Season 2: Episode 1 – You Asked, We Answered

[00:00:00] Dr. Alissa: Welcome to thanks. It’s the trauma. I’m Dr. Alissa, and this is a podcast with my friends, Mickey and Heidi. We’re connected by a unique and unusual experience. And we talk about it and other traumas with honesty, blues and cuss words.

Heidi: Season two, episode one, you asked, we answered, Hey guys. We’re back. I’m so excited to hang out with you tonight. Yeah, season two, we go, let’s kick it off. We have a whole bunch of questions to get through from our like massive following. I’m really excited. It’s like Colt status soon after these questions I’m sure.

Nikki: Okay. You ready for question one? Yeah. Okay. I guess we can all kind of answer this one. It sounds like many of your marriages started pre [00:01:00] digital dating. What has it been like to start this new journey of singleness in the digital world? What an awesome question. Because lowered, we have answers. Yeah. I mean, well, I did do like a harmony before I left.

Dr. Alissa: So Christian, have you spend. Well, there was very few. I also did match. I went to a match mixer match.com mixer back in the day, it was very early online dating, but it is very different now for sure. And like, I feel like you go on a lot more dates now than back then. Like it’s, there’s so many more people to choose from.

Nikki: What apps are you using? I have used Tinder hinge and Bumble. Different times, Nikki, you want to, you definitely did not online date. No, I never online dated. I [00:02:00] never, even, even when AOL chat rooms came out, I was already, you know, dating my ex. So there was no need for that. Yeah. The digital world is a very interesting place and it takes a lot of getting used to.

And I have also tried. I tried Tinder. I’ve tried Bumble. I’ve tried hinge. I’ve tried match. I’ve tried coffee meets bagel. I tried what’s that other one? Zeus. I’ve tried them all and they’re all slightly frightening. Except I stuck with hinge and Bumble, I think are the least frightening of most of them.

And I like Bumble just a little bit better. Cause the female has a little more control in how it goes. Yeah. Dating itself is difficult and interesting. I was just telling Alissa today that like dating as an adult versus dating when I was in my twenties is [00:03:00] very different and it’s hard to. To crossover and realize that no, it’s not going to be like in your teens and twenties where you’re like spending every single second together because you have nothing else to do, but be together and you don’t have kids or responsibilities.

You just got to go to a job and come home and see your person and in your forties or thirties, or, you know, when you’ve got kids, I mean, you like, you literally have to plan to go on a date on a specific day. The same time every week, you know, if it’s continuous or you’ve got to work them into a odd weekday evening or a weird weekend hour, and that is your date and that’s when you fit them in and you don’t see each other every waking hour.

So, yeah, it’s been interesting to have to figure that out and understand that that’s normal now. Yeah, right. Heidi, Heidi. Well, I’m just now dipping my little [00:04:00] toes into the online dating world. And I, so I haven’t been on any dates, but I’ve got, you know, all these different conversations going on. Now I did online date with match.com before hand.

Heidi: And so Justin was actually on match.com in Hawaii, and I was on match.com in North Carolina. And so clearly we didn’t. We didn’t match, but I did a lot of online dating. And so I feel like maybe that’s why I waited two years to do this online dating thing again. Cause I just know how exhausting it was. I would say that the biggest slate challenge or change that I’ve seen in online dating is that there’s just not a lot of information.

And like maybe three or four photos and maybe like three or four statements, little blips. Yeah. So it just feels very, very superficial. So to be [00:05:00] dating as an adult, like Nikki just said, where I really give less than two fucks what anyone cares about. Like. My outfit or my makeup. I mean, I’m like, we can go to one pizza.

Right. You know what I mean? It’s just like, there’s so much trauma and so much depth and like there’s kids and complication. And it’s like, I’m just having a really hard time, like scrolling through four pictures and like three statements and figuring out, you know. Hmm. I wonder if he would be a great fit for my family.

I mean, it just seems like. You just are going to have to massively go on like coffee dates and meet up and go have a lot of dates because there just isn’t a lot of information. Another thing that’s super stressing me out as Bumble is they have this like 24 hour clause and like [00:06:00] I’m on call for my work.

And so this last week I was at the hospital for four days in a row. And so I would like. Try to swipe whatever direction it is, like swipe right or whatever. And then it was like match. You have 24 hours to communicate. And then they were like, she’s ready to push. And I was like, shit, I don’t have Twitter.

I can’t. And then by the time I like, you know, got home from work and the baby was born and then I slept, I missed the 24 hours, like over and over and over again. And I was like, what do you do about that? So you can pay to not do that, but I didn’t know that was an option for you. Maybe Bumble could sponsor this episode and give me, you know, I need a greater window than 24.

I need a greater window than 24 hours. So anyway, that’s it. I just haven’t been on any dates yet. I think when dating in apps, you’re also, you’ve got to [00:07:00] decide what. What your goal is, is your goal trying to fit some perfect person into your family or is your goal to just date and find out what you like about dating and what you like about people and what you like about you dating people?

You know, I think you have to, if you’re just swiping because you’re looking for your soul life partner, then yeah. It’s going to be real difficult. And there it’s like one in a million swipes. And if you’re going into it as, okay, this guy’s kind of cute, kind of interesting questions. Let’s go on a date and see if we hit it off.

Then you go do that. And then you chalk it up to experience. If it doesn’t go so good or at least a real funny story for your podcast.

I think when we we’re, we’re out there going, yeah, we’re going to find a person in a dating. Oh, that’s not what my profile says, Nikki though, I, my profile says I am not looking to be in a relationship. I am looking for someone to help my body feel alive [00:08:00] again. That’s what it says. I don’t know if that’s or what, but there’s like, there’s so many gotta edit your, we gotta know one sentence.

There are thousands. There is so many, there are so many men. No, there’s too many already that very clear about it. I am looking for something.

It may not be a sole partner. Next question. Reeling him some, some bad brace. All right. Next question. What ways are you most grateful for how you took care of yourself through your trauma? That’s a good question, Heidi, you go first and which ways am I the most grateful? I would probably say the ritual that I started on day one and that still continues today.

So when [00:09:00] I was in the black hole and I was completely just, I felt like I was dead and. I started this practice that was like perspective and gratitude and it sounds slightly morbid, but I started listening to this other podcasts called terrible things for asking, and it just made me feel better to hear about people who are hurting worse than I was.

And specifically, I know the sun’s terrible, but like I would, the worst thing I would think that could happen to me in my life would be the death of a child. And so like, I probably became hyper obsessed with like Instagram accounts were like hashtag still birthday. And when I talked to people who had like lost their spouses or had really horrible traumatic stories, I was gaining [00:10:00] perspective, right.

We, I think we’ve talked in previous episodes, like I was trauma naive. And so it was, is really helpful for me to gain perspective on this. Isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you in your life, whole life. And so every night before bed, I would take that perspective of how lucky I was for the life that I do have.

And then I would just start asking or thanking God for all of the things that I do have. And I would start going in my head, like at least 10 things that were amazing and positive about my life, so that I would focus less on the trauma I was going through. And that practice continues to today. And what’s really interesting is I just read Jay Shetty’s new book.

Think like a monk. And this is like one of the practices that he talks about in his book. And I was like, how forward [00:11:00] thinking of me? I didn’t even worry about it. Yes. But it’s been kind of easy to adapt some of the principles and Jay Shetty’s book. Nice. That is what I am most grateful for Alissa. I would say that I am, I am really glad that I reached out to my community the way that I did.

I didn’t. Fall into the black hole by myself. I would keep like reaching out and letting somebody know, you know, when I was having a really hard day, whether that was calling Nicky and crying or calling you Heidi and crying, or, you know, reaching out to some of my other friends and asking for help. When I moved into my new house, like asking friends to come.

To target and help me get all the new shit for the new house and four or five friends coming and filling up four cart fulls of things for the new house and standing in [00:12:00] the sheet aisle, seeing the yellow and gray sheets and that those were my wedding colors. And then I started crying and being like, I mean, I really liked this

and you know, my friends just standing there and holding me and putting back the yellow and gray sheets and going, we’re going to get some other ones it’s going to be okay. And we’re going to keep going. And it was like, it was amazing. You know, I’m so grateful for my people, including you guys. And I’m, I’m grateful to myself that I reached out when I needed help.

And I still reach out when I need home. Nicky, how about you? Oh gosh. Let’s think. Well, of course I’m grateful for all the people who didn’t judge my situation and loved me through all of that anyways. And I am grateful in that [00:13:00] despite becoming. A hard shelled person through that and putting up every single cement wall around me to protect myself that I have slowly, somehow being able to take those down one at a time, as scary as it is taking care of myself.

By finally admitting that I need to go to therapy and handle some things. And not being ashamed of that. Cause I was for a long time and that’s just kinda the nature of my family. Was you just, you don’t talk about that and you just handle your shit. And I am proud of myself for finally going back to school because I wanted to do it for so long and I was always too scared or put.

My family or kids or ex-husband or husband at the time needs, and just didn’t want to be a [00:14:00] burden by not being completely mom available or wife available because I’d be studying and I didn’t want to sacrifice one or the other, so I didn’t ever do it. And now I can do it. And I’m standing on my own two feet and I’m doing it.

So I feel like I’m just doing all these things that I didn’t ever. Do for myself before and I don’t feel selfish. So it’s, it’s good. Yeah. Such a good example, Nikki too, like here we are in your late forties, mid forties and doing it. It’s never too late. Anybody listening, no matter what your traumas are, it’s never too late to change your life.

Just think what you’re doing. I thought it was too late and Alissa sent me some. I can’t remember what the graphic said, but it was basically saying it’s never too late. Just go do it. You know, she really helped believe in me in that and told me to just go do it. So I did it super proud. Otherwise I would have been like, just still thinking about it and maybe I’ll do it someday and [00:15:00] talking myself out of it.

So. And another news right now. Does your shirt say divorced as fuck?

That’s amazing. I wore this for okay. So one of my good friends got married. And I got divorced all in the same 30 days. So we had our bachelorette parties together. Oh, why shirt said divorced is fun. And her says I do. And we went out with all our mutual friends together in Nashville. And this is, we had a bachelorette party.

I love it. It’s amazing. I hope to embrace the word divorced someday. Um, speaking, going back to online dating. I am wait. I labeled myself as a widow. That also helps with getting laid. So that’s true. I am a widow who wants her body to feel alive. The like one [00:16:00] time that I saw on a man’s profile that it said widow or widower, I was like, Hmm.

Like, like, like there’s something about there’s no competition. What? No, it’s just like, Oh, it’s not because he likes, screwed up big time. Right. Or, you know, it’s not like his, his marriage ended because I mean, hopefully not, he didn’t even do anything unless he murdered her then. Right. But he’s also like a survivor, I think.

Yeah. Appealing is like, you’ve been through something really difficult and you’ve survived it now. I don’t feel an authentic saying that because I think we’ve talked about this before. Like I do identify as a widow. That very much hurts Kaylee’s feelings. But when you change your gender on your birth certificate and your name, legally, my husband died.

So yeah. Next question. Has anyone famous contacted you [00:17:00] about the podcast? That’s a hard, no. What are you talking about? Jeff? Goins is super famous, right? Jeff Jeffy. Yeah. Well, I guess when we were friends, he’s one of my friends. So nobody that didn’t know us. I mean, we’ve got some Instagram famous people who may or may not end up on the show.

Right. They didn’t contact us. We contacted them. Yeah. Everyone just happened to find us yet. No Kardashians have called us true. Kim and I are like besties my DMS all the time. I’m like, you know, that thing. Cause, you know, Kim Kardashians, I was actually listening to her J letter, right then his name J Letterman.

What’s the Letterman’s first name now. That’s totally wrong. David Letterman. I was like [00:18:00] Jay Leno and David Letterman became J letter J Letterman. No, his new beard is throwing me off that. Anyway, David Letterman, she was just on David Letterman’s new show or whatever. I did not know this Kim Kardashian at 26 years old, her mom was out of town and walked into the garage and found her stepdad fully dressed as a woman from head to toe because she was living with them at the time.

Why do I think I know that I just didn’t know that that was part of her story. And I was thinking girl, We could really connect here. Like I, so yeah, the ant the short answer to this is no, but I really feel like it would be wonderful to talk to one of the Kardashians. I’ll be we’re open, we’re open for celebrities to contact us is basically what we’re saying.

All right. [00:19:00] Next up on the list. Did we really not notice anything prior to this? In our relationships, did we really had not have any clues that this was, that this was a positive? Oh, can we add onto that question too? Because I think what a good question is, did we really not know? And now looking back, is there anything that makes, is there anything now that makes sense to us.

Okay. Alissa, go first. I really, really, really, really, really, really, really did not know absolutely a hundred percent never, ever, ever, ever would have guessed that my husband would come out as a transgender woman. Definitely would not. Now looking back, are there things that I could say like, okay. I mean, that was a little weird or that, that might’ve been a little bit of a hint too.

I mean, but even those things are [00:20:00] so minor that on their own, then even together, they never would have been enough of information to be able to say like, Oh, clearly I never walked in on my husband wearing my clothes or anything like that. So even if I had, I still would have never known yeah. Yeah. Do you want to give an example?

I mean, James really liked boobs and with Anne had said at one point, like I just, if I had boobs, I would just play with them all day long, but I’m like, but like stuff like that where I’m like, that’s just a dumb ass dude thing to say, you know, like thinking that all we’re going to do is want to play with our boobs all day long.

Pretty much. No, but again, in, uh, now having the information that I have, it’s like, like, Oh, you were thinking about having breasts. Like that’s interesting. Yeah. On its own just was a dumb dude thing to say. Yeah. Yeah. Nikki. Now [00:21:00] do you know? I mean now 23 years and no, never. No, no. And I mean, until the last. I don’t know how long recent, I mean, within the last 10 years, did they even really understand what transgender was?

So definitely not on my radar ever. Yeah. I think that there’s a common theme here. You, we wouldn’t have as cisgender heterosexual females. I don’t think we would have gotten married if we felt like this was a possibility now, never in my marriage, not, not a once. I will say though, same as anything. Now looking back, I mean, there were these tiny, teeny, teeny tiny things, and I’m like, now I’m like, Oh, maybe that was because she’s a transgender woman, but they were so small.

I mean, the number one thing that comes to mind is like my husband, Justin was super, [00:22:00] super hot, super hot, like looked like Bradley Cooper, like blonde hair, blue eyes. Six foot, huge Navy, tan, California. I mean like girls, are you swooning yet? I mean, he was gorgeous and he didn’t believe that about himself.

And so that was a hard part of our marriage is I would be like, woo, babe, you look and sexy today. And then like, that would make him uncomfortable. Like if I gave him positive attention about the way he looked or like, What do you look like in this like hot ass outfit or in his bathing suit at the beach, instead of like owning it, he really shied away from, but from like just how gorgeous he was and it never made sense to me.

I’m like, why aren’t you like some douchebag? That’s like, yeah, I’m super hot with a hot body. But now that makes sense. Like if somebody has bodied. But it wouldn’t be gender [00:23:00] dysphoria. Yeah. Yeah. So if someone has gender dysphoria, that now all makes sense to me, but these little tiny things, I mean, you would never in a million years be like, Oh, it’s because your gender right now.

So, no, I would just like to note that this is the first time on the podcast that you have used the name, Justin. And that you can are, you can say that now I can say that. Yes. Okay. That’s true. Kaylee is out fully out to, you can now say that your husband’s name was Justin. We’ll have to talk about that on an episode.

As we record this, we’re coming off the tail end of my husband, Justin, coming out to the world as Kaylee. So, yeah. Yay. Don’t have to edit it. Yay. Yeah. Okay. Let’s piggyback on that one, because this is a long question with [00:24:00] hindsight. Are there suggestions you might offer on how your spouse might have better handled being transgender with you?

Of course, knowing earlier or not transitioning would have been helpful, but are there ways they could have eased the burden on you? I’d welcome hearing from the wives perspective, what would have made this somewhat easier from you? And I just want to preface this, that this is coming from a, this is coming from a transgender woman who is still presenting as male.

Wow. Oh yeah. I remember getting that email. So there we go. Such a good it’s such a good, good question. And such a caring question clearly from. From this person who wants to be able to, I don’t know, probably be the best support that they can to her wife, which is really beautiful. I think for me, if I hadn’t have been told at my [00:25:00] nephew’s 16th birthday party, that might’ve been nice.

That was not a good location to discover this type of information. So, where would you suggest James had spoken to you? I think that probably, if he, at the time had been able to say, Hey, we need to talk something’s happening with me. And it’s really important. Like, can we sit down maybe in our room and talk because you know, like no distractions, this is something really important to me that probably would have made a difference.

It still would have rocked my world. But it meant in the moment I couldn’t let out all that I was feeling so having to have this traumatic, shocking situation happen and then having to shut down all the emotions in the moment was not the best. Haiti was appreciative of the fact that I don’t know [00:26:00] how about that.

I’m going to tell you a couple of things that I appreciated. I actually appreciated that Justin had told my sister first. So that I had someone to talk to immediately afterward. Now, if you asked my sister how that went, that was very difficult for my sister. Cause I think it was like a week in advance and my sister had to like hold onto it.

So that was probably really, really difficult. But I had someone immediately to talk to that had had time to process. So she had had that whole week to like think process, articulate how she was going to support me. So. I appreciated that I had someone armed and ready to love on me and embrace me. I loved that.

She gave me a letter so that I could go back and read it over and over and over again. And process we were in private. It was in my bedroom. What was difficult is like we had little kids, you know, two and three years old. I just wish they. Like maybe get a [00:27:00] babysitter, you know? So like I like when I have to go downstairs and like mom hard now and make dinner, I mean, so that was kind of weird.

What I would say really, really, really hurt me. And I’m in therapy for it is that she had identified about six weeks earlier that she was a transgender woman. And during that time period, Had sex, we had sex. And I feel like that was like to this day, two years later, that’s still really, really difficult for me that I thought I was having sex with my husband, Justin, but she had already accepted that she was a trans woman, Kaylee.

And so I really wished that wouldn’t have happened. That’s fair. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. What about you? You know, I can wish a lot of [00:28:00] things, but it happened the way it was just going to happen. So I, I don’t know that it would, anything would ever make it easier. There’s no softening the blow of this because it’s just what it is.

There’s no easing into, I’m going to transition into a female. How do you ease somebody into that? And I, and I think mine did somewhat come gradual. There were some conversations about. Gender dysphoria. And even before that, some other conversations, but all within the same timeframe and then eventually ending with I’m going to transition, or I am a transgender woman and I mean, how much slower can it go?

Then the two years that it took for us to finally get divorced, there was no softening. Any of it. It’s just trauma trauma happens. And for me it was trauma and trauma is not slow. Most of the time it’s impact fast. And that’s what it [00:29:00] was. So I don’t know that there was anything different just for me. It was for me and my personality.

Let’s just get it over with, but then we dragged it out two more years. So, you know, yeah. I was going to say it, it can go longer. We’re in here. We just entered into the third year. Right. Are you still married?

Divorces. Fuck. I’m sorry. Every time you make your way back. All I see is divorces. Fuck. And I’m just like, Okay. Okay. Let’s do a funny question. Someone wants to know if I have a drinking problem.

Listen, I talk a big game. Not like I sit here every day and do shots at tequila. When I get home from work. Cause I still got to function and go there for, I was gonna say there were definitely times when I was like, [00:30:00] I just want to go home and drink, but they, you know, it’s called binge drinking for a reason.

Just like y’all binged our episodes. I’m binge drink tequila, and then I’m okay. Now I’m in school. So I guess stay sober most of the time. Alissa. And I can attest that Nikki is not an alcoholic. She just drinks with us and alone for fun.

Alone is not usually fun.

Nikki does not have a drinking problem. She just likes to pretend she does. I love that question though. It’s funny.

Well, now that you know, almost everything about us, let’s hang out on social on insight. You can find us on. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast, everywhere else, including our website just thinks it’s the trauma. And if [00:31:00] you have any questions or want to email us, we would love to get back to you. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast@gmail.com.

Alissa. What is working with your ex daily? How was that? We’ve done that. I mean, for more than a year now, more than a year since Jamie came out and overall it has been fine. It has been uneventful. Bull shit. I’m sorry until, Oh, okay. I thought you were just going to, like, I thought you were going to end there, Alissa.

I’m sorry. I was like,

sorry. I thought you were ending and moving on. And I was like, yeah, it has been generally I don’t even fall. It has been fine until. Jamie’s girlfriend started [00:32:00] working in our office together with us, and that was aligned for me. And so I am now moving offices, not out of anger or spite or whatever. It’s like, okay.

That was clearly whatever that was the right step for them, you know, and this is the right step for me. So this is news to me. We were texting a little bit about that. And essentially Nikki and I are like, get the fuck out of there by time to get a new office. I don’t know. And then some time passed. So, so you decided to get a new, a new office.

I signed a lease yesterday. And my moving day is in two weeks. Whoa. I’m so proud of you. Thank you. It’s a big, it is a big change and there’s, you know, at first it was like, Oh, there’s no feelings about this. Like, let’s just do this. Okay. This is clearly the right time. And then I [00:33:00] don’t know. It was just like, Oh, this is like another, it’s just another ending.

It’s just, and you just, I just keep finding, I don’t know about you guys. I’m not going to speak for all of us, but I just keep finding more. Endings more new experiences, more losses in this where it’s like, you know, I’m a, I’m a year and some months after, you know, the original bomb and still there’s moments that are like, Oh, this, this part’s new and this hurts.

It turns out. So, yeah. Yeah. It’s weird to go from counting like anniversaries and. You know, memories. And when we did this to, to counting closed doors, yeah. It’s familiar. It’s a great way to put it. And it is very strange. Now, have we told the audience that Jamie has a girl? We have not. That is a new development since we ended first.

Yeah. You [00:34:00] can’t share their story, but we could just leave it at simmering at that. So no Delana was the first of us to move on. Dylan was remarried and now Jamie is dating and I have no idea what’s going on in Kaley’s personal life because I don’t ask. Yeah. Don’t want to know. Yeah. I want to know interesting hug, big hugs right there.

I think it’s going to be really fun for you to have your own office and your own space and a new beginning and just freedom and separation and a whole new way. Thank you. I think it will be, it will be good. Yeah. You ask, how does Jamie feel about you moving out? I don’t really know. Okay. Yeah. I didn’t know if she had emoted.

No emoting. Okay. All right, Nikki. What you got for us? Has your experience with ex-husbands made you leery of trying [00:35:00] marriage again? Well, fuck. Yeah.

will probably never change now. I wish we put it on now for me. I know, I wish we could have screenshotted all three of our faces when that question.

Wow. Yeah. I have no interest, at least at this point. I mean, who knows? There’s a lot of life left to live and I have no interest at this point in ever being legally married, ever again, what she said and the same, I intend on being super rich. And being financially from this podcast on this podcast, famous and rich sponsors.

I’m just kidding. No, but really never. I just, no, I mean, what a financial nightmare should show. Yeah. Like I will go so [00:36:00] far as to say, I can’t imagine sharing a residence or a bed with another man ever again, like. We can hang out. We can go on dates. We can have sex, we can travel. But like, that’s your house?

This is my house. Like, those are your kids. These are my kids. Like, I don’t want to ever be a step-mom. I don’t there’s no like stepdad in it, up in this place now I’m only two years out. So like maybe in seven years, ask me again, but right now, Oh, you ever think though, like you have boys. Mm, I have a boy and the man figure has, is no longer a man in our children’s lives.

The dad, right? I mean, I’m like, mine is still called dad, but like I do think about, I would like for my child to have a, a man [00:37:00] role in his life as a boy. Do you ever think about that? I, you know, comes to mind, but I also believe in sports and I believe in coaches and I believe in uncles and I believe in friends.

And, you know, my boys have a lot grandparent grandfathers, so my boys have a lot of like, really strong, like my brothers are like up in it and like my sister’s husband, like up in it. And so I just feel like they have like a lot of really positive male influences. They have like right now, max, his art teacher, he adores.

I mean, I just feel like there’s a lot of really there’s men everywhere to mentor them. We don’t have that right now. Jameson does not have that at this time, but I hope that at some point that that’s true. Yeah. I have, I’m one of five children, so there’s yeah. So yeah, just different. I mean, I just feel like that [00:38:00] figure can come in lots of different packages.

Yeah. That’s definitely true. Yeah. And Nikki, with your boys. I mean, Dalana really stayed in a fatherly figure most of their lives, correct. Most of their lives, but then, you know, the teen years, I mean, it’s still present, but the male figure, like you’re speaking of wasn’t there. So I rely on a very good family friend who does take them under their wing.

One is he’s taught my oldest how to drive. And my sister’s has been taught him how to shave. And they live in Oregon. We were just there visiting one summer and I’m like, could he teach Noah how to shave? And my sister asked and he was like, Oh yeah. And he’s a father of two sons as well. So totally easy piece of cake for him, taught them some, you know, like random yard things like [00:39:00] Alamo and, you know, ride a mower and do guy things like that.

And. I’m not the most girly girl. So there’s that, like you say, they’re going to come in different shapes and sizes. And I think even growing up with both parents, heterosexual or whatnot, you find role models that are not your parents. That means something, whether it’s a teacher or a coach, or, you know, just someone that you worked with that is older and you looked up to, so I imagine along the way, they’ll find those things and I don’t.

I did worry about it for a long time though, that wasn’t like, I’m going to get married so they can have a father that’s never been for me, but, you know, I started to worry that they were going to miss out on some things, but now it’s like, you know what they’re doing? They’re doing fine. And they’re going to find their role model, whether they have a male dad figure or not.

So I have a follow question, Nikki, [00:40:00] you’re dating someone pretty seriously. Have you had the conversation with said person that you’re not interested in them being a stepfather. We both want that. We don’t. Neither one of us want to get married again. So that was a plus. I’m going to need some I’ll go ahead, Alissa.

Is it, is it that you guys have no interest in like kind of what Heidi is talking about? Like no interest in joining homes or things like, like staying at the level that it’s at until the kids are grown. I don’t know. Or is that a conversation you’ve had yet? Yeah, we haven’t had that conversation yet. We just know that neither one of us really want to get married again.

Cohabitating, not sure yet. I mean, it’s still very early. I D you know, I don’t, I don’t know. So you would be open though to cohabitating. I don’t know. Okay. These are great. See, everybody lists, if we were, maybe if we, neither of us had any, you know, all our [00:41:00] kids were grown. Maybe that would be easier. Like, I can’t imagine trying to blend all these teenagers together who are all boys would be a nightmare or opposite, you know, like mine are always around.

So when you get a break from that, so. No, I don’t, I don’t know. I mean, you don’t have to work. You have independent lives and you’re adults, so you kind of have to have an independent life. And maybe someday when we retire to a fancy Island, I don’t know. We’ll see. I mean, you know, it’s early. We could, he could take me next week.

So you never know

these are good questions though. You guys. Yeah. For the sake of time, why don’t we answer some of them for the audience? One-offs but if it’s like really, really good, then we’ll all answer, but, okay. Alissa, has this podcast impacted your practice [00:42:00] at all or does it scare you that it might, it has not that impacted my practice at all.

It does concern me. I, you know, I do feel like I have to be. Cautious and aware that absolutely as I speak and as some people are listening, my, some of my clients are listening potential future clients. And so I want to be, I want to be open and honest because I think I, well, I really value authenticity. I don’t think that a therapist has to be a blank slate to the way that we used to think about therapists.

So I think it’s okay that I have a story and I have a personality, but you know, I also want to be cautious and, you know, not sharing things that feel too private that would cross a line. So I’m always aware that there’s some line. Somewhere, right. I need to figure out where that is. Yeah. Heidi, this can be a good one for you.

This audience member is curious about how the kids [00:43:00] refer to their dads now and how that transitions pronouns are important. Are they still dad? Is that awkward or confusing? Oh, I’m so excited to take this one on. Ooh, for those that listen to, you know, binge listened. I had a really difficult time with this.

I was like, I’m the mom, like you’re the dad, these kids were made with like your sperm. Like, I was angry because Kaylee kept bringing up to me that she, you know, had a desire to not be called dad, father, anything like that. So we had changed pronouns when we changed names. So when we introduced that, you know, daddy had a new name, Kaylee that the proper pronouns where she and her.

I think all of us, or honestly, really struggling with like dad, she, her, like, it was just very difficult. I was angry. I had talked to my therapist. [00:44:00] What I was told was what my children call their parent is none of my business, which is ouch, but it’s true, you know, and I had to work through that and I had to process it.

And it really came to late for me one night when we were at dinner, it was actually one of the first times that Kaley was dressing as a woman in public. And in order to like ease that for her, I had offered to take her out to dinner with the boys so that we could all be a support system for her presenting female out in the world, you know, with makeup and hair and outfit and jewelry and all of it.

So we picked her up. She looked gorgeous. Very difficult for me to say that still. Cause it’s just, it’s a little weirdish, you know, for me, but we go to dinner and it was very, very uncomfortable for me [00:45:00] to have our children saying, dad, daddy, they’re so loud because they’re five and six and they’re running around to this woman with long.

Blonde hair and breasts. And, and I was like, Oh, okay. She might have a point here. You know, like I was like the first time that I was like, it was drawing attention to us that I didn’t want, you know, whole nother thing we’ll talk about is like I’m experiencing dysphoria now in a whole new way. Cause I feel like I’m being perceived now in public as like.

Someone who’s not cisgender heterosexual when I’m with my trans gender spouse and our children ex spouse and children. So anyways, so we go on vacation together because we’re still very much a, a, a tight close family unit and on vacation. We’re driving around. And Kaylee says to the boys, you know, something [00:46:00] about like it really, or maybe she says it to me, it really hurts my feelings when they say dad, because it brings back my dysphoria and it makes me feel terrible about myself.

So I’m now in the car balling because this is the person that I love. And they’re telling me that this term dad hurts them. And I can’t understand that in any way, because it’s a term of endearment. And I’m just getting angry. And I, you know, I, like, I just don’t know what to do here. And she asked me get out of the car.

Cause she was going to the doctor, the urgent care for like an eye infection at the beach. So she got it’s out and like, you know, our kids over here, we were idiots because they’re listening, you know? And then like, max is like, what are you talking about? And I’m like, well, I was a dad. Really is getting her feelings hurt because she feels like a girl and she is a girl and her name’s Kaylee.

And so when we say dad, like [00:47:00] society, that tends to be a masculine or a male term, like when we think of dads, we think of men or we think of boys, like when you think of dads, do you think of that? And they were like, yeah. And I just found myself saying, is there something else you would like to call.

Kaylee instead of dad that would make her feel happy in the first thing they said was, well, yeah, mom and I was like, uh, that’s taken no, correct. I was like, actually nothing with the word, the letter M also. And I don’t know. So my oldest max, he just was, you know, so cute little six year old. And he says, well, whatever her name’s Kaley, what about KK?

And I was like, I think that’s really cute. Do you XY what you want to call your parent? And he’s like, yeah. And then my other one Jagger is like, yeah. And before you know, it they’re like KK. When are we going to pick up [00:48:00] KK? And I’m like, she’s going to be really excited. So KKR, we pick KK back up and we let KK know that they have chosen her name for her, her parental name.

