I've been trying to draft a letter to my BPD daughter, C. She's in her mid twenties and recently, after years of drugs, alcohol, a suicide attempt, self-harm etc, she announced she wanted to 'become a man'. She has never wanted to me a man before and this bizarre decidion a result of her mental state. Unfortunately she's convinced a gay psychiatrist with an agenda of his own, that she should take male hormones. He gave her a prescription.
We tried reasoning with her to no avail. At last in desperation, to try to dissuade her from this drastic and irreversible step, we - her family - estranged ourselves from her since February this year. Once before, this tactic worked when we cut off communication after years of begging her to get help, and she at last went into rehab.
It was a last resort, it killed us to do it, and this time it didn't work.
Now she's started on the hormones. I tried to contact her recently and she sent a couple of texts then stopped. She won't communicate with us.
Here's the letter I've drafted. I've taken into account many of the helpful suggestions given by the amazing people on this message board.
I would be very grateful for anyone's input.
I understand that you think this step with hormones will make you happier. I understand you think C was a bad person and a new person can have a better life.
I'm sorry our ceasing communication with you made you feel sad. Of course, anyone would feel the same. I certainly did.
I care about how this affects you. You are important to me.
The only thing I can do is admit that I made a mistake by ceasing communication with you.
But I did it out of terror and despair.
I was trying to do the right thing but I did not know what the right thing was. I am not superhuman. I am just a sad, tired, bewildered Mum trying to do her best.
When you told us you were going to take hormones to make yourself look like a boy, I was scared the hormones would mess up your biology, ruin your fertility and put you at risk of cancers. I was scared because, in the USA at least, the national suicide rate is 3 per 100,000 people but the transsexual suicide rate is 31,000 per 100,000 people. I was scared because I believed that when you found out it was not being female that made you sad, but Borderline Personality Disorder and the drugs you take to mask the pain of BPD, you would be so horrified at having taken this step that you might do something even more drastic. I was scared because I would lose the daughter I know and love. I was scared because the process is irreversible. I was scared because I believed you had unrealistic expectations of the hormones. I believed you thought you would look like a hot teenage dude, and I believed that realistically you will always look like a bearded lady. I believed you didn't consider that you will get male pattern baldness in middle age. I was scared that people would behave as if you were a freak.
When you told us I was/am frightened, distraught, shocked, ripped apart. No words do justice to how I felt/feel.
I am not close-minded. If I'd believed that looking like a man would make you truly happy I would have taken a deep breath and welcomed the move. But I do not believe it will make you happy and I was desperate to save you from what I believed to be a terrible mistake.
Desperate, I thought, "What is the one thing she values? her family." In hindsight this was the wrong thing to do but I said , "If you are not going to be C any more, we are saying goodbye to you."
It killed me. Cutting ourselves off from you killed me. The only reason I could do it was because I thought it was our only chance to save you. Every moment of every day I thought of you. Missed you every second. Dreamed of you every night. Dreamed I was holding you, hugging you. Died inside, over and over. Yearned for you. My darling. My darling girl.
I really believed you would choose your family over the hormones.
I was wrong.
You were so caring and kind before the drugs, and so joyous, and I remember that person, the one she was. I love that person forever.
All through your childhood you were the happiest of all the three, before the BPD got so bad you turned to drugs. In all the family videos you are the one who is laughing all the time.
I stopped communicating because I was afraid, and out of love for you and serious concerns for your health and future. But it was a mistake.
I want to understand you. I want you to be happy and will respect your choices and support you in a healthy way.
I am hoping you can accept us back into your life.
I think it would be best if we could be together.
If you choose to ignore me, that is up to you. That is outside of my control. I can only do what I can do.