I just read a really interesting post at Third Way Trans called – Don Draper, Superheroes, and Narcissism. The author is a male who previously tried living as a woman, but later detransitioned back to living as a male again. He contends in this post that a type of narcissism was present in his desire to live as a woman. He created a false persona, even if was not aware of doing so at the time. I don’t know for sure what I think about this. I certainly think there is some component of narcissism in both crossdressing and transsexualism, but not necessarily more than most people regularly struggle with. It’s part of human nature. But perhaps this is a unique form of narcissism that manifests itself in a different way from our normal selfish run of the mill narcissism. Anyway, at least it is a very interesting post.
“If you mistake the persona for yourself, a threat to the persona is a threat to your very existence. So, there is this endless seeking of validation, which is sometimes called narcissistic supply and every time the persona is validated it feels good, but never enough. Every time the persona is not validated it feels so very painful.
The persona also prevents true unconditional love from reaching the heart, which is precisely what is needed for healing. This is what makes severe narcissism so difficult to treat in therapy. Narcissism is on a spectrum, so there is hope for some. However in some cases all we can do is help the person live the best they can under the constraints of the persona they have created, and maybe help them to not cause harm to others. If the persona they put forth is loved, that love doesn’t truly reach them, because again on some level the person knows it isn’t really them. ”If they really knew me, they wouldn’t actually love me”
All of this should give us great compassion for transsexuals. They are searching for love, but even when it is given, it doesn’t necessarily reach their hearts through their personas. Thus, many of them remain people who are in pain. Transsexuals crave affirmation and acceptance. They want people to not only treat them fairly, but to go out of their way to affirm their womanhood. But the validation and affirmation is never enough.
I don’t know how much of these concepts relate to me, as my crossdressing was more about sexual pleasure and less about gender dysphoria. And I certainly have had a lot of love growing up with a good family. But on the other hand, in my life in general I notice myself striving a lot for affirmation, and no matter how much affirmation I get as a pastor in my ministry, it’s never enough. I always want more.
But my struggle for affirmation and love finds healing and resolution in Jesus. I am accepted fully and completely by God because of Jesus taking my place, taking my punishment, and giving me his righteousness. I don’t have to fear a courtroom judgment before God, because Jesus has already taken my place there. I am completely and fully affirmed, accepted, loved, blessed, cherished, and rewarded by God, and this has nothing to do with me, but with Jesus. Not only do I not need to create false personas in order to get affirmation, I don’t even have to strive for any achievements in my real self. God’s love for me is not conditional on my achievements or status or anything else.
When I start wanting affirmation, I can just rest and relax knowing Zephaniah 3:17 –
“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”