Are there narcissistic roots in transsexualism?

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.

Quote –

“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.”

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19 comments on “Are there narcissistic roots in transsexualism?

  1. Don says:

    When I was living as a woman, even though I passed pretty well, I knew that I was not fooling myself. The narcissism that transsexuals feel is an effort to convince themselves that they are women, but they are only chasing their tail, you can’t convince yourself because you know the truth, which is that every cell in your body has XY chormosomes, no mater how you look or how people accept you.

    You feel you are fooling people who don’t know the real you, and the people that know your history, no matter how much they love you, can’t help but think you are a man changed to a woman. It’s a heavy burden to carry and men that turn away and go back to being a man feel such a freedom from being accepted as your real self and not feeling like they are fooling people or people knowing you are doing something weird.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael29 says:

    This is very interesting to me, personally! I also don’t think I can identity w/ the not know who I really am, it all being subconscious to me, personally. Though, it may simply be a “gut” feeling, I sense the torment and the worry of never being able to accept fully love from others; all too often I’m left feeling overwhelmed & w/ a lingering doubt of whether I’ll ever know that kind of love in this lifetime. In addition, many of the promises that you mention that we have in God, Thorin, I often hear these as promises from other Christians, but I seem so deaf to these sorts of promises all the time. For instance, in the midst of temptation and/or unbelief, I more often than not simply fall, & don’t often experience the truth of His promises in his word, as though I can truly trust those in the moment. Though I’ve been touching on this same topic w/ a friend, so we’ll see. Hopefully God’s using this even right now to bring about a great longing for him over the areas of my heart that are easily swept away by my idols/addictions. Thanks : )

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  3. thorin25 says:

    Michael, this is part of the foolishness and stumbling of the Gospel. It is so hard to accept it. If I simplify the Gospel down to crude terms it is this –

    I am messed up, but God loves me anyway, because Jesus stands in my place

    but this is hard to accept. Most of us want to say, I am messed up, I can’t possibly imagine God loving me with how messed up I am. I just can’t believe it.

    Faith is mysterious and hard to explain how it all works. And I don’t know if I’m making my point well. But part of your trouble with not being able to feel the truth of God’s promises, might be that you have failed to experience the true power of the Gospel. It could be that you are still trying to feel good enough yourself in order to accept God’s love for you, instead of accepting God’s love because you are united to Christ and he is perfect.

    I’m not saying you are not a Christian. All true Christians I believe still have this struggle. That’s why as Christians we need to hear the Gospel every week at church, not just once in a while. We so easily fall into works righteousness, thinking that God’s love and salvation is contingent on how well we are doing. But we all need to continually work on letting the Gospel into every nook and cranny of our being.

    It’s hard to describe this point briefly in a blog post. I highly highly suggest the 40-50 page small book by Tim Keller called the freedom of self forgetfulness. It might help you to really grasp “and feel” the goodness of God’s love and promises. Give it a try for me.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Freedom-Self-Forgetfulness-Christian/dp/1906173419

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  4. Michael29 says:

    Oh that’s funny, I have that book, lol.

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  5. Michael29 says:

    Interesting. After reading your response & considering all that’s happened since I wrote on this post. . . hmm. I’m not sure what to think. I go to church every sunday – though I know you weren’t trying to necessarily say I haven’t. I usually find encouragement most sundays. I have been struggling at times for the last 6 months w/ repeated times of having serious doubts whether I’m saves, but I honestly think that it’s been satan trying to screw w/ me & lead me to despair; I sense satan continually, all the time trying to mess w/ me. At least intellectually, everything you’re saying makes sense to me – I don’t think I’m missing your point. I know that my relationship w/ Jesus was never too mature before I started crossdressing, which would certainly explain why I was so easily seduced. But I’d say my relationship w/ Jesus hasn’t started to become more consistent until about 7 months ago. Anyway, I believe if I’m truly seeking him, he’s going to open my eyes in his timing & reveal himself to me. Honestly, I think I know what’s holding up my relationship w/ Jesus really having a more significant impact on my heart. ( By the way, I don’t think I conveyed things to you very well in regard to really “sensing” God & wanting him & being drawn in by him. I think I am, it’s just that it’s not nearly as captivating as it seems like it should. I base this off of feeling in part, but also from scripture. Anyway, I think a lot of the hang-up centers around how I see God as a masculine being – & being “turned off” by him since he usually takes on more of a masculine role – I’m not referring to Jesus in human form necessarily. I’m referring to how he reveals himself to various people through out the bible, & what he’s doing – what he’s conveying – & his way of doing so to another person. The other night when talking w/ a Christian friend, I realized that when I struggle(temptation) w/ thoughts of women, or crossdressing, or simply acting out, through fantasy or some other form of sexual immorality, it’s in that moment, when either seeing, looking at an image of a woman and/or looking at her clothing, then almost immediately, this is when I usually abandon God in that moment & indulge; where my affections are still, SO, SO, easily taken by God & go into sin. I still find myself easily convinced that I need to be feminine and/or I need to be able to dress in things that I woman has. Or it’s comparisons. I’ll dwell on thoughts of how women have things in different situations in life through our culture & then think about men & I usually can’t stand what men have… I usually find it boring, stupid, boyish, gross…etc. Another thing, the way that a lot of men act “macho” w/ one another, I find absolutely revulting & merely a way for a man to make excuses so he doesn’t have to be vulnerable w/ other men. Especially this week by far am I consumed in how much I greatly detest male-typical things, & have convinced myself that women just do things a who heck of a lot better. I also have a hard time realizing that men & women fall short through sin. Some times I honestly think women aren’t quite as messed up as men. I usually think that the sins men typically commit are way more twisted. But in all of this, I know there’s got to be a part of my subconscious that cannot accept myself as a man – or any other man fully – because some where I believe that I must of convinced myself, or made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t ever accept myself as good if I’m a man. There are times that I tend to believe that women would be far better off if they were simply w/o men & in lesbian relationships. I honestly tend to believe that men are too gross, too harsh, too loud, too obnoxious, lacking gentility & lacking brains, to ever be a human worth the love & affection of a woman. I know that my thinking is messed up, but these are things that I’ve kept underwraps for a long time because I thought my family/friends/ or anyone trustworthy that could help me was simply discussed to hear what I thinking & they’d rather I just keep my mouth shut than say anything. There was a time or two I recollected when I shared various things I was feeling & believing w/ my brother, when I told him, he was trying to help me see the truth by showing what I was telling him wasn’t the truth, but he said these things in such a way that I thought he was telling me, “Stop saying those things! THey’re simply not true; we’d rather you say nothing than say the these things.” But it wasn’t true, so I’ve been trying to get these things out more-so. In fact, I’ve struggled w/ Asperger’s most of my life, so my way of interpreting things is definitely easily distorted.

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  6. thorin25 says:

    Yes, thanks for the comment. I want to clarify again, I’m not saying you are not a true Christian, not at all. But all of us, not just you, have trouble feeling like we should when we read God’s promises. The same things are true for me. We know logically the truth, but it doesn’t always feel amazing and we don’t always feel God’s presence. Some is due to our sinful nature, some is due to our hard hearts, some is due to us not really taking the time to spend with God and his Word. We need to keep hearing the Gospel over and over and letting it sink in.

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  7. A Quiet Voice says:

    So it has been a while since I have visited here and it seems that in my absence you have again been seduced by that convenient conflation that is the backbone of the transgender movement. For the ten millionth time, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CROSSDRESSING AND TRANSSEXUALITY.

    Cross dressing is sexually driven paraphilia; an erotic target error. Trans-sexuality or more accurately, androgen insensitivity syndrome is a congenital disorder.

    People like TWT or the author of Retransition.org are victims of that conflation and the enableist transgender psycho/medical industrial complex.

    Instead of addressing what is obviously a psychological disorder, the trans* lobby has striven to normalize and de-stigmatize a condition which depending to whom you talk to is either “normal’ or flat out bizarre.

    Having said that, I agree that narcissism is an integral part of the cross dressing syndrome. In addition, the sexual component just adds to the endorphin count and further reinforces the behavior which is why it is so difficult to mitigate.

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  8. thorin25 says:

    A Quiet Voice, thanks for dropping by again. I’m surprised by your vehemence. My memory is not great at times, but I thought we were mostly on the same page when discussing before.

