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When Trans Relationships Become Abusive

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Abuse can be done to anyone, by anyone. This is a sad truth of life, but it’s obviously not the rule, it’s the exception. Yet, this exception is exceptionally prevalent in society.

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Not that most trans relationships are abusive or dysfunctional, but you know… anyone can become anything, both good, bad, ugly or lovely. One relationship can possibly traverse the entire span of emotional potential in a short period of time. In the LGBTQ community, the pressures and pride and pain and pleasure cocktail that is stirred up every day probably pushes that potential into explosive and powerful places.

Anyone can fall victim to anything, and any victim can become the perpetrator of anything. Both of these people can also be healers, helpers, heart menders, and hope fixers. It takes effort and intention to be consistent and communication and boundaries need to be clear as day, but it can be done.

What else can be done? Damage. And that’s today’s topic.

How can emotional damage be done by trans people, in the vicinity of my experiences? 

They can hide their identities, so they can hide their personality disorders.

Since trans people are often living stealth and may not be required to reveal their identity to everyone to conduct their relationships completely, there is the prospect of the partitioning of their personality… and their personal problems as well.

Some of their lovers may not even be aware of the presence of such problems and personal poisons lurking under the surface… but soon enough, with enough instability and hidden issues hovering underneath… it’s bound to erupt. It’s bound to come to light, the bogus emotion bubbling in the dark.

And that’s when the other person starts getting manipulated and abused, controlled and catfished. That’s when it’s time to do a complete discovery and full-out revelation session. A peaceful confrontation is one of the only ways to deal with this disorder. Then decide: where do we go from here?

They can become attached and dependent on particular people, since those people are the few that connect on a closer level.

Since their intimate and emotional relationships may be more rare or selectively chosen, there is the possibility of premature attachment, or just powerful bonding. It can happen in any relationship, poly or not, trans or not; but with trans folks, the percentages of connection MAY be lower, if they are seeking very particular and nuanced types of trans relationships and intimacy.

But if it’s NOT lower, then the sad truth is: there’s the very real risk of transgender violence happening to them, for no reason beyond them simply being trans (and/or racialized). Thus, in case of having to struggle with cis people or certain groups of queers, they may simply attach to someone trans… and not let freedom happen. The relationship is then trapped by fear and manipulation, and it is dying. Let space and time and distance grow where it must. Or else…

They can shut out others who are not of their gender or community, and can be even downright abusive to cis folks.

Some trans people are not very close to people who aren’t in some way related to the community, or a so-called ally in any way. I know a trans person who will not talk to someone a second time if they misgender them the first time. Like, ever again.

That’s a little harsh for me, especially considering how many people are still learning what transgender even IS, including myself, even though I’ve been studying, making love, and interacting in random ways with trans people for years now.

It is sometimes necessary, sometimes not, but it is understandable if and when trans people abandon cisnormativity and the masses mentality of dealing with emotions. Trans people certainly vary on the spectrum of positive to punishing responses to the revelation of transgender identity, but becoming abusive to cisgender society is the unhealthy inverse to society’s own often ignorant actions against transgender truths being told and taught to all others.

The dialogue has to stay open. And keep getting wider and wider. And deeper and deeper. And higher and higher… and closer—to you.

It’s just a few things I’ve seen in dealing with tough times in the trials of a transgender friend navigating modern relationships in the 21st century. Abuse happens from people who don’t even intend it, sometimes. So, there’s that.

But there’s blame and responsibility to go all around. The world is that fucked up! Oh well. Kanyeshrug!

Addi Stewart

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