He Thinks I Hate Him

He thinks I hate him, I learned from a friend yesterday.

It’s so untrue, it’s heartbreaking. The sucky truth is that I love him more than anything. If I didn’t, I could move on without so many episodes of crying, blogging, begging for his empathy.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Every conversation between us seems to run through a translation machine in which I say, “Hey? Remember me? Remember our love? Can we have an honest discussion about us?” and he hears “You’re ugly and worthless.” His inner voice, in other words, masquerading as my voice.

That same inner voice of his that apparently says, “Either you’re a woman or you have to commit suicide. There is no other way that you are worth anything. Either you spend hours every day altering your appearance or you are loathsome to look at. Better keep up this illusion or die.”

I don’t agree with it. I think it’s ok to have XY chromosomes and male sex organs while wanting to wear a dress. I think it’s so ok, as to be insignificant. He loves himself conditionally, but I just love him.

I think he’s beautiful, with long hair or short. With a beard or without. With dirt under his nails, working in the yard, in jeans that are too big because he’s trying to hide the weight he gained from all the pasta and wine we enjoyed together when we lived in the country and couldn’t get out to see friends. With the Chucks and skinny pants he gravitated toward when he lost the weight. With his laughing hazel eyes, his serious eyebrows, the spacing of his teeth. I think he’s beautiful, and I don’t care what he says.

I love the way we used to talk for hours and the conversations we used to have. About recurring themes in literature and media and what they say about Western concerns and fears. About whether determinism precludes holding people accountable for their actions. About sentience and how it is acquired and whether everyone has it. Smart conversations. Conversations that took years to develop and refine. Conversations I could have only had with him, with his intelligence, with his personality. I love the less serious conversations we had too, like when we made up words from town names on road trips or pretended to argue endlessly about butterflies versus moths.

I love the romance we’ve had. I’ll never forget the time we tried to have a picnic in relentless, pouring rain, but ended up walking around in the woods, drenched, falling in love instead. I cherish other picnics as well, when he packed salad and fruit and bread and cheese and wine into a basket and met me in a park on my birthday or during my lunch hour. I love the memory of lying on the ground, playing with each other’s hair at a summer music festival

I love that he always appeared to love me, even the parts of me that were awkward or odd. My accent. The way I get words tangled. The way I looked when I got chubby. I love the poems he wrote about me. I love an email he wrote me when I first went back to college, telling me that he believed in me and that I was smart and that I could do it. I laminated it and kept it in my wallet for years. I love how much thought he put into gifts that he has given me and dates that he has taken me on. I love that he has shown me the most epic birthday parties ever.

I love how charitable and kind he has always been and how he loves people of all shapes and sizes and races and how he doesn’t bat an eye at a young single mom wrangling several kids and how he gives money to street beggars. I love how much pride he took in his work when he was teaching kids.

I love how creative he is and the songs and lyrics he’s written and his singing voice.

I love his cooking and I love eating with him. I love the way he  values ceremony and family. I love the red wine glasses we picked out together for special occasions. I love planning where we’ll put our garden and what we’ll grow in it. I love that he knows how to preserve food and make kimchi and that he keeps us in canned pickles and tomatoes all winter long. I love snapping beans with him on the porch.

I love the way we vacation. Hours on a beach, spacing out, thinking about nothing except taking a break to grill some shrimp and open a bottle of wine. Camping trips that felt like they would never end. Walking in the woods and taking note of every rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, lizard, woodpecker or deer. Bed and breakfasts, state park buffets, sketchy hot tubs. Content to walk the city streets, visit a museum or stay in and pop popcorn and watch seventies reruns on TV. I love being in a canoe with him, riding a bike with him, walking with him.

I love the mole on the back of his neck.

I love him. I can never hate him.

I have learned I can’t win him over by requesting his empathy. Can I win him over with love? Can I win him over by sending him this? Maybe I really haven’t made my love clear enough.

I can’t seem to stop putting myself out there, hoping to save this.

Maybe I have to do it again, just in case. Maybe I’m learning what Sade meant by “Love is stronger than pride.”

Maybe I have to do it forever until I humiliate myself, until he tells me to get lost, until I die. Maybe that’s what this love requires of me.

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8 thoughts on “He Thinks I Hate Him

  1. At one stage during our long drawn out divorce he sent me an email in which he said that he understood if I hated him. I replied that I didn’t hate him, but that I no longer trusted, respected or wanted to be with him. I should have added that he was, by then, dead to me.

    You cannot ever love him enough to evoke empathy from him. It’s useless and demeaning to even try, but I understand your sentiment. He is with the one he loves; himself in the version of who he wants to be. It took me a long time to realise what had changed on a fundamental level in our relationship. Those shared moments of joy and intimacy that had brought pleasure into our lives as a couple no longer mattered to him. He saw them through vastly different glasses.