So her parental name is KK immediately. Never again, have we had a problem, like with pronouns, like KK was instantly associated with a female. Was she her? And I’m not embarrassed when we’re in public and my children say KK, I’m not. Yeah. So anyway, so that’s a very long answer to that, but I came full circle.

Like I was really against it. And then now I’m super for it. Seeing the positive. Impact it’s made in my children using a name that is feminine, feminine parenting term for their female parent. Okay, Nikki, this next question is for you from an [00:49:00] audience member. Nikki, how hard is it for you to edit yourself?

While we’re recording while we’re recording for me to edit myself on a daily, hourly basis when talking. So imagine that times 10 on a podcast with a microphone recording, just bear. These two have to delete a lot of things. One that I say wrong. Two and a half to say several times to get it right. And three stabbing being inventive

a little bit. Right?

So yes, editing is difficult. I would say Alissa has to be edited the least. I have to be edited for talking way [00:50:00] too much. Like 90% of my words get cut out. And then Nikki has to get edited for political correctness.

This is very light all day long, too. Not just here. There’s no mute button in real life. So it just comes out. I love our audience. These are amazing questions. And it’s really fun to be recording this with like the premise that like the people that are supporting us are getting to know us at a deeper level in which what they want to know about us.

I really liked this episode too. Yeah. Would we let a film crew follow us? Hell yeah. Would shit’s funny. My initial reaction is like, I would need to lose 40 pounds. And then my answer would be, yes. I don’t know if I would now. I don’t know you have a practice, so you’d have to be [00:51:00] careful. Well, you have fun making $0, Alissa, Nicki, and I would cash that in.

We fall down six times and say things all wrong, but we went hiking today and it was wet and you didn’t even fall one time slip and almost break my crotch or anything.

I’m so proud of you. I’m getting better guys. And you guys went to two hikes today. She won’t do hikes. I did not. I went on a hike who you did well, this wasn’t an audience question, but now I’m going to make it one. Alissa, tell us about your hiking date today. I have been dating someone a little bit and yeah, this date went very well.

[00:52:00] I am enjoying connecting with him. I have a question for you because I currently know of two people that you have been dating. Do you see this person mostly on Thursdays or would this be a newer relationship? This is the person I mostly see on Thursday. Wow. Okay. Excellent. Expanding beyond Thursdays. I know, right?

Wow. To hiking. What day is it? Saturday. Okay. Yeah. And we went on a date last night, too. Well, maybe I should have said Alissa is in a serious relationship. Also. You guys. Yeah, it’s me. I need to be like polling, the audience for dates sheets. I’m behind the times over here, Bumble. It is got to go guys. [00:53:00] Bye.

Did you meet on Bumble, Alissa Tinder, Tinder, or Tinder? You met them and you’re currently dating on what site? Bumble, Bumble, and Tinder. Okay. One more question. This is an audience one. Given the circumstances of COVID we have all had time to self-reflect and keep shit real, keeping shit real on a podcast can be stressful.

What is ground? What is a grounding technique each of you use to stay authentic to your true presence? Self? I mean, I dunno. I hike, I hike. They get grounded, listen to music. Hey, go to therapy. I have anxiety all the time, all the time. I talked to Alissa and then I texted, Oh, both of you and everyone reels my shit in.

Sometimes I cry sometimes I don’t, but I’m not [00:54:00] just drinking tequila. I’m fine.

Heidi. Hi. I don’t know how to answer that one. I would say like, COVID has given me a chance to slow down and I’m still just trying to figure out who I, I am now. So in this stillness, I have some of these like coping mechanisms, but I think the question was something about like being authentic. And right now I just feel like I’m in a discovery, you know, every day.

I’m just trying to figure out who I am and who I want to be. Alissa. I think the ways that I stay authentic now are still the same as before COVID and before pre podcast, I don’t know that it’s much different in that regard, but I would say, you know, trying to be present and, you know, again, kind of coming back to community, [00:55:00] my people being honest and authentic in those relationships and yeah, just taking care of myself.

Hiking, um, used to be Krav Maga when we could touch people, but Oh, you’re touching people. Haven’t been able Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You can, again, you can have the, I haven’t gotten to do chromogen in a very long time. So we found other ways, thankfully.

You’re terrible. I know, you know, what else? You know, what else I just thought of, of course, Glennon, Doyle, his book, you guys know backwards and forwards, but you know, when she says feel all of it, like, or feel everything. So I wrote it on a post-it and I put that next to my bed because I’m just going to feel all the fields, all the things bad.

Good. All of it. So that’s grounding cause you kind of have to stay present in those [00:56:00] emotional moments. Yeah. Something that Glennon says that I relate to so much is we can do hard things, but we can’t do easy things that is like, Oh yes, I can make it through all this shit. Get a house, work through trauma.

I can’t seem to pull my trash bag out of her without every fucking time, every fucking time. So I can do hard things, but easy things don’t count on me for our last question. And audience member wants to know, how did we tell people why we got divorced, like on our first dates or what was our experience and telling people.

Why we divorced when they asked? Cause I always ask. Yeah, I’m super curious about that. But before we dig into that question, [00:57:00] Nikki and Alissa, could you just maybe give me a rough estimate of how many people you’ve kind of had conversations with on these dating apps over the years? Where this, where this question’s even come up.

I was just wondering, like, have you had this conversation one time or have you had it 10 times where you had to tell like a almost stranger. Probably 30 times. Oh geez. You guys, aren’t hot. Why did I underestimate you guys down to five to 10? You’re super sexy. Super hot. Of course. You’ve had this conversation 30 or more times.

Okay. So really not 30. Yeah. I love this question. So when, when do you disclose? I have gone different ways, like with some guys. Pretty early on. We’re having just some pretty honest messaging back and forth before we even go on a date. And so there’ve been several guys that I’ve [00:58:00] told via messaging that my ex is a transgender woman.

One in particular was somewhat comical because this guy was a fairly conservative, evangelical Christian. And I was like, are you sure that you want to go on a date with me? And he was like, yeah. I was like, listen, I need you to know, like I’m a feminist black lives matter. I’m liberal. I’m affirming my ex as a transgender woman.

Like I’m needing, you’re a recovering Christian. I’m an aye. Aye. Yes. Ex evangelical. Yeah, it’s just like, are you sure? And he was like, yeah. And then he ghosted me. So yeah. I’m sure. No. Um, but yeah. And then with other guys, it is like, there’s like slight satisfaction that I get out of seeing somebody face change.

It’s a six [00:59:00] satisfaction. Maybe just watching these guys. It’s almost like, it’s almost like research, like, okay, what kind of. What kind of reaction are you going to, has anyone ever thought you’re kidding? No. Oh, okay. It’s too specific to be telling a joke. Yeah. My ex was a transgender woman. Isn’t that hilarious?

Very different. And it does sound like a joke. So Alissa, you say it before you get to the date? Usually sometimes. And then sometimes I say it on the first day. Okay, but never, never made it past a first date without calling somebody Barry on open and honest of you. Okay. It would be really rude of me if I didn’t bring it up until after we had sex.

[01:00:00] I have a connection. It’s a connection is just for sex. And then if I can tell them anything, you know what I mean? Like, except maybe your, your STI status, uh, would be appropriate, but, you know, um, other than that, I, I don’t think that you owe anybody any information. Typically on the STI status, it’s like clean today.

Do you have any, do you have any STDs or STI? I’m assuming that they’re speaking about that day in particular and if we’re clear, we’re clear

too much.

Heidi, what about you? When I first started dating, I felt like I had to tell everyone up front. So I wasn’t a liar. But when I first started dating, I think I was thinking I was dating for the long haul. I was trying to find, you know, the person. So, and [01:01:00] then after I got ghosted a few times when they said that that didn’t bother them, I realized it bothered them.

So, um, now I answer when I’m asked, has if this, if you. That’s the thing, conversations are hard. And when you meet someone, even just messaging at first and matching energy, and if they’re not asking you a lot of questions, that’s how the conversation is going to go. I’m not going to answer your question.

I’m not going to give you information you didn’t ask for. So if you don’t ask, I’m not going to tell you, but that’s just me. That was like, that sounds like very much like Nikki, pretty much me for the most part. The ones that I have gone on date wit dates with who already know have been very nice, doesn’t bother them.

And they always say, it always comes up. Well, it’s not your fault. You know, it’s not anything you did. You know, they’re very kind about that for the most part, [01:02:00] with people who are a little on the more liberal side of things, it’s okay. I’m not sure for some of them more Southern. Nashville natives if we’re in Southern natives, if that’s so, okay.

So weeding out process. You mean it was probably a bad decision that the first person I matched with on my dating app was a Baptist pastor and I told him, and then I never heard from him again. That’s yeah. Okay. Now I’m learning. Okay. Wow. So follow up to the followup on this. So both of you guys are. In relationship  I’m in, I’m in a situation.

So relationship ship. Yes. Two particular individuals. When did you tell them and how did they respond? It’s pace. That’s funny. It’s just been awhile for state [01:03:00] because the conversation was flowing so well and he was very, obviously. Not going to be bothered by it. So I just told him, what are you bothered by it

and her phone? I’m just texting you. She’s asking you, when did they tell you? Probably knows the date. He probably does. Um, I’m going to assume on the first date or before in messaging. Okay. But I, it would, it would have been one or the other, but I don’t remember. And obviously he reacted to that just fine.

I think compassion and kindness. I think that the most, like the amazing thing about this is like, we started this podcast for a lot of reasons, like to talk about trauma, but to help other individuals that may find themselves. In our situation, or like we’re finding from many of the emails that are coming [01:04:00] in is that there have been generations of men and women who have come before us who have been hiding in the shadows with this story.

And this podcast is really the first time that they’ve had the opportunity to have a voice in a way for what they’ve been going through. And so I think what’s important to hear is that. If this happens to you or has happened, happened to, to you that most of the time, you will not be blamed for it. You will not be shamed for it, and you will not be rejected for it.

So date on I’m going to go now because I have 24 hours that are running out. I’m down to like four and a half. To respond to some bumbles she’s motivated. Yes. But thank you to our amazing audience for these incredible [01:05:00] questions. All right. Thanks for listening to the, you asked, we answered you just learned a whole lot about us and we hope you’ll stick around for episode two, where we talk with Liz from the rude ass Enneagram.

Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast is not a substitute for therapy or mental health advice. If you or someone you love is in crisis, please call one 802 seven three. Talk +1 800-273-8255. You can also text the word home to seven four one seven four one to reach a trained crisis counselor.

You’re a peach.

Season 1: Episode 7 – Where We Are Now

[00:00:00] Dr. Alissa : Season one episode, seven season finale where we are now.

Heidi: Yeah. Do we want to acknowledge that you guys are together recording this? We are cabin 

Nikki: Hobbit house. We’re 

Dr. Alissa : in a middle of Georgia, a cavern, a man-made cavern house 

Nikki: and a girls’ weekend little Hobbit house 

Dr. Alissa : does look like a little Hobbit 

Nikki: house. 

Heidi: Alissa. How many months has it been since Jamie told you she’s counting on her hands?

Everyone. 

Dr. Alissa : 10. 

Heidi: 10. Okay. So this is our season finale and it’s 10 months later for you. We kind of left off last episode, talking with Jeff about like the aftermath and the triaged. But I’m curious, like where, like, where are you? Like, where’s your heart? Where’s your [00:01:00] mind? Catch me up. 

Dr. Alissa : Yeah. You know, I mean, it’s a grieving process.

It’s life change and you know, it changes over time and it, it certainly. You know, certain things come in waves. So I would say, you know, that immediate aftermath was so much devastation and wondering how I’ll 

Heidi: ever recover, 

Dr. Alissa : ever find a new normal, and then time goes on and eventually you just do. And I have, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t hard days or sad days, or, you know, missing, you know, the family that we had before or the marriage that I had.

But, you know, life isn’t sad, which is good life. Is it just, you know, it it’s it’s life, it’s got its ups and downs, but overall, I would say other than the state of the world in [00:02:00] 2020, it’s good. 

Heidi: So what stage, like if you could go, do you feel like you’ve cycled through all of the stages of grief or like, do you feel like hard acceptance?

Dr. Alissa : I have some beef with the degree of the stages of grief theory. 

Heidi: That’s okay. Because you have a doctorate in psychology and I don’t, but 

Dr. Alissa : what I’ll say is, you know, I think that I vacillate between. Certainly accepting my situation. And then having days or moments, probably moments is fair, where I feel kind of sad about the effects of what happened on me, on Jamie, on the kids.

You know, sometimes my son has a hard time going back and forth between the two houses or wishes. He could be a one when he’s at the other and that’s sad and that sucks. You know, it’s like divorce is not, is not easy and divorce in our situation. [00:03:00] Is, you know, some things are easier because we get along so well.

And our, our situation is so unique that we can be friends, but then other parts of that are hard 

Heidi: too. Now, are you dating? 

Dr. Alissa : I am.

Heidi: Are you dating anyone in particular? Well, I tend 

Dr. Alissa : to kind of focus on one person at a time, 

Heidi: so, okay. That’s your style? Yeah. So you’re not like a hinge whore, like all over? No, 

Dr. Alissa : not like 

Heidi: that.

The recording of this episode, which we will not identify the date, but like, you know, you’re just going low and slow, like one w one person low dude. Okay. And just one at a time. Awesome. Alissa. Tell me about your relationship with Jamie. Like you said, you know, it’s pretty good, but like, what does that mean?

How often are you interacting? 

Dr. Alissa : Pretty much every day, mostly about the kids. [00:04:00] And, you know, I would say that we are definitely still figuring out what our relationship looks like and that hasn’t been easy for either one of us. 

Heidi: Are you getting divorced? Are you divorced? What is that process of actual legal separation look like for you?

We divorced, 

Dr. Alissa : yeah. Five months after Jamie’s first coming out, we were officially legally divorced. 

Heidi: Okay. So that’s really fast. And maybe because I’m, I have North Carolina laws brainwashed all over my brain, but in North Carolina, you can’t even think about filing for divorce unless you have been separated legally for 12 months.

Holy 

Nikki: cow. Wow. 

Heidi: Yeah, a lot. So the fact that you were able to separate and be legally divorced in Tennessee within five, 

Dr. Alissa : you can, in 90 days from [00:05:00] filing to being divorced. 

Heidi: Yeah. Think about the people. When you want to know where to live, how long did you live? How long do you have to live in Tennessee before that goes into a bank?

Because you have to be a legal, illegal resident. So. Can we talk a little bit about that since you’re legally divorced, like, like the day that you 

Dr. Alissa : Oh, boy 

Heidi: had to sign the papers, like, did you do it in person? 

Dr. Alissa : So I went, yeah. I went in person to sign the papers. So we use the same lawyer because we just agreed on everything.

Signing the papers was a little bit sad, but the being in court 

Heidi: that 

Dr. Alissa : was, that was kind of brutal the day that we were officially divorced. 

Heidi: What do you mean brutal? 

Dr. Alissa : There’s something about it now, being there in this room with, with this person that [00:06:00] you, you know, Had this wedding with and made these vows too, and like remembering where it started and like having these beautiful memories of where it started.

And also like a stark contrast 

Heidi: to the cold, 

Dr. Alissa : I don’t know, sterile environment of the courtroom and this judge getting to decide whether or not you can get divorced, uh, whether. The judge agrees to the things that you’ve agreed to, which seems asinine. But, you know, there were things that Jamie and I agreed to that the judge did not.

And so the judge ordered in a different way. So it’s just somebody else telling us what we should do with our relationship was kind of weird. But then also just like, it was just so clear before me the stark contrast of our wedding day. And then now here’s where it ends and I never thought it would end.

I have 

Heidi: like, um, two places I need to go with this because the [00:07:00] first is I’m confused about the judge thing. So what did you and Jamie agree to as two consenting adults that a random stranger judge disagreed to, 

Dr. Alissa : we agreed to know. Child support that neither one of us would pay child support. We would just split all the childcare costs 50 50, and the judge looked at our tax returns and said, no, that’s not going to happen.

And ordered me to pay child 

Heidi: support. Are you kidding me? 

Dr. Alissa : 

Heidi: can’t breathe. 

Dr. Alissa : Okay.

Heidi: I don’t have to put this in the podcast, but like, does Jamie just return it to you then? Yes. Okay. I’m like, this is ridiculous. So like legally, the state of Tennessee is like, you have to give your ex spouse money when they change their gender on you. [00:08:00] For child support. Um, I’m very confused. I mean, you’re, I’m going, hold on based on 

Nikki: the amount that she makes versus what he makes.

Heidi: Yeah. 

Nikki: There’s a calculator. 

Heidi: Okay. I have so many opinions right now and I’m just, I’m also frankly surprised because of all the news right now with Tennessee and like heaven forbid you’re gay and you can’t even adopt. In your state, but like, this seems very liberal of this judge and I’m like, as liberal as again.

Dr. Alissa : Well, it has nothing to do with the reason for the divorce. 

Heidi: So what does that mean? Tennessee’s like a no fault state. Well, I don’t know. 

Nikki: I don’t know, 

Dr. Alissa : but what I do know is. That 

Nikki: well, but your reason for divorce, isn’t transgender, it’s 

Heidi: irreconcilable differences or 

Dr. Alissa : fraud or whatever. Yeah. It was a reconcile irreconcilable differences.

Heidi: Oh, my reason if I get divorced would actually be. I would say, because my spouse changed, then 

[00:09:00] Dr. Alissa : that’s not a 

Heidi: reason. That’s not a reason. 

Dr. Alissa : No, it’s 

not. 

Nikki: It’s not a box. 

Dr. Alissa : It’s not a fucking box. Do you know why? Because there’s only three of us on this podcast. 

Nikki: We only found each other 

Heidi: it’s 

Dr. Alissa : time to go to Washington 

Nikki: and say, 

Heidi: I need a box.

And on that note, I also need a box on social media because I can’t check. Divorcee is a farebox either, but, okay. So you have to cite your reconcile, I guess that is 

Nikki: you can pick something else. 

Heidi: How do you pronounce that word differences? 

Dr. Alissa : Yeah.

Heidi: I’m just so this judge doesn’t actually know the real story, I guess, is what I’m getting at.

Yeah. We can’t really 

Dr. Alissa : say that. Yeah, it’s not about, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Judges not looking at the reasons for the divorce. The judge is trying to look in the best interest of the child,

family court. 

[00:10:00] Heidi: Very mature of this judge.

Dr. Alissa : That’s why you’re not a judge. 

Heidi: Okay. So 

Dr. Alissa : just, just be 

Nikki: RBG up there. 

Heidi: I would have probably like just walked out and said, Oh, I don’t know. Okay. So because you guys are two completely irrational. People then Jamie returns that to you every single 

Dr. Alissa : one. Yeah. Unless there is a reason, you know, during COVID has been a little harder because Jamie couldn’t work for several months and I was working.

And so I offered. To, you know, just let her keep it. So, I mean, in unusual and strange circumstances, that certainly makes sense. And it certainly, I mean, child support does make sense in the case of where one spouse makes significantly higher than the other. But the truth was we make pretty much the same amount of money, but the reason that I have to pay child support is because Jamie has two other children.

Heidi: Okay. 

[00:11:00] Dr. Alissa : So yeah, 

Heidi: the second probably move on. Okay. The second part of this though, was. Just feeling the sadness. Like I got married, my first marriage was in a courthouse, so, and I haven’t gone down this road yet, but I’ll say you said that right now, you feel happy like aside from COVID and everything that’s going on.

But from where we were at in triaged and kind of the aftermath to now 10 months later, for most, that would be a very short journey or short curve to happiness. And so can you just share some of the, like, things that you feel like have really helped you to move towards acceptance? 

Dr. Alissa : I would say one of the biggest pieces was doing therapy myself as a client.

You know, [00:12:00] immediately when Jamie came out, I booked an appointment with my therapist and then did every week until I started to feel like I could stand on solid ground again. So I think therapy was a big piece. Community was another, obviously having new guys was a big deal and some other friends, great supportive people definitely have helped me a ton in getting to a place of stability, having a, a home that I enjoy being in.

And helps. And then, you know, having some, some, some things to do so people to hang out with, you know, again, when the world is normal, I, you know, I was doing things and going places and spending time with people and going on some dates and, you know, just generally kind of like trying to move forward, make a new normal and be okay again.

Heidi: What about self care? Like, you [00:13:00] know, exercising, journaling, like what are some of the things that you do to kind of relax and let go? 

Dr. Alissa : One of the biggest things in this process was not too long after Jamie came out, I started doing Krav Maga, which if you don’t know what Krav Maga is, it is Israeli guerrilla fighting.

Israeli street fighting. So it’s a martial art that is essentially like self defense with 

Heidi: your body. 

Dr. Alissa : So I started doing Krav Maga and it was amazing. It was really empowering. There’s something about it that I just really. Just felt like I was getting control back over my own self, over my own life, over my own body.

So that was a big one. And then, you know, talking to people when I’m having a hard time is a, is a pretty major piece of self-care for me, laying on my hammock, reading some good books, laughing with my kid, you know, those are some of my self-care things. 

Heidi: I love it. So on like a [00:14:00] happiness scale. Of like, you know, the happiest times of your life.

I know you said you’re feeling happy, but do you feel like you still have some ways to go or do you feel like, like on a scale of one to 10, if 10 was like looking back on your life and it was the happiest you had ever been, like, where do you feel like you currently are? Well, 

Dr. Alissa : I like to think of it more like.

Health because happiness, I mean, can certainly fluctuate in a day. And I’ve experienced that many times of being so elated and so happy and then bottoming out some awful shame spiral pit that feels like the worst 

Nikki: hour. 

Dr. Alissa : So I think like if I were to think about it in a health way, you know, like an emotional and mental health, you know, I would say.

Like one to 10, you know, being at a 10, like the best I’ve ever been, you know, I’m probably at maybe a seven. 

Heidi: That’s pretty good. 

Dr. Alissa : Yeah.

Heidi: That change of [00:15:00] perspective was like very Dr. Chevy. Oh, 

Dr. Alissa : wow. That’s what I bring to that. I 

Heidi: feel like it’s really good because for anyone listening, I’m like, yeah, you should think of it.

Like, what is your overall health mental health score? 

Dr. Alissa : Yeah.

Heidi: Yeah. Interesting. How’s your youngest son. 

Dr. Alissa : He’s doing well most days he’s just a happy, happy toddler. Some days he has a hard time with the transitions of going from one house to the other, or he’ll be at my house and he’s ready to go back to the other house or he’ll be at the other house.

And he calls me he’s very compromised. So, you know, sometimes that’s hard, but overall he, I would say he’s a happy, healthy 

Heidi: toddler. Tell me about the first time that he went to Jamie’s without you. 

Dr. Alissa : Oh boy. So the first time I had something going on and I can’t remember now what it was, so I was [00:16:00] out and I was having fun.

And so it was fine. It was the second time. It was the second night that I didn’t have Jamison. And I didn’t have anything going on and I just sobbed. 

Nikki: I think you texted me then. Yeah, 

Dr. Alissa : I think I did. I maybe called you. Yeah. Yeah. I was so lonely and sad and just, I don’t know. It was, it was rough. It was hard.

It was a low, 

Heidi: what advice would you have for anyone listening, who like this as a reality for them, or it’s soon to be a reality. That like sharing our children instead of being present for them a hundred percent of their lives, their growing up lives, and now being present for 50% of their lives or 60% of their lives or whatever it shakes out to be.

I know we’re each going through it in a different way, but what advice would you give for getting through [00:17:00] it? 

Dr. Alissa : It’s better. It does. I mean, the truth is parenting so low. Is really freaking hard. It’s really different than having a two parent household where you can go back and forth. And so when you’re parenting solo, even if it’s 50 or 60% of the time is a lot as a lot on a person.

And so there does reach a point where you can be grateful for the space. You can be grateful. That you know, you can have time to yourself and time to figure out how to build this new life and that you can be grateful that your kid has the relationship that they have with their parent. Hopefully that’s a healthy parent and Jamie is, Jamie is an excellent parent right now.

Jamie’s with three kids, all three kids by herself at the Memphis zoo and going to get an Airbnb tonight and have all the kids there and gonna take them to a Safari tomorrow morning, like Jamie said, great. Great parent. And so I don’t ever have [00:18:00] to worry 

Heidi: about 

Dr. Alissa : the kids being safe or that they’re not going to be taken care of, or that I’m allowed to enough for not going to be parented in the right way.

Like Jamie is an excellent parent. So I, I am, that is a benefit that I have knowing that like my kid is going to be really happy and healthy and have both parents equally involved. And so I think, you know, That’s not always the case. And I know that that can be hard when the other parent isn’t necessarily the healthiest person.

And so, but regardless, like, you know, being able to know that, like 

Heidi: it gets better, 

Dr. Alissa : it isn’t always devastating. And I think finding other things to put yourself into is important too. You can’t just sit at home and sob and be sad all the time and just feel guilty. You know, you have to try to find other things to put your time and energy and life into.

I wish, I think it’s a healthy thing. Anyway. I think putting a hundred percent of your life into your kids, 

Heidi: that’s a lot of pressure on a 

Dr. Alissa : kid. And so I think it’s, I think it’s [00:19:00] important that parents have their own 

Heidi: lives. Yeah, I think so. Do Alissa, will you kind of walk us through how your friends and family are doing with the news 

Dr. Alissa : boy?

Well, I mean, really all of my close friends have been amazing. And I’ve gathered new, amazing friends as well in this season. And I’m grateful for that too. My family has been kind of a mixed bag 

Heidi: as 

Dr. Alissa : far as support. They have. Um, some of them, some of them have been having to have not been able to support me in the ways that I needed to be supported.

And that’s been disappointing 

Heidi: before we move on to Nikki. I feel like I have like one other like big question for you specifically in that. You are doctor of counseling. And so I’m so curious, like when we were talking about triage and [00:20:00] all the different parts of it, I’m, I’m just so curious about how, when a counselor is going through a very traumatic event, like, what does work look like for you?

You know, like the next morning, I’m assuming like you’re at this birthday party and Jamie or James at the time is like, Hey, I’m trans. And then like the next morning you have to go to work and listen to other people’s problems. Plague. Did you take a timeout? 

Dr. Alissa : I didn’t. I just kept going to work. So I saw it and it can go different ways.

Um, and I’ve had this go different ways and at other points in my life, but. I thought this is, this might be too much. I might need to take some time off, but it turned out for me that having those, those blocks of time, these, you know, five hours or seven [00:21:00] hours or eight hours that I was counseling people in a day.

That I didn’t have to think about my world crashing down around me. I could focus on someone else I could give of myself to the, this person in front of me, and then I could go home and fall apart. So it was a gift to me during that time to be able to have other people to focus on it. Hasn’t always been true during other seasons of my life.

Sometimes it has been. Where I just couldn’t think about anything else, but for some reason in the season, it was helpful. 

Heidi: I was curious about your stepchildren because I’m always curious, regardless of the reason why, when someone enters into a marriage and they become a step parent, and then you are not married anymore, like, I’m just wondering what your relationship looks like with your step-children.

Dr. Alissa : That is an [00:22:00] evolving, moving piece. Yeah. You know, obviously things naturally change when you don’t live with the children that you were, that I was once parenting. There’s just a natural change that happens there in that, in that. But they’re also at the ages where like, they’d rather just sit in their rooms and play video games and not really hang out a ton together anyway.

So there’s some element of like what I’m not doing. Is telling them they really need to get to their homework or they really need to get in the shower, or they really needed to come down. You know, just the nagging stuff that parents have the fun to do, but what I am doing with them and I try to be consistent about it.

And sometimes I’m not, and go down a shame spiral, but I try to spend a little bit of time with them each time with at least one of them each time Jamie has them. So that. We can continue to have open communication and we can continue to have a relationship. And, you know, we’re figuring that out. [00:23:00] Yeah.

Heidi: Cause they’re Jamison’s brothers. Yeah. 

Dr. Alissa : Um, I love them. Absolutely. And wholly, and I want them to know that they can always come to me and always want to be a safe person for them and always care about them. And so. You know, my love for them didn’t change just because I, we don’t live together anymore. So it is complicated.

It isn’t easy. And it’s something that we’re still figuring out. 

Heidi: I really love and respect that about you though, because there are so like in my own life, you know, my stepdad bailed the second, he wasn’t married to my mom anymore. I’ve literally never spoken to him again. So I really respect and love what you just said.

And may that be an inspiration to. Other parents that are, you know, navigating that may have been step parents and are now navigating through divorce. Well, Dr. Alissa, thanks for catching us up. I cannot wait to hear about your dating [00:24:00] season two.

It’s going to be, it’s going to be killer. It’s going to be. It’s 

Dr. Alissa : going to get mad. I don’t know if, I mean, I don’t know if I set it up that way. 

Heidi: I don’t know. 

Nikki: I need more time to fulfill those shoes. 

Heidi: All right, Nikki, Nick, Nick, it’s your turn 

Nikki: hot seat. 

Heidi: I’m also excited for your dating escapades in season two.

I will say that 

Nikki: escapades 

Heidi: hardly. Well, where we left off with Jeff is that he had kind of gotten us all the way through your divorce. How long has it been since Delana shared with you that she is trans four years. It’s been four years now. How long have you been divorced? Cause I know you stayed away.

It’s 

Nikki: been about a year and a half since we’ve been divorced. 

Heidi: Okay. Now tell me about your like personal life [00:25:00] and your career. I feel like we didn’t hear a lot about that. Like, so what’s a typical day for you right now. 

Nikki: Typical day is I am a medical assistant at an integrative family practice, and I am a nurse for the doctor there and all day long.

I see patients with him for autism developmental and behavioral issues and chronic disease, Lyme disease, autoimmune disease patients. That’s what I do all day long. 

Heidi: Now, how old are your children? 

Nikki: I have one son who’s 18 and one son. Who’s 14. 

Heidi: Okay. How are they doing? Okay. 

Nikki: My 18 year old graduated high school, sort of in the middle of a pandemic where you can’t be around a lot of people.

So he had a pseudo graduation and we had [00:26:00] a. Family ish get together. So me, the boys, 

Heidi: my ex, 

Nikki: and her new wife and two family friends that we’ve known for a long time, all got together at Donna’s house. And, um, we did the best that we could. 

Heidi: What was that like for you? But yeah, 

Nikki: but what was, um, It was okay. So that morning I woke up at 5:00 AM, as I usually do every morning, regardless of the day.

And I sat outside and I meditated and I cried 

Heidi: 

Nikki: lot by myself in the backyard. And then I got my shit together and I picked up a cake and I brought decorations and balloons and a helium tank to their father’s house. And. We decorated their house. And then I went and got boys and we came back and did the best that we could.

And I was [00:27:00] anxious all day and had a hard time breathing and my heart palpitating and we took family photos. And that is the first time I’ve ever shared our current family photos on social media. Cause I haven’t ever announced our divorce or why. I mean, I just it’s, you know, if you know, we’re friends and if, you know, then, you know, and if you want to know, you can ask, I don’t just volunteer a lot of that information online.

