On The AGP's Dreadful Plight and Dreadful Triumph
Absolutely heartbreaking. It rings true, though, having grown up with unstable, unreliable parents and thus spending years in therapy as an adult. The dynamic Joseph describes doesn't manifest as AGP in myself or anyone I'm currently close to, but it definitely exists and powers all kinds of shameful sexual issues.
I did know a guy, years ago, who had most of these hallmarks – intelligent, but burdened with severe self-loathing from growing up in an unstable household surrounded by family who were, frankly, crazy – and he struggled with identity. He would reinvent himself every two or three years, first Christian then Atheist then Pagan, followed by homosexual, pansexual, Wiccan, the whole gamut of identities. He was part of a mixed group of acquaintances and we all tried to help him understand that he couldn't identify his way out of the pain he was in, that he needed to get some distance from that family and seek help, but he never did. He only ever got mad at us for attacking his new identity, clearly wanting only positive reactions to his total reinvention of self. Eventually, he "came out" as a transgender woman and everyone else in our circle suddenly dropped the criticism of his behavior and immediately began to support his "authentic" self. That was the worst part for me – seeing sane, reasonable people suddenly give this guy every crazy thing he'd always wanted. He found a way to get the total, unquestioning support he'd always wanted.
I drifted away from this community shortly after. I couldn't take seeing people, some of whom I felt close to, supporting his madness. It hurt too much.
Having an unstable home life, and perhaps an unstable brain, definitely makes people develop unhealthy coping mechanisms. The only difference now is that some people choose to affirm these delusions instead of treating them. They're even doing it with schizophrenia now!
To both authors, thank you for this piece. Clarifying! The commonality here appears to be chronic dysfunction during childhood and adolescence, with autogynephilia as the presenting problem that pushes these clients over the edge into therapy. So would the root disorder be C-PTSD / complex developmental trauma? The patients' inability to outgrow primary narcissism reminded me directly of the Neuro Affective Relational Model: Healing Developmental Trauma by Heller and Lapierre.
This how good a reporter Wes is. He’s been DMing me on Twitter for months, and could have had a good faith interview with someone he knows personally, but instead posted a salacious attention seeking piece using all the worst stereotypes of reality TV. Hoarding, prostitution, tranny.
I'm wondering if these patients are alexithymic as male? Does alexithymia disappear when they assume the female identity?