    It was my therapist who helped me see what had changed. She mostly just listened; never judged or offered her own ideas as I offloaded 30 plus years of knowing and not knowing the ”elephant in the room” of our marriage. Then one visit, towards the end of our session, she started asking questions and making notes. At the end she said that although she couldn’t make a diagnosis, my husband had ticked all the boxes for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I got home and started googling……I learned that the only way to protect yourself from a narcissist was to walk away, break as many ties as possible and above all stop blaming myself. That was a key turning point for me.

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  2. Yeah, I know. We had been talking, even through the divorce, in an effort to understand each other. He recently said for the first time that he was going to quit trying. So there is really nothing else I can do, and of course nothing I ever could do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • .. i was told early on that there are some things you just have to accept you will never understand.. i found that hard because i was convinced i was right and the world was wrong about what was really going on.. it was so obvious to me that this wasnt about him being a ‘woman inside’ but a profound and pathological mental health crisis which had gotten all mixed up in sexual identity, paraphilias and powerfully influenced by secret cyber communities… he had stopped taking his psych meds (lithium etc) about 10 months previously because of serious side effects.. his psychiatrist advised against it, but none of this stopped him getting a referral to charing cross for treatment.
      4 years later and endless sleepless nights seeking solace among other trans widows and radical feminism, hundreds of hours obsessively researching and learning as much as i could.. i finally feel im getting there.. not in understanding what was going on in his mind, but understanding how i came to be in this situation, why i felt so profoundly threatened and betrayed by it, why it sent me out of my own mind and hurt me and my daughters so terribly and why i was not an evil person to respond as i did. along the way i have discovered a lot about feminism, gender politics, the people around me and myself. i have found out who i can trust and who i cannot. i have become a better friend in response to those who showed me how. i have become a person who cant be walked over anymore. stronger and more aware. i found out some people dont like it. thats fine. i dont need people who want me to sit down and shut up or be weak and submissive

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      • he came out in february 2012… by my estimate, this time next year, at the five year mark i’ll be able to say i am fully recovered.. but i was able to make a clean break as my children are not his and we did not share property or finances. other transwidows arent able to make a clean break so easily, and it must be incredibly difficult to cope with the extra upheaval and ongoing contact on top of the gaslighting and grief and loss. when a husband dies, friends and family willingly help and support the widow.. a transwidow gets mostly ostracism, vilification, insulting rumour and gossip and no one dares sympathise with her openly. victims of physical domestic abuse can expect people to try and help her and her children get away from the danger.. transwidows cannot rely on any support at all.

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  3. .. i also had terrible, awful feelings of loss and grief for my ex. i also realised that the pathological narcissism was a very real danger to me and my children.. 4 years later, the love has been burne out of my heart with anger and horror at the awfulness of his betrayals. i do not believe this comes out of the blue.. in my exes case he had been diagnosed 25 years and had 2 failed transition attempts behind him that i knew nothing about, id never heard the word autogynephilia until he told me thats what he’d been told he had… plus plenty of other nasty little secrets.. where once i would have defended him to my dying breath against the medical transing industry, it soon became obvious it would drive me insane. i became suicidal. i started drinking for the first time at the age of 47… over time, the love turned to anger and hate and at the moment has settled on mere contempt. though i am still convinced he has a serious mental illness which should not be validated with mutilating surgery which will not help him pass, he no longer elicits my pity. as far as i am concerned, i know see him for what he is – a predator. an abuser. a sex offender. a narcissist. a sad little man in a wig and rubber tits. it has been extremely painful enduring these feelings, but my god, at least i have reclaimed my own identity, my past, my history, my truth, my reality. i dont have to be constantly walking on eggshells. i can move on from here. and know for sure what i think nowadays.. has almost destroyed me and my daughters. i will never,ever,forgive him for the gaslighting and abuse we suffered.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. i just read ‘the crossdressers wife by dee levy.. i am astonished by the similarities in our stories of gaslighting, abuse and betrayal.when will tis be recognised in law as abuse? so far, i see countless men getting away with intimate violations, misrepresentation, psychological abuse/gasighting/coercion, non consensual sexual intimacy, voyeurism, paedophilic voyeurism, invasion of privacy, exhibitionism, pathological narcissism, and violation of bodily integrity – trans widows find themselves not only dealing with relentless lies, treachery and untruths but having to take a blood test for HIV, HBV, HBC as well as being swabbed for gonorrhea, syphilis etc and if he’s been using your child’s razor or toothbrush, children should be tested too. good luck explaining that one.

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