So 

Heidi: yeah, there was a lot there and I’m going to like, make you peel back layer by layer of like what you just said. The first thing I’m really curious about is like, Do you like her wife? Like how do you this new woman 

Nikki: she’s kind, she’s fine. She’s very nice. She’s nice to the boys. She let my oldest use one of her cars when he first started driving until he could get his own car.

And [00:28:00] then, um, she sometimes will just hand them money for the week, you know, like she’s very kind to them and I don’t have issues at all with 

Heidi: her. She’s 

Nikki: we’re not Facebook friends or not. We don’t text each other. We’re not, we’re not, I mean, there’s no bad feelings, but we’re not like best friends or anything like that.

We don’t. 

Heidi: Yeah, I 

Nikki: don’t have to co-parent 

Heidi: with her. So I feel it, we need to have them on the show because I have a thousand questions I need to know, like, is she a lesbian? I feel like I have all these like very inappropriate questions and like, how did they meet? And like, is she trans? I 

Nikki: don’t even know 

Heidi: any of them.

You know? So anyway, all these things, that’s none of my business, basically. 

Nikki: Yeah. I don’t ask. I don’t even want to know it’s none of my 

Heidi: business, but like, I can’t help, but have. And here’s where the healthy curiosity comes from Nikki, right. Is because you are ahead of Alissa and I, and this right. And so like, I’m projecting, like you’re talking, but I’m projecting how I [00:29:00] may feel if I had to be in your shoes, on my child’s 18th birthday at graduation and go to us.

But this is a re this is a reality for Alissa and I, right? Yeah. This is a big, big thing. 

Nikki: Yeah. I will say that I had a really hard week and I think I even texted Alissa and was really upset because this is not how our family should have looked. This is not how graduation was supposed to go. And I’m sad for them.

Heidi: Yeah. 

Nikki: Not so much me. I’m I can take whatever, throw a bullet at me. I don’t even care. I’ll be fine. But then this was not, this was not our vision, 

Heidi: but they persevered. 

Nikki: They do. They’re awesome. 

Heidi: Do they? Our friends know that their father is a trainer woman, 

Nikki: each one of their best friends now. And my oldest son only told his [00:30:00] best friend this year.

They’re very, very kind and protective of that information. So I’m glad that they finally trusted someone else enough to tell them other than, you know, family members and close adult family members and things like that. 

Heidi: Yeah. So that day was really hard for you. And you’ve had a million other hard days, 

Nikki: but like what 

Heidi: you called Alissa, but what else is your lifeline?

Like? What else do you do? You said you sat outside and meditated. You called Alissa. What else? All 

Nikki: my closest circle, who I would never have made a lot of through a lot of things when I need them. And they’re always there and they always listen despite their own drama and crap that they’ve got going on.

I walk, I walk and I walk and I, um, like get anxious when I don’t walk now because it grounds me and it gets me. It lets me work it [00:31:00] all out in my head and I can turn on music. There’s always music in my earbuds and I just go and I sweat and I get home and I’m much calmer than before 

Heidi: I left. One of the other things that you mentioned was about social media and this photograph.

So. Hopefully you’ll give us permission to put it on our Instagram, but I want to let you know that I we’re friends on Facebook. We’re deeper friends than just Facebook friends at this point, but I was scrolling through and I’ll be honest at the first glance, I would have never known that. That was your, it just looked like a group of women as I was scrolling through.

It didn’t even, it didn’t even catch my attention that there was a trans woman in the photograph or that this was. Delana. Meaning 

Nikki: for me, you were somebody who knew us from day one, you would have caught it. 

Heidi: Yeah, right? Yeah. Yeah. 

Nikki: For sure. Because I got several messages catching it. 

[00:32:00] Heidi: Yeah. So I, thankfully I went, I took my time to, like, I was going to comment on like a congratulations and then.

It was like that second layer of like, Oh, Oh. And then I like re then I like zoomed in. I’m like pinching on my phone fingers like now. And then I’m like, Oh, I need to know more like, are those breasts like, what’s going on? I mean, I don’t really like checked her out hardcore, but I’m really proud of you for four years later, you know?

It makes it’s an innocuous acknowledgement, I should say. 

Nikki: Yeah, it is. 

Heidi: And, uh, 

Nikki: not being afraid of being shamed. 

Heidi: Finally, not being afraid. 

Nikki: Finally, not yet being afraid to just put my shit out there and, you know, owning it. 

Heidi: How did it 

Nikki: feel? It was still scary. Still [00:33:00] emotional, you know, thankfully I got a lot of positive comments and a lot of positive private messages after, and it’s fine.

No one has there’s. Nothing has happened since. 

Heidi: Okay. I’m going to ask you the same question. I asked Alissa, that kind of goes along with that. How’s your family doing? My 

Nikki: extended family. 

Heidi: What don’t you have? Like, was it your sister or the first one? Yeah. Yeah, 

Nikki: no, my cousin was the first one to know they’re fine.

You know, they’re my, my support 

Heidi: team. So your family has been affirming yes. And supportive 

Nikki: and friendly to her. When there’s interaction, but they don’t outreach to her. It’s all me. They’re my family kind of like, that’s just, maybe that’s a Filipino thing. I don’t know. But they’re like, Oh no, this is the, you know, if we’re going to fall on a side, we’re taking, we’re going with her because she’s ours.

They very much surround me and protect [00:34:00] me. 

Heidi: So. Now, what is your childcare? Like? I’m Alissa walked us down this like, you know, weirdo judge that was like, Hey, you have to pay your ex child support. What did your divorce look like with separation? And did the children go back and forth? Just kind of share with us what current day or what it’s been like since you divorced.

Nikki: So we, we did our own divorce without a lawyer. You can do that. You can just go pick up the paperwork at the courthouse in Franklin, Tennessee in Williamson County and fill it all out and you pay $350 and you get a court date in three months. And as long as everything is 50 50, like we just agreed to 50 50.

We don’t own, we didn’t own anything. We didn’t own a house. Everything is paid for. So we didn’t have a house to split. He had a business. He, I let him have it divided debt. And at the time she didn’t have anywhere to live. So I, you know, most of the stuff came with me and I said, [00:35:00] whatever you need, when you do find a place, you can take it.

The kids where we decided 50, 50 split on childcare. And then knowing that she didn’t have a place of her own that obviously 50, 50 wasn’t 

Heidi: true. 

Nikki: They were with me a hundred percent, but going into court, that’s what we gave to the judge. She does pay child support to me. And there’s a calculator and she increased the amount to help with where we live because we live in an expensive County, but they didn’t, we don’t want to move the kids out of their schools when it was granted.

And 

Heidi: yeah, so they stay with you a hundred percent of the time. They don’t spend the night over there, 

Nikki: maybe once in a great while. 

Heidi: Do you have insight into that? Is that just they’re older and they. 

Nikki: In Tennessee at the age of 12, I think they can have a say on where they go. They can say, no, I don’t want to go there this week.

And you know, you can fight with them about it and drag them there, [00:36:00] kicking and screaming, but we weren’t, we didn’t want any more drama for the kids. So we just kind of, they wanted to be with me. They had a hard time in the beginning with dad. Lucas. My youngest did go over, you know, pretty frequently once a month, maybe spend the night, 

Heidi: but he doesn’t do that anymore.

And they haven’t 

Nikki: not since February one. And then we’ve had this whole, you know, thing. So we can’t, they don’t, you know, we’re all quarantining together, so 

Heidi: they don’t go over there. Well, now, like the, this is going to be the opposite question. Then I asked Alissa. Is that it’s very, very, very difficult to be a full-time parent, a hundred percent of the time singly without the back and forth and without the help and without the breaks.

So what do you do for yourself to take care of you? 

Nikki: Thankfully, we I’ve got some [00:37:00] family, friends who we were neighbors for many years and they love my youngest son. So they would take him on the weekends and. Our two boys, they stay the night over there almost that it was like they had custody of him on the weekends.

He would just go over there and leave him on Friday and pick him up on Sunday. They do still treat him like there he’s their child. So there’s, that was always helpful. Self care for me, friends, my friends, a lot of tequila and walking and my dogs. And 

Heidi: do they sleep 

Nikki: in your bed with you? My dogs. 

Heidi: Yeah, absolutely.

Okay. 

Nikki: Yeah. Jackie, I have a calking bed. They get like three quarters and I get a quarter.

Heidi: I just needed to make sure you weren’t one of those like weird people that like made their dog, like sleep in a cage downstairs, you know, away from you that like that you let them snuggle you and. 

Nikki: Yeah, [00:38:00] no, they sleep with me.

And what else do I do at one time I had this and I still kind of do, but once the pandemic happened, I stopped working there. I had a part-time job on the weekends at a indoor plant store and it was like the most relaxing place. No one was going to like, no one was sick, no one needed like. Blood draws and medicine and coming in like half dead, no one was, everything were like, mean, it was like the Xanax party in there.

Everyone was just 

Heidi: chill. 

Nikki: So I wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t gonna kill a plant and it was fine. 

Heidi: It wasn’t marijuana. Greeno. 

Nikki: No. It’s like an indoor house plant tropical plant store. Yeah. So that was actually nice to have that. And I think I wanted to keep my time busy because if there’s a lull in time, I have too much time to overthink many, many things and I get more anxiety and 

[00:39:00] Heidi: freak out.

Nikki: Get upset. Yeah. So I just kept myself busy. 

Heidi: Are you dating? 

Nikki: Yes, I date I have dated. 

Heidi: Are you like Alissa where it’s like one and one at a time, one and done, or do you a lot of 

Nikki: time, one time, one time I did do a marathon weekend dating thing where I went out with a dude on Friday, and then I went out on a dude date with a dude on Saturday and then on Sunday, all three different dudes and nothing happened.

We just went out for drinks and I was like, okay. Yeah, never doing that again. That’s exhausting. And then you forget their name. You have to remember all their names 

Dr. Alissa : and their stories 

Nikki: and their stories. Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t know. I did that one weekend. Many months ago. 

Heidi: Denver, you want to get married? 

Nikki: We just had this conversation this afternoon.

I don’t feel I need to get married again. I want to be with somebody who, okay. So I’m in this part of [00:40:00] my life where my kids are growing up and I’ve got a little more freedom. And so I want to have an adventure. I want to travel. I want to be with someone who wants to laugh with me and be happy with me and have a drink with me.

And we’re we tell each other great stories and. Just live the sweeter part of life because the drama has been going on. Like the trauma has gone on long enough. I just want to be in a lighter place. You know what I mean? Yeah. 

Heidi: I do know what you mean. So on that note, if you could like close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths and you were to put yourself 365 days from today.

Where, what do you see in your life a year from now? I want 

Nikki: to go on a bunch of trips 

Heidi: to random 

Nikki: places. I want to be secure financially. I want to have a secure [00:41:00] job. I want my kids to be okay and happy and know how to take care of themselves. You know, when they go out into the world, like, I want to know that I’ve taught them how to be an adult and adult their life away.

Like I hadn’t. And I just want to not feel so heavy all the time. 

Heidi: Are you still going to counseling? 

Nikki: Actually, I just started counseling again in when did I start? 

Heidi: Oh, is her name Dr. Alissa? 

Nikki: No, that don’t count.

Dr. Alissa : asking me. Women’s when she started. It 

Nikki: was probably, it 

Dr. Alissa : was probably five weeks ago. Maybe 

Nikki: for 

Heidi: your, you guys are really narrowing it. Alissa’s guy. 

Nikki: I can’t give a month in it. Yeah. Okay. So like four or five weeks ago, and I’m preparing to start EMDR 

Dr. Alissa : eye movement, [00:42:00] desensitization dissertation. Other than I messed it up, I movement desensitization reprocessing.

Heidi: I also do EMDR. Let’s go back. In time now to the divorce, like what did that divorce look like? You said you were signing the papers and you didn’t have a lawyer. 

Nikki: We signed all the papers. We didn’t have a lawyer. They called us up to the front. I think the judge did a little double-take on the two of us.

And just, you know, asked if the number for child support was right and he he’ll get, he said, I’d grant, I’ll grant it and you can give her more money. But my overall takeaway from that was, you know, you spend how much of your life looking for the person you’re going to marry. 

Heidi: And 

Nikki: then you spend all these months and planning and money to marry that person.

And it was done in five minutes, 23 years together. Five years together and then 18 married. And it was done in five minutes. Just like that five minutes done. [00:43:00] Granted, sign your papers over here. You’re done. Next couple of done. It was, you know, I wasn’t sad until I started driving the car, which always happens.

I’ll cry. When I drive all the time 

Heidi: and drove away into your new life. 

Nikki: I did drove into the sun, went back back to work. 

Heidi: I am not divorced. And both of you guys are when you both drove away and, and literally, like, what I mean is like, that is a significant milestone of moving forward. Like, did you feel the weight of now, like the next part of your life was beginning?

By getting divorced. I don’t, I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say is like, but basically what I’m asking is, do you think that I’ll feel better if I get divorced 

Nikki: right away?

Dr. Alissa : Yeah, no, take some time. 

Nikki: That’s still the 

Dr. Alissa : brain. That’s still the breaking part. 

Heidi: Yeah. 

[00:44:00] Nikki: That’s just, you know, I think ours dragged on so long and yours is kind of to Heidi.

For me, it was like, okay. Yes, I can now move on. I have now got the freedom to move on with the rest of my life and I’m not being hung on to anymore, but was it still sad? Yeah, it was still sad. Didn’t instantly make it happy day. Happy day. I’m divorced. No, no, it was not that it was, it’s done in five minutes.

That’s all that kept running through my head. Five minutes, 23 years of my life done in, I 

Heidi: wiped away and two genders. Done in five minutes, right? Okay. This is a question for both of you guys when you’re like, if someone were to say like,  about your life and ask you a question, like, do you say this is my ex.

The husband, or do you say this is my ex wife? Or do you say like, this is my ex 

Dr. Alissa : partner, right? Say ex-husband I 

Nikki: say ex or I say, ex [00:45:00] wife depends on who I’m with you guys. I call like, and people at work who know my whole story, I call them, I call her the ex-wife or I call them both the ex wives. My kids, I call them, call her dad because that’s what they call 

Dr. Alissa : her.

Yeah. I mean, mostly I say, Jamie, they’re mostly like, it’s not like I’m just going around being like, I act my act, my 

Heidi: act, but 

Nikki: if I’m talking to someone who doesn’t know me and all that, and then it’s the 

Dr. Alissa : ex my

Nikki: ex 

Dr. Alissa : yeah,

Nikki: I do say ex husband. I mean, I mess up all the time. I go back and forth between the old name and the new name and the him and the, her and the.

The ex-wife and the ex-husband. I do it all the time. It’s very difficult because I, I know the person that I know. 

Heidi: Yeah. For 23, what is your health score that you would give yourself on a scale of one to 10? I’m just changing my language. Cause [00:46:00] Alissa is more mature than me. 

Nikki: Like Alissa. There are good days and bad days.

There are days where I’m super anxious and doubting everything. And I tend to like, not believe anything good. Like, uh, yeah, we’ll see about that. Like, you know, this good things happen. Yeah. Yeah. Whatever. We’ll see. But if I were to gauge my life at this moment, it’s not so fucking bad. I am happy. I am independent.

I love my job. I love my friends. I love my kids. I love my dog. I love the little house that I rent. And it’s all a lot more okay than it’s ever 

Dr. Alissa : been.

Heidi: I mean, 

Nikki: short of me being 21, again in the middle of San Francisco drinking and doing things that I shouldn’t, which was pretty bad, so amazing. That was a 10, but I don’t remember a lot of it compared to now health [00:47:00] wise.

I’m not having to do all those things and I still am pretty happy. 

Heidi: Yeah. If you could go back to that day at the concert where you saw him on stage and somehow you were to get a flash of what your whole life would look like, would you have chosen him again? That’s 

Nikki: hard because of the kids. Would I have chosen my kids again?

Yes. Would I have chosen this life and the way it’s gone for them? No. Could I have spared myself all of this. Yes. But clearly there’s a reason that I had to go through all this. So it is what it is. 

Heidi: You’re doing a great job. 

Nikki: I’m still standing. I’m 

Heidi: still standing. I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. I’m just so proud of you guys and telling your stories.

I think he, was there anything else that you wanted to share? 

[00:48:00] Nikki: Nah, I’m 

Heidi: good. 

Nikki: Heidi, tell us where you’re at, right this minute with everything. 

Heidi: Oh, well, after hearing your two stories, I feel like I’m in the, like a very different place. I would say that my health score is closer to like a two out of a 10. I do have like happy days.

Harder and harder during COVID and this like isolation. Cause I had had this like really good rhythm of the things that were helping me, like going to cycle bar and going to hot yoga and lots of dates with my girlfriends. And just when all of that sort of was stripped away from me, I took a pretty strong nose dive down the Hill and then I had to spend, no, I didn’t have to.

I mean I chose, but then I spent a month in Montana. And then just learned Kaylee’s name. So like, there’s just [00:49:00] been like, maybe I felt like I was cruising on like, Oh, I’m doing okay. And then it just was like, boom. So I feel like I’m still in the, like really thick, let’s see, it’s been about 18 months. And so I still feel like I’m in the really big thick of like these ups and downs.

Like I’m still cycling through all of the different stages of grief. Probably not denial anymore. I mean, I can probably like take that one away, but I mean, I there’s like glimmers of acceptance that come in and moving on, but yeah, I would say I’m probably not doing that great. Which is really, you know, it’s, it’s hard for me to even hear myself say that it’s also, it’s hard for me.

Here’s like another thing to even like, I’m looking at the screen on zoom. It’s hard for me to even. Look at myself and see myself in the mirror. Like sometimes I think I should just sit in the mirror all [00:50:00] day and like force myself to look at myself because I mean, I just have a, really, the depression is so thick.

Like, I mean, this is like too much information, but like, I haven’t even like brushed my teeth today. Like, I just got up at five o’clock in the morning and then I had like, you know, single mom shit all fucking day. And then I’m still, you know, we’re recording it almost 10 o’clock at night, I’m in a wet bathing suit.

I haven’t waxed my eyebrows or had Botox 

Nikki: or lip filler 

Heidi: or makeup or anything like that. And like six months and I gained 25 pounds since November. And so I’m so. I just, I feel like I’m the worst version of myself than I have ever been. And I don’t, and I, you know, clearly I’m in therapy and all these things, but like, it’s, I feel very, very stuck at the bottom of the mountain.

And I feel like, I just feel like I need someone or [00:51:00] something to like throw me a fucking rope so that I have like, Oh, that’s the way out you grab the rope. And I just don’t know what the rope is. So what 

Dr. Alissa : do you think is holding you down? 

Heidi: Well, I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is weight, but then I’m like, I guess that’s like a symptom of a deeper, you know, of a deeper issue.

I’m so, so, so sad. I mean, my heart is, my heart is just so fucking broke and like, I mean, and I’ve probably said this on seven episodes, you know, but like, hi, in many ways I’m still so in love, but I’m so in love with a fucking ghost, you know, like the, my reality is this a woman named Kaylee and she’s gone.

But like, I, you know, I dated for so many [00:52:00] years. I mean, they didn’t even get married until I was 36. And then I was like late to have. Two children. And I just, I feel hopeless and started. 

Nikki: Yeah. 

Heidi: And I, and I also feel hopeless. Like I already went on 545 days and slept with blah, blah, blah. Number of people, you know, like, 

Dr. Alissa : and then, Oh man.

Heidi: And then I found him. Yeah. And it was everything I ever thought. Yeah. It’s what I thought this life was supposed to be about. And so that’s what holds me down is I think I will never be able to find another him. So 

Dr. Alissa : listen, listen. 

Heidi: Yeah, 

Dr. Alissa : there is not only one J for you in the world. That is not the only person that you can [00:53:00] fall deeply in love with.

Heidi: There are other people 

Dr. Alissa : that you can, and I think you’re right. And I already knew the answer before I asked it to be honest. Is that, of course you’re still in love with Jay. Of course you are. And that’s what holds you down because you still love him even though he’s not here anymore. 

Heidi: Yeah. 

Dr. Alissa : And that’s okay.

That’s okay. 

Heidi: How long does it take to fall out of love with somewhat. 

Dr. Alissa : However long it takes, you know, but I think there is a letting go 

Nikki: when you’re going to fall deeply in love with Heidi. We’ll 

Heidi: see. That’s the thing I was already. So I like, I was so in love with myself, like when I met Jay and all the way through our marriage, I mean, I was a pretty kick-ass person.

I had worked really hard. I had for so many years on being the best version of [00:54:00] myself, all aspects like traveled the world, played soccer internationally, volunteered in orphanages, found my relationship with bye. Spirituality. And my God like became a mom, fell in love, was financially stable achieved. My master’s degree, you know, wrote this book, started businesses like wrote poetry.

Like I could go on and on about all of the things that I really, really loved and admired about myself and that I worked really hard to listen. To like who I was and who I am. And like, and then just ran after those dreams with like huge vigor. And right now it’s like, I’ll never get to be her again. And I loved her and I don’t know who I’m now meant to [00:55:00] be.

Does that make sense? 

Dr. Alissa : Yeah.

Heidi: I’m reading back. I can’t go back, but I’m now having to like reinvent who I am and what I stand for 

Nikki: and what it

Heidi: actually means to be affirming rather than just like my, you know, Facebook, rainbow thing that you can put on everyone’s or whatever. But I’m learning more right now about who I don’t want to be.

I don’t want to be this overweight. I don’t want to be this anxious and depressed. I don’t want to be this mean of a mother. Who’s always tired and yelling. I don’t want to be alone, but I’m also not fully ready to say goodbye. So cock the deers, 

Nikki: if anything, we’re all learning how to evolve through this.

And there are [00:56:00] fallbacks and forwards and backwards and sideways, and none of it’s perfect. All of it’s ugly. 

Dr. Alissa : It’s beautiful. He sat down for the first time, Nikki, you and I, neither one of us were in a great 

Heidi: place 

Dr. Alissa : that was very soon after for me, but it was awhile after for you. You were still not in a great place.

And so I think like just taking that into consideration, like. It isn’t a certain timetable, you know, but the good, the good thing is you get to choose what parts you take forward and which parts you leave behind, what things don’t work for you anymore. And what, you know, what you want to move forward with.

Like, those are things that you get to choose, but you can’t choose him because he isn’t there anymore. And I think that’s what you keep trying to do is to choose him in some way. Yeah, 

Heidi: no, you are a have to, I [00:57:00] have to let go. And so Lee and I have talked about having some kind of ritual or process and uncoupling ceremony, something where we write new vows.

So if I had to sum up to our audience, like besides my debilitating sadness, Like where, what does my life look like? Or where am I now? Like Alissa, much like you, I and Nikki, really too. I dove into my work. Like something I’m really proud of is I had thought about writing a book and right before we, you know, learned this whole thing, Jay had handed me a laptop with a sticky note on it that said, write your book.

And so. One like October 21st, 2018, I find out that this is going to be my new life. And I immediately, after we got through triage, I went into like [00:58:00] action mode and I literally don’t know how, but like I have a podcast that is like in the top, like the peak position was 16, but it’s really in the top a hundred week after week for kids and family and for parenting.

And I dove head first and the work and I wrote a book and my book is launching. I mean, this is a secret podcast, so I’m not going to tell you, but my book is launching this month. And I wrote, so I wrote a 529 page book, which is crazy, but that was my coping mechanism was work. And I feel like I, I should probably be saying this out loud.

Is that part of the reason I feel like I’m crumbling is because. I was building something. I was building a company and now this month it launches and it’s more like evergreen. And so now I’m like, don’t know what I’m supposed to do in July. Yeah. For [00:59:00] 18 months I knew I had to wake up and I had to write and I had to podcasts and I had to do this and this and this.

And then like, now I’m just not sure, like. 

Nikki: Well, we’re going to podcast 

Heidi: right now. We’re doing this podcast. 

Nikki: So this is 

Heidi: podcast number two. Yeah. I mean, so I feel like that’s probably playing a little bit into my late demise right now is because I’m afraid to sit with my emotions because I ran away from them into work.

And now I really have to, 

Nikki: I told Alissa I do the same thing I get like on a, an emotion kick or a pissed off kick. And I’m like, fuck it. I’m just gonna fill my entire. Calendar hour to hour with all these things I can do so that I don’t have to deal with that shit 

Dr. Alissa : as a nine. I just just fall into a crumble in front of the TV.

Heidi: That’s what I do. What’s your Enneagram, the key eight 

Nikki: wing. And we just realized yesterday I’m an eight week nine, 

Heidi: so seven, eight, nine. I don’t know if that means anything. [01:00:00] Yeah, she’s a nine wing eight. I’m a seven winks six, but I, again, I don’t know what that means, so,

okay. I just know that I took the test one time. Okay. So anyway, I felt like it was just worth saying that like part of coping mechanism was diving into work and now I’m scared because. You know, I don’t know what to do, but Kayla and I are our friends. We see each other too much. There’s too much.

Co-parenting things we’re not divorced for a bazillions of reasons. We just came out to our family and friends like about a hundred people actually. So Kaylee is out to everyone except for work. And you know, that has been wonderful and difficult. My children are thriving. They’re clueless. I mean, they just don’t care at all about name, changes and pronouns, and at the ages of six and four.

[01:01:00] So if someone’s listening and you have young kids, like don’t worry about it. They don’t care. You’re the only one who cares. I’m the only one who cares. They didn’t care. They’re doing wonderful. I’m not smoking Marlboro lights anymore. So that was a, you know, the short-lived, you know, trauma and I’m not dating.

I’m not really thinking about, I mean, I tried hinge for like a week and then I think I like joked, I got matched with a Baptist pastor and then I kinda got like, told him my ex was trans and then I never heard from him again. So fucking 

Nikki: great. So weird, 

Heidi: great by hinge by dating that. Yeah. All that. 

Nikki: Heidi, where do you see yourself?

In 365 days from now? 

Heidi: I actually just went through this exercise with my therapist, which is why I asked you that question. And it’s a good question. Yeah, I’ve got a pretty clear vision too, because it’s, it makes me [01:02:00] really hopeful. But number one, I hope that I are, I see myself as being financially stable and independent from Kaylee because right now, Like when we split up, I was a stay at home mom and, you know, not that I don’t have like an MBA and all these businesses.

Okay. But for this little period of our breakup, it’s been very difficult for me to be financially dependent on my spouse. And so, because she’s an angel, she continues to give me, you know, basically all of her paycheck, so that. My lifestyle and my life stayed completely the same while she lived on less.

And so I, you know, hope that a year from now that the book and the podcast is monetized enough. And some of the other businesses that I do that I don’t have to do child support and alimony anymore. And ours was not like, it was like you guys in Tennessee, ours was like, [01:03:00] This is how much money I currently spend per month.

And she was like, okay, this is how much money I’ll give you per month then. So it was, you know, really big blessing, but I just want to give that back to her. And so I hope in a year I’m able to do that. And I also hope that I can buy a house again and not be in a rental. I do not see myself in a relationship, but I hope that maybe I could go on a couple of dates and just.

Open myself up to like owning my story over the next year. I hope that Kaylee comes out at work and that we are fully out of the closet because I just can’t handle being in the closet. I hope I lose 40 pounds and I hope then I tell my doctor, then I never have to have Xanax again. 

Dr. Alissa : Hmm. Yeah, that’s a good, that’s a good one.

Heidi: Cheers. Can we, can we do a check-in. We should do like a check-in in a year and see how we’re doing. Yeah. Good [01:04:00] idea. I would like to hear all about Nikki’s travels a year from now. 

Nikki: Me too. 

Heidi: Yeah. Well, everybody that’s a wrap on season one. We’re so thankful that each of you found our podcast and listen to our stories and you know, we’re here because the three of us found each other by some crazy miracle.

But each of us was alone for a long period of time, middle period of time, and then a short period of time. And so we, this was therapy for us. We also hope that it really helps those of you listening too. Yeah. Nikki and Alissa, do you want to say anything to our audience? That’s gone through seven episodes with us.

Dr. Alissa : Thanks for hanging in with us. Yeah, I appreciate that. You’ve stuck with us and, and hopefully heard our vulnerability, [01:05:00] our honesty. This isn’t easy for us to share some of these parts of our story, but. We certainly hope that it makes an impact maybe for somebody who’s going through something similar or totally different, but just something that’s hard, you know, pain is a universal experience.

And I think that you can hear that in parts of our stories, as unique as they are, you know, whether that uniqueness is shared with you or not. I hope that we can connect on, on that, on having experienced pain and having empathy 

Nikki: me. Listen, no matter how bad it is, you gotta laugh at the end of the day. And that was a big part of this podcast was.

Keep your sense of humor, because otherwise it gets real heavy. And every once in a while you got to come up and you’ve got to have a drink and you got to laugh with your girlfriends and say really ridiculous things. 

Dr. Alissa : Sometimes fall down, completely 

Nikki: immature and fall down on your knees in the middle of a parking [01:06:00] lot in public, like I do sober and 

Dr. Alissa : that’s

Heidi: okay.

Nikki: And you know what? You chalk that up to the best parts of life. [01:07:00]

Season 1: Episode 6 – Parenting with Christina Lafferty Neal

[00:00:00] Dr.  Alissa: Welcome to thanks. It’s the trauma. I’m Dr. Alissa, and this is a podcast with my friends, Mickey and Heidi. We’re connected by a unique and unusual experience. And we talk about it and other traumas with honesty, booze, and cuss 

Christina Lafferty Neal: words.

Dr.  Alissa: He’s in one episode six parenting. 

Heidi: Welcome everybody. We have a really exciting episode today talking about parenting because we have someone to interview us again.

And her name is Christina Lafferty Neal, and she is a licensed therapist. Christina is the person that we were hoping that we would have our hands on. When we found out that our spouses are we’re transgender and we had all of these questions. Each one of us had a difficult time in different ways, finding resources and finding the right people to talk to.

And so, for anyone out there, that’s listening to this podcast that isn’t just being entertained by [00:01:00] Heidi, Nicki, and Dr. Alissa. And that maybe you find yourself in a similar situation. We’re going to talk about parenting today. We’re going to ask Christina a whole bunch of questions. And then the second half of the episode, he Alissa and I are just going to rip into the trials and errors that parenting with an ex-spouse, who is a transgender woman.

So welcome, Christina. Thank you for joining us. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Thanks for having me, 

Heidi: Christina, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Yeah, I’m a licensed mental health therapist in Nashville, Tennessee. Um, so I work in private practice. I work with teenagers and families and individuals working through anxiety, big life transitions and working with LGBTQ individuals.

Heidi: We’re so thankful for you. And I know the audience is thankful for you today too. So, we hope to get a lot out of you. No pressure, 

Christina Lafferty Neal: no big deal. 

Heidi: All right, Alissa, you want to kick off the questions? 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah, sure. I like how you’re trying to lay hands on her and [00:02:00] get things out of her. You know, 

Heidi: it’s been a long time.

Dr. Alissa: Sorry about that, Christina. 

Heidi: It’s been too long. I just want to touch everybody these days.

Christina Lafferty Neal: Yeah. Okay. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah. So, we came up with a few questions. Each of us did that we thought were pertinent to being in the position that we are in and have been in. And so, the first question that I thought about, and this is something that I thought early in this process is how do I tell my kid. That their parent is transgender.

