You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'Dear Christine'.

Dear Christine, Needing Privacy in Novi

  • Posted on April 21, 2018 at 10:52 am

Dear Dr. Christine, I live in a house with both of my parents. Lately, they are driving me insane. I have no privacy whatsoever. They go through my phone, and they involve themselves too much in my life. I’m growing up! How do I get them to back off? I was wondering if you could answer these questions: 1.) Why do many teenagers feel that their parents invade their privacy? 2.) Is there a reason that parents do this? 3.) How can this be resolved? Needing Privacy in Novi Dear Needing Privacy, Being a teen, dependent on your parents and trying out how to be an adult is a tough stage of life. Your parents, most likely, have your best interests in heart, and they were teens once, and they remember what they did. Parents are legally responsible for you, so they may invade your privacy, i.e. search your room to see if you are smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or doing drugs. Hopefully they aren’t reading your journal (does anyone journal privately anymore?). Are they tracking where you go on the Internet? Do they ask intrusive questions? Do they have unreasonable demands? The best approach with parents is to be…

Dear Christine, Worried in Waterford

  • Posted on April 14, 2018 at 10:38 am

Dear Christine, My partner of 18 years actually won’t come out of the house anymore. “Jim” worked hard, saved his money and retired about 3 years ago at age 59. We share a nice home and have amazing friends. Life is good for us but there’s one problem. “Jim” hates going anywhere! It started slowly. At first it seemed he just came out less and less always making excuses why he didn’t want to attend a party or go shopping. We had a pretty active social life that is becoming less and less active and more stay at home. If friends call to do something he often encourages me to just go ahead without him. He has a headache or wants to finish a book he is reading or any number of reasons. I have asked him if there is any problem. He says no. He doesn’t seem to be depressed and we often have friends over for dinner parties and game nights which he loves. I am beginning to wonder if there is something going on and he is becoming one of those people who can’t leave the house. My question: Is there someway for me to be able…

Dear Christine, Transitioning in Trenton

  • Posted on April 8, 2018 at 10:29 am

Dear Christine, I guess I should start off by saying that I am a transsexual. Even though I was born male and have done “boy” things, I’ve always felt like a girl on the inside, and dreamed about being a girl on the outside. However, I’m so uncertain about transitioning. I’m so afraid. Will I become an outcast? Will I ever meet someone who would want me for a companion? Its just such a big decision, and a big step. And yet, being 19, everyone I’ve talked to (both TS and non-TS) tell me that if I’m going to transition, I should do it now before it is “too late”. I guess I just need some advice about where to go from here. Everyday I get really depressed. All I can think about is transitioning. Yet I’m afraid that the reality of being a transitioned TS will be worse than what I am now. A person who is in the wrong body. Transitioning in Trenton Dear Transitioning, First of all, there’s no rush! Many people transition in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and I’ve known some to transition after they retired, as they didn’t feel safe going through it while…

Dear Christine, All My Heart in Allen Park

  • Posted on March 31, 2018 at 9:45 am

Dear Christine, I am in a 11 year lesbian relationship (33 years old) and have met another woman(34 years old) ONLINE who is in a 15 year lesbian relationship. We have been carrying on an affair for a year via ONLINE and phone calls everyday, but have never met. Both of us are totally in love and are planning to met within the next 3 months. We have even planned on leaving our current wives (obviously something is missing from both our relationships) once we meet and make sure we are physically compatible. We have never met but LOVE EACH OTHER SO MUCH. Am I crazy for even thinking of leaving my girlfriend of 11 years for a woman I’ve never met? I love her heart, mind and soul……All my Heart in Allen Park Dear All my Heart,  I think this is another question that the writer wrote knowing in her heart what the answer for her is. You have thoughts that you might be crazy for thinking of leaving your girlfriend of 11 years for someone you never met? Does your girlfriend of 11 years know this? Is she aware that something is “missing” from your relationship? Have you…