    I am not seduced by the transgender lobby, and in fact spend half of my time on this blog deconstructing their illogical arguments.

    I think perhaps the problem you have with me is this. While you agree with me that crossdressers are not true “transsexuals” and shouldn’t attempt sex reassignment surgeries or attempt to live as women, we disagree in that you think there are still some people with a different condition of true transsexuality, which I do not believe. This has nothing to do with the transgender lobby. It has to do with my beliefs.

    Centrally:
    1. Our bodies are part of us. It makes no sense for anyone to claim (even if it has nothing to do with crossdressing), that they are truly a female, if their body is male.

    2. God created us, I don’t think it makes any sense to believe God would have messed up our souls somehow in the creation process.

    If there is no god, then all we are is our bodies, and we don’t have souls, so there would be no such thing as a transsexual. If there is a God, then he is not so faulty as to create incorrect souls.

    There of course people with intersexual conditions because they were born that way. Their bodies are not perfect, just like none of our bodies are perfect. But this has nothing to do with God messing up people’s souls. But intersexuality has nothing to do with transsexualism. I have a whole post on that if you are interested.

    I’m not really interested at this time in debating with you about transsexuality. I think we probably discussed that enough before in all of our many discussions and honestly I just don’t have the time or energy. I’ve written enough posts about it already that you can read if you want. But if you want to discuss specific things I’ve posted about, you are welcome!

    Thanks for the comment

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  9. A Quiet Voice says:

    Hi Thorin. I hope you will forgive me for sounding a bit strident, but frankly, it irritates me to no end to have those suffering from a serious paraphilia, (cross dressing), confused/conflated or in any way associated with those extremely rare individuals who obviously do benefit greatly from those medical therapies currently available.

    The problem lies in the difficulty of a proper diagnosis and the misdiagnosis resulting from the intentional conflation promulgated by the TG lobby.

    Perhaps I misunderstood, but what caught my eye and exercised my passions was the title of this post: “Are there narcissistic roots in transsexualism?” The people you are quoting are not “transsexuals”. Sadly they more closely resemble what would be the disastrous results for the vast majority of your readers should they succumb to their fetishes.

    Not to belittle your heart felt religious beliefs, (which for the most part I share), I do not see that this has anything to do with our immortal souls. As you correctly surmise, this has to do with our bodies. As such, understanding that our bodies are a highly complex organism consisting of a extremely complex interaction of neural/electro-chemical activity is fundamental to getting to the bottom of what is going on..

    These complex electro-chemical interactions are what constitutes who we are and how we feel. Ignoring these basic physical realities is what lies at the heart of all the misleading discourse.

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  10. thorin25 says:

    Quiet, you said –

    ” it irritates me to no end to have those suffering from a serious paraphilia, (cross dressing), confused/conflated or in any way associated with those extremely rare individuals who obviously do benefit greatly from those medical therapies currently available.”

    There is no “obvious” about it. I can’t think of any reason at all why any male born with a healthy male body should get medical therapies to try and appear as a woman to themselves and to the public.

    I’m all for talking about the truth, that some boys truly feel like females, and perhaps in their cases it has nothing to do with sexual pleasure (though I wouldn’t say that that statement is proven). But even if we grant that these “rare individuals” exist, there is no reason to modify their healthy bodies either.

    You rail against those who crossdress for sexual reasons, but you have not offered why your reasons are any better. If I remember right, you are a transsexual yourself? Please forgive me if I am remembering that incorrectly. I’m not attacking who you are. You speak out of your own experience, as do I. But I think you are a bit hypocritical. I say that gently, in love, trying to help you see it clearly.

    On the one hand, you are railing against crossdressers who are “ignoring the basic physical realities” of their bodies. And yet you seem to think there is another subset of people who are allowed and should do that very thing. And you don’t even offer any justification as to why this more rare group should do so.

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  11. A Quiet Voice says:

    Hi Thorin. At the risk of resurrecting a debate which you have indicated you would prefer not to have, I will try to answer your questions without getting you unduly riled.