So, I’d love to hear your thoughts 

on 

Christina Lafferty Neal: that. Things come to mind for me with that. And the first, I guess what my initial responses is really just a question of what are some of the biggest worries that come up for parents in wanting to talk to their child about this. So. You know, and just wondering what’s the hardest part or the worst part of all of this for parents and what are [00:03:00] some of the fears that come up in wanting to talk to their child?

And so if any of you wanted to speak into that, that’s kind of like my first question of like, what are some of the fears that come up and talking to, to your kiddos? 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah, I think, you know, the fear is one that he’s not really going to understand, or they’re not going to understand what it means. Not being able to articulate it in a way that.

Makes sense to them or that they’re not going to know how to even articulate it to their friends or to other people that they’re not going to know how to talk about it. So just those kinds of things I would say are some of my concerns. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Yeah. And that would be just like the first thing that I would lead with is.

Acknowledging your fears and kind of the responses that come up from your stress ahead of time in planning for what this conversation could look like. Because I think with kids, when you’re having these hard conversations about a big life change and trying to [00:04:00] navigate how to help them planning for how to deal with something hard, that’s the first acknowledge your own fears and what that’s drawing up inside of you.

And so planning ahead of time and knowing that a child might not respond very well. The first time that you bring this up, they might have a lot of questions. Some of those questions might be hurtful. They might lash out and just priming your nervous system. For that, knowing that this won’t really be about me and this is their stuff, and I can be with that as it comes up for them.

Allowing for questions to come up for them, if you’re not sure what the answers are yet for yourself, either because this is likely new for you. Knowing it’s okay to answer these questions and perfectly, and really just practicing being present with them and a calm, nervous system to help them co-regulate as they’re hearing this news.

So it’s perfectly okay to just not know the answers yet as well. So you’re not sure what, what to say to any of the questions as they [00:05:00] come up with. It’s okay to say, well, I’m not sure about that yet. Can we talk, can I come back to this tomorrow? I 

Dr. Alissa: think there’s a lot of freedom in that being able to. Say, I don’t know.

And I think like a lot of the time we think we should have all the answers for our kids. And so just having that permission to be able to say, I don’t know everything about this and a lot of this we’re going to figure out together. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Yeah. And I think it’s good too, to have a plan ahead of time in talking to your spouse or your partner and just deciding what feels most appropriate for them to know ahead of time.

What feels comfortable for yourself or your partner? What, what they want the kids to know? Um, and just with this realization too, that there’s probably going to be this urgency to want them to feel calm and to feel safe, of course, and to have all the answers, but as a person comes out as transgender everybody’s process is going to be different and how they choose to transition or not transition.

Um, how [00:06:00] they express their gender identity, what that looks like for them. And so that is a longer process for a lot of people. So it’s okay. Again, it’s okay to not know everything yet, but just to really make sure you are supported and have what you need, um, as you regulate your own nervous system and create a supportive, calm presence for your kid.

As you’re, you’re talking about something really hard. Just going to happen pretty suddenly. 

Heidi: Christina, thank you for that. I want to dig in a little bit deeper to that, but first I think it would be really important for the audience that we reframe the ages of our children when we found out. Um, so if anybody’s just chiming in to this episode, I found out that my spouse was a transgender woman when my children were three and four years old.

And then Nikki, how old you or your sons? Um, 

Christina Lafferty Neal: 14

Nikki: and 10. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Yeah.

Dr. Alissa: Yeah. And then my son was two and [00:07:00] my step sons were nine and 10, I guess. Yeah. 

Heidi: The reason I think it’s important to mention as kind of, as we dig in a little bit deeper in this episode. And, and later when you hear a different paths, it’s because.

There are some age restrictions with what you can say at certain ages that’s appropriate for a teenager versus like a two year old and, and things like that, Christina. So my own curiosity, I’m not good at the self-regulation thing. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: And so could you 

Heidi: speak a little bit about some like practical tips or advice for calming your own nervous system in preparation for these types of conversations?

Christina Lafferty Neal: Yeah, for sure. So making sure you have everything you liked using need to support yourself ahead of time is huge finding your community, having your own therapist, having your own friends that you can vent to and talk to and be anything that you need to be in front of them [00:08:00] is huge. So that, that doesn’t get placed on the kid to kind of hold some of that with you.

You know, for, for y’all and for anybody who has a spouse, who’s coming out to them as transgender. That’s gonna kind of flip things upside down and create a lot of change suddenly for you. And of course your body’s going to respond and have some automatic responses to that stress. And what happens with our autonomic nervous system is that.

Our body responds first, uh, picks up on it to our sense of safety or connectedness, um, in some way. And what happens is the body responds, it shifts into a state of survival mode, so that can either be the sympathetic part of our nervous system, which is the fight or flight or this anxious arousal part of our nervous system.

We get that flood of stress hormones going into our body, our muscles tense up. We get warm. And the body gets prime to run from this impossible feeling or to fight it off and try to get, [00:09:00] try to get it away. And if the body is under a prolonged amount of stress or it has this disconnection from safety or connection, And if the body doesn’t know it has what it needs to be.

Okay. And get back to a sense of connection again, uh, the nervous system will brilliantly do, let’s go further into survival mode of shut down or freeze or collapse. And so there’s a wide range of experiences that can happen within both of those nervous systems. But regardless if you’ve gone into to survival motive, You know, any kind there isn’t a verbal language to kind of calm those experiences down and say, Hey, it’s going to be okay.

Or, you know, the kids will be all right. They’ll have what they need. The body needs to feel safe first. So it’s more of a felt sense of getting yourself back to a sense of safety and connectedness. Having friends who, who can be there for you. And, you know, you can depend on them having some sort of practice for yourself and making sure that I’m getting some sort of movement and I’m getting some amount of [00:10:00] sleep.

I have my own therapist to have that I can rely on to build my own toolkits with. And so just making sure. Your needs are getting met first. And then as you’re filling your own pep, you know, you can be present for your kids and they still might send you into those stress responses. It’s likely that that will still bring up a lot of stuff for you.

But my hope is that in preparing ahead of time, uh, you can be more present with them instead of working on being perfect. 

Dr. Alissa: I think that’s great. I think that is super helpful in this situation, but also in a lot of, a lot of different kinds of situations where we feel activated. And I’m just trying to have hard conversations in general and being able to do that from, from a regulated place, like you said.

Yeah. That’s super helpful. Yeah. Another question that I have is that, you know, I don’t know if there’s any research out there on this, my guess is probably not a [00:11:00] time. Um, do you know, or, or, you know, in your experiences in working with trans people and family members of trans people, if there are any kind of long-term impacts for a child of a transgender parent, 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Isn’t a lot of information on that, or like studies or research on that.

Um, which is why I think y’all have even started this podcast is because there’s not a lot of support for, you know, all the ways that a family can be impacted by such a big change. 

Dr. Alissa: And 

Christina Lafferty Neal: there might be of course, initial strain on family dynamics as you’re learning to navigate a new way of doing things.

But. There are some things that I’ve, you know, have read and also heard in sessions from people is that, you know, having a parent come out and transition and be fully expressed as who they are, can actually strengthen relationships over time because that parent is having the opportunity to live [00:12:00] according to their authentic, true self.

And so that kind of frees them up to be. You know, more present with their child to be more authentic and really lay a foundation for a happier and more connected relationship and modeling to that. Like it’s okay to talk about hard things. It’s okay to be who you are. And yeah, it has a possibility of course, to really strengthen family relationships and dynamics over time, knowing that hard things will come up, but we can do hard things.

Dr. Alissa: Oh man, I think that is so great. And such a, a perspective shift from. I mean, probably for each of us, from where we started in this journey of like, how much is this going to hurt my kid? You know, that’s really like the fear. Yeah, but I mean, for me personally, and I don’t know if you, either one of you, Heidi or NICU want to speak to this either.

You know, I will say, as Jamie has come into her true self, you know, she is more emotional and I would say like really positive [00:13:00] ways. And I think that that communicates. Such an amazing message to the kids too, you know, like, uh, just that she is expressive in her emotions and that she has emotional language that she didn’t really have before because of, you know, not being hurt yourself.

So I can definitely see what you’re saying. That like, as hard as this may be, in some ways, in other ways, ultimately in the long run, this could be really valuable that the transparent is allowing themselves to really be fully 

Christina Lafferty Neal: them. Right. 

Heidi: It makes me want to like, raise my hand for a research study, like at, uh, for, you know, someone seeking their doctorate or something at some university across the country to say we don’t have research on it, but like, Hey, I’ve got two children whose parents started to transition at three and four and Alissa, a two year old and, um, Nicky years or 10 and 14, you know, I mean, there’s a lot more of us out there too.

I mean, just from this podcast, we’re getting, [00:14:00] you know, emails and Facebook messages and different things. And whoever’s ready to start that research project. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Maybe it’s 

Dr. Alissa: Christina. I know 

Heidi: maybe Christina 

Christina Lafferty Neal: doctorate. Absolutely not, but I do hope somebody takes y’all up on that. Yeah, it’s needed for sure. 

Dr. Alissa: Well, Nikki, did you have a couple of questions for, 

Christina Lafferty Neal: yeah.

Nikki: So, of course I’ve got teens, um, and they’re older now they’re 18 and 14. And you know, my oldest son struggled the most with it and getting him to therapy was very difficult. Do you have any advice on how to get a resistant teenager who resists everything with your teenagers, the therapy, and admit that they maybe need 

Christina Lafferty Neal: help?

Yeah, that’s hard. I’ve definitely had my fair share of resistant teenagers that I’ve worked with. And I’ve definitely sat in some sessions before where. [00:15:00] We’re kind of just making eye contact and, um, that’s about it. There’s definitely a certain amount of patience required to just let them, let them be where they’re at.

And if they’re still holding stuff in and not willing to admit that this might be beneficial. That’s cool. I’m okay with that. I have space for that, but I know it’s a totally different, um, experience as the parents, you know, wanting to see them be okay. And dealing with the frustration that might come up for you when they’re being resistant.

So. You know, if they have any willingness to have like a hand in choosing a therapist, maybe if you call together to a couple of different people and let them be involved in the choosing process, that can be, um, super helpful, but also. You know, remember that in this situation you are the stronger, wiser, kinder, bigger person in this situation, even if you might not always feel that way.

Dr. Alissa: I don’t know. You’re 

Christina Lafferty Neal: like, am I?

[00:16:00] Nikki: Yeah, exactly. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: It might bring up some really tough. So for you, but finding ways to kind of negotiate that and see, you know, okay. Give it a try. You don’t have to love it. I don’t need to know how it goes, but this is what we’re doing this week. And so just kind of being the firm, the firm voice in that, making it a non-negotiable.

With that too emotion coaching is super helpful. So we’re not trying to fix the resistance or tell them to feel differently about it, or to be more open, but through emotion coaching, just noticing and trying to imagine what might be going on. On for them is huge to begin with. So saying, Hey, I can imagine that you’re feeling nervous or upset that I’m asking this of you.

Because, because, because, so where I think kids tend to stay shut off or stuck is when we say, Hey, I know you’re really upset about this or resistant to it, but you got to go or, but we need to make this happen. [00:17:00] All they’re going to really hear is anything after, but what’s the consequence here? Why, why, what is she making me do?

Try and switch it up too, because, and just, even if it’s not rational because teenagers often aren’t rational, but just validating. Imagine where they’re coming from so that their Barnes can go down and they can really hear you say, I get why you’re upset. So I can imagine you’re feeling upset at me for scheduling this because you don’t want to talk to a stranger or because you’re not really feeling like there’s a problem here.

Or because, because, because, so whatever it is, you hear them saying or noticing, and then you could get the chance to collaborate. And the problem is I can see you’re having a hard time talking with me. And the problem is the more that you hold this in the bigger it’s going to get inside. And I really want you to have the place to, to talk honestly, and get what you need.

Lend them your own calm, nervous system, if they have a big reaction to it. So just slowing your tone down, slowing your own heart rate and your own breathing to help hopefully help [00:18:00] them mirror that back to you and say, I know this is hard, but we can, we can, we can do this. Okay. Yeah. 

Nikki: I’ve let my kids.

Decide who they want to tell as far as their friends and when 

Christina Lafferty Neal: yeah.

Nikki: But teachers and school staff, if needed, or do you have to, should you, what is the best? I’ve only told when one of my sons was having issues at school and I brought it up and, and it was pretty new. So it was clearly a result of what was happening.

And he, you know, he phased out of it and, and he stopped, you know, acting out at school, but what is the best solution? 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Well, that’s an important thing I had that, you know, come up before of how, how do we safely plan for talk for talking to friends and getting the support of friends in a way that feels best for them.

And for a lot of kids, You know, if there’s resistance or fear or some [00:19:00] agitation that comes up to talking to friends about, uh, the same change in the family. Um, it’s typically around, you know, this fear of people being mean to them or being mean to their parent or hearing hurtful things. And so it’s really more of a protective factor of like, well, I just don’t want to talk about it.

And so really just acknowledging that what, you know, what might be the harder or more difficult emotions that are below that, that anger, that frustration or resistance, and trying to just happen to that and work with that. I think it’s a great idea if you know that, uh, they’re going to need some safe people to talk to, to maybe plan ahead and write an email to teachers.

Or, or maybe like one or two teachers that, you know, they have a good relationship with just to give them a heads up saying, Hey, this is going on for them. This is what they might need from them. Or emailing parents of some of their closest friends saying, Hey, this, they have this big change going on right now.

They’re going to need a lot of support. [00:20:00] So their kid, you know, if you want to talk to your kid and let them know that they might need them a little more this week and they might just need a friend to hear them and listen to them and we could really use, you know, your support. So just a heads up that this might come up in conversation with them.

And so, however you want to help them with that conversation or any questions that you have just please feel free to reach out. Yeah. 

Nikki: Yeah. That was helpful. I wish I had you a few years ago. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: And this is helpful to, you know, in thinking of separation, uh, or if you, if you decide that you’re going to separate, so not all couples stay together.

That’s the reason for this whole podcast is that you guys found that you have a whole separate situation where staying in the marriage isn’t going to work. And so this is a helpful thing to ahead of time in planning or talking to them about. Separating or that you are going to be, co-parenting moving forward, sending out an email to friends and the parents of your kid’s friends are super helpful saying, Hey, this is going on for us.

We’re going to [00:21:00] need your support. They might be reaching out. They might text. And so doing that with teachers as well.

Heidi: Well, now that you know, almost everything about us, let’s hang out on social on insight. You can find us on. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast, everywhere else, including our website just thinks it’s the trauma. And if you have any questions or want to email us, we would love to get back to you. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast@gmail.com.

So Christina, 

Dr. Alissa: we’ve talked a lot 

Heidi: about already about like preparing in advance and how to prepare in advance. And just a little background of my story is that my spouse and I did a nesting divorce because our children were so young at three. [00:22:00] And four years old, meaning we just didn’t tell them anything.

When you were saying, like, to get prepared and to calm your nervous system down, that really resonated with me because I felt like one of the reasons I couldn’t share anything with them besides their age. Was because I felt like I couldn’t say anything to them until I was okay. Because I felt like they’re going to look directly at me for my reaction.

And if my reaction is like, I hate the stuff, you know, debit, um, the ship is going down, you know, so I was like, Hey, let’s just not say anything. And then that went on for far too long, more than a year. And so I really want to know what your perspective is, is when you feel like you’ve done all of that upfront work and that your nervous system is calm.

What are some strategies for telling your children that you’re breaking up? 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Um, especially with kids that young, um, [00:23:00] because there isn’t going to be anything you could say to make sense of that for them, they are just going to be looking to you to kind of mirror back to them a sense of calm. And so I would say, you know, if possible, uh, definitely tell the kids together with your spouse.

Um, and to keep things simple and straightforward, um, not sharing anything that you’re not ready to share yet. Um, but being sure to answer the questions that they have come up as best as you can, you know, reminding kids that this is. Not their fault and it has nothing to do with them and really reassuring them that both can be, will always be their parents.

Yeah. And really allowing for the big fields to come up. Um, knowing that it’s not too big, it’s not too much to handle. It makes sense. Um, and so whatever is there, you know, I can be with, um, so really just normalizing that, keeping it as simple as possible and the questions will follow, you know, they’ll see things, but [00:24:00] yeah, just laying that groundwork and deciding with your spouse ahead of time to what when’s the best time to do that.

And can we do this together? So just having a plan. 

Heidi: Yeah. That’s perfect. A follow-up question to that is, and maybe it’s just an alerting to people who are listening. I wasn’t prepared for the ripple that was going to come. A week or two later. So in the moment I didn’t get a lot of feedback from the foreign five-year-old, you know, at the time, but about two weeks later out of the blue was the big question.

Well, I’m confused, mommy, if you love daddy and daddy loves you, then why. Are you getting divorced, you know? And he kept saying that it doesn’t make any sense, but what do parents do when they’re caught off guard by some of these questions 

Christina Lafferty Neal: since returning it back to them, you know, your parents still love you, sometimes relationships change, but we’re still your parents and we’re still here [00:25:00] for you.

And just doing everything that you can keep it simple for them so that they see that. You know, cause those questions might come up. If their feelings, their body might respond, their nervous system might go into the survival mode of, well, I still have what I need, which is parents who love each other, um, a safe home to go to.

And yeah, so having their needs met in that way. So the story that follows in their brain might be well, mommy and daddy won’t be there. I might not be safe when I go home. So it’s really just reassuring them and keeping your language and your posture. Um, opened and gag your breathing and your heart rate slow so that they can kind of meet you there, letting them see that you are still courteous with each other.

You are still communicating well with each other and that your priority is them. Right? So that’s the biggest thing for co-parenting is regardless of any struggles that you all might be having or in arguments or issues that might be coming up for between the two of you, the kids just need to see that you all [00:26:00] are okay.

And that you are. Willing to keep them as your priority, you know, keep the peace in front of them. 

Heidi: Yeah. It really does help. Um, yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, I’m just asking all these questions because. We did all this preparation upfront, and then we came together and we were ready to deliver the news. And then it’s really hard to prepare for like, they’re about to like, get out of the car to go to preschool.

And they like Jap this question on you. And you’re like, yeah. Okay. So now here are some tools to slow it down. And be positive and just share the very minimum. It sounds like. Yeah. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Yeah. And the kids can see too, like if you’re not really quite able to keep it together, like how could you, if this just, that dropped on you.

That’s totally. Okay. Again, kids don’t need you. Perfect. They just need you present. So it’s totally okay to go back to, if you feel like you didn’t handle a lot of say, Hey, you know, I didn’t handle that well, but I want to talk about what that was like for [00:27:00] you. What can we do together? Do you want to go for a walk and doing anything you can to try to repair that connection for them?

So they feel a sense of security. So it’s not all on you to do it perfectly all the time. Um, that’s not real life, but you know, that’s modeling self-acceptance too. And some compassion for moments where we mess up. So thank you. We still want any situation where, you know, if there is some fighting going on or some frustration coming up, that the kid doesn’t get put in this spot where they’re trying to understand and resolve adult issues with the adults that are in charge.

Heidi: I just have one final question for you, and it’s more of like a data or outcomes. And again, We’re all over here reaching for data because data is something that we feel like might be comfortable. But do you know of any data or outcomes in general? Maybe not on the transgender front, but on the divorce front.

When parents get along. Versus when they don’t get along. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Yeah. I mean, there’s definitely plenty of research on, you know, that shows children definitely do better when their parents [00:28:00] can work together to minimize minimize conflict that goes on, um, in front of the kids into have, uh, A real effort on cooperating together on behalf of the child or the children, you know, a lot of studies on divorce, you know, you’ll hear kids talk about that.

They do need things to be simple. They do need to see their parents communicate. They don’t want to be put in the spot where they have to choose one parent over the other. Or how, you know, schedules get navigated. They don’t want to be put in the middle to like communicate from one parent to the other.

So anything that you can minimize to have them as that middle person, between the parents is super helpful. Um, having some sense of predictability over their schedule and how you do pick up and drop off between homes of the parents is, is huge. Maybe even having using some of the apps, like cozy to have a family, like calendar or schedule.

So there is some predictability there [00:29:00] and minimizing them having to be in charge of communicating things, but kids almost never even care about what’s going on for parents or what they might be fighting about. They really just want the fights to stop because if the parents can’t. Stop arguing in front of kids.

The kids are going to think this because of me, like why can’t they keep the peace for me? Yeah. I mean, there’s lots of studies on, you know, if you can get along in front of them, the kids will be all right. 

Heidi: Excellent. Thank you so much, Christina, 

Dr. Alissa: to have one more up question before we let you go. My question is like, okay.

So I noticed that the kids. Particularly the older kids do not use the pronouns that their dad would prefer. So they use the old, he him pronouns. And then our youngest, like he was doing great at using mushy her pronouns for a while and then big brothers or not really. I mean, they’re just not used to it and they’ve been around much longer with pronouns.

[00:30:00] And so my question really comes down to like, as the other parent, as the not transparent and the one who is trying to be, you know, affirming and supportive of our former partner, um, or in some cases, you know, partners, a transition like would, do you think like correcting is appropriate or do you think it’s mostly just modeling both.

For sure. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Modeling that first, including sometimes getting it wrong, but yeah, I think it’s okay to say, Hey, what’s going on for you? Or is there, what’s the struggle here or is this, are you having a hard time with this? Yeah, modeling it first and then also encouraging some conversations. With your former partner or spouse to like address that with the child too, just to, you know, have them know that they can go to their other parents to talk about this.

Talk about, what’s hard to figure out what boundaries looks like between the two of them. I imagine the frustrating part of that is not wanting to be [00:31:00] responsible all the time for correcting the kid or having that be another thing that you’re responsible for having to change in your life. But I think when it comes down to it, if the kids are resistant to it, they’re not willing to, to use the affirming or proper pronouns yet, then that can be just something that you model, maybe not even at some points gives us a whole lot of attention to like, if they, if they’re really insisting on using the wrong ones and trying to be hurtful, just being curious of like what that’s coming from, continuing to do.

What’s right on your end and revisiting those boundaries and that conversation as needed, but it’s just another change and their resistance might be. Whether it’s intended to be hurtful or not coming from a place where they, they’re not quite sure how to talk about, I don’t know that how that changed might be hurtful or too much or scary.

Dr. Alissa: Yeah. That makes definitely a lot of sense. And I’ve just had. Challenges of figuring out, like, how much do I [00:32:00] say, like actually tally is she, but you know, and we’ve had those conversations, but it’s certainly not. I mean, most times that they use the wrong pronouns, I just use the correct ones when I respond.

Um, instead of being like, yeah, 

Christina Lafferty Neal: Right, right. Yeah. Is the resistance there around, are they forgetting to do, to use the right pronouns or is it they’re not quite ready for that change? Is it too much too soon? 

Dr. Alissa: Maybe all of that, you know, I don’t think at all that it is intended to be hurtful or not affirming on their part.

I think one, especially the older kids, they’re just. Really used to a certain way. And I think they’re just used to dads being, he, you know, in general, I think all of that makes that, and I think, and I wonder, and I don’t know if this is total speculation, but I wonder too, if they started using the she, her pronouns and then did that with friends and they’d really, don’t have very many friends [00:33:00] that know that might be even sometimes like when I’m meeting new people, Like I, I met somebody new the other day and I started talking about, you know, my former spouse and then being like, I just need you to know that my former spouse is a transgender woman.

Cause I’m about to start saying she and it’s going to be really weird. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it is, it’s hard enough for me as a grown up person. 

Christina Lafferty Neal: And so 

Dr. Alissa: only imagine like it’s so hard to be a kid and just all of those challenges with all of that and like wanting to make sure that. Again, we are affirming 

Christina Lafferty Neal: for partners 

Dr. Alissa: and, and affirming co-parents.

And so, um, but also not like policing our kids right. Either. So 

Christina Lafferty Neal: yeah. So another thing, a couple of things come up, come to mind too, is. As they’re, you know, stretching and kind of adapting to this change, um, maybe talking with your former spouse or [00:34:00] partner about, okay, well, what are we willing to do different here?

Can we, can we maybe give it three months where we allow for this uncomfortable kind of stumbling, trying to figure out pronouns and how to talk about. Ourselves as a family, how to introduce me as a dad, as a mom, which pronouns do we use and just give like a timeframe for where you can be flexible with that.

And then agree to revisit that topic, uh, in a few months. All right. So what’s needed to, what do we need to change here? Um, and if it continues to be hurtful, just modeling this, these communication skills and saying, Hey, when this, when you continue to use the wrong pronouns, or when you continue to talk about me like this in front of your friends, or I feel and use the emotion that comes up, react, feel hurt.

I feel disrespected. I feel sad, but this is hard for us. And just really modeling to them like how to communicate. What that’s like for you. So when this happens, I feel this, and [00:35:00] then moving forward, I wish we could find a way that we can both agree on, um, on how to talk about me, um, and how, how to, how to address me, you know, what does feel right for both of us.

And so it’s not just putting it on them to make the change, but saying, you know, what’s your experience? How does it make you feel and how can we collaborate? Um, on doing this differently, moving forward change is hard being a person’s hard, you know, and I can imagine as the other parent in this situation, you know, watching your kids kind of struggle with this and knowing how to be a supportive and affirming, um, co-parent and that’s a lot of work.

And then just being your own person with your own feelings and your own stuff. I mean, that’s just, yeah. 

Heidi: Yeah, 

Christina Lafferty Neal: yeah.

Dr. Alissa: It’s horrible. Thank you so much that, uh, that is. All such valuable information that, again, like Nikki said, I mean, I think we all wish, like we could have all had access to immediately right away.

[00:36:00] Um, you know, because I think probably all of us. Looked out there for information. I certainly did. And there’s very little like actual like books on this or research on this. I mean, there’s tons of books for kids who are transgender. Um, but having being a kid whose parent is transgender is just, it’s just not a, well, I don’t know, there’s not a lot of material out there for kids, so I really appreciate that.

You’re. Willing to come on here and help us kind of answer some of these questions. So thank you. So we just wrapped up with Christina and that was so wonderful to be able to get that kind of information from her and to be able to ask her some of the questions that were on our minds. And now we’re just going to kind of talk about what our real lived experiences were like and telling our kids that their other parent is transgender and just kind of different experiences along the way with parenting.

So. Uh, we’ll start with Nikki. [00:37:00] You’ve got some, you’ve had some different experiences because your kids were older. And so like, what are some of the, what are some of the things that stick out to you? We did not 

Nikki: tell our kids together. I was not there for that. We probably did everything wrong. We didn’t ever fight in front of them.

We never, um, got angry with each other. You know, we weren’t the happy-go-lucky family we used to be, but they’re fine. We worked it out. We communicate well and everyone gets along. 

Heidi: Can you tell the story that recently happened with you and your oldest? 

Nikki: Yeah. I was listening to my episode of the podcast to find edits that I might need to take out.

And he came and I was cooking breakfast and he came out and was standing here and it was playing and I thought I’m going to stop this cause he probably doesn’t want to hear all this. And I didn’t. And I said, listen, I’m listening to the podcast. You’re going to hear things about me. You know, I was. Not always a mom.

And, um, you’re going to hear [00:38:00] things about me and your dad and things about your, you know, that happened that 

Heidi: you maybe weren’t aware of. 

Nikki: Do you want to listen to this or not? And he said yes. So he listened to it. And there was a part, the part where we’re talking about, um, moving here and his company losing its backer and him finding another one.

And he said, You know, I’m really proud that dad was able to keep his company going and, you know, keep going. And I’m really proud of him for that. And I was like, wow. I mean, my kids still use the wrong pronouns because that’s, they haven’t made that transition yet. And then he said, I’m really glad that dad has found his true identity and he’s living the life that he wants to live.

And that was a huge step for him because he was having anxiety and panic attacks and crying himself to sleep for a while. So he’s come a long way. 

Heidi: Wow. That’s really powerful. You guys have done a good job. 

[00:39:00] Nikki: Totally unexpected. 

Heidi: What do you think has been the hardest part about parenting with an ex who’s a transgender woman.

Nikki: Um, watching them grieve a FA a parent 

Heidi: that 

Nikki: is still alive, but they’re losing a part of it. You know, their parents that they grew up with and getting to know this new parent, this new person, watching them struggle, watching them try to hide. Things and feel the shame that they think they had to carry.

Those. Those are the things that are hardest because you don’t want your kids to have to carry that kind of weight at that age at any age. 

Heidi: Yep. How about you Alissa? What’s been the hardest part of parenting this last 

Dr. Alissa: year? You know, I think probably the hardest part was all the anticipation. And I would say that’s true for me and probably the older kids, not, not so [00:40:00] much the youngest one, but is the anticipation of all the changes, you know, like before I moved out, You know the anticipation of, okay, I’m going to be taking one of the dogs with me and they’re not going to live with me anymore.

They’re not gonna live with the dogs anymore. And that, that was, uh, that was a big, hard thing. And my anticipation of how bad is this going to be? How much is this going to hurt the kids? And thankfully on this end, it’s, it’s been okay. You know, my three-year-old is obviously the one that I see the most in the one that I’m parenting these days.

And so, you know, his back and forth sometimes can be challenging for him just like in any divorce situation of like, well, I actually want to be with the other parent today and just kind of for logistics and, and, you know, whatever, just sticking with our parenting plan, um, in most cases. And so sometimes that’s hard that that’s normal divorce stuff.

Uh, but thankfully Jamie and I get along [00:41:00] so well that, um, Those are some of the issues that come with normal divorces. We don’t experience with ours, with the kids. What about you, 

Heidi: Heidi? Oh, um, I would say the hardest part has been not I’m going to get teary, um, not being witnessed to my children’s lives a hundred percent of the time when I was pregnant.

I remember like finding out I was pregnant and wanting to be a mom my whole life. And I never envisioned that being a mom would mean that I. Didn’t pair it or see my children 50% of the time. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah, dude. 

Heidi: Yeah. I feel like probably bad. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah. Do you feel like that now that you’re doing it now that you’re actually doing it, you’re not doing the nesting divorce anymore.

You’re not doing the nesting. You’re actually doing the war. Um, I don’t know if it’s 50 50 at this point, but splitting up time, right? Do you feel like that’s getting easier? Because I will say for me that what you’re [00:42:00] saying absolutely resonated with me in the beginning of this was, I mean, I wanted to fight for more time, even though I knew it was the best thing for my child.

And really I had to do research and see like, okay, the research really shows and you and I, we, I, I shared that research with you and. I know that was hard, but, you know, uh, is that ultimately it’s best to have the 50, 50 kind of split. And so, but as time has gone on, that’s gotten easier for me. Has that been the case for you or no, 

Heidi: it has surely gotten easier.

I mean, the first week that they went away, they went on vacation with their dad to Montana for a week and it just, I mean, it ripped my soul open. It was the first time in their life. I had ever spent a day away from them. I mean, it just ripped me open. I will say now parenting as a single parent is more exhausting than parenting together.

And so, and I’m a work at home mom. And so when I’m working at home all day and now homeschooling and all of the [00:43:00] things that go along with that, On Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, when they go to their dads, I will say, I am thankful in a way that I don’t have to do bed and bath and dinner on top of everything else I had to do that day alone.