Dear Christine, Finding a Donor in Dearborn

  • Posted on March 26, 2018 at 9:32 am

Dear Christine, Hi there, My partner and I have been together 8 years–our anniversary is this week– Yeah!!! Celebration time!!! We’re ready to start our family, and decided to go the “known donor” route so the child would be able to have some awareness of who their biological father is… Here’s the problem: none of the men we’ve approached (and don’t misunderstand, they’ve all been pretty together, gay positive men) have been able to “handle the idea”. They say things like “How could I handle having a child, but not really being a father”, or “I would feel too responsible to the child”. Geez, where are all the totally irresponsible men I dated before I figured out who I really am? They were only too happy to let ME worry about contraception back then. Why have the rules changed now? Talk about irony. We spend half our fertile lives before we’re mature enough to know who we are and what we want trying NOT to get pregnant and the other half trying desperately trying to. Sometimes, life sucks! Finding a Donor in Dearborn Dear Finding a Donor, Congratulations on your readiness to start a family! Yeah, the timing isn’t so…

Dear Christine, Ready in Redford

  • Posted on March 11, 2018 at 7:13 am

Dear Christine,

I’ve come across your columns on line and enjoy them. While I see you mostly seem to deal with LGBT issues, I assume you work with straight couples in your practice too.

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 5 years. He spends a couple nights at my house, I spend a couple nights at his, and we spend a couple on our own. We tell each other I love you all the time. He’s never mentioned marriage though. We were only 22 when we met and now at 27, I feel like I want to be married and start a family. I’ve been old school, waiting for home to ask. Any ideas on how to get him to pop the question?

Signed,

Ready in Redford

Dear Ready,
Thanks for  following my blog and taking the time to write a question.  I do work with all kinds of people and relationships, not just the LGBTQIA… population.  Your situation sounds familiar.  You’re in a long term, serious relationship and after 5 years you are ready to make a legal commitment, marriage.  But you don’t know where your boyfriend is on this topic.  I’d suggest some direct conversation about what you need and want in a relationship, as those needs and wants probably have changed over the time together.  Do you really have no idea where he stands on marriage after 5 years together?  Have you ever talked about what you want in the future, careers, kids, finances, where to live, what to live in:  apartment, condo or house?

You both were young when you met and have grown up with each other in a way.  Now you sound ready to take another step.  A healthy relationship allows you both to feel emotionally safe enough to honestly explore your thoughts and needs about the relationship.  If you just wait for him to “pop the question” you may wait forever!  If you bring it up, then you both get a chance to share your hopes and dreams, your fears and also your non-negotiables.  Non-negotiables are those things that you must have or you cannot have in a long-term, committed relationship.  Perhaps you don’t want to live with someone who smokes, or who uses drugs, or who doesn’t keep a job.  Those are important boundaries to communicate so that you both know what you each need.  If he needs to smoke, and you need him to quit, it’s probably a losing battle for you.  He needs to find it in himself to quit, and if he quits for you, you retain the credit and/or blame of his ability to quit or relapse.

Non-negotiables will cut through the chatter and help you both see if you are headed in the same direction with your life goals.  For example, some people do not want to have children at all.  If you know your boyfriend is like that, don’t think that you will change his mind or convince him to eventually have a baby with you.  My parents’ best friends had two daughters that the couple both wanted.  The wife, however, wanted a 3rd baby and knew her husband didn’t.  She tricked him into getting her pregnant and he never would have much to do with his son.  That son had a lot of issues as he grew up feeling ignored and not wanted by his father, and by high school was into drugs and the wrong crowd.

You have invested a lot in this relationship, but the only way to know if he wants to keep investing in it with you is to begin to have conversations about what you need.  If you cannot have this direct a conversation, that might tell you something about how emotionally safe you really feel with him.  If you don’t risk, you won’t ever what you really want.  Take a risk and have a heart-to-heart talk about the future.

Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

Dear Christine, Depressed in Detroit

  • Posted on February 26, 2018 at 6:18 am

Dear Christine,

Gender confusion, Please Help!?

