As a small child, I tried to make sense of why my daddy was touching me. I decided he must have mistaken me for my mother. My mother's abuse made me feel like she had sucked out my soul and put herself in it's place. So between the feelings caused by the abuse by my dad and my mom, I ended up feeling like I was her. And so I grew up with this feeling that I was my mother. It has made me feel emotionally "castrated". I don't know how to separate from my parents, emotionally. I feel like, no matter how far I am from them, they are inside of me, inside my mind and my soul and like I can't be free. I feel forever bound by them.
This is a very frightening feeling, but one which has some familiarity for me.
Early on, I think I took on a female identity to deal with my abuse. Although it was probably in response to boundary crossing by mother, it served a purpose of protecting me from what was happening. Over time, this ability to protect myself would serve me in many different ways.
It wasn't until I felt the desire to live life the way I wanted to live it, that I had to ask myself to take away this protection. It was a scary moment because it meant that I really wouldn't know what would happen next. It meant that I might have to start all over again, from crawling to walking.
That is pretty much what happened. There have been long periods of time that I felt I was just getting by. Eventually, my consistent effort to live on behalf of myself began to convince the more feminine part of me that it didn't have to rule every interaction.
I used to try to think of the male and female as being in some kind of opposition to each other. I also used to associate the feminine with vulnerability because that is what we are sometimes encouraged to do. What helped me was to ask myself what I truly thought about vulnerability, especially as a man.
I guess what I'm saying is, it can seem somewhat contradictory for the "woman" in us to be protecting the "man" in us. But that may have been the only way we knew how to survive. To reclaim our real, whole self requires a bit of trust there is a real you, a man who is real, who is waiting to breathe and look around.