So yes, it is getting easier. I am appreciating solitude and breath and you know, all of the things that can come from getting a break. So I try to have perspective, like, it would be similar to if we were married and I had a night out with my girlfriends. Um, and instead of me being out with my girlfriends, you know, and their dads putting him to bed at my house, like their dads, just putting them to bed it at her house.

And, uh, and I’m still out with my girlfriends. So yeah, it is getting a little bit easier, but still that’s the hardest part for me. Before we sign off to you guys. I just wanted to see if we could [00:44:00] share some of the resources like Christina was talking about preparing in advance. And so we’ll link them in the show notes, but we specifically use several books that I wanted to make sure audience knew about before we ended a podcast on parenting.

So whether you have a spouse who’s trans or a child who’s trans, or a friend of a friend of a friend who’s trans. Or you’re just curious of being more affirming, wanted to share some of the books that the three of us use that we’ll link in the show notes that were really helpful. The first one is Julian is a mermaid.

A red crayon is another one. I am jazz. And the last one is something like, who am I or who are you? It’s amazing. But we’ll link to all of them in the show notes so that you can purchase them on. 

Dr. Alissa: Thank you so much for listening today to us. Talk about parenting with Christina Lafferty Neal. Thank you so much to Christina for joining us.

For answering our [00:45:00] questions. Join us next week for the season finale called, where are we now?

Nikki: Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast is not a substitute for therapy or mental health advice. If you or someone you love is in crisis, please call 1-800-273-TUCK +1 800-273-8255. You can also text the word home to seven four one seven four one to reach a trained crisis counselor.

Heidi: It’s the trauma.

Season 1: Episode 5 – The Black Hole with Jeff Goins

[00:00:00] Dr. Alissa: Welcome to thanks. It’s the trauma. 

Heidi: I’m dr. Alissa, and this is a podcast with 

Dr. Alissa: my friends, 

Heidi: Mickey and Heidi. We’re connected by a unique 

Dr. Alissa: and unusual experience. And we talk about it and other traumas with honesty, boos and cuss words. 

Heidi: Season one, episode five triaged interviewing us is Jeff Goins. The reason that we wanted to get you on today and.

Kind of pull some things out of us is because the moment following something, this traumatic and trauma looks different for lots of people. But the three of us identify finding out that our spouses, who we thought were men, you know, are when we’re going to be are our spouses forever, who we had children with.

That very abruptly finding out that they were transgender. [00:01:00] Put each of us into what we have identified in earlier episodes as like a black hole. The memories are there, but they’re, they’re hard to tap into because it’s so dark. And then. You know, many, many months of therapy for each of us following that.

And so we wanted to record an entire episode where we kind of go back in time to those black holes. 

Jeff Goins: So triaged is the moments when you were like, what is happening? I’m just trying to survive kind of thing. That’s that’s it? Yeah. 

Heidi: I would say like, I think. So for me, I go by dates. Like for me, it happened October 21st.

And I really don’t remember. I mean, if you ask specific questions that their memories are there, but like Thanksgiving, Christmas, new years, it was really probably March before I felt like I [00:02:00] was waking up. 

Jeff Goins: I’m still a little bit hung up on the fact that you told me you wrote a book about birth stories, and then you said, if you could just pull some things out of us, but I’ll, I’ll move past that and jump into the stories.

Heidi: Yeah, 

Nikki: it’s okay to laugh. Can we run,

Heidi: could you burn our stories? Oh, 

Dr. Alissa: okay. Are you ready to hear my story? I did tell it at your party and you have my boy listening to 

Heidi: it. Can’t imagine why 

Dr. Alissa: I have to make more drinks in the kitchen way over 

Nikki: here. I walked over for a second. Like now she’s like, Oh, that poor girl, 

Dr. Alissa: I feel terrible. 

Heidi: Curl. 

Jeff Goins: She has a name.

You traumatized her. She has a name. So is it fair to say that this news of your spouses. Being the other gender, your husbands realizing they were women. Like what was this? A surprise to everyone? 

Heidi: Yeah. Yep. A hundred percent. 

Jeff Goins: And is it like one of those things? Like once, you know, [00:03:00] you, you go, Oh, that sort of makes sense.

Or like, does it still not make sense? 

Heidi: No. No, really? It’s not like we’re all shaking her head. No, like no hundred percent out of left field. Yeah. No. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah, it was a warning. 

Jeff Goins: And so like, what do you do? Like the next day? Right? Like, I’m sure you’ve told your stories. Right. So we don’t have to do that, but like, 

Heidi: Oh, let me start, stop you there.

We ended each of our stories with the delivering of the news. So like any previous episodes, we brought the listeners to that moment and then ended the episode. Right. So they have no idea. Like, so this episode will be triaged, like the moments after, in the months after, and then next week’s episode will be, where are we now?

What does our life look like now? 

Jeff Goins: What is the next day look like? Right. So you get the news, I guess you go to bed at some [00:04:00] point. And then like, what happens is this is a bad dream. Do you deny it? Do you like immediately start making plans? Do you tell people what happened? 

Nikki: The first thing that popped in my head was this is over.

Heidi: There’s what, 

Nikki: there’s nothing I can do here. I can’t, we can’t fix this and I’m not a lesbian and that’s not how I wanted to be married. So I wasn’t now it was just instant done. So how do we get out of this now? 

Jeff Goins: So I want to be sensitive to the pronouns, the best that I know how to be. So he told you. And then you like immediately thought I’m done.

Did he want to stay in a relationship with you? 

Nikki: He wanted to stay married. 

Jeff Goins: And then what did you do? What’d you say? 

Nikki: I said, I’m not a lesbian. That’s not what I signed up for. 

And 

Jeff Goins: then what happened? 

Nikki: And then a lot of anger and guilt and shame. How do I tell anybody about this? How do I tell anybody about this?

[00:05:00] I didn’t tell anybody about it for a long time. 

Jeff Goins: You felt guilt and anger and shame, guilt for wanting to leave 

Nikki: and not being able to stay in support, anger for betrayal. 

Jeff Goins: Oh, you 

Nikki: felt betrayed by her. I felt betrayed. 

Jeff Goins: And then shame 

Nikki: because like shame, because how do I tell this story? 

Jeff Goins: Who do you tell us to.

So you said that in the conversation and then like, what does tomorrow look like? What was the next day look like? Thank you. 

Nikki: I don’t know. It was, it was a days I don’t, I don’t remember. You just go through the muscle memory of your, your life and go to work and feed kids and come home and walk dogs and 

Jeff Goins: know what you do.

You guys are still doing life as, as a normal family. 

Nikki: I just thought it was a midlife crisis. 

Jeff Goins: So you didn’t believe him. 

Nikki: I thought he’d snap out of it. Huh. And he thought I’d changed my mind and want to be married to a woman. 

Heidi: Yeah. So also [00:06:00] denials another stage of grief. Oh 

Nikki: yeah. Yeah. And I don’t know, Jeff doesn’t know my whole story, but my mother died by suicide.

So shame and guilt is very carried over very deeply. I mean, those are instant things that trigger back up. So. 

Heidi: Yeah, 

Jeff Goins: Alissa, what did the next day look like for you? 

Dr. Alissa: You know? Um, I don’t remember. I remember the day. And then, yeah, I remember w within the next few days, I do remember, like trying to find support, like very quickly trying to find other people who had been through something similar.

Like within, within days I created a fake Facebook account and I found two different Facebook support groups for spouses of transgender people. And I tried to find [00:07:00] anybody there who. Felt like they couldn’t do it. Yeah. 

Heidi: Who felt like they, that, that wasn’t for them. 

Jeff Goins: So, yeah. You created a fake Facebook account cause you didn’t want anybody to know that you 

Dr. Alissa: were going through it.

Well, I didn’t want to out my husband and I, it was a really afraid that like it was going to show up in groups I’m in or something. Sure. 

Jeff Goins: Yeah. And I mean, I, you know, we knew each other at the time. Weren’t super close friends, but I remember like seeing the announcement on. Facebook and yeah, and I feel like you’ve always been gracious about this whole process, Heidi, what was, what was the next day or the next moment like for you?

Heidi: Well, I feel like I should probably tell you what happened right in the moment, because like Nikki and Alissa, I feel as if it’s a little bit of a black hole, but I’m very ashamed of what happened the next day. So I would like to tell you what happened in the moment first. And my husband handed [00:08:00] me a letter and he said, I’m gonna read this to you.

And then I’m going to give it to you so that you could process it and read it again. And I just remember thinking, Oh my gosh, he is going to tell me he had an affair like this letter. That’s what it’s going to say in my mind. That’s the worst thing that could have happened. Sure to our marriage. And like, there was like this a moment where I really thought this is like a joke.

I mean, he’s kind of like a really fun person and there’s a lot of pranks. Like there’s a lot of really good stories of pranks. And so I thought, Oh my God, this is, this is, this is like the worst. April fools ever or something, you know, and then he just, then he started crying and then the letter went on and on and on, and I thought, Oh God.

And so I think I just started blacking out. But I did say to him immediately, I said, God made you [00:09:00] perfectly in his image and that this was not a mistake and that I love you. And then I said, and now you need to leave. Before I say something. Worse is going to come out of my mouth. And then I, I ended up actually leaving.

And so I think this is when I had an outer body experience. I don’t know about you Alissa or Nick key, but this is the club I’ve ever been to. I would say shock, I guess that’s what I was like, literally physical shock. Like, I didn’t feel like I was in my body. I remember thinking I’m in a coma in a hospital somewhere.

And this is I’m dreaming. Like I had this really weird, like hallucis in the 18. Yeah. Okay. Thank you. I was like, give me something there. So I had this really weird psychological thing happen where my body and my mind physically like separated and I felt like [00:10:00] they’re gonna have to hospitalize me in an institution like.

Cause I’m not right. You’re mental break. Yeah. And I have a friend in my neighborhood and I was, I do remember this. I was parked in the swim glove parking lot because I couldn’t drive and Oh, I’m going to back up. I walked out that front door and I drove straight to the fucking gas station. And I asked for Marlboro light.

Yeah. And I hadn’t smoked a cigarette like 15 years. He and the girl was like, what’s a Marlboro light. And I was like, for everyone listening. They stopped selling Marlboro lights apparently. And like 1997, they’re called Marlboro golds. Now Larry and they are signified they’re all of us older smokers.

[00:11:00] They’re like $10 back. And I didn’t have a lighter. I had to go back and get a lighter 

Nikki: because 

Heidi: I forgot you had to have a lighter and I didn’t even know how to order the cigarettes. And they wanted like a nurse. They wanted like an idea and all these things anyway. So all I know is I’m setting in my life, you know, white picket fence, suburban like vomit neighborhood, because what cigarettes like, Hey everybody, I mental breakdown.

Yeah. One of my friends came by with Xanax and that. And then basically I went to sleep until the next day. 

Jeff Goins: So you told a friend Heidi? I did immediately. So I’m curious about you, Nikki and Alissa, like who did you let into this part of your story? And at what point, because I think I’ll say you mentioned the second American, you say share this or not Nikki, but like, I would imagine there’d be a certain level of like fear, embarrassment, shame.

Who do I tell? When do I tell them. Et cetera. So how did you guys navigate telling other people about [00:12:00] what you were going through and who did you tell? 

Dr. Alissa: I mean, the very day that I found out, I called my best friend Lindsey, and I told her everything and sobbed and she was shocked and she cried with me.

And I know that I told other friends too, but it’s a black hole. 

Jeff Goins: You just don’t remember. 

Dr. Alissa: 

Heidi: just don’t remember. What is the next 

Jeff Goins: thing that you remember 

Dr. Alissa: after finding out after that first day? 

Jeff Goins: Yeah. Like how long does the black hole last? 

Dr. Alissa: It’s like, I’m in the black hole and then I 

Heidi: like pop out 

Dr. Alissa: for a minute and I have like a memory, like for a few days later when I go back in for a week.

Jeff Goins: What was the next memory? Do you recall? 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah, I mean, I remember making the Facebook account. Which was probably two or three days later. And then I think, you know, and now I can’t remember, it was a week or two weeks later, but I know at that point I had told my therapist, I told several [00:13:00] friends and then like, I was pretty clear.

With Jamie, like, you know, that this is not something I’m going to be able to do. And then Jamie was like, you know what? Nevermind, it’s all wrong. And like went around the house, like getting, you know, gathering all her things and throwing it away and being like, like, no, I’m just going to stay a man. Like, it’s fine.

Like if we can’t be together, like. Then, you know, I’m just going to stay a man. And I was like, I can not 

Heidi: ever 

Dr. Alissa: ask you to do that. And she was like, well, it’s too bad. I’m doing it. I can’t, yeah. I can’t remember now probably two. That was probably two weeks. 

Heidi: Talk more about that. 

Jeff Goins: So like she has stuff around the house at this point, like what 

Heidi: female 

Dr. Alissa: cloves.

And, 

Jeff Goins: and this is after the announcement. Yes. So 

Heidi: she.  

Dr. Alissa: two minutes, very quickly on 

Jeff Goins: things, right. And then like starts dressing apart and 

Heidi: in private 

Jeff Goins: as long. And then you said maybe two weeks [00:14:00] in. Yeah. As a change of heart, seemingly. Yeah, because, because you finally told her you couldn’t do this or just kind of hit or what happened 

Dr. Alissa: very clear.

I think from the moment I found out, I was like, I don’t know what this means for us, but yeah. Once I had like gone to therapy and thankfully I have a very fabulous lesbian therapist who is 

Heidi: able to. 

Dr. Alissa: Look at me and be like, you’re really not a lesbian. And I was like, Oh my God, I’m really not. 

Jeff Goins: Were you ever confused 

Dr. Alissa: about my sexuality?

You know, I’d always thought like, you know, everybody’s a little gay, right. You know, everybody’s like a little bit gay. Um, you always thought this. No, no, no, 

Nikki: that’s not true. 

Dr. Alissa: Thank you for calling me on that since leaving the church. Uh, I 

Nikki: wish that, 

Dr. Alissa: um, yeah, so, I mean, I’ve thought for a while, like, and I’ve even talked about that with Jamie, which I think probably confused her [00:15:00] in the beginning of this process of like, you know, I don’t know, like I’ve never kissed a girl, but like, Who knows what that would be like, you know, I might do some 

Heidi: crazy like that.

Dr. Alissa: Um, and then, you know, when it came down to it, I was like, Oh yeah. Oh, like, no, really no. And this isn’t about, it’s not about Jamie becoming Jamie. 

Heidi: It’s just about like, 

Dr. Alissa: that is not the, that’s not, for me. That’s not the relationship for me. And doesn’t the person doesn’t have the person who married, you know, that’s not the, that wasn’t the agreement, I guess, you know?

Jeff Goins: Yeah. Nikki. I can’t remember the first question, but I’m curious what, like the next memory for you was after. 

Nikki: I don’t know. We just carried on like normal. And then we actually were living in a, in a house and we decided to move. We’d lived in that house for seven years and we decided to move and we moved like normal, you know, we’re just going to go rent this house and [00:16:00] it’s going to be all fine and dandy.

It was kind of like, I’m just going to pretend it’s not happening. Cause I thought he was going to snap out of it. I really thought. Okay. I’m having a midlife crisis in, instead of having an affair and buying a fast car, I’m just going to do this, but no, and we had that moment two months later where he left.

So he was a musician and he left to go play a show and came back and decided, he told me, I don’t want to be a woman. I want to be a man. I want to be your husband. 

Jeff Goins: So he did the same. He did the same thing that Jamie 

Heidi: did. 

Nikki: Yeah. And of course we have makeup sex, and. Literally seven days later, he said, I can’t do it.

Heidi: I want to be a woman. 

Nikki: And that was literally my. It’s like, if you could see the gauntlet throw down, boom, done cut. All cords are done. Cut. Done. We’re not, we’re going to recover. We’re not going to recover. Like, I kinda knew that like, you know, we carried on with daily life. So [00:17:00] I thought, well, okay, he’s going to snap out of this.

But then when that happened, I mean, it was like such a backstab and I let myself feel okay and we’re going to make it through this. And we’re just still Nicky and Jamie and know it that’s when anger came up real hard and stayed was right there. Cause I felt really betrayed then. It was like, okay, 

Heidi: well 

Nikki: I believed you.

Heidi: And, and I had sex with you. And now I just had sex with a woman 

Nikki: and yeah. And 

Heidi: Alissa, did you have sex with Jamie? 

Dr. Alissa: Oh, man. I’m trying to decide if I should want to share that. 

Nikki: 

Dr. Alissa: mean, in the month, of course, you know, in the month between I’m questioning my gender and for sure I’m a woman. 

Heidi: Yes. Yeah. 

Jeff Goins: Wow. Do you want to try?

Nikki: And for me [00:18:00] it wasn’t, I didn’t think that I was having sex with a female. I found husbands back, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Dr. Alissa: That, and that was the same experience for me was like, I really, like, I went, I remember I went to therapy. I was like, he’s not a woman. Like he was confused, you know, it’s like maybe some weird.

Like, like for sure that’s not happening 

Heidi: anymore. 

Dr. Alissa: Like, it’s just something he’s going to go figure it out in therapy and we’re still interviewing. Right. And she in all her graciousness was like, and if someday, you know, it comes out that 

Heidi: perhaps 

Dr. Alissa: he really is, then you’ll be more prepared. And I was like, no, ain’t happening.

That’s not what’s happening. Nope. Nope. That’s not happening. 

Jeff Goins: So I just want to get timelines straight. So Alissa, for you, it was sort of like a month. It sounds like, like Jamie told you there was sort of this limbo period at one point, she was like, no, I’m a man, but by the end of that month, it was [00:19:00] clear that this was the path.

Is that right? Yeah, 

Dr. Alissa: it was, yeah, it was about four or five weeks. Yeah. 

Jeff Goins: Okay. And then Nikki, how long was that? That period? Cause you said you guys have a year a 

Heidi: year. Yeah. We 

Nikki: stayed married for two years 

Heidi: after he told 

Jeff Goins: me we’ll come back to that, 

Heidi: Heidi. Wow.

Jeff Goins: Limbo period. Tell me what, how long was that? 

Heidi: So mine was a little but different.

It was in reverse. So my husband had attempted to take his life and we knew he was in a very serious depression. And that was early September, 2018. And it was about six weeks of him going to therapy. I thought for anxiety, depression, and suicidality, and the conclusion of those six weeks, he was seeing a gender therapist.

And I didn’t know that. And so I guess like her story would have been, you know, that this [00:20:00] was about a six week period from like, Their break of like finally addressing some feelings for the first time in their life to saying it out loud. To me, the spouse was about a six week period, but when Jay told me.

My husband did not change his mind and come back and we had great sex or anything like that. Like I just never lived with him again after that moment. 

Dr. Alissa: So great. I don’t know. 

Heidi: I’m hoping that the last time was great. I don’t know. So, um, now we did have sex one time in those six weeks, and that is a very big point of contention with me because he already knew.

And had addressed the fact that he was transgender in his own mind and body with this therapist and still had sex with me, with me, not knowing that. And so, like, I kind of feel weird about [00:21:00] that, but well, now that you know, almost everything about us, let’s hang out on social on insight. You can find us on.

Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast. Everywhere else, including our website just thinks it’s the trauma. And if you have any questions or want to email us, we would love to get back to you. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast@gmail.com.

Jeff Goins: He went through this kind of six week period of Diana therapy. You thought it was for suicide depression. It was for gender questions. And then told you with the letter and the speech we’re reading a letter, and then you left, got the smokes. You said you never came back. Like 

Heidi: what happened? So I kind of at fuzzy black hole, but I think, um, I had probably told someone that he needed to leave, or I had told him he needed to leave and he went and got like a two week Potel, uh, like a longterm [00:22:00] stay at a hotel while he was looking for the right place to live.

So I went home at some point and we have two small children. So at the time I had a three year old, three and two year old and three and two or four and three, I can’t remember again, black hole, but young children. So just like Alissa and Nicky said, You know, I had to take the Xanax and go to sleep, but I still had to like wake up and go drop off every school in the morning and pack lunches and, you know, 

Nikki: there’s tragic shit going on.

Yeah. 

Heidi: Yeah. I mean, literally, I mean, in the morning they still have to blow their nose and change their diaper and yeah. 

Jeff Goins: So you came back and then he moved out 

Heidi: after that he was gone and ironically we had, or he had, I don’t remember. Prescheduled. Marriage counseling [00:23:00] for the next shit for the neck. Yeah. So I would like to answer your question about the very first memory that you have after it.

So basically I was drunk. I smoked my smokes. I was drugged. I woke up and was preschool mom, and then I went to marriage counseling. 

Jeff Goins: Wow. 

Heidi: And he came. Yeah, I guess we, I still like, I look back on this moment and this is why I said, I wanted to say what I said in the first moment that I found out, which I felt like was very, I came from a very loving place and over 18 months of this happening have evolved to a very loving and affirming place.

But, you know, I have to tell the story because part of our story and our struggles. As what happened in this moment. So when you were in the middle of shock and trauma, do not go to fucking marriage counseling, who caused you this [00:24:00] pain? Because this is how it went. We sit down on the couch, there’s some exchanges and the therapist says to me and Nikki and Alissa, I’m sorry, this is going to be hard for Nikki to hear, but.

The therapist says, Heidi, what is your best case scenario here? And, and then atrocious vicious attack of words. I went this comma sweetest voice looked at the therapist straight in the eyes. And I said, I wish she would have just been brave enough to have done it. And now is talking about the day that she attempted suicide and didn’t commit to the, and that concluded our marriage counseling session.

Um, 

Nikki: my husband also had ideation, so I know where you’re coming from. Heidi. He did it. I, I mean that because being [00:25:00] a child of a parent, who’s lost a parent to suicide. I wasn’t gonna put my, yeah. I want my kids to go through that. So, and that’s kind of where it all came out is like, we, he told me that and I was like, well, we got to start counseling.

So 

Heidi: yeah. 

Jeff Goins: So Heidi, you guys went to counseling and to go into counseling, you said this in front of 

Heidi: her. 

Jeff Goins: And then like the counselor concluded the therapy session. Like, is that what 

Heidi: happened basically 

Jeff Goins: and said what, like, we ain’t going there or 

Heidi: like what happened? Like this is not going to be a safe. Place for anyone.

So this is over and we could pick this up at a different place. And then, you know, lots of regret about that sentence that came out of my mouth. But I will say that the last 18 months of. Therapy and healing and repair with our families. So [00:26:00] you would think, well, maybe you wouldn’t think I’m just being judgy right now, but like I have been sort of that moment made me the assailant basically.

So this for me and my story, it is not, everyone’s mad at Jay for not. Understanding their gender before getting married. It became, Heidi told Jay too. Yeah. Killer. So, 

Jeff Goins: so just to understand what you’re saying, I imagine Jay was hurt from that exchange and then started saying these things about you telling other people, like, how did you become the assailant and the story 

Heidi: he told his family.

Yeah. And then I. You know, told I’m an open book. So then I told all my friends and family what I had said, because I needed to process the regret. She mean [00:27:00] I was a toddler reaming out a parent, you know, in the middle of counseling. And the only thing I can say is that I was hurting so badly that. And whatever brain I was in in that moment, it was the only thing that I could imagine that would take place.

Ain’t no way. Yeah. Like looking back, I think like, why would I have ever said that? Why would I want the person that I love and is the parent of my children to take their life? I mean, it doesn’t even make rationally. It doesn’t make sense, but in that moment, I just. Needed the fear and that pain to go away.

And that was the only thing I could think. Like here I am 18 months later and we’re recording this podcast because each of us has found a way through and we want to [00:28:00] be an inspiration to others to find the way through and not the way out. But that moment was really dark of like, just make it go away.

That makes sense. 

Jeff Goins: And when you told people about this, it sounds like they didn’t react well, 

Heidi: no, 

Dr. Alissa: 

Jeff Goins: mean, I’m actually super hard. Like this comes out in counseling therapist is like, get out of here. He starts telling his people, you start telling your people and. And you said you became the assailant. Like I would imagine this is my projection.

I would imagine feeling really rejected by everybody at a really difficult 

Heidi: time. Yeah. Super rejected. My family, like, of course came around because they know me and they know that like sometimes I will fire off and mean [00:29:00] things in the heat of the moment that I don’t mean, you know, but yeah. I mean, it’s really.

It’s like, it’s an unforgivable thing to say, but thankfully at this point, I think, you know, Jay has forgiven me. Her family has said that they forgive me. I don’t know if they. Really mean it or not, but they say it and you know, and we’re trying to like move forward, you know, but if, if God help there is anybody listening.

Who’s in a similar situation. I think that the three of us could just share that like, Oh my gosh, just take it 10 minutes at a time because you will get through it. You will get through it. You will get through it. It just takes time. Tremendous amount of therapy. Oh, tremendous amount of work, emotional work to get through all of the stages of, [00:30:00] of grief.

So, so I was going to move away from the suicide conversation really quick, but I want it like Nikki a lot, like you, I mean, in the stages, right? Like I feel like it was this vicious circle of like, So I went through the denial stage, hard, hard core. And so like, Jay never went through that. Like, you know how, like Alissa, you said like Jamie was like, Oh no.

And you know, like your two were like, went through this process themselves of like, Oh no, you know, well, I feel like I went through that. Like I literally went to therapy and made my therapist go through like, is there any possible way I could be a lesbian? Oh, wow. Because I’m so [00:31:00] fucking in love. Hmm. That if I’m in love with a soul and I believe in heaven, How could I N and I asked God to unite our souls as one in a wedding.

How could I possibly walk away if like tomorrow my whole body gets infected with cancer and I’m about to die. Like, Does that soul in me and heaven give two fucking shits about gender and sex. Like, so anyways, so I went through this very, very, very long process of denial of not only Jay’s transgender furnace, but also like my ability to not be me.

Like I had to go through this, like, could I leave myself? To be something or someone for someone else for the sake of [00:32:00] love. Could I be in an asexual marriage? Could I be in a, so like, you know, Nikki and Alissa knew right away, like it was done. And for me, it’s like, I knew I was done, but I was in negotiation mode.

Like, okay. Well, I already had kids and I’m 40 and I’m in love with a human being. So like, I don’t know that that whole process took me eight, eight months, eight months, eight months. It was really remember, or the day that I was like, okay, I’m done trying to wrestle in my brain and therapy, whether or not.

My marriage is going to continue to be a marriage. Okay. 

Jeff Goins: Let’s come back to that. Nikki. We didn’t hear from you when you started telling 

Heidi: people, 

Nikki: how 

Jeff Goins: did that unfold? 

Nikki: I didn’t tell anyone until I told one cousin, my very close cousin. I told her [00:33:00] she knew every step of the way from, I think, pretty close to day one.

And I didn’t tell anyone because shame and guilt and shame for how long. 

Heidi: Oh, 

Nikki: gosh, I’m going to say, 

Heidi: 

Nikki: mean, I can’t think of the timeline anymore, but I’m going to say six months, 

Heidi: ish. Well, 

Nikki: well, we did tell my boss who is a doctor, because I thought you need to talk to him about what is going on. He told him everything, everything, and.

That was the first person, the second person we told. And then one of my best friends is the person who sits next to me at work. And I told her eventually I don’t, I don’t even know how long it had 

Heidi: been six 

Nikki: to eight months before I told anyone. It was just very hard to, how do you bring that up? How do you bombshell somebody?

That cause nobody has gone through it. I mean, I [00:34:00] know anyone who went through it. 

Jeff Goins: Yeah. Question for all of you. So Alissa talked about this a little bit, like Jamie started moving quickly, buying ladies clothes, that sort of thing. What did that look like? Cause you all. Went through different kinds of periods of like, how’s this gonna work?

What do we tell? Is this happening? Is this not happening? Heidi? You talked about United that eight month stretch of trying to see if you could get lesbian or have some sort of a sexual marriage. So my question is like, talk about the transition, like in 

Heidi: the home, ELIZAs 

Jeff Goins: talked about this a little bit, like.

Body changes, clothes changes, whatever else kind of changes happen while you’re still in a relationship with this person in some capacity. I’m curious what that looks like during this period was a question for everybody, Alissa, maybe I’ll start with you and ask you the question like. What was the first thing that she brought into the house.

[00:35:00] Dr. Alissa: So she knew that I was very uncomfortable with the idea that she might at the time, it was like she might be trans. 

Jeff Goins: That’s how she broke the news to you. Not like I’m a hundred percent. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah, it was, it was I’m questioning my gender. I might be a trans woman. She’s like, I’m going to start getting some, like things, you know, You know, I don’t know if you want to see.

And I was like, 

Heidi: 

Dr. Alissa: absolutely do not want to see any of it. I did see a pink loofa in the shower, uh, which seems so benign, but, you know, um, but it was like, okay, it was, it was, I mean, I’m very, like, I can see it in my brain now. Like it was so distinctly. I was like, Oh, I don’t know. And also, and we’ve talked about this, maybe just personally a little bit.

It was like, that’s what you think it means to be a woman is by a pink Lupa.

[00:36:00] I don’t judge Jamie. Cause she’s, she’s still figuring out this process of what it means for her to be a woman, you know, and in 

Heidi: some way, 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah. A lot of ways, you know, she’s just, she’s figuring out which, you know, you know, God bless her, but, but yeah, in 

Heidi: the 

Nikki: moment doing this a long time, you 

Dr. Alissa: know, it was like this really like a loofa, but yeah.

So I know there were other things and there’s a whole trash bag full of stuff that got thrown away. 

Jeff Goins: When she went, thought she was going to go back. Yeah. There’s a trash bag of stuff that when she thought she was going to go back, so she threw it all out. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah. Whole trash bag full of stuff. It was like, Holy shit.

How does it so much?

And he’s like makeup, just a bunch of stuff. Yeah. She threw it away, threw it all away. 

Jeff Goins: How did you feel when you saw the pink loofa cause it, you said it was, you know, a small thing, but it sounds [00:37:00] like, I mean, you remember it. 

Dr. Alissa: I think it was a trigger to the trauma of finding out. I think it. You know, it was like, I don’t know.

It was like a flood. Yeah. It felt flooded, flooded with emotions. 

Jeff Goins: And just for some clear on timeline, as far as you can remember, maybe you said this, but I missed it. So she threw all that stuff away and then said that she wasn’t going to do it. And how long did that cause you were, you were like, not at all.

So I last, last that 

Dr. Alissa: lasted about two weeks. 

Jeff Goins: Got it. Got it. Okay, cool. So the question is for the rest of the group, When did you start seeing things come into your life or into the life of your then spouse? I 

Heidi: can answer that question. Jeff. We’ll probably wait for him. Yeah. Yeah. 

Jeff Goins: So you have this eight month period where you guys living together.

Cause you said he okay. 

Heidi: No. So like the letter was like the conclusion of us living together. But 

Jeff Goins: you still tried to make it work at least for years, year part, see if you could find a way to stay with 

Heidi: her. [00:38:00] Yeah. And I will say that, like, she didn’t know that I was even entertaining any of that in my mind.