    To begin, I will take issue with your following assertion…. “There is no “obvious” about it…”

    Well yes, there actually is and I am a living, breathing, walking, talking and writing example. As you might or might not remember, I underwent those very life changing medical therapies which you find so extraneous/needless and even sinful, when I was in my very early 20’s. Currently I have been happily married to a great guy for nearly forty years. We raised his son together and have three great grandkids. There is no question in my mind that had I not been blessed with the ability and opportunity to take advantage of what was then a highly risky and experimental surgery, I would never have survived to see my thirtieth birthday.

    “…I can’t think of any reason at all why any male born with a healthy male body should get medical therapies to try and appear as a woman to themselves and to the public.”

    The reasons that I underwent those very painful and difficult operations was NOT “to try and appear as a woman to (myself) and to the public.” To me, that really was the very last thing on my mind or in my heart.

    Please believe me when I tell you that I understand why you cannot think of “any reason at all why any male born with a healthy male body” would want to do such seemingly terrible and dangerous things to their perfectly healthy male body. I actually agree with you. Such an idea or actions would appear to be totally insane.

    In fact, I would go so far as to say that anyone doing such a thing would most likely be suffering under some terrible delusion and that it would be up to the medical profession to do everything possible to dissuade that individual from doing such things.

    However….and I say this not to in anyway justify my own actions because I feel absolutely no need to do so, but to enlighten you and make you aware of things which perhaps, (or perhaps obviously), do not understand….Just as there are genetic anomalies which cause inter-sex conditions where the sexual and/or reproductive organs and structures are misaligned or malformed, there are many conditions which occur in-utero that cause the normal fetal development to go awry.

    Androgen insensitivity syndrome, (AIS) is just one of many. There are many others and they have absolutely nothing to do with God or His Will any more than being born with a club foot, blind, or with a cleft lip.

    And just to be clear. I am not “railing against cross dressers.” They and their families have my deepest sympathies which is why I support your efforts to help them, (and you), find relief from what I perceive to be a terrible addiction.

    Be at peace, Thorin. I am your friend.

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  12. thorin25 says:

    Thank you for the peaceful comment. Again, I’m not trying to attack you personally. These are personal issues to discuss for all of us, so I try not to pinpoint your personal reasons, but rather to talk about the issues in general.

    It sounds like, (maybe), we are in agreement. I am not against certain surgeries for people with birth defects, like intersexual conditions, androgen insensitivity syndrome, among many others. There are lots of various types. I’m not an expert on them, but I know the pain such people go through. They don’t feel like they fit, and surgeries make sense for many of them. They are correcting things that are clearly wrong with their bodies scientifically, just as it is clearly something wrong with someone’s body if they are born blind or lame. Please read this post and tell me your thoughts, and see if we are in agreement –

    https://healingcd.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/intersexual-conditions-there-is-still-a-binary/

    I do not believe we should be using the term “transsexual” for any of these people or “transsexualism.” Transsexuals according to common definitions are those people who have healthy bodies (without these defects) that get surgeries to try to be the other sex.

    You do not have to get personal if you do not want to. But I am confused about you. I am not sure if you are implying that you were born with such defects and intersexual conditions or if your own case was different. But again, you don’t have to answer that if you’d rather not.

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  13. A Quiet Voice says:

    I am happy that you are willing to entertain the possibility that “s**t happens”…..even in utero.

    Rather than my further adding to your confusion, I suggest that you simply Google AIS, PAIS, and CAIS.

    I am not trying to explain this condition as I will quickly admit that I am no expert. I am simply a witness to my own life and the goodness of God’s Love.

    I will read your post and give you my thoughts.

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  14. A Quiet Voice says:

    So I read your post referenced above on inter-sex. I will stand by my comments that I made then.

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  15. Temptedsinner says:

    Hey Quiet,
    I am glad that life turned out OK for you, I really am. I can only imagine (hey that’s a song) what it may have been like back in that point of time for you. The 70’s 80’s? Loneliness, confusion, uncertainty. Possibly being shunned by everyone that you know. That took incredible bravery. I will also add that “judging” is NOT in my job description, so I just try to leave that alone.
    I can recall a period of a few years in my life when I was exploring the possibility of the therapies available, considering all of the ramifications etc… As I look back that was a very dark and lonely time in my life. But here is my point! If I were going through that today rather than 25 years ago…. I’m not so sure that I would still be standing up to pee! This subject is so complex and (please don’t think I am talking about you) And I can see Satan’s hand at work in this regard. We are approaching a time where SRS are being handed out like candy on Halloween. Funny enough, candy on Halloween is becoming taboo. It is almost like if a guy, a young man slips on a pair of panties and enjoys it, …. then it is like “step this way”, get in this line “we can help you” . and then there is a ton of ENCOURAGEMENT, to follow this path to become the real you. LOL and the government will probably pay for it too. If someone says anything that may prick someones sensibilities or slightly hurt someones feelings then they are labeled as a closed minded bigot. (like the mom and pop bakery that at first asked the gay couple to try somewhere else)
    I know I am over simplifying this complicated issue. I believe in loving everyone no matter who or where you are in this journey of life. To look at people with compassion, because we all have a bag of crap that we drag around behind us, sometimes holding us back from being the person that God created us to be.

    Enough babbling for now.

    Love and Mercy are the simple answers.

    Your friend
    Tempted

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  16. A Quiet Voice says:

    Hi Tempted, and may God give you his strength and inspiration in your struggles. I guess I should clarify to you that that when it came to, “Loneliness, confusion, uncertainty. Possibly being shunned by everyone…” I must have missed that memo. For me it was a pretty much just a matter of a straightforward, (albeit extremely painful a difficult), surgical recovery process. Once that was behind me, my life became pretty normal.

    Nevertheless I understand your point about the undue encouragement and propaganda campaign to “normalize” cross dressing by re-labeling it as trans-genderism and then conflating it with a totally distinct medical malady.

    Perhaps it is Satan at work, but my guess is that it is just the work of men trying to justify their own lustful depravity.

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  17. Kay Brown says:

    To a “Quiet Voice”… No… you are wrong when you say that there is no relationship between cross-dressing and (one form) of transsexuality. As the old joke says, “What’s the difference between a transvestite and a transsexual? About two years!”

    Cross-dressing and heterosexual male-to-female transsexuality are both motivated by autogynephilia… and yes, that is indeed the same paraphilia. They are both on a “transgender” continuum and progression.

    While many transsexuals may have co-morbid narcissism, the underlying autogynephilia is NOT a form of narcissism. They are unrelated phenomena.

    Where I differ with the opinions expressed by Thorin is that I do NOT view either cross-dressing nor autogynephilic transsexuality to be “sinful”. They are NOT in and of themselves wrong. The only wrong that occurs is judging people who have them as being sinful for finding an accommodation to their sexuality that God gave them.

    The other form of transsexuality is the one that may be considered to have a form of medical issue if you mean that having a female-shifted brain. But autogynephilic transwomen do not share that trait:

    https://sillyolme.wordpress.com/category/brain-sex/

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  18. thorin25 says:

    Kay Brown, I look forward to reading that link as well. While I would indeed say that it is sinful to alter your body to fit a perceived sexuality, just like you said I would say, keep in mind that I believe all kinds of things are sinful that non-Christians don’t. I believe I sin every day by not loving God enough and not loving my neighbor enough. I believe it’s wrong to make an idol out of money, to not get enough rest, to have sex before marriage, and on and on and on. What’s my point? My point is that I’m not singling out transsexuals as sinners. I believe we are all sinners, I am one of the worst. But because of God’s grace he still loves me anyway. And because of that love and grace, I try to live the way he wants me to live, and as I do that, I learn that his way is really the best way. I’m not trying to be a hateful bigot targeting transsexuals. It’s my love for people like me, and others with similar conditions, that makes me want to help them in the way that I think truly helps them best. I believe accepting our bodies, learning to be ourselves, is the real answer. If we believe in a God who created us, then our bodies are an important part of who we are as created beings. If we do not believe in a God, then this world and matter are all that there is, and so our bodies are not only part of who we are, but all that we are, and so we should accept our bodies. So whatever your worldview, I still believe we should accept our bodies and our bodily sex, regardless of how we might feel in our minds.

    I wrestled with the same longings to be female. But I have found peace, acceptance of myself, and contentment, and I wish to help others find the same.

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  19. Lisa says:

    If a male child is self involved, vain, selfish and gets gratification from his appearance mental or physical, then yes this is a very tricky time for parents. Especially if said male child imprints on the mothers feminine mannerisms.

    Lisa

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