MBT Week 7: Individual Session

Today we talked about my relationship with my body, my gender and my relationship with my dad when I was a child. These are all connected, it seems.

When I was a kid I was always told I was making a fuss about nothing when I showed my feelings. My dad was often drunk and had an unpredictable temper. The way I survived this was to separate my mind from my body – and to cut myself off from the feelings that, if expressed, would only meet with an unwelcome response.

I hated my dad but also, in that curious way that children often have, I was desperate for his approval. He seemed to approve of my sister. To me he always said that he wanted me to be a boy. That he had wanted one of each, that both he and my mum had wanted that.

I noticed he praised me for typically boyish behaviours. I started hating typically girlish things like dresses, skirts, playing with dolls, the colour pink. I liked wearing jeans, climbing trees, running with my hands in my pockets, later on I started smoking like him. He called me boys names like Charlie and Herbert – still does sometimes. My therapist raised her eyebrows when I said this.

Now I don’t know how much of my gender confusion is down to this. A lot of it corresponds to stereotypes of genders – a child’s way of trying to understand what distinguishes boys from girls in the eyes of a dad they just wanted to love them.

I cried in the session today, and felt pathetic. I told my therapist that this thought that I am attention seeking, not genuine, making a fuss of nothing is a real fucker of a thought when it comes to trying to sort this shit out. As soon as I try to open up to someone those thoughts clamp down on me with shame. I feel exposed.

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4 thoughts on “MBT Week 7: Individual Session

  1. Seems like a really tough topic but good to talk about anyway.

  2. Therapy is difficult and it’s understandable you feel exposed. It sounds like you are being very brave. Sorry if that sounds patronising, but I do mean it for anyone who is in therapy. 1-2-1’s terrify me and I’m not as ready to be as open.

    It’s interesting what you say about your dad’s wish to have a boy. It’s really good that you are being given the opportunity to explore this.

    • It doesn’t sound patronising at all. It’s nice to hear that you think I was brave. I agree that talking to a relative stranger about this stuff can be pretty scary!

      Yeah the thing with my dad messes with my head. I don’t want to be defined by what he wanted, but at the same time we are who we are and that’s a product of both good and bad experiences (and everything in between).

      It’s something I’m sure I’ll be figuring out for a while to come.

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