Like, we were completely not in a good place after the whole suicide comment. Like it was basically like, we. Or just taking care of our children, you know, as best we could co-parenting and then dealing with our own emotions. Like from that point on, we just never talked about emotions to each other, getting, so my husband moves at a snail’s pace with all things.

So, I mean, just as like a, an example, He, she didn’t realize or come to the conclusion that she was a trans woman until she was 36 years old. And so, you know, the timeline for her transitioning has also been at a snail’s [00:39:00] pace. So like 18 months later, she is not transitioned other than, you know, just a few things.

So. The first thing I saw was red fucking toenail Polish. And it sent me right back to Marlboro lights

and all the things. And so we did have to have a conversation because I was like, She was in flip flops or whatever. And I was like, you can do what, I just remember, like being in this really terrible negative place with that, I’m not in anymore. So I just wanted to clarify that, but my emotions were just very sad and seeing something like toenail Polish was very triggering, just like it was for Alissa of reminding me that my marriage was over because you know, when he would just show up and his like, Baseball cap and like, you know, dad cargo [00:40:00] shorts, it was easier to forget the truth, but you know, red toenail Polish kind of brought, forced me to go back to that moment.

I didn’t want to ever go back to again, I’ve learning. My marriage was over and then there was the day that okay. I need to clarify this for the audience. We did a nesting divorce, so we did not live together, but our children were so little that we pretended that. So my kids didn’t know we lived separately.

So every night Jay would come home and we would eat and then arm together the family. And then we would give our kids a bath. And breastfeed and sing songs and read stories and we would put them to bed. He did that for over a year. Wow. How was our children? Great. I mean, they had great for our children. I mean, you know, awkward for [00:41:00] us, but great for our children.

Sure. They, we just felt like they were too. Yeah. And so, so one day there was like a few days here or there maybe where she, she spent the night, you know, For like in a getting guest, real like, Oh, I remember why I’m sorry, my job, I have a job that makes me work night. Sometimes I’m like, wait, I have this thing called a job.

Dr. Alissa: I’m like, why would I, 

Heidi: Oh yeah, I was working and I work nights often. And so when I was working nights, she would come and have to spend the night. And that’s when I saw the bra. And it was like a training bra that had like, The silicone like to make you look like you’re bigger than you are or whatever.

And I just remember it with like the underwear. And I just remember being like, you know, I don’t know, sail on me. So I guess first was toenails. Second was the bra and underwear. And then, and then the third thing that I could add ever that I could even remember, [00:42:00] and this is kind of a, was a pivoting moment for us was the vial of estrogen and the needle.

Where 

Jeff Goins: did you see this? 

Heidi: On my children’s bathroom counter that my children were holding. My three year old was holding a, uh, well as a bag, a Ziploc bag and in the bag was a needle and estrogen because Jay had just gotten back from a trip and had their dopp kit at my house that they had left on the counter within, I guess in the stop kit was all the things, you know, Makeup and lotion and purple shave gel who needs that and the pink glue.

And so I go upstairs, like, you know, to go help my kids get to bed. And my three-year-olds like standing on the stool, like an, all the makeup and stuff is spread out all over the counter. And then they’re holding this bag of estrogen. 

Jeff Goins: Yeah. What’d you do 

[00:43:00] Heidi: freaked out. That was also not one of my best moments.

Jeff Goins: You screamed and chef, 

Heidi: it was more of like a parenting. Like I’m going to take away your parental rights because you just left a bottle of estrogen and a needle for our three year old. So I had this like terrible moment of panic and was, you know, basically like get out and we’ll talk to the lawyers about your parenting.

And then I took a breath, you know, that, that only lasted about 24 hours before I realized like, Well, yeah, I slammed my kid’s hand in the target door once, you know, or car door at target ones. And, you know, I, when they were six weeks old, they rolled off the bed and I also had some parenting mishaps that I had to remind myself of that like a human being could leave their medicine on the counter and that’s, while it’s devastating, you know, I’m not flawless.

And so, but yeah, that’s it. I mean, yeah. And now since then, there’s been so many more things, but from. Toenail Polish to estrogen [00:44:00] was like, I don’t know, 15 months or something like very slow. 

Jeff Goins: Nikki, do you want to share the first thing that you 

Heidi: saw? 

Nikki: Okay. The first thing was this gadget that he had ordered on.

EBay or something that basically suctioned into his chest to grow breasts. 

Jeff Goins: Whoa, 

Nikki: that was the first thing. Wow. I don’t know if I feel bad, but yeah, that was the first thing. And he would do it in front of me and I would be leaving for work and he would have this contraption 

Dr. Alissa: on. And your face 

Nikki: your face.

And 

Dr. Alissa: you’re like 

Nikki: go to 

Heidi: work 

Dr. Alissa: in the morning what’s happening 

Jeff Goins: on the

Dr. Alissa: couch.

Nikki: Okay. So this was my dark moment was when I would have to go to work and put on this face that nobody knew. And I would, 

Heidi: um, Stuff 

Nikki: it [00:45:00] all away and pretend it wasn’t there. That’s hard. That’s hard to think about. Yeah. I hit a lot. I hit a lot from a lot of people for a long time.

I would walk out of the room and shut the door and I was like, God forbid the kids freaking blow through the door and find this. And then we moved to this house. And I don’t know what I was thinking. At some point I was trying to be supportive and I was like, here, I have an extra sports bra. Why don’t you take it?

Cause I 

Heidi: don’t ever wear it. They gave 

Nikki: it to him, did that too. 

Heidi: They found a sports bra, but I did that also. 

Nikki: I had this box of old that was just sitting in the closet and I didn’t offer it to him, but it was there. And he did go through it. And I found like a bunch of my stuff in his shoved in his closet cubbies.

And I was like, you’re taking my clothes. And he’s like, well, you weren’t going to use, you were getting rid of those. And they were stuff that you didn’t want anymore. So I just thought that I could, and we, we ended up having a fight and he put them all [00:46:00] back.

Heidi: Thank you to Jeff points for interviewing us today. You can find Jeff on Instagram at Jeff Goins. And we just want to leave you with a beautiful poem that Jeff wrote the quiet and incredible farewell by Jeff Goins. One day, if you are lucky, you will say goodbye to all the stories you ever told about yourself, about what a woman is an a man does when all the world is, as it should be.

It is a quiet and incredible farewell. You will give to the person you once were. It is a long and slow salutation. This becoming who you are, a hello to a whole new existence that you never before imagined, [00:47:00] except perhaps in a dream. One day when you are walking by yourself in a park at midnight, you will hear the sound of an old life echoing from a past that you swear, belongs to someone else.

You will listen to a voice telling you stories of a person you no longer recognize speaking in a language. You do not understand. And then on that day, you will know, as the butterfly exits the Chrysalis as the leaves of cold November, blow by without you’re noticing that you two have changed.

Nikki: Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast is not a substitute for therapy or mental health advice. If you or someone you love is in crisis, please call one 802 seven three. Talk [00:48:00] +1 800-273-8255. You can also text the word home to seven four one seven four one to reach a trained crisis counselor. 

Jeff Goins: You’re so wise.

Dr. Alissa: Thanks. It’s 

Heidi: the trauma.

Season 1: Episode 4 – Heidi

[00:00:00] Dr. Alissa: Welcome to thanks. It’s the trauma. I’m dr. Alissa, and 

Heidi: this is a podcast 

Dr. Alissa: with my friends, Nikki and Heidi. 

Heidi: We’re connected by a unique 

Dr. Alissa: and unusual experience. And we talk about it and other traumas with honesty, booze and cussing

season one episode one intersection. 

Heidi: Hey, it’s 

Dr. Alissa: dr. Alissa and I’m here with. 

Heidi: Nikki I 

Dr. Alissa: and Heidi, 

Heidi: cheers. Margarita. It’s very good. I’m super excited for our very first episode, the inaugural season of why our lives are fucking crazy. I shouldn’t 

Dr. Alissa: know. You just keeps going. 

Heidi: Yeah. Like we shouldn’t know each other.

We shouldn’t, but I’m really glad that we do. So, 

Dr. Alissa: what are the odds? You know, what are the odds that we would find each other across state lines? 

Heidi: What are [00:01:00] the odds? 

Dr. Alissa: And not only that 

Nikki: in 

Dr. Alissa: the, in the same doctor’s office, you know, like so close and then so far. Yeah. Right. 

Heidi: So I guess we should tell everyone where we live.

Hi, I’m Heidi. I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina, staring at my zoom computer. Where dr. Alissa and Nikki are together 

Dr. Alissa: in Nashville, Tennessee 

Heidi: music city, every time we 

Nikki: didn’t know each other, but we do, 

Dr. Alissa: we do. I’m 

Heidi: glad that we do. I’m so glad that we do too, but I was thinking maybe as we kick off this podcast, we should have a code word that whenever we hear it, we’re allowed to drink.

Is that okay? Yes. I think that would be 

Dr. Alissa: acceptable.

Heidi: And maybe that’s how we let everyone know that. I think the word 

Nikki: should be Tinder 

Heidi: or hinge. I’m not on Tinder 

[00:02:00] Dr. Alissa: hinge swirl on him. 

Heidi: So jury God. Yeah, Alissa, I’m dying to know why

Dr. Alissa: it’s the mystery to you, huh? Yeah. So I guess I’ll start off with my, just a small version of my story and how it connected. The three of us. So I’m dr. Alissa and I was married to James for 

Heidi: five years 

Dr. Alissa: and we had a great marriage. It wasn’t perfect, but it was, it was a great marriage and we loved each other very much.

James had two kids from a previous marriage, and then we had a child together, but we are now no longer married and. That started for me August 4th, 2019, on my nephew’s [00:03:00] 16th birthday party, James told me, as we were sitting in the kid’s play room and the kids were running all around us, that he was questioning his gender.

And I said, well, what does that mean? And James said, I think I might be a trans woman and that is the moment that I laid on the floor to try to stop the room from spinning and yeah, and then it just continued from there. So. You know, this big reveal, I might be a trans woman, but then not really fully knowing it was like, what do you mean?

We mean, you might be a trend woman because this has never been something that has ever been discussed before. James was a very manly man. There was nothing about him that made me think that he might be a trans woman or a woman in any regard. 

Heidi: And, 

Dr. Alissa: but it had been something that he had been thinking about for a few months and really came to fruition then.

And then a couple of weeks later, [00:04:00] He came to me and said, you know what? I think that it’s wrong. Maybe it’s just some weird fetish, it’s wrong. I’m going to stay. And I was relieved and I believed it. And I told you know, anyone who knew, nevermind, don’t worry about it. James is really, really a man. It’s okay.

Hey, this is dr. Alissa interrupting this podcast episode to give a disclaimer. 

Heidi: In this episode, we talk in detail about our 

Dr. Alissa: experiences with our former spouses who are transgender. Our former spouses have given us their permission to share these parts of our story. We affirm their gender and affirm every person’s gender 

Heidi: and sexual 

Dr. Alissa: orientation.

Not every person who experiences their spouse coming out as trans will interpret it as a trauma. But that is our story. We are still growing as former spouses of trans folks. And we certainly 

Heidi: make mistakes along the way and 

Dr. Alissa: pronouns and names. We have no [00:05:00] intention of mis-gendering 

Heidi: or deadnaming. 

Dr. Alissa: There is nothing wrong with being transgender.

Their identities are valid 

Heidi: and we for all LGBTQ 

Dr. Alissa: folks now 

Heidi: back to the episode, 

Nikki: So this is Nikki and we’re all still getting to know each other. I think me and Alissa know each other. Well, I think Heidi and Alissa know each other well, and me and Heidi are still learning each other. So Alissa and Heidi, I want to know your story.

How did you two meet? 

Dr. Alissa: Well, I apparently a few days after, I don’t really fully remember this, but a few days after James told me that he might be a trans woman and was questioning his gender, I found a trans. Spouse support group was that it was what it was called. Yeah. And I made a fake Facebook account so that nobody could find out that I had joined this group.

I was terrified that somebody would find out and it would out to James and change our lives. And so I made a fake [00:06:00] account to get on there and see what other people’s experiences were. And then that’s how I found Heidi 

Heidi: done, done, done this wasn’t really, this is kind of a hard story for me to even go back and.

And kind of, you know, go through Alissa, but sort of before we get to meet, can I ask you some more questions please? About your story? Yeah. So I think in later episodes, I know in later episodes, we’re going to share all of the details of our personal stories and journeys. I want to go back to that moment of your, like James had just told you, and you’re laying on the floor and you have a doctorate in counseling.

What did you do to get off of the floor to be able to get onto Facebook, to make a fake account? Like I kind of missed that part of your. Journey cause that’s how you got to me. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah, I think, you know, part [00:07:00] of it feels like a black hole. There’s a lot of those moments. I don’t remember because I mean, really it was, it was a trauma to me.

And so, you know, my initial response was just keep going, take the next step. You know, it was shock. There’s a lot of shock. And so, you know, in the immediate it was just shock and hope that it wasn’t true. You know, some dial perhaps and, um, getting on that group was, you know, I was hoping to find other people that.

Could answer questions for me. Like, what does this mean? Did your spouses always know weren’t they like little kids and they knew that they were a girl in a boy’s body and they hated their body because those things were not true for James. So, you know, I was looking for answers and I only have vague memories really, of those early days of reaching out and trying to find them.

Heidi: Yeah, that’s [00:08:00] just so eerily similar, you know, so, Hey everybody, I’m Heidi. I have, I have two young children boys until they tell me otherwise. And I was married to Jay and all of us were actually married to Jay’s. So, but I was married to Jay and well, we had a very happy. Marriage. We were deeply, deeply in love, cruising through life.

Like I just thought, you know, I felt sorry for everybody else, honestly, because my marriage was great. I mean, Jay is one of my favorite people in the entire world, just perfect soulmate kind of match. And the way that I found my way to Alissa is because on October 21st, after about [00:09:00] nine months of my husband being in a pretty severe depression, And was typically a pretty happy and go lucky kind of guy.

He tried to commit suicide and after he. Attempted or, you know, thought about and was attempting to take his life. He opened up to me and shared with me that he was depressed and he saw a counselor and little did. I know he had sought counseling with a gender identity counselor. And my story is very similar to yours, Alissa, in the sense that Jay also did not have memories of.

Like just, it was only a recent thing. He didn’t have memories of being like a young boy that wanted to be a girl, but all of a sudden his brain was exploding. This is how he describes it. But his brain was exploding with images and thoughts of [00:10:00] being a trans woman. Just being a woman, not being trans woman, but being a woman.

And that led him down the route of suicide, which we will address extensively. I think in each one of these episodes. Wow. Well, I decided to give my husband some space and I took our kids on a level long trip. I think we were gone four to six weeks just on a road trip. And we went to Disney world and did all sorts of fun things while the meds could kick in and.

And could find some peace because at that time I just thought we were, or in the middle of, you know, a major depressive episode. And when I returned on October 21st, 2018. So you know, about 10 months earlier, then your story started Alissa. My husband handed me a letter when I got home from that trip and that letter described and he read it to me.

So he said, we need to talk those words you never want to hear. And [00:11:00] I thought, God damn it. He cheated that. Son of a bitch and the depression is all because of his guilt. And this is ridiculous that this has become my life. You know, I trusted him and he’s getting ready to open his mouth. And what I did not think was coming out of his mouth was.

I’m transgender. And I swear to you, I had never even, like, I don’t have a doctorate in counseling, like the only person I had ever heard of to use this term. Well, to actually there’s a little boy, Reiland that like, had this, you know, viral YouTube video when I was pregnant with max and then Caitlin Jenner.

And so I’m reading this letter. And I’m thinking, Oh my God, the blackout, like you said, that’s when the blackout started. I remember I did say to my husband, I love you. And God made you perfectly in his image. This was not a mistake, but I’m gonna, I need you to [00:12:00] leave before I go. Crazy. You know, I mean, like I need some space.

Well, I ended up leaving one of my really good friends who is also a doctorate in counseling drugged me. And I mean, and then it became a blur, but I, I found myself. So the way I got to this Facebook group is I found myself Googling. Transgender spouse, because I didn’t have language. I’d never heard the term cis-gender as I’m Googling, I’m reading all these things.

I, my eyes were never open to, even though my family is very liberal and very affirming, it was just an eye opener of doing is different than saying for our family. So I was learning, learning, learning as much as I could to wrap my head around this. I didn’t know what it meant for our marriage, our kids. I just, I knew I needed help.

I knew, I felt very alone. I felt humiliated. I felt embarrassed. I felt [00:13:00] shame. All these things where we could get into. And then I was also kind of blacking out, not eating, not sleeping and stuff. So I jumped on Facebook after Google. I will say Google failed me. Google was like, you mean your child is trans gender.

I’m like, Nope, Nope. I mean, my spouse is transgender and I didn’t know it. So I also found that there’s a lot of people that know their spouses, transgender and knowingly get married to someone who’s transgender. And that wasn’t my story. So I was just having a very difficult time and I typed in transgender spouse into Facebook and I was like, Oh, wonderful.

There’s a support group. And you have to answer these questions and you jump in it. Well, You know, Alissa, I don’t really remember what I posted, but it was, let’s just save, you’re listening to this podcast. You’re probably not in that, that [00:14:00] support group, because that support group was nothing. This gender heterosexual, female that were surprised that their spouse was trans.

Dr. Alissa: Very few, certainly very few, 

Heidi: very, very few. I think I put something on there. Like I feel like a widow or, and I use the male pronoun because, you know, my husband just said he’s transgender, but he hadn’t transitioned yet. So like, I don’t know a she or her, I just know, you know, at this time I just knew him.

And so anyway, long story short, I got a nice collated on this Facebook support group. It was the opposite of support. I was shamed and I was attacked for not like being all, knowing of all the correct terms. And I just was not the right place to be. This particular support group was for spouses of transgender persons who were [00:15:00] going there’s difficulties in that that are different than our difficulties.

Dr. Alissa: Well, and to be, to be fair there isn’t another one. 

Heidi: There is a way 

Dr. Alissa: for people who were unhappy with their spouse being trans, that doesn’t exist 

Heidi: today does now. Our podcast. Yeah, we have a Facebook group. Everybody, if you didn’t know, it didn’t even know we have a Facebook group and she made it the trauma.

And if this story is sounding all too familiar, please come join the hot. Wives of transgender

X, Y X wives of transgender women. 

Nikki: Um, 

Heidi: well anyway, I get annihilated in this group and then I get this text message on Facebook messenger from this [00:16:00] girl lists B and it’s like, Hey. I think we should talk offline. I think our stories like intersect and I was like, Oh, I just remember thinking, Oh God, you know, please.

So let me read you Alissa, your text message from August the ninth, five days, 

Dr. Alissa: five days after I found out that yeah, that might be 

Heidi: transgender. And let me also just take a reminder that this way, 10 long fucking months of sorrow and loneliness, loneliness, like deep, deep loneliness. I mean, you can’t just call up all your friends and be like, Hey, my husband thinks he’s transgender.

What do you think about that? I mean, so anyways, 10 months of loneliness and I get, hello, Heidi. This is lispy from the spouses of transgender people group. I created an alternate account, so [00:17:00] I don’t out my spouse on accident by people seeing the group I’m in. Right. When I read that, I was like, well, shit. I accidentally outed him to a whole bunch of people.

Okay. It says Alissa continues. So we are super early into this process. My husband has only realized over the last few weeks that he’s a trans woman, I’m devastated. And I know in my gut, I cannot do it for many reasons, mostly because I’m straight. We have a very young child together and two other young children.

That I’m a stepmom too, that I’ve been helping raise for the last five years. This is complicated to say the least, how are you handling this process? It’s so nice to find someone else in a similar situation. This is me bawling, bawling, bawling. And then I go into. I don’t believe her. This is a stalker crazy [00:18:00] person who was like coming to get me.

So I don’t respond for days. 

Dr. Alissa: How many days, how many days did 

Heidi: you make me wait, two days. Jesus. Heidi. Two days. Okay. So I waited two days and then we started chatting and then we like exchange phone numbers. And for the first time in my life, I am just kind of like. Oh, my gosh, this is amazing. I have, I have like a friend in this, so I waited several days to respond to Alissa because I thought she was like a fake, but then we started talking and sharing and it was really apparent and I stalked you on Facebook.

And then I realized, you know, this was a real person. And so we exchanged hundreds of text messages. And for the first time, I just feel. I feel like I’m going to make it right. I feel like if there’s one, one person in this world, one that’s, all I need is one I’m going to be okay. [00:19:00] And. I’m not kidding you.

Two weeks later, Alissa, she sent me a text message that says , I’m just kidding. 

Dr. Alissa: Did not. No, no. Tell me what you said. 

Heidi: Tell me what you said. 

Dr. Alissa: I said, James thinks it’s 

Heidi: actually a fetish 

Dr. Alissa: and so he’s not really transgender until I think we might be able to figure it out and work out our marriage. 

Heidi: And for everyone listening right now.

Yes, it was like, I got punched in the stomach and left for dead and I was like, well, good for you. I’m glad that your husband’s not transgender. Mine still is now. I have to go back to Google and that fucking God awful

try this again. But anyway, but 

Dr. Alissa: unfortunately for me, a couple of [00:20:00] weeks later, James realized, but really he was a transgender woman, Jamie, and started that transition at that point. 

Heidi: And then I got a text message that was like, Just kidding again.

We should be friends. We do have something in common.

it’s this weird thing, because like I had felt happy for you and sad for me. And then now I was switching back to like feeling sad for both of us and just kind of, you know, well, For me, Alissa, this launched this, you know, long distance friendship, long distance support system that I really honestly for 10 months thought was an impossibility.

And so, you know, I’m forever grateful and I’m so [00:21:00] excited now that I’m friends with Nikki too. So now. Nikki. I, I like, I sorta know a little bit of this story, but like how in the world? Spoiler alert. Nicky’s husband’s trans too. If no one else. Yeah, not yet, but like Nikki, how did your life intersect with Alissa?

Nikki: I work in a doctor’s office that Alissa goes to and, you know, she’d been a patient and we shared some more moments where I was packing wounds and things like that. Fairly gross. It’s disgusting was awesome. One day she wrote into her provider and I get every message from patients and I divvy them out to the providers.

Necessarily, and I didn’t even read hers. It just said Xanax, I think as the subject line and everyone asks for Xanax, so it to her provider and her provider actually stands right in front of me with her [00:22:00] laptop and we talk to each other and she looks at me and 

Heidi: she goes, Nikki, 

Nikki: did you read Alissa’s.

Message. And I said, no, she wants Xanax and you need to read it. So I’m read it. And I look at the provider and I say, Give her my phone number. You can put it in the message. You can tell my story. I don’t care at this point. And 

Heidi: so she 

Dr. Alissa: asking for Xanax because I was having panic attacks because of James coming out as transgender.

Nikki: Literally minutes later, I get a text message from Alissa and that begins the history of our friendship. And we, I think we met for breakfast that weekend. And Alissa was still very raw and I was 

Heidi: approaching

Nikki: divorce. We had already filed and we were going to be final in October. And this was, 

Dr. Alissa: I mean probably, probably August, probably August.

Yeah. [00:23:00] I reached out quick. 

Nikki: Yeah. 

Heidi: Yeah.

Now that you know, almost 

Nikki: everything about us. 

Heidi: Let’s hang out on social on insight. You can find us on. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast, everywhere else, including our website just thinks it’s the trauma. And if you have any questions or want to email us, we would love to get back to you. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast@gmail.com.

Nikki. I want you to back up and tell me what this part of your story that I don’t know. And that’s right. All of it. So Alissa gets to you, but like, so honestly, like we’re all pioneering, but you’re really pioneering. Cause you, you went first, I guess, and this, and so will you just share a [00:24:00] little bit about what your marriage was like and your life and how you came to discover or how you were told?

Nikki: I was also married to a James. We met when I was 21. And it was, uh, for me, I just knew it was that, you know, this is going to be the person we dated five years while I was in college. And then we got married and we were married for 18 years. Plus the five we dated and lived together. We have two teenage sons and in 2015, his story starts, and I’m not going to tell any of his side of the story because that’s his story or 

Heidi: her story.

Nikki: I am the most not correct in using the right pronouns, just so you know, we’re working 

Dr. Alissa: on it.

Nikki: I’m working on it. These two, these two are teaching me because I will always forever have my husband in my mind when I speak about him. [00:25:00] That desk, that’s where I’m at still. So there’s still things for me. 

Heidi: I think that this is an important break for our listeners as Nikki and dr.

Alissa and I speak about the past. We will speak with the pronouns, he and him and our husband. And as we move to present day, you’ll hear us shift to the pronouns of she and her or their new names, correct? Yeah.

Nikki: In February, 2016, my husband had been attending therapy for 

Heidi: quite a few months 

Nikki: and I thought it was for trauma therapy, but it ended up turning into, he.

Or learned that he was transgender and wanted to be a woman first, it was just gender dysphoria. And then it, it dived into full transgender and wanting to change. And when he told me, I thought he was going to tell me [00:26:00] he was gay and that was very cut and dry to me, 

Heidi: you know? No, we weren’t going to stay 

Nikki: together because I mean, it wasn’t, you 

Heidi: know what I mean?

It was incompatible compatible. Sure. 

Nikki: But then yeah. He told me he wanted to transition into a woman. And I don’t remember what happened after that, because I tend to forget things that are traumatic in a moment. And you guys did research. I tried to research on Google as well and find groups and support groups.

And I did join a couple of Facebook groups. And when I am in a traumatic. Overwhelmed and anxious situation. I shut off and I don’t want to know anything. I don’t want to research it. I don’t want to talk to anyone who’s going through it. I don’t want to know what’s lying in front of my path ahead of me.

I just want to kind of fold inward and just. Deal with whatever I’m dealing 

Heidi: with. 

Nikki: I do that. I find [00:27:00] myself doing that often in traumatic situations and eventually I’ll snap out of it. But my first initial reaction is to not be compliant in any way. That’s my nature. 

Heidi: Did you also reach out to your doctor for Xanax like diabetes 

Nikki: or not?

No. And I work with doctors all day long and they watched me cry my eyes out every morning and I would tell them what was well, not really. I didn’t tell anyone for a long time because I was very ashamed. And how do you tell anybody that this is going on? What are the words. What are the words for me? I don’t know.

I could imagine 50 different other reasons of why I might be getting divorced. This was never one. Yup. And I had deal breakers. My deal breaker is if you cheat on me, we’re done. I’m not gonna. There’s just no situation for me that will refer back to my childhood hood history later when we dive into that.

But no, this was [00:28:00] not on my radar. And I think all of us had that initial thing pop in our head where we didn’t sign up for this. This was not in my life plan. 

Dr. Alissa: Wasn’t in the vows. 

Nikki: And I don’t want to be with a woman. I want to be with a man. And that was. You know, and we spent two more years together where I thought he was in midlife crisis and he thought I was going to learn to love a woman, or 

Heidi: she thought I was going 

Nikki: to learn to love a woman.

And it just wasn’t happening. And then like Alissa, James went away for a work event and came back and said, you know what? I want to be a man. I, yeah, forget it. I I’ve changed. You know, it’s not me. That’s not, I’m not going to be a woman. And in seven days he came back and said, yeah, I can’t do it. I want to be a woman.

Wow. And that’s where my heart shut off. 

Heidi: I said, 

Nikki: that’s it we’re done. This is the end. 

Heidi: Yeah. 

[00:29:00] Nikki: It was a hard line instead of just a blurred line that became a hard line. And I was mad now. I was mad. That was a heart jerk around. So yeah. So from about then I would say that was in September. 2017, 2016. Maybe we stayed together a little longer.

He, she moved out in December of 2017 

Heidi: before Christmas, 

Nikki: and I moved into another house with the boys. 

Heidi: In April of

Nikki: 2018, we filed in July of 2018 and we were final by 

Heidi: October 18th. It was a whole nother year plus before your life intersected with Alissa 

Nikki: right there intersect until 2019. 

Heidi: Was there any other.

Person that no, you heard of new. Okay. Okay. Well, let me, let’s just laugh about something for a [00:30:00] minute. Cause you didn’t email Chris Jenner like I 

Dr. Alissa: did. Yeah. Did you relate?

I was like, I know 

Heidi: transgender spouse he’ll drink. I was like the whole, we should have her on 

Nikki: the podcast. 

She 

Dr. Alissa: should come on here. 

Heidi: And she needs to explain herself as to why she didn’t respond. So the deaths fail, you know, because 

Nikki: I didn’t want a million now I wasn’t going to watch any TV shows or documentaries or read any books I wasn’t doing any of it.

No, my personality is I’ll do this myself to myself. Bare down. I’ve done harder. I’ll do it myself. 

Heidi: Okay. Well, that’s just how I 

Nikki: work. 

Heidi: Well, it’s 

Nikki: not unhealthy.

That’s going to be many examples of me not being healthy [00:31:00] mentally in all of this here, I’m standing. So also my ex did become suicidal. And there was suicide ideation and he had a plan and I worked a lot of years in suicide prevention and with loss survivors of suicide. So he was smart enough or she smart enough to tell me that this was going on.

This is what she was thinking. And this is the plan that she had. And. That’s kind of, when we, um, really dove, he, she got really involved in therapy, really intense therapy. 

Heidi: Well, for everyone that’s listening, I think that you’ll hear many ways in which the three of our lives have intersected and really the ways in which our ex spouses lives have intersected, although they don’t know each other.

So we talked about like, we have this one common denominator, like we all are [00:32:00] cis-gender heterosexual women that are attracted to men and loved our husbands and have children, you know, younger children, like under the age of that are not adults, you know, 18 and under. 

Nikki: And I have an 18 year old. I have adult children now.

Heidi: Well, I mean, at the time of, at the time of learning though, like all non adult children, two of us have had spouses that had suicidal ideation or attempts to others. Have you had the intersection of trans phobia, internal transphobia where they, your spouses said yes. Uh, no. Uh, you know, yeah. Um, and so I want to share that because anyone who’s listening who needs this, we are going to address on this podcast.

You know, all of [00:33:00] these, we’re going to dig in so deep, like you’re going to know about our sex lives and our dating life and our lives and, 

Nikki: you know, trauma and anxiety. 

Heidi: Yeah. And so what we just have, everyone will, we’ll stick around for, you know, so much more of this intersecting. Like we’re just scratching the surface.

Well, now I want to share. Nikki about like how we got to know each other right then. Right. So it’s like this domino effect is going on and we hope like other we’re going to hear from other women. We just hope that. We’re going to hear from other women in our, in our like hot ex-wives club is going to grow 

Dr. Alissa: because there are other people who’ve had this experience.

And even in that group, there were women having this experience who felt like they couldn’t leave or shouldn’t leave. And who had so much shame themselves about the situation that they just felt trapped in it. And [00:34:00] so, you know, we certainly want to be a safe place for other people who are having this experience.

Nikki: I want to ask you two questions. Did you ever at any time think that you could stay? 

Dr. Alissa: No. I wanted to, I saw my therapist and I was like, I just, it feels so wrong of me to leave. And she’s a lesbian, thank God. And she looked at me and she leaned in and she said, Alissa, You are not a lesbian. And I was like, right, 

Nikki: right, right, right, right, 

Dr. Alissa: right, right, right, right.

