If you would like to talk with someone, let me know. Mark has offered himself as a resource in the past and I suspect he would definitely do so again. I will connect you via email or phone for further conversation.
Read on below my signature for Mark’s letter and look for a second post for a resource document that he supplied.
Sending you encouragement and support,
FYI – If desired, you can also contact email@example.com to schedule a consultation if you feel like that would be helpful too. We make sure our consultations and other programs are financially accessible to all so, if you feel a consultation would be a financial burden, we will readily and easily reduce/waive that cost.
Subject: Help with adult-age child
This will be my first ever post. I joined up a few months ago hoping to help my kids. I have 2 transgender children. My youngest is 12 female to male and seems to be doing pretty good. My eldest is going on 21 and non-binary, has not hardly left the house for almost 3 years. I have been understanding, helping, and cannot get “them” to do anything. I do not know what to do for my eldest. I can’t get them to go to counseling since they are over 18 and an adult, in terms. I offered school, paid for clothes, and other needs but they will not do anything. Has anyone else experienced this and how can I help? I am at my wit’s end.
RE: Help with adult-age child.
Hi, sorry to hear about the challenges with your eldest.
My daughter (mtf) went through a phase (not as long as your eldest) where my wife and I began to think that we might be dealing with Adult Child Dependency Syndrome (ACDS), also known as Entitled dependence – lovely names eh!
SO, I ‘m not a Therapist, this is not a diagnosis or a prescription, so use your own discretion here and if my experience as a parent helps here it is …
Apparently there is an almost epidemic load of young adults (and sometimes even older adults) who are failing to launch – especially in ‘western’ societies – Europe, USA, Australia and incidentally Israel where kids are failing to launch. The figures are pretty mind boggling.
Here are some links http://nvrpsy.com/adult-entitled-dependence/what-is-aed/
Here’s a brief description of the dynamic s that can occur in this situation
Child’s Dependent Behavior
Parent’s Accommodating Behavior
Explicit or implicit demands for money, goods, or services
Supply of money, goods, or services
Demand for continuous reassurance
Providing continuous reassurance
Aggression and victimization
Submitting to aggression and victimization
Feeling and expressing guilt
Use of parent as a go-between and moderator for communicating with the external world
Providing communicative and other links to external reality
Maintaining a paradoxical, “present yet alienated” attitude toward the parents: “I am here all the time but I will reduce contact to a minimum”
Accepting dependent’s presence while avoiding contact
And I’ve attached a summary document I put together for my own benefit.
The hardest part for us was knowing what was ‘normal’ gender dysphoria development curve and what might be ACDS/ Entitled Dependence and what in our behavior was supporting that dependence – not sure we ever really knew BUT here are some thoughts based on our experience….
1) First my wife and I needed to get clear on the outcomes we wanted: (a) Sarah is living comfortably, confidently and independently as herself (a transgender MTF), (b) Kathryn and Mark are happily and comfortably “retired” with a loving and appropriately calibrated relationship with Sarah.
2) We had to get clear about things we were doing that supported the undesirable behaviors – how were we enabling her and what were our bottom lines around acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.
3) We developed a little touchstone/ mantra that went something like “Does what I am about to say/ do help move my child (insert name here) towards being able to live comfortably, confidently and independently as herself in the world or does it increase her dependence on us?”
4) We had to address the ‘she’s an adult now and we can’t tell her what to do’ – it is so easy to give our power away in that frame of mind!! But we still had influence and some power in the situation even though our ‘legal authority’ had run out!! You probably have more power in the situation than you imagine – don’t short change yourself.
5) We came to realize that, while she was technically and adult and we could not tell her what to do in her private life, she was also living in our house, eating our food, using our car and that as long as she was doing that then we would craft an ‘adult’ relationship with her. This meant setting expectation and having consequences when they were not met. Among these were expectations around cooking, cleaning, food and the expectation that she would pay rent if she wanted to live here with us, that she would responsible for paying for her own phone and internet and not have access to ours. Also that she would orient her day to normal waking hours and not reverse day and night which she was beginning to do and is a classic ACDS symptom.
6) The hardest part was my wife and I getting on the same page around what our bottom lines and what the consequences were and sticking to it and not having one of us go soft while the other was trying to hold to the line.
7) Between May 2013 and September 2015 I can’t tell you how many “Go Forward” plan revisions we wrote – writing stuff down helped us get really clear. It was frankly ‘hell on wheels’ at times AND here we are in February of 2016 she has been working full time since September 2015 (started part time ion March 2015) pays rent, is buying a car, still spends way too long in her room (by my reckoning).
The situation is more complicated, challenging and nuanced than I can write here so feel free to call if you would like…
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Aidan.
December 8, 2018 at 1:25 pm #7495
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