I am 21 years old, biological male, and suffering a from a very extreme depression. This depression has been quite a constant in my life and I’m keen to be rid of it. I know it’s stemming from the doubt, anxiety, and confusion that comes in the delightfully painful package that we call gender confusion. Mentally, at least, I’ve always been female. I’ve decided on two courses of action. Getting help from s’s many sources as possible in an attempt to fix myself and if that doesn’t work then I’m just going to see myself out. Talking me out of that part is pointless I might add. My life is a living hell and any alternative to living s’s a freak is highly preferable. I have spoken to a gender therapist already and they didn’t help. Just told me I should try and be a happy freak. 150$ a session and im never going back. So that is out of the question as well.

Sign me, Depressed in Detroit

Dear Depressed, What you are feeling is awful, but it is not unusual for someone who has Gender Dysphoria. Your body presents are one sex, and your brain identifies as the other. There is a disconnect that can be helped. You have the choice to accept this is your unique self and try to figure out what will make your life more livable and happier. Perhaps you will decide to take hormones, or alter your body to reflect physically what you experience psychologically. The other option is to not accept this unique self and be miserable. Suicide is an option that many people have taken when they don’t see a way to be who they feel they are on the inside. But getting some good, professional help would be worth checking out. Go back to the therapist you tried. Figure out what you mean and need to “fix yourself” and see if that is what the therapist can help you with. If fixing yourself does not include self acceptance but is only seeing yourself as a freak, then take a look at these pictures of women who are transgendered. Notice that they work in all sorts of professions and they have all sorts of ways of expressing who they feel they are on the inside. Not one looks like a “freak” to me! http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TSsuccesses/TSgallery1.html

If you really want to educate yourself about being transgender, also known as transsexual, please check out this website. http://forum.beginninglifeforums.com/ind. It is difficult when you are in such pain to realize that you can have a new and better life. It’s a struggle to come to terms with accepting who you are, but there are lots of examples out there of men who realized they really are a woman inside. The most recent one I know of is Bradley Manning, the US Army soldier convicted in July 2013 of violating the Espionage Act and 22 other charges after releasing a large set of restricted documents. He was exploring gender dysphoria as early as 2009 and in 2010 emailed his supervisor that he had gender identity disorder. The day after sentencing, August 22, 2013, Manning’s attorney issued a press release that Bradley identifies as female and request that the media refer to her by her new name and feminine pronouns. There couldn’t be a more public way to come out, but Chelsea Elizabeth Manning had been through it all, and in moving forward with her life, it meant accepting guilt for the charges, but also accepting her identity. She said: “As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt from childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that , starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.”

It’s hard to imagine a more charged and public environment in which to transition from male to female, but when you finally face your own truth, there is such relief at finally being at peace with yourself, it makes it worthwhile. IF you don’t want to go back to the same therapist, make a clean, new start and find another therapist who is qualified to work with Gender Identity Disorder and Gender Dysphoria. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the therapists approach to working with these issues. Good luck to you, and write me again, to let me know how you’re doing. Christine Cantrell

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

Dear Christine, Befuddled in Brownstown

  • Posted on February 19, 2018 at 10:08 am

Dear Christine

Hello! Is there such a thing as having an androgynous personality? Explain please 🙂 Thank yoooouu! Befuddled in Brownstown

Dear Befuddled,

Yes, there are androgynous people. I know a few people who are androgynous and like passing as both genders or neither. If you look at one of these people, you might not be sure what pronoun to use, she or he, and the person may not help you out on that, as they might like the fact that they don’t fit into any prescribed slot. Sexuality is simpler than a dual system of gay and straight, just as gender is more than male or female. We have brains as well as bodies, and sometimes the experience of the mind is different from the body, and vice versa. Sometimes the bodies are difficult to identify, as an intersex person may have genitalia of both genders. There are seven basic gender identities: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, intersexual, asexual, and pansexual, then there is a sexual orientation for each one.

