We walk in a culture that is ever evolving and transforming regarding view points on a moment by moment basis, that does not make it any easier to live with our bodies or our feelings toward ourself. At times we are feeling emotions about our gender or our sexuality that many people day to day are not consumed with regarding themselves. We take a look at our body and we are comfortable with it. For some they are not comfortable, they feel one way and want to be another.
Being transgender is hard.
It is no surprise that transgender individuals experience a kind of stress that cisgender (those who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth) individuals do not. People who identify as transgender can and often do experience stigma, discrimination, violence, and internalized homophobia/transphobia. People who are transgender also are at higher risks for “loss pileups.” Family, friends, and romantic partners may not understand the transition and not be able to provide the needed support. There is also a danger of job loss or financial loss, especially for transgender women. Some researchers believe this discrepancy is related to the greater difficulty transgender women have passing, as opposed to transgender men, as well as greater male privilege for transgender men. There are many ways of dealing with the challenges that come with transitioning and living as a transgender individual, some healthier than others.
How do you deal?
There are two primary coping styles that people use to deal with difficult things in life: Emotion-focused and problem-focused, also known as facilitative and avoidant, respectively.
Simply put, avoidant coping is when you….avoid the problem. It occurs when you avoid dealing with the emotions and thoughts that come up when you experience discrimination or loss by: • Minimizing the issue: “I’m sure he didn’t mean it.” • Becoming emotionally detached: “Whatever. I don’t even care.” • Over-intellectualizing: telling your friends how the socially constructed discourse of gender and the rigid constructions of gender stereotypes are contributing to an unfriendly work environment and not adding, “It really hurt that my boss passed me over for a promotion after I started the transition from male to female.” • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to dull your emotions or thoughts • Isolating yourself from social support Ironically, the more you try to avoid a problem, feeling, or thought, the bigger and more anxiety-provoking it becomes.
How to develop better coping skills
As you can probably guess, facilitative coping is the style we are recommending. Facilitative coping is all about adaptation. It is taking whatever we are given in life and transforming ourselves or the situation to deal with it in a positive manner.