So I knew that I could, and I felt guilty and ashamed for wanting to, you’re thinking that having a gut, knowing it wasn’t even a wanting, I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to get out of my marriage, but it was, it was a deep, deep knowing and Glennon Doyle talks about that in her books. But that knowing with the capital K and it was my knowing that this was what was right for me, was to leave.

Heidi: Well, my [00:35:00] answer is different than Alissa. So I spent, I also have a therapist who is a lesbian, who reinforced to me that I was not lesbian many times. And so I spent a lot of time in therapy, not trying to know if I was going to stay in a sexual relationship and our marriage as it. Was forever, but I did spend a lot of time contemplating whether or not I could continue to be married co-parenting partners and an asexual marriage with my best friend, because that’s who Jay is to me.

I was figuring out for about the first eight, nine, 10 months. This is like insert Alissa. Right? I was hiding behind the like, shame that I can’t share this with anyone. Well, if I just [00:36:00] stay and we kind of keep it in our little bubble. Also, my J is moving at like a snail’s pace. Okay. So we’re here, we are. 18 months later.

I am still married. I should probably disclose that. Legally. At least we don’t live together. Our children, you know, no, we’re not together and all of that kind of thing, but like there wasn’t this quick transition. And in fact, on most days I’m seeing someone who’s like, sorta looks like a guy, but like is on estrogen and like, You know, it’s just difficult.

Cause sometimes he, it has a baseball cap on and like hiking shoes and like still, you know, well, maybe not so much anymore, but for awhile afterwards, like just still looked like my hot ass husband probably before estrogen still looked like my hot ass husband. And it was like kind of hard to like, You know, make your brain switch over to like, you’re seeing one thing and hearing another thing and it’s just all sorts of confusing.

So anyway, I thought [00:37:00] about it. I said, yeah, sometimes I still kind of like, you know, negatively fantasize about not having to get divorced and being able to raise my children and a family. I don’t ever consider the possibility of like being intimate. With Jay ever again. I mean, that is like gone gun, gun, gun, gun gun, as long as they don’t.

I mean, cause now I do kind of look at them, her as, you know, a girl that I’m not a drag to do in any way. Jay, if you ever listen to this podcast, I’m so sorry I’m saying that, but so yeah, I struggle still with it because I am deeply in love. I don’t even know I’m saying that in the present tense. And as I say it, it still sounds weird, but like, I am, I deeply love the person, the soul, the human.

That Jay is. And I like, I would have never gotten divorced unless he told [00:38:00] me he was going to be a woman. Here we are. 

Dr. Alissa: That’s the thing, you know, 

Heidi: that’s the thing. Yeah. 

Dr. Alissa: I knew like James was never going to cheat on me and James was never going to leave me. Like we were going to stay married, but the, it turns out this is the thing.

Heidi: So if you’re like 21 right now, you know, I mean, there’s conversations with your fiance, you know, before you counseling, this never came up. Pre-marriage counseling, sorry, premarital counseling. This question never came up. So now Nikki, you said you stayed for two years while you know, their journey on folded kind of back and forth.

Like, did you think at any point. We’ll talk about this later on, when we addressed denial as one of the stages of grief, did you think really at any point that this was ship was going to turn around that this was just a phase? 

Nikki: Yeah. [00:39:00] I thought it was midlife crisis. I thought, instead of buying a really expensive 

Heidi: car, we were 

Nikki: going to do this instead.

Or instead of him finding a really young, hot girl in her twenties, this is what we were going to do. And so that’s also a reason. I didn’t tell anyone because. What if his mind changed halfway through this and I was going to have to be like, listen, but be like, eh, never mind. Yeah. So I just, um, it was probably the biggest secret I’ve ever kept 

Heidi: for the longest time.

I will say that right now I’m moving towards divorce. Alissa, you are already divorced because frankly it’s easier to get divorced in Tennessee than it is in North Carolina. So 

Dr. Alissa: is that, so 

Heidi: yeah, it has to, it takes a long time. It takes a long time over here and the Bible belt, but you know, I still think about things like ethical non-monogamy right?

Like, could I. Continue to be partnered with [00:40:00] someone, but then I am free to date and have sex with other, you know, people, but that we live, we’re friends and we live together and we raise our children together and we partner in co-parent. So I don’t think that that’s the way my life is going to go in any way, shape or form hints.

Nikki and Alissa have me on hinge.

Nikki: Sure. Yeah.

Heidi: All you hotties out there. Just look up Heidi and North Carolina. Okay. No, but I mean, you know, I, so, so it’s, it’s evolving for me, uh, through my therapy and my healing. So part of my permission is falling out of love. And letting go and accepting that, you know, accepting that the person that I fell in love with really no longer exists.

Dr. Alissa: So I decided to have a [00:41:00] goddess party. Uh, because have you guys seen him? Sorry, 

Heidi: the show. I’m sorry. The show. 

Dr. Alissa: It is so freaking funny. Nick, you have to watch it so on. I’m sorry, which is a hilarious show, highly recommended it’s on Netflix. There’s a woman in the show. Who gets divorced and she has a goddess party and the main character thinks it’s hilarious and we Wu and kind of hokey.

And, but then she goes, and she’s like, this is actually quite like beautiful. And I was like, after I realized I was getting a divorce, I looked at my best friend Lindsey, and I was like, you’re throwing me a goddess. So I decided to have a goddess party. And of course I invited the two only people I’ve ever met in my entire life that have been through this situation to my goddess party and Heidi.

And so then you guys, you guys, 

Heidi: you, 

Nikki: you, 

[00:42:00] Heidi: Oh my gosh, 

Dr. Alissa: that. Yeah. 

Nikki: Yeah. 

Heidi: I, I kept it as a surprise, I guess. I mean, I don’t. Yeah, but I mean, it was like this really cool thing because I landed in Nashville and I’ve Alissa, I think we were having coffee and you’re like, yeah, There’s going to be this other girl.

They are Nikki. And I’m like, there’s someone else. And then the jealousy kicks in. I’m like you have a friend right down the road. I had to buy a $500 plane to get like, this is not fair.

Dr. Alissa: So what was that like for you guys to meet each other, to meet another person who has been through this? 

Nikki: I was just waiting for the story to be similar. You know. Okay. Tell me if you’re, I think that’s the thing is I want to know everyone’s story. That’s going through this because I want to find the similar, because did I miss signs?

[00:43:00] Did I not see things that I should have seen all these years? Everyone always asks you that. Did you know, did you have a sign? Did you, did you feel like no, never showed up anywhere. And I mean, we were together over 20 years and I’m like, nah, never, 

Heidi: never. Like people, let me just give you a little thing. If you are straight and you are in love with your spouse.

No, no. You have no idea. You know, like no idea, like, no, there was not a clue. Like, no, they were 

Dr. Alissa: like, yeah, even, even my mom, even my mom was like, When I told my mom, she goes and she’s nodding. And this is something that you guys have been working on for a long time. 

Heidi: No, 

Dr. Alissa: even my own mother was like, surely you knew this, this is something you are 

Heidi: aware of.

Dr. Alissa: No, I know. I fucking wasn’t. No, 

Heidi: no. 

Nikki: Yeah, 

Heidi: totally [00:44:00] blindsided. I think we tried to also name this podcast that. But I think something that was helpful was that the people all around my J two were just as surprised as I was like every, every friend, your friends, I will say, even Jay, like I’m working on it in therapy.

It’s still very hard for me to believe, but like now I’m going to go to present tense. You know, my husband hasn’t transitioned yet, so it’s very hard for me to use the female pronoun. When they haven’t transitioned, but I will try here’s my first attempt, she, when she shares her story is very, the past is a black hole.

So if there were thoughts or feelings, they were pushed out or repressed at such a young age that they don’t even know that they. Exist or are there. And that has been one of the hardest things for me is moving [00:45:00] to trust and belief that you know, that the person and that I loved and that I love and fell in love with and had children with.

Wasn’t like lying to me for seven years. Nikki. Did you feel like James had been just lying to you for 20 years or? I felt 

Nikki: so betrayed. I felt something and I didn’t know what the word was. And then one day we went to therapy together and it was a different therapist of my choice this time. And the therapist asks, have you ever apologized Nikki for the betrayal and the look on.

My ex husband’s face. He didn’t even answer. He would just kind of stumble. Well, I, uh, uh, I kind of, uh, yeah, and, and I answered, I was like, no, no, never, but that was the first time, the word betrayal encompassed, everything that I felt because they 

Heidi: did feel betrayed. I 

Dr. Alissa: don’t like, I 

Heidi: didn’t feel bad 

Dr. Alissa: at all. And I still don’t 

[00:46:00] Heidi: feel that at all.

Dr. Alissa: I never had any anger toward Jamie for realizing who she was. And I do think that a piece of that is because of what I do is being a counselor. Having seen people who are, you know, come out in different ways. And, um, just having the knowledge that I have about what it means to have gender dysphoria. And so I think like having all of that was a gift to me to be able to.

Have compassion for Jamie. And that has served me really well as far as co-parenting well with Jamie, it, unfortunately it did not serve me well when it came to my family and they’re supportive me because they did not understand my not feeling betrayed and angry and not wanting to totally disconnect from Jamie.

Heidi: Oh, interesting. My family has been so supportive. And affirming that it’s almost made me a little mad sometimes. [00:47:00] Cause I’m like, can’t someone be angry at Jay, you know, and really, you know, everyone’s sad that I’m hurting, but they’re sad that she’s hurting. Also. And so, but I will say there’s been some days where I’m like, all right, thanks everybody.

I would just like one person to be on my side and just say, yeah, that’s really ridiculous. So as we close the season one episode one, and you’ve learned a little bit about our lives and our intersecting. It’s very important that we leave a little note for everyone. That’s listening. Just a little 11 note to say that we are all works in progress.

That we have no intention to offend. We’re trying to use the correct language to be affirmative and informing and educational and supportive and loving. And we are [00:48:00] also doing this podcast because it serves as counseling for each of us also. So we just ask anyone that’s tuning in to listen, to stick with us.

And here. So much more about the crazy twists and turns of this life and the stories and growing through it. But to give us leeway in compassion, if we use the wrong pronoun every now and then. 

Dr. Alissa: Because we are not transphobic and we are, and I was accused of that and leaving. And I don’t know if either of you were, but in not saying I was accused of being transphobic.

And so that is something that we want to make sure that we communicate is that we are affirming, you know, and if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. 

Heidi: Right. This is 

Nikki: from our point of view, we’re not going to speak their story. We’re not going to say what it was like for them, because we don’t know we weren’t in their shoes, but we know what it’s like to be in our shoes on this journey.

Heidi: So, [00:49:00] and lady except our invitations to interview them, right. Not 

Nikki: later, 

Heidi: later in this year. So dr. Alissa share, before we sign off, what are some things that listeners can expect out of season one? 

Dr. Alissa: So, what you’ll hear in the rest of this season 

Heidi: are our stories. 

Dr. Alissa: So yeah, this was an abbreviated version of our stories is really our intersection, 

Heidi: how 

Dr. Alissa: we met, how we know each other and why in this unbelievably fucked up situation.

Uh, but in our stories, we’ll go a lot deeper and we’ll also go through. How we 

Heidi: initially 

Dr. Alissa: really coped well, have a conversation about that and then what we needed permission to believe, and then where we are now, what points we’re at in each of our lives, some similar and some really different, and we’ll end there.

Kayla 

Heidi: is that you’re really Heidi. 

Dr. Alissa: You are so 

Heidi: strong. It’s [00:50:00] the trauma, Nikki. You are so sarcastic. 

Nikki: Thanks. It’s the trauma.

Heidi: It’s the drama cheering each other on and cheering you on from my Vilvas. They LA to you.

Love you girl.

Nikki: Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast is not a substitute for therapy or mental health advice. If you or someone you love is in crisis, please call one 802 seven three. Talk +1 800-273-8255. You can also text the word home to seven four one seven four one to reach a trained crisis counselor.

You’re so funny. Thanks. It’s the trauma. [00:51:00]

Season 1: Episode 3 – Nikki

[00:00:00] Dr. Alissa: Welcome to thanks. It’s the trauma. I’m dr. Alissa, and 

Heidi: this is a podcast 

Dr. Alissa: with my friends, Nikki and 

Heidi: Heidi. We’re connected by a unique 

Dr. Alissa: and unusual experience. And we talk about it and other traumas with honesty, 

Heidi: booze and cussing

Dr. Alissa: season one episode one intersection. Hey, it’s dr. Alissa and I’m here with. 

Heidi: Nikki. Hi 

Dr. Alissa: Anne. Heidi. 

Heidi: Okay. Margarita. It’s very good. I’m super excited for our very first episode, the inaugural season of why our lives are fucking crazy. I shouldn’t 

Dr. Alissa: know. He just keeps going. 

Heidi: Yeah. Like we shouldn’t know each other.

We shouldn’t, but I’m really glad that we do. So, 

Dr. Alissa: what are the odds? You know, what are the odds that we would find each other across state lines? 

Heidi: What are [00:01:00] the odds? 

Dr. Alissa: And not only that 

Nikki: in 

Dr. Alissa: the, in the same doctor’s office, you know, like so close and then so far. Yeah. Right. 

Heidi: So I guess we should tell everyone where we live.

Hi, I’m Heidi. I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina, staring at my zoom computer. Where dr. Alissa and Nikki are together 

Dr. Alissa: in Nashville, Tennessee 

Heidi: music city, every time we 

Nikki: didn’t know each other, but we do, 

Dr. Alissa: we do. I’m 

Heidi: glad that we do. I’m so glad that we do too, but I was thinking maybe as we kick off this podcast, we should have a code word that whenever we hear it, we’re allowed to drink.

Is that okay? Yes. I think that would be 

Dr. Alissa: acceptable.

Heidi: And maybe that’s how we let everyone know that. I think the word 

Nikki: should be Tinder 

Heidi: or hinge. I’m not on Tinder 

[00:02:00] Dr. Alissa: hinge swirl on him. 

Heidi: So jury God. Yeah, Alissa, I’m dying to know why

Dr. Alissa: it’s the mystery to you, huh? Yeah. So I guess I’ll start off with my, just a small version of my story and how it connected. The three of us. So I’m dr. Alissa and I was mad, married to James for 

Heidi: five years 

Dr. Alissa: and we had a great marriage. It wasn’t perfect, but it was, it was a great marriage. We loved each other very much.

James had two kids from a previous marriage, and then we had a child together, but we are now no longer married and. That started for me August 4th, 2019, on my nephew’s [00:03:00] 16th birthday party, James told me, as we were sitting in the kid’s play room and the kids were running all around us, that he was questioning his gender.

And I said, well, what does that mean? And James said, I think I might be a trans woman and that is the moment that I laid on the floor to try to stop the room from spinning and yeah, and then it just continued from there. So. You know, this big reveal, I might be a trans woman, but then not really fully knowing it was like, what do you mean?

We mean, you might be a trend woman because this has never been something that has ever been discussed before. James was a very manly man. There was nothing about him that made me think that he might be a trans woman or a woman in any regard. 

Heidi: And, 

Dr. Alissa: but it had been something that he had been thinking about for a few months and really came to fruition then.

And then a couple of weeks later, [00:04:00] He came to me and said, you know what? I think that it’s wrong. Maybe it’s just some weird fetish, it’s wrong. I’m going to stay. And I was relieved and I believed it. And I told you know, anyone who knew, nevermind, don’t worry about it. James is really, really a man. It’s okay.

Hey, this is dr. Alissa interrupting this podcast episode to give a disclaimer. In this episode, we talk in 

Heidi: detail about our 

Dr. Alissa: experiences with our former spouses who are transgender. Our former spouses have given us their permission to share these parts of our story. We affirm their gender and affirm every person’s gender 

Heidi: and sexual 

Dr. Alissa: orientation.

Not every person who experiences their spouse coming out as trans will interpret it as a trauma. But that is our story. We are still growing as former spouses of trans folks. And we certainly 

Heidi: make mistakes along the way and pronouns 

Dr. Alissa: and names. We have no [00:05:00] intention 

Heidi: of mis-gendering or deadnaming. 

Dr. Alissa: There is nothing wrong with being transgender.

Their identities are valid 

Heidi: and we for all LGBTQ 

Dr. Alissa: folks now 

Heidi: back to the episode, 

Nikki: So this is Nikki and we’re all still getting to know each other. I think me and Alissa know each other. Well, I think Heidi and Alissa know each other well, and me and Heidi are still learning each other. So Alissa and Heidi, I want to know your story.

How did you two meet? 

Dr. Alissa: Well, I apparently a few days after, I don’t really fully remember this, but a few days after James told me that he might be a trans woman and was questioning his gender, I found a trans. Spouse support group was that it was what it was called. Yeah. And I made a fake Facebook account so that nobody could find out that I had joined this group.

I was terrified that somebody would find out and it would out to James and change our lives. And so I made a fake [00:06:00] account to get on there and see what other people’s experiences were. And then that’s how I found Heidi 

Heidi: done, done, done this wasn’t really, this is kind of a hard story for me to even go back and.

And kind of, you know, go through Alissa, but sort of before we get to meet, can I ask you some more questions please? About your story? Yeah. So I think in later episodes, I know in later episodes, we’re going to share all of the details of our personal stories and journeys. I want to go back to that moment of your, like James had just told you, and you’re laying on the floor and you have a doctorate in counseling.

What did you do to get off of the floor to be able to get onto Facebook, to make a fake account? Like I kind of missed that part of your. Journey cause that’s how you got to me. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah, I think, you know, part [00:07:00] of it feels like a black hole. There’s a lot of those moments. I don’t remember because I mean, really it was, it was a trauma to me.

And so, you know, my initial response was just keep going, take the next step. You know, it was shock. There’s a lot of shock. And so, you know, in the immediate it was just shock and hope that it wasn’t true. You know, some dial perhaps and, um, getting on that group was, you know, I was hoping to find other people that.

Could answer questions for me. Like, what does this mean? Did your spouses always know weren’t they like little kids and they knew that they were a girl in a boy’s body and they hated their body because those things were not true for James. So, you know, I was looking for answers and I only have vague memories really, of those early days of reaching out and trying to find them.

Yeah, 

Heidi: that’s [00:08:00] just so eerily similar, you know, so, Hey everybody, I’m Heidi Charlotte, North Carolina. I have two young children boys until they tell me otherwise. And I was married to Jay and all of us were actually married to Jay’s. So, but I was married to Jay and well, we had a very happy. Marriage. We were deeply, deeply in love, cruising through life.

Like I just thought, you know, I felt sorry for everybody else, honestly, because my marriage was great. I mean, Jay is one of my favorite people in the entire world just perfect kind of match. And the way that I found my way to Alissa is because on October 21st, [00:09:00] After about nine months of my husband being in a pretty severe depression and was typically a pretty happy and go lucky kind of guy.

He tried to commit suicide. And after he. Attempted there, you know, thought about and was attempting to take his life. He opened up to me and shared with me that he was depressed and he saw a counselor and little did. I know he had sought counseling with a gender identity counselor. And my story is very similar to yours, Alissa, in the sense that Jay, he also did not have memories of.

Like just, it was only a recent thing. Didn’t have memories of being like a young boy that wanted to be a girl, but all of a sudden his brain was exploding. This is how he describes it. But his brain was exploding with images [00:10:00] and thoughts of being a trans woman. Just being a woman, not being a trans woman, but being a woman.

And that led him down the route of suicide, which we will address extensively. I think in each one of these episodes. Wow. Well, I decided to give my husband some space and I took our kids on a lot long trip. I think we were gone four to six weeks just on a road trip and we went to Disney world and did all sorts of fun things while the meds could kick in and.

And could find some peace because at that time I just thought we were we’re in the middle of, you know, a major depressive episode. And when I returned on October 21st, 2018. So you know, about 10 months earlier, then your story started Alissa. My husband handed me a letter when I got home from that trip and that letter described and he read it to me.

So he said, we need to talk those words you never [00:11:00] want to hear. And I thought, yeah, God dammit. He cheated. Son of a bitch and the depression is all because of his guilt. And this is ridiculous that this has become my life. You know, I trusted him and he’s getting ready to open his mouth. And what I did not think was coming out of his mouth was.

I’m transgender. And I swear to you, I had never even, like, I don’t have a doctorate in counseling, like the only person I had ever heard of to use this term. Well, to actually there’s a little boy, Reiland that like, had this, you know, viral YouTube video when I was pregnant with max and then Caitlin Jenner.

And so I’m reading this letter. And I’m thinking, Oh my God, the blackout, like you said, that’s when the blackout started. I remember I did say to my husband, I spend, I love you. And God made you perfectly in his image. This was not a mistake, [00:12:00] but I’m gonna need you to leave before I go crazy. You know, I mean, like I need some space.

Well, I ended up leaving. One of my really good friends who is also a doctorate in counseling drugged me. Yeah. I mean, and then it became a blog, but I found myself, so the way I got to this Facebook group is I found myself Googling transgender spouse because I didn’t have language. I’d never heard the term.

Cis-gender. As I’m Googling, I’m reading all these things. I, my eyes were never open to, even though my family is very liberal and very affirming, it was just an eye opener of doing is different than saying for our family. So I was learning, learning, learning as much because I could to wrap my head around this.

I didn’t know what it meant for our marriage, our kids. I just knew I needed help. I knew, I felt very alone. I felt humiliated. [00:13:00] I felt embarrassed. I felt shame. All these things where we could get into. And then I was also kind of blacking out, not eating, not sleeping. And so I jumped on Facebook after Google.

I will say Google failed me. Google was like, you mean your child? It’s transgender. I’m like, Nope, Nope. I mean, my spouse is transgender and I didn’t know it. So I also found that there’s a lot of people that know their spouses, transgender and knowingly get married to someone who’s transgender. And that wasn’t my story.

So I was just having a very difficult time and I typed in transgender spouse into Facebook and I was like, Oh, wonderful. There’s a support group. And you have to answer these questions and you jump in it. Well, You know, Alissa, I don’t really remember what I posted, but it was, let’s just save, you’re listening to this podcast.

You’re probably not [00:14:00] in that, that support group, because that support group was nothing, not this gender heterosexual, well, females that were surprised that their spouse was trans. 

Dr. Alissa: Very few, certainly very few, 

Heidi: very, very few. I think I put something on there. Like I feel like a widow or an, I use the male pronoun because, you know, my husband just said he’s transgender, but he hadn’t transitioned yet.

So like, I don’t know a she or her, I just know, you know, at this time I just knew him. And so anyway, long story short, I got a nice collated on this Facebook support group. It was the opposite of support. I was shamed and I was attacked for not like being all, knowing of all the correct terms. And I just was not the right place to be.

This particular support group was for spouses of transgender [00:15:00] persons who were going there’s difficulties in that that are different than our difficulties. Well, 

Dr. Alissa: and to be, to be fair there isn’t another one. 

Heidi: There is a way 

Dr. Alissa: for people who were unhappy with their spouse being trans, that doesn’t exist 

Heidi: today does now.

Our podcast. Yeah, we have a Facebook group. Everybody, if you didn’t know it, I will didn’t even know we have a Facebook group and she made it.

And if this story is sounding all too familiar, please come join the hot. Wives of transgender

ex wives ex-wives of transgender women. Um, well anyway, I get annihilated in this group and then I get this text message on Facebook [00:16:00] messenger from this girl list B and it’s like, Hey, I think we should talk offline. I think our stories like in our sec, and I was like, Oh, I just remember thinking, Oh God, you know, please.

So let me read you Alissa, your text message from August the ninth, 20 days, 

Dr. Alissa: five days after I found out that yeah, that might be transgender. 

Heidi: And let me also just take a reminder that this was 10 long fucking months of sorrow and loneliness, loneliness, like deep, deep loneliness. I mean, you can’t just call up all your friends and be like, Hey, my husband’s thinks he’s transgender, but do you think about that?

I mean, so anyways, 10 months of loneliness and I get, hello, Heidi. This is lispy from the thousands of transgender people group. I created, I [00:17:00] did an alternate account, so I don’t out my spouse on accident by people seeing the group I’m in. Right. When I read that, I was like, well, shit, I accidentally outed him to a whole bunch of people.

Okay. It says Alissa continues. So we are super early into this process. My husband has only realized over the last few weeks that he’s a trans woman, I’m devastated. And I know in my gut, I cannot do it for many reasons, mostly because I’m straight. We have a very young child together and two other young children.

That I’m a stepmom too, that I’ve been helping raise for the last five years. This is complicated to say the least, how are you handling this process? It’s so nice to find someone else in a similar situation. This is me bawling, bawling, bawling. And then I go into. I don’t believe her. This is a [00:18:00] stalker crazy person, but it was like coming to get me.

I don’t respond for days. 

Dr. Alissa: How many days, how many days did you 

Heidi: make me wait, two days. Jesus. Heidi. Two days. Okay. So I waited two days and then we started chatting and then we like exchange phone numbers. And for the first time in my life, I am just kind of like. Oh, my gosh, this is amazing. I have, I have like a friend in this, so I waited several days to respond to Alissa because I thought she was like a fake, but then we started talking and sharing and it was really apparent and I stalked you on Facebook.

And then I realized, you know, this was a real person. And so we exchanged hundreds of text messages. And for the first time, I just feel. I feel like I’m going to make it right. I feel like if there’s one, one person in this world, one that’s, all I need is one [00:19:00] I’m going to be okay. And. I’m not kidding you.

Two weeks later, Alissa, she sent me a text message that says , I’m just kidding. 

Dr. Alissa: I did not. No, no. 

Heidi: Tell me what you said. Tell me what you 

Dr. Alissa: said. I said, James thinks it’s actually 

Heidi: a fetish 

Dr. Alissa: and so he’s not really transgender until I think we might be able to figure it out and work out our 

Heidi: marriage. And for everyone listening right now.

Yes, it was like, I got punched in the stomach and left for dead and I was like, well, good for you. I’m glad that your husband’s not transgender. Mine still is now. I have to go back to Google and that fucking got off.

Try this again, but anyway, but 

Dr. Alissa: unfortunately for [00:20:00] me, a couple of weeks later, James realized, but really he was a transgender woman, Jamie, and started that transition at that point. 

Heidi: And then I got a text message that was like, Just kidding again.

We should be friends. We do have something in common.

it’s this weird thing, because like I had felt happy for you and sad for me. And then now I was switching back to like feeling sad for both of us and just kind of, you know, well, For me, Alissa, this launched this, you know, long distance friendship, long distance support system that I really honestly for 10 months thought was an impossibility.

And so, you know, I’m forever grateful [00:21:00] and I’m so excited now that I’m free. Nikki do now. Nikki. I, I like, I sorta know a little bit of this story, but like how in the world? Spoiler alert. Nicky’s husband’s trans too. If no one else. Yeah, not yet, but like Nicki, how did your life intersect with Alissa? 

Nikki: I work in a doctor’s office that Alissa those two and, you know, she’d been a patient and we shared some yeah.

Moments where I was packing wounds and things like that. Fairly gross. It’s disgusting was awesome. One day she wrote into her provider and I get every message from patients and I divvy them out to the providers as necessary. And I didn’t even read hers. It just said Xanax, I think as the subject line and everyone asks for Xanax.

So I just gave it to her provider and her provider actually stands right in [00:22:00] front of me with her laptop and we talk to each other and she looks at me and she goes, Nikki, did you read Alissa’s. Message. And I said, no, she wants Xanax. You need to read it. So I read it and I look at the provider and I say, give her my phone number.

You can put it in the message. You can tell my story. I don’t care at this point. And I 

Dr. Alissa: was asking for Xanax because I was having panic attacks because of James coming out as transgender. 

Nikki: Literally minutes later, I get a text message from Alissa and that begins the history of our friendship. And we, I think we met for breakfast 

Heidi: that weekend 

Nikki: and Alissa was still very raw and I was 

Heidi: approaching

Nikki: divorce.

We had already filed and we were going to be final in October. And this was when was this? 

Dr. Alissa: I mean probably, probably August. [00:23:00] Probably August. Yeah. 

Heidi: 

Dr. Alissa: reached out quick. 

Nikki: Yeah. 

Heidi: Yeah.

Well, now that you know, own most everything about us. Let’s hang out on social on insight. You can find us on. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast, everywhere else, including our website just thinks it’s the trauma. And if you have any questions or want to email us, we would love to get back to you. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast@gmail.com.

Nikki. I want you to back up and tell me what this part of your story that I don’t know. And that’s right. All of it. So Alissa gets to you, but like, so honestly, like we’re all pioneering, but you’re really pioneering. Cause you, you went first, I guess, and this, and so [00:24:00] will you just share a little bit about what your marriage was like and your life and how you came to discover or how you were told?

Nikki: I was also married to a James. We met when I was 21. And it was, uh, for me, I just knew it was that, you know, this is going to be the person we dated five years while I was in college. And then we got married and we were married for 18 years. Plus the five we dated and lived together. We have two teenage sons and in 2015, his story starts, and I’m not going to tell any of his side of the story because that’s his story 

Heidi: or her story.

Nikki: I am the most not correct in using the right pronouns, just so you 

Heidi: know, we’re working on 

Nikki: it. I’m working on it. These two, these two are teaching me. Oh, I will always forever have my husband in my mind when I speak [00:25:00] about him. 

Heidi: That’s yes.

Nikki: That’s where I’m at still. So there’s still things for me. 

Heidi: I think that this is an important break for our listeners as Nikki and dr.

Alissa and I speak about the past. We will speak with the pronouns, he and him and our husband. And as we move to present day, you’ll hear us shift to the pronouns of she and her or their new names, correct? Yeah.

Nikki: In February, 2016, my husband had been attending therapy for quite a few months and I thought it was for trauma therapy, but it ended up turning into, he.

Or learned that he was transgender and wanted to be a woman first, it was just gender dysphoria. And then it, it dived into full transgender and wanting to change. And when he told me, I [00:26:00] thought he was going to tell me he was gay and that was very cut and dry to me, you know? No, 

Heidi: we weren’t going 

Nikki: to stay together because I mean, it wasn’t, you 

Heidi: know what I mean?

It was incompatible 

Nikki: compatible.

Heidi: Sure. 

Nikki: But then. He told me he wanted to transition into a woman. And I don’t remember what happened after that, because I tend to forget 

Heidi: things 

Nikki: that are traumatic in a moment. And you guys did research. I tried to research on Google as well and find groups and support groups.

And I did join a couple of Facebook groups. And when I, I am in a dramatic. Overwhelmed and anxious situation. I shut off and I don’t want to know anything. 

Heidi: I don’t want 

Nikki: to research it. I don’t want to talk to anyone who’s going through it. I don’t want to know what’s lying in front of my path ahead of me.

I just want to kind of fold inward and just. Deal with whatever 

Heidi: I’m dealing with. 

Nikki: I do [00:27:00] that. I find myself doing that often in traumatic situations and, uh, eventually I’ll snap out of it. But my first initial reaction is to not be compliance in any way. That’s my nature. 

Heidi: Did you also reach out to your doctor for Xanax?