Sometimes people are chimeras, meaning they have more than one genetic code, such as when 2 fraternal twin fetuses combine in the uterus and become one body, but having 2 unique DNA codes, depending on which body part is being checked. There have been women who were genetically unrelated to their children as current cheek swab DNA testing can show. However, other organs or parts of her body do match up with her children, but might not have been checked initially. Also, any woman who has been pregnant has probably absorbed some genetic material from her baby, and if that’s a boy, then she probably has some Y chromosomes present in her body that most women would not have. Remember, female is having XX chromosomes and male is XY. Sometimes there are XXY people as well, which is Klinefelter Syndrome. Our genes and our environment determine our phenotype (physical characteristics) which can vary in different environments. Two identical twins raised in different families may mature differently, for example. All of this is just to explore how we really are unique beings. However you look, whatever you feel, whomever you are attracted to, or not, is really ok. And it can change. And that’s fine. Christine Cantrell

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

Dear Christine, Perplexed in Pittsfield

  • Posted on February 12, 2018 at 7:00 am

Dear Christine

Could someone be completely gay from 13 to 18? so I mean always liking the same sex and not liking the other sex, and only getting turned on by the same sex, and have done things like anal and liked it… then at 19 onwards turn straight and not like the same sex and just get turned on by the opposite sex? can that happen because of hormones? so is there such a thing called the gay phase between. 13 to 18?

Perplexed in Pittsfield

Dear Perplexed,

The really interesting thing with human beings is that there is no “normal” nor only “one way” that someone can and should be. We are each unique beings, and we experience our sexuality differently, and that means there’s no one mode of self–expression is “right” or “wrong.” What someone else may do might not seem interesting or remotely possible for you, and that’s ok too. There are people who experiment with their sexual attractions in ways you may never choose to. A friend of mine was a radical feminist lesbian in the 70s and 80s. She used to organize Take Back the Night walks in the community we lived in back then. In the 90s she met a man and fell in love with him. They married and had 2 children and they are still together. Go figure! Some people go both ways, others only go one way at a time, and some find their own way to be. So, remember, just because a friend does something, don’t assume that’s how it is for you or for anyone else. That’s how that person is. You may feel one way today, and in a decade you may feel totally different. Or not.

Life is a journey of self–exploration. As much as I thought I knew myself in my early 20s, my early 30s taught me that I had pushed away a lot of parts of myself that I hadn’t been ready to confront, and for me, one of those things was my sexuality. I dated only men in my teens and 20s, but in my early 30s, I was falling in love with women and wondering how this could be. It took a few more years of looking inward, noticing my feelings and my patterns, some of which I had ignored for years because they weren’t acceptable in my family and in my church. Could all this change again? I guess it could, because at 40, I was amazed at how much the same I was as at 20, and yet how entirely different too! I am guessing 80 holds surprises for my self–awareness and identity as well. I’m content to live my life until then, exploring whatever comes up, not judging it, but just looking at and allowing it to be. Let it be. Christine Cantrell

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

Dear Christine, Tense in Trenton

  • Posted on February 4, 2018 at 11:54 am

Dear Christine, My partner and I are expecting our first child, a boy, due in May. We are both very excited but we are getting a little family grief. Both families have supported our lifestyle until now. Suddenly it seems like everyone is concerned about the future of our child. It seems that no one thought we were going to have children and now that we are, we are getting some negative comments. A little too late now! The family seems excited for the new baby but at the same time has told us that it might not be fair for a child, especially a boy, to be raised by lesbians! My partner is furious at our families and is ready to cut them off. I don’t know why they had to make the comments in the first place since like I said, too late! What can I do to keep the peace, calm down my partner and assure everyone that this baby will be a happy healthy child. Including me! Can we do this? I love this baby already and BTW, I’m the one carrying this time. You’re next honey! Signed Tense in Trenton Hi Tense, Hell no, I’m…