There is no kind way to tell someone they’re hurting you.
They will tell you to be fair, to be kind, to be patient with them. They will tell you it’s hard for them. But who is it hardest for? It is hardest for you yet you are identified as the burden that makes life hard for them.
We hear it as Autists. We hear it as Trans folks. It is hard to be us but they hijack the suffering and make it about them.
We cost too much. We make demands that the entire world change for us. We remind people that they are not meeting our needs and they respond that our needs are burdensome and impossible.
They call themselves out if we complain. Even if we are not talking about them, they make it about them and how wronged they feel by our words. Our words are sticky honeypots, drawing them in, drawing their ire. Over time, their anger silences us. We can no longer complain about our struggles without them coming along to sweep those words up and throw them back in our faces with accusations. We are ungrateful. We are mean. We are impatient. We are asking too much. We are too much.
Don’t let the world grind away at you. Don’t listen to those who deny your truth and try to invalidate your identity. You are valid and your needs are real. You are not a burden and you are not too much. They are hurting you and if you dare to say so, they will hurt you for saying it.
They are the ones who are unkind. They are the ones making unreasonable demands. They demand your silence. They demand you smile while they hurt you. They demand that you spend your precious energy making them feel better about your pain when you are the one in danger of dying.
We Autists are known for banging our heads against things. Sometimes those things are solid things. Brick walls, bed frames, radiators, refrigerators. Sometimes we’re banging our heads metaphorically: against people, against genocidal attitudes, against misgendering, against a lack of support.
Moderate family rejection over our gender identities doubles our chances of suicide compared to low levels of family rejection. High levels of rejection more than triple our suicide rate. If our families still speak to us, they say things like, “I support you but…” or “I love you with all my heart, but …”
Love and support do not come wrapped in excuses, yeah-buts, and sorry-buts. “I support you, but it’s too hard to remember your pronouns.” “I love you, but you have to be more patient and kind.” But there is no kind way to tell someone how badly they are hurting you. There is no patient way to tell someone to stop killing you. No matter how calm and patient and polite you are, it will never be enough because they cannot hear that they are not supporting you without feeling attacked and coming after you to, by God, convince you that you are being supported, you ungrateful wretch.
If you find real support among people close to you, value it deeply. It’s a rare thing for a Transgender Autistic to encounter. But if someone keeps telling you they support you, yet you do not feel supported by them, listen to your feelings.
If you’re getting yeah-butted and sorry-butted, stop banging your head against it. Your plate is already full. You are already busy with self-care and working hard to survive in a world where half dream of curing you (or at least preventing more people like you from being born) and half are champing at the bit to kick your ass for your gender crimes until you stop getting back up.
You don’t need to drain your resources trying to gain the approval and support that are being withheld from you by people who claim to care about you. Find ways to move on — emotionally, mentally, and physically if you are able — and live that beautiful life of yours.
There is no kind way to tell the people who think they are supporting you that they are actually contributing to your risk of an early grave.
They will hijack your suffering. They will blame you for being too difficult. They will kill you if you let them. Don’t you let them. You have better things to do with your one and only life than batter yourself against someone else’s resistance to your needs.
There is no kind way to tell someone they are hurting you. Be as kind as you are able to be. If you aren’t being heard, be more emphatic. But know that sometimes the only emphatic thing you can do is leave.