Like, 

Nikki: or not? No. And I work with doctors all day long and they watched me cry my eyes out every morning and I would tell them what was, well, not really. I didn’t tell anyone for a long time because I was very ashamed. And how do you tell anybody that this is going on? What are the words. What are the words for me?

I don’t know. I could imagine different other reasons of why I might be getting divorced. This was never one. Yup. And I had deal breakers. My deal breaker is if you cheat on me, we’re done. I’m not gonna. There’s just no situation for me that will refer back to my childhood hood history later when we dive into that.

[00:28:00] But no, this was not on my radar. And I think all of us had that initial thing pop in our head where we didn’t sign up for this. This was not in my life plan. 

Dr. Alissa: Wasn’t in the vows. 

Nikki: And I don’t want to be with a woman. I want to be with a man. And that was. You know, and we spent two more years together where I thought he was in midlife crisis and he thought I was going to learn to love a woman, or I was going to learn to love a woman and it just wasn’t happening.

And then like Alissa, James went away for a work event and came back and said, you know what? I want to be a man. I, yeah, forget it. I I’ve changed. You know, it’s not me. That’s not, I’m not going to be a woman. And in seven days he came back and said, yeah, I can’t do it. 

Heidi: I want to be a woman. Wow. 

Nikki: And that’s where my heart shut off.

I said, that’s it we’re done. This [00:29:00] is the end. 

Heidi: Yeah. 

Nikki: It was a hard line instead of just a blurred line. It became a hard line and I was mad now. I was mad. That was a heart jerk around. 

Heidi: So 

Nikki: yeah. So from about then I would say that was in 

Heidi: September. 

Nikki: 2017, 2016. Maybe we stayed together a little longer. 

Heidi: He, 

Nikki: she moved out in December of 2017 

Heidi: before Christmas, 

Nikki: and I moved into another house with the boys.

Heidi: In April of

Nikki: 2018, we filed in July of 2018. And when we were final by 

Heidi: October 18th, it was a whole nother year plus before your life intersected with Alissa 

Nikki: right there intersect until 2019. 

Heidi: Was there any other. Person 

Nikki: that no, 

Heidi: you heard of new. Okay. Okay. Well, let me, [00:30:00] let’s just laugh about something for a minute.

Cause you didn’t email Chris Jenner like I did. 

Dr. Alissa: Did you relate?

Nikki: 

Dr. Alissa: was like, I know 

Heidi: one transgender spouse.

I was like in the whole, we should have her on the podcast. 

Dr. Alissa: She should come on here. 

Heidi: And she needs to explain herself as to why she didn’t respond to the deaths here, bail, you know, because 

Nikki: we didn’t, I didn’t want a million now. I wasn’t going to watch any TV shows or 

Heidi: documentaries

Nikki: or read any books I wasn’t doing any of it.

No, my personality is I’ll do this myself, do it myself. I’ve done harder. I’ll do it myself. 

Heidi: Well, that’s just how I work. Well, it’s 

Nikki: not healthy.

Examples of me [00:31:00] not being healthy mentally in all of this I’m standing. So also my ex did become suicidal. And there was suicide ideation and he had a plan and I worked a lot of years in suicide prevention and with loss survivors of suicide. So he was smart enough or G smart enough to tell me that this was going on.

This is what she was thinking. And this is the plan that she had. And. That’s kind of, when we, um, really dove, he, she got really involved in therapy, really intense therapy. 

Heidi: Well, for everyone that’s listening, I think that you’ll hear many ways in which. The three of our lives have intersected and really the ways in which our ex spouses lives have intersected.

So they don’t know each other. So we talked about like, we have this one common denominator, [00:32:00] like we all are cis-gender heterosexual women that are attracted to men and loved our husbands and have children. You know, younger children, like under the age of that are not adults, you know, 18 and under. And 

Nikki: you know, I have an 18 year old.

Gotcha. 

Heidi: No, I mean, at the time of, at the time of learning though, like all non adult children, two of us. Have had spouses that had suicidal ideation or attempts to others. Have you had the intersection of trans phobia, internal transphobia where they, your spouses said yes. Uh, no. Uh, you know, um, and so I want to share that because anyone who’s listening who needs this, we are going to address on this podcast.

[00:33:00] You know, all of these, we’re going to dig in so deep, like you’re going to know about our sex lives and our dating lives and our Xanax lives and, you know, 

Nikki: trauma and anxiety. 

Heidi: Yeah. So what, we just have everyone we’ll, we’ll stick around for, you know, So much more of this intersecting, like we’re just scratching the surface.

Well, now I want to share Nikki about like how we got to know each other right then. Right. So it’s like this domino effect is going on and we hope that like other we’re going to hear from other women, we just hope that. We’re going to hear from other women in our, in our like hot ex wives club is gonna grow.

There are other 

Dr. Alissa: people who’ve had the same experience. And even in that group, there were women having this experience who felt like they couldn’t leave or shouldn’t leave. And who had so much shame themselves about the situation that they [00:34:00] just felt trapped in it. And so, you know, we certainly want to be a safe place for other people who are having this experience.

Nikki: I want to ask you two questions. Did you ever at any time think that you could stay? 

Dr. Alissa: No. I wanted to, I saw my therapist and I was like, I just, it feels so wrong of me to leave. And she’s a lesbian, thank God. And she looked at me and she leaned in and she said, 

Heidi: Alissa, 

Dr. Alissa: You are not a lesbian. And I was like, right, 

Nikki: right, right, right, right, right, right, 

Dr. Alissa: right, right.

So I knew that I could, and I felt guilty and ashamed for wanting to, you’re thinking that having a gut, knowing wasn’t even a wanting, I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to get out of my marriage, but it was, it was a deep, deep knowing and Glennon Doyle talks about that in her books. But that knowing with a capital K and it was my knowing that this was what was right for me, was [00:35:00] to leave.

Heidi: Well, my answer is different than Alissa. So I spent, I also have a therapist who is a lesbian, who reinforced to me that I was not lesbian many times. And so I spent a lot of time in therapy, not trying to know if I was going to stay in a sexual relationship and our marriage as it. Was forever, but I did spend a lot of time contemplating whether or not I could continue to be married co-parenting partners and an asexual marriage with my best friend, because that’s who Jay is to me.

I was figuring out for about the first eight, nine, 10 months. This is like insert Alissa. Right? I was hiding behind the like, shame that I can’t share this with [00:36:00] anyone. Well, if I just stay and we kind of keep it in our little bubble. Also, my J is moving at like a snail’s pace. Okay. So we’re here, we are. 18 months later.

I am still married. I should probably disclose that. Legally. At least we don’t live together. Our children, you know, no, we’re not together and all of that kind of thing, but like there wasn’t this quick transition. And in fact, on most days I’m seeing someone who’s like, sorta looks like a guy, but like is on estrogen and like, You know, it’s just difficult.

Cause sometimes he, it has a baseball cap on and like hiking shoes and like still, you know, well, maybe not so much anymore, but for awhile afterwards, like just still looked like my hot ass husband probably before estrogen still look like my hot ass husband. And it was like kind of hard to like, You know, make your brain switch over to like, you’re seeing one thing and hearing another thing and it’s just all sorts of confusing.

[00:37:00] So anyway, I thought about it. I sometimes I still kind of like, you know, negatively fantasize about not having to get divorced and being able to raise my children and a family. I don’t ever consider the possibility of like being intimate with Jay ever again. I mean, that is like, so gone, gone, gone, but as long as they don’t, I mean, cause now I do kind of look at them.

Her as, you know, a girl that I’m not a drug to do. And any way, Jay, if you ever listened to this podcast, I’m so sorry I’m saying that, but so yeah, I struggle still with it because I am deeply in love. I don’t even know I’m saying that in the present tense, and as I say it, it still sounds weird, but like I am, I deeply love the person, the soul, the human.

That Jay is. And I like, I would have never gotten divorced [00:38:00] unless he told me he was going to be a woman. So here we are. 

Dr. Alissa: That’s the thing, you know, 

Heidi: that’s the thing. Yeah. 

Dr. Alissa: I knew like James was never gonna cheat on me. James was never going to leave me, like we were going to stay married, but the, it turns out this is the thing.

Heidi: So if you’re like 21 right now, you know, I mean, it’s conversations with your fiance, you know, before you and me counseling, this never came up. Pre-marriage counseling. Sorry, premarital counseling. This question never came up. So now Nikki, you said you stayed for two years while you know, their journey on folded kind of back and forth.

Like, did you think at any point. We’ll talk about this later on, when we addressed Nial as one of the stages of grief, did you think really at any point that this was ship was going to turn around that this was [00:39:00] just a phase? 

Nikki: Yeah. I thought it was midlife crisis. I thought, instead of buying a really expensive 

Heidi: car, we were going to do 

Nikki: this instead.

Or instead of him finding a really young, hot girl in her twenties, this is what we were going to do. And so that’s also a reason. I didn’t tell anyone because. What if his mind changed halfway through this, and I was going to have to be like, listen and be like, eh, never mind. 

Heidi: Right. 

Nikki: So I just, um, it was probably the biggest secret I’ve ever kept 

Heidi: for the longest time.

I will say that right now I’m moving towards divorce. Alissa, you are already divorced because frankly it’s easier to get divorced in Tennessee than it is in North Carolina. So is that, so yeah, it is, it takes a long time. It takes a long time over here in the Bible belt, but you know, I still think about things like ethical non-monogamy right?

Like, could I. Continue to [00:40:00] be partnered with someone, but then I am free to date and have sex with other, you know, people, but that we live, we’re friends and we live together and we raise our children together and we partner in co-parent. So I don’t think that that’s the way my life is going to go in any way, shape or form hints.

Nikki and Alissa have me on hinge.

Nikki: Yeah. 

Heidi: All you hotties out there. Just look up Heidi and North Carolina, right? No, but I mean, you know, I, so, so it’s, it’s evolving for me, uh, through my therapy and my healing. So part of my permission is falling out of love. And letting go and accepting that, you know, accepting that the person that I fell in love with really no longer exists.

[00:41:00] Dr. Alissa: So I decided to have a goddess party. Uh, because have you guys seen, I’m sorry, the show. I’m 

Heidi: sorry. Show

Dr. Alissa: it is so freaking funny. Nick, you have to watch it so on. I’m sorry, which is a hilarious show, highly recommend it’s on Netflix. There’s a woman in the show. Who gets divorced and she has a goddess party and the main character thinks it’s hilarious and we Wu and kind of hokey.

And, but then she goes, and she’s like, this is actually quite beautiful. And I was like, after I realized I was getting a divorce, I looked at my best friend Lindsey, and I was like, you’re throwing 

Heidi: me a goddess party. 

Dr. Alissa: So I decided to have a goddess party. And of course I invited the two only people I’ve ever met in my entire life that have been through this situation to my goddess party and Heidi.

And so then you guys, you guys are there. 

[00:42:00] Nikki: You,

Heidi: you, Oh my gosh. Yeah. 

Nikki: Yeah. 

Heidi: I kept it as a surprise, I guess. I mean, yeah, but I mean, it was like this really cool thing because I landed in Nashville and I’ve Alissa, I think we were having coffee and you’re like, yeah, There’s going to be this other girl. They are Nikki.

And I’m like, there’s someone else like, and then the jealousy kicks in. I’m like you have a friend right down the road. I had to buy a $500 plane to get like this.

Dr. Alissa: So what was that like for you guys to meet each other, to meet another person who has been through this 

Nikki: and was just waiting for the story to be similar. You know. Okay. Tell me if you’re, I think that’s the thing is I want to know everyone’s story. That’s going through this because I want to find the similar, because [00:43:00] did I miss signs?

Did I not see things that I should have seen all these years? Everyone always asks you that. Did you know, did you have a sign? Did you, did you feel like 

Heidi: no, it’s 

Nikki: never showed up anywhere. I mean, we were together over 20 years and I’m like, nah, never, never. 

Heidi: Well, like people, let me just give you a little thing.

If you are straight and you are in love with your spouse. No, no. You have no idea. You know, like no idea, like, no, there was not a clue, 

Nikki: like 

Heidi: bedroom. No, they were 

Dr. Alissa: like, yeah. Even, even my mom, even my mom was like, When I told my mom, she goes and she’s nodding. And this is something that you guys have been working on for a long time.

Heidi: No, even 

Dr. Alissa: my own mother was like, surely you knew this, this is something you are 

Heidi: aware of. No, I 

Dr. Alissa: know. I fucking wasn’t. 

Heidi: No, no. 

Nikki: Yeah, 

[00:44:00] Heidi: totally blindsided. I think we tried to also name this podcast that. But I think something that was helpful was that the people all around my J two were just as surprised as I was like every day, every friend, your friends, I will say, even Jay, like I’m working on it in therapy.

It’s still very hard for me to believe, but like now I’m going to go to present tense. You know, my husband hasn’t transitioned yet, so it’s very hard for me to use the female pronoun. When they haven’t transitioned, but I will try here’s my first attempt, she, when she shares her story is very, the past is a black hole.

So if there were thoughts or feelings, they were pushed down or repressed at such a young age that they don’t even know that they. Exist or are there. And that has been one of the hardest [00:45:00] things for me is moving to trust and belief that you know, that the person and that I loved and that I love and fell in love with and had children with.

Wasn’t like lying to me for seven years. Nikki. Did you feel like James had been just lying to you for 20 years or? I felt so 

Nikki: betrayed. I felt something and I didn’t know what the word was. And then one day we went to therapy together and it was a different therapist of my choice this time. And the therapist asks, have you ever apologized Nikki for the betrayal 

Heidi: and 

Nikki: the look on.

My ex husband’s face. He didn’t even answer. He would just kind of stumbled, uh, uh, uh, I kind of, uh, yeah, and I answered, I was like, no, no, never, but that was the first time, the word betrayal encompassed, everything that I felt because they 

Heidi: did feel betrayed. I 

Dr. Alissa: don’t like, I didn’t feel that at [00:46:00] all. And I still don’t feel that at all.

I never had any anger toward Jamie for realizing who she was. And I do think that a piece of that is because of what I do is being a counselor. Having seen people who are, you know, come out in different ways. And, um, just having the knowledge that I 

Heidi: have 

Dr. Alissa: about what it means to have 

Heidi: gender dysphoria. 

Dr. Alissa: And so I think like having all of that was gift to me to be able to.

Have compassion for Jamie. And that has served me really well as far as co-parenting well with Jamie, it, unfortunately it did not serve me well when it came to my family and they’re supportive me because they did not understand my not feeling betrayed and angry and not wanting to totally disconnect from Jamie.

Heidi: Interesting. My family has been so supportive. And affirming that it’s almost made me a little [00:47:00] mad sometimes. Cause I’m like, can’t someone be angry at Jay, you know, and really, you know, everyone’s sad that I’m hurting, but they’re sad that she’s hurting. Also. And so, but I will say there’s been some days where I’m like, all right, thanks everybody.

I would just like one person to be on my side and just say, yeah, that’s really ridiculous. So as we close the season one episode one, and you’ve learned a little bit about our lives and our intersecting. It’s very important that we leave a little note for everyone. That’s listening. Just a little 11 note to say that we are all works in progress.

That we have no intention and to offend, we’re trying to use the correct language to be affirmative and informing and educational and supportive and loving. [00:48:00] And we are also doing this podcast because it serves as counseling for each of us also. So we just ask anyone that’s tuning in to listen, to stick with us.

And here. So much more about the crazy twists and turns of this life and the stories and growing through it. But to give us leeway in compassion, if we use the wrong pronoun every now and then. 

Dr. Alissa: Because we are not transphobic and we are, and I was accused of that and leaving. And I don’t know if either of you were, but in not stay, I was accused of being transphobic.

And so that is something that we want to make sure that we communicate is that we are affirming, you know, and if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. 

Heidi: Right. 

Nikki: This is from our point of view, we’re not going to speak their story. We’re not going to say what it was like for them, because we don’t know we weren’t in their shoes, but we know what it’s like to be in our shoes on 

[00:49:00] Heidi: this journey.

So they accept our invitation to interview them right later, later in this year. So dr. Alissa share, before we sign off, what are some things that listeners can expect out of season one? 

Dr. Alissa: So, what you’ll hear in the rest of this season are 

Heidi: our stories. 

Dr. Alissa: So this was an abbreviated version of our stories is really our intersection, how we met, how we know each other and why in this unbelievably fucked up situation.

Uh, but in our stories, we’ll go a lot deeper and we’ll also go through. How we initially really coped well, have a conversation about that, and then what we needed permission to believe, and then where we are now, what points we’re at in each of our lives, some similar in some really different and we’ll end there.

Heidi: Gail is that you’re really Heidi. 

Dr. Alissa: You are so 

[00:50:00] Heidi: strong. It’s the trauma. Nikki, you are so sarcastic. 

Nikki: They it’s the trauma.

Heidi: The drama, cheering each other on and cheering you on 

Nikki: from my 

Heidi: Vilvas day. Last to you.

Love you girl.

Nikki: Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast is not a substitute for therapy or mental health advice. If you or someone you love is in crisis, please call one 802 seven three. Talk +1 800-273-8255. You can also text the word home to seven four one seven four one to reach a trained crisis counselor.

You’re so funny. Thanks. It’s the trauma. [00:51:00]

Season 1: Episode 2 – Dr. Alissa

[00:00:00] Dr. Alissa: Welcome to thanks. It’s the trauma. I’m dr. Alissa, and this is a podcast with my friends, Mickey and Heidi. We’re connected by a unique and unusual experience. And we talk about it and other traumas with honesty, booze, cuss words, season one, episode two, Alissa. Welcome to thanks. It’s the trauma podcast.

Heidi: Alright, Alissa, we’re so excited to hear your story this morning and it’s Alyssa tells all, so let’s get started. Alissa. I know that everyone that listened to episode one, and if you’re just tuning in we’re aligned, this is going to be very confusing. Start at the beginning. So if you’re joining us for episode two, Then, you know, that Alyssa is about to take us on a journey and tell us her story of finding out that her spouse is transgender.

And so before we get into like that bomb drop Alissa, [00:01:00] why don’t you just walk us through or share with us a little bit of who you are and your background and kind of what led you to that moment? I really don’t even know where to start. Where were you born? I was born in bucks, County, Pennsylvania, and really, we can start before that because I was, we can go back to my conception.

Dr. Alissa: I was conceived in a Petri dish with a sperm donor. It was one of the very early IVF kids. And I wouldn’t find that out though until I was 15, but that’s how I was conceived. And that definitely impacts my story and the way that I, the lens that I see things through. Well, this is interesting because we’re actually recording on infertility awareness.

Heidi: So, um, I am so curious about, I know it’s timely, but I [00:02:00] really thought you were about to tell me you remembered your con, like you had a concussion or something. And I was like, I have a lot to learn. And there’s like, no. So your mom was, was she married or was she a single woman? She was married to a man named Keith and they were young.

Dr. Alissa: My mom was, my mom was I think 24 when she decided, or was when I was conceived and she was married to Keith who could not have children. That’s a very young to go through the IVF process. Do you know any. Like, do you know anything more about that story? Like did they talk for a long time or multiple? No.

So Keith was not always the most forthcoming person. He had had some kind of medical. Incident happened when he was very young, that meant that he was infertile. And he knew that [00:03:00] prior to getting married to my mom, but did not tell her that information until after they were married. And she was devastated because the only thing she ever wanted was to be a mom.

So after some time after they got married, I don’t know how he told her or how, how that came about that information came out. But then she just became very. Determined to have a child. And so somehow found out about this experimental program, temple university in Philadelphia and was free and she went and one time and she was pregnant with me.

Heidi: Wow. Okay. So you said you found out when you were 15, but before we get to that, what was your childhood like? 

Dr. Alissa: My childhood was confusing, sometimes lonely, and then sometimes feeling loved. So Keith was emotionally abusive. Occasionally [00:04:00] physically abusive to my mom. And so I grew up with them married together until, until I was, I think, nine or so my mom decided to divorce him and then I would go back and forth between the two houses, but mostly living with my mom.

And so living with Keith was frightening. It was hard. I, I, but I didn’t know for many, many years that the things he was doing or abusive, I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t have called it that, you know, she just knew he was unpredictable and frightening, but, but yeah, it was abusive. But then my mom could be really loving and warm and I would spend a lot of time with my grandmother who was the most.

Maternal person ever. They were in light spots in there too, but most of the hard, I didn’t even have words for. So it wasn’t even like I talked to anybody about any of it. Now you’re using the name, Keith and not dad. Tell me why that is. [00:05:00] Well, a couple of reasons, one he’s not my biological father, thankfully, and two, like he never was.

I mean, I called him dad for a number of years, but he wasn’t ever a good dad. He was, he was not, he was not a good day. Yeah. I was 17. I completely cut off that relationship. One of the things we’re going to talk about a lot in this podcast is namesake and like the importance of names. And so I just wanted to kind of hear from you on making the decision to choose a name rather than an affectionate name, like dad.

Heidi: So now tell me, how did you find out when you were 15? What happened. 

Dr. Alissa: Well, that was Keith also. So sitting in a sports bar called bleachers and Franklin, Tennessee, and I’m getting hot dog and it’s a really [00:06:00] big, juicy, hot dog, and I’m excited to sit down and eat it. And then Keith says to me, my kidneys failing.

And this was a conversation. We’d have a lot. He’d had a kidney transplant back in the early nineties. This was at this time, late nineties or early two thousands. So he tells me his kidney is failing healing as one. And he had had a kidney transplant. His brother gave him kidney. It’s not working anymore.

So this was now I can see manipulative. What you know, why do you tell your teenage kid, your kidneys failing? Because you hope that she’s going to say, well, I’ll just give you my kidney. So that’s what I said. I said, can you set it up? I gave him exactly what he wanted. I’ll give you mine. And he said, well, you can’t.

And I said, wow, why not? He said, you tell your mother, you wanted to know this. You tell your mother. I was like, what the fuck? Wow. Still haven’t still, haven’t been into my. Juicy hot dog, by the [00:07:00] way, it’s just sitting there. Do you want from Costco to make up for this thing?

Tell my mom that I want to know what, and he says, I don’t even know the words he says. I remember this moment so clearly, and I don’t remember the words that he used, but in effect, he told me I am not your biological father. We had to use a sperm donor to have you. And my world just spun out of control at that moment.

Like I just, everything I thought I knew was a lie. Where did I come from? I’m not related to this person. And by the way, like up until this point, I had been at that time, my dad’s. Like caretaker his confidant in some ways, like the role of a wife is very dysfunctional relationship, but I was whatever he needed was I was that for him.

And so to [00:08:00] find out he wasn’t really, my dad was. I mean jarring isn’t even isn’t even just timestamping. And then I started crying and I got really upset. And then he got mad. I’m still your dad, you know, he didn’t really get why this was upsetting to me now you’re 15 years old. And so, I mean, do you have, like, I mean, I’m assuming at this time you have a concept of like how babies are made.

Heidi: Like have you already been sexually active yourself? Well, just trying to think they’re like a 15 year old mind on like, did you know what IVF was or insemination, like, were these new terms to you? I mean, where were you as a 15 year old maturity-wise well, this is another black hole moment because I really, I truly don’t remember any of the words that he said to me to explain what it was that happened, but in effect I did get the message.

Dr. Alissa: He wasn’t my biological father, someone else was, [00:09:00] I was definitely not sexually active because I was super Christian and was very committed to true love waits. And so, you know, I I’m sure that I had an under yeah, I I’m sure that I knew about sperm and eggs and all that. And that’s how you have a baby, but yeah.

Heidi: Now you said that some of the, like, looking back now, you know, you know, that there was a lot of emotional. Abuse and some different things, but was this your first experience with a major trauma? When you look back on your life? Like that moment. It wasn’t. Do you want to share what number that was? 

Dr. Alissa: You could go back live with when you live with somebody who’s abusive every day is somewhat dramatic, certainly a complex trauma, but then there is other types of traumas, you know, sexual abuse type traumas that I experienced from some peers as well before this happened.

Heidi: But yeah. Okay. All right. Well, [00:10:00] I’m not going to let you gloss over. I was super Christian, like, explain to me what that means for you and kind of like what your relationship with, you know, you said Christian, so God or Jesus, like was as a child growing up in the middle of trauma, like who was taking you to church and who is introducing you to.

Dr. Alissa: Your faith hypocritically? No, no, no. My family was not very religious. We went to church, some vague memories of going to church when we lived in Pennsylvania and we moved to Tennessee when I was eight. And when we moved to Tennessee, I feel like, yeah, we tried out a couple of years. There’s just my family.

Wasn’t super religious. My mom was not super religious. And then, so God was just like a concept. And then my mom married, my mom got remarried to Pat. Pat was very religious and church of Christ. And so we became church of Christ. And again, that it didn’t really [00:11:00] feel like a connection kind of thing to God.

But when I was 14 is when I really became a Christian because of my peers, my peers started telling me about Jesus encouraged me to go to church there’s youth group, you know, those kinds of things to second. And so I got sucked in and bought it all. Every single bit of it, you know, had no doubt or questioning every word that the pastor said was true.

And then I happened upon, I kissed dating goodbye. As a teenager. And so I kissed dating goodbye and ironically Joshua Harris who wrote that book now follows me on Instagram. He was fucking weird. Hey, Joshua will tag you in this.

Yeah. So went to school, told all my friends, I kissed dating goodbye, which nobody was asking me on dates. So it was the most [00:12:00] just don’t don’t do it. I’m not doing it. And, you know, I think like again, now looking back hindsight thing, I think part of buying into that so much security culture stuff. Well was also having experience with being sexually assaulted, you know, and like not wanting to open myself up sexually or being terrified of opening myself up sexually.

And so I think like those things partnered together were a perfect cocktail to create somebody who would buy all of it completely. 

Heidi: So Alyssa, with all of this, like tumultuous. Family life. And then kind of, you know, I’m sorry if you judge me, everyone, but like the toxic purity misconceptions that you were influenced by your peers.

When did you leave that town or that place or those people? Did you go off college?

Dr. Alissa:  I did not. I had intentions of leaving for [00:13:00] college, but. And got scared, you know, fearful of being on my own, not being able to make it on my own. So I went to community college. I stayed at home during that. And then I started working at a church and I was able to finish my undergraduate online through Liberty university for free, probably don’t need to tag them the day.

Go for free because I was working at a church and they had some crazy scholarship. And so I got my undergraduate online. Through them. And so I lived at home all through college. Did not really have that college experience at all. And then I moved out after I finished my undergraduate degree, but I didn’t move far.

I mean, I, we lived in Franklin, Tennessee. I moved to Nashville, Tennessee. So it was like 20 minutes away. And so really like, my family was [00:14:00] still a pretty constant part of my life at that point. And your family at this point was defined as your mom and your stepfather, Pat, and was in your life at all. So I completely severed that relationship, but when I was a teenager and he kept trying to come back in, he showed up at my work.

I was working at TJ Maxx. Showed up and was frantic and told me his wife had ODI on something and it was in the hospital. I didn’t know his wife because he wasn’t a part of my life anymore. He would make sure I knew that he could still reach me. He would send me letters even after I, I moved to it. It was very frightening and kind of had some stocker type behaviors, which sounds weird when you think about it as like a dad or something, but when it’s somebody that you’ve cut out of your life, It’s pretty frightening.

And I would have nightmares that he was gonna show up and kill my mom or show up and kill me. So, yes, I definitely, he [00:15:00] was not a part of my life at all. So where did you move to when you moved out? I moved in with a friend Morgan to a house in Donaldson, which is just a little East of Nashville. Yeah. This cheap house, her family owned it, um, had fun time.

Heidi: And so were you still committed to not dating? 

Dr. Alissa: No. Okay. At this point, at this point, I realized you actually do have to date if you ever want to get married, but I was still very committed to the purity culture stuff and was on the hunt for a husband. So now I want you to bring us kind of up to speed with knowing some of your background and kind of intersecting with your current life.

Heidi: So here you are today, right? Not identifying as a Christian, you know, divorced a mom, doctorate in [00:16:00] counseling. So how did you make that leap from where you were having just moved out of the family home, completing your undergrad degree to then, you know, having this master’s degree, this doctorate getting married, having kids kind of.

Bring us up to speed. Cause that’s a major girl. That’s a major leap. So in just a few years. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah. So, I mean, my twenties were really spent very committed to evangelical Christianity, doing mission trips, um, leading student ministry. Searching for a husband, a godly has been. And then when I was 28, I met James and within three months we were engaged.

Heidi: Okay. Back up, back up. How’d you meet him? What happened? Where were you? How. 

[00:17:00] Dr. Alissa: It was new year’s Eve two of my friends, I went to a bar for new year’s Eve and one of my friends invited two of her friends who were guys to come out to this bar for new year’s Eve with us. And we did not know that she had invited anyone.

We have no idea. And then she starts talking to this guy across the room and this guy is gorgeous and he’s wearing this pink tie and he’s got this blonde hair and he’s just so cute. He looks like a Ken doll. And I say to my friend, Amy, like who is that guy that she is talking to? Like, he is so hot and Amy’s like, he is so young.

I said, no, he’s not. He’s my age. I’m telling you. He’s my age. Cause he looked, he looked young, he had a piece of baby face and it was James and we meet, I flirt a lot. She’s very drunk and remembers very little interaction. Which, [00:18:00] and if he wasn’t drinking still, remember

he remembered a little of it and then I was smitten. But again, he didn’t remember much about meeting me. And then I, I did everything I could to get in front of him over and over again, after that old. Were you then? And how old are you now? I was 28, then I will be 35 in two weeks, seven years ago.

Heidi:  Were you on Facebook where you stalking or you asking everybody about him?

Was he asking about you? How did you get together for, like you said, you tried to put yourself in front of him, but like, How did you nail them down?

Dr. Alissa:  I made Amy Adam on Facebook first and then he accepted. And so then I added him on Facebook. And then I, I don’t know if Jamie knows this to this day, but I have them.

I don’t want to use air [00:19:00] quotes accidentally. Message James, instead of somebody else, it wasn’t an accident. It was totally on purpose. Total ease of women. Yeah. And then we started talking on there and then my other friend who knew James at the time told him, Hey, Alyssa likes to go swing dancing. If you ever need a partner, because James likes to go swing dancing.

I had never been swing dancing. That is, I’ve never done that. It was a bit, it was. And so sure I do. Right. And so he had, he one day needed a swing dancing partner because his partner. Sick or something and reached out to me and said, Hey, do you want to go swing dancing tonight? And I’m in the middle of old Navy with my mom and my grandmother.

And I’m like, Oh my God. And I had already planned on like watching my nephews that night. Frantically texting my sister, like I [00:20:00] have to, I have to go out with this guy, like, this is super important. And she was like, go, my mom’s like, well, watch them. Cause my mom was ready to get me married off. So I have this date set up.

That was not really a date. Okay. Like it was not a date. It was supposed to be swing dancing in a church. Okay. And James single.

Heidi: Well, now that you know, own most everything about us. Let’s hang out on social on insight. You can find us on. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast, everywhere else, including our website just thinks it’s the trauma. And if you have any questions or want to email us, we would love to get back to you. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast@gmail.com.

Dr. Alissa: Yes. He was single only, fairly recently divorced. Okay. At that time only [00:21:00] divorced a few months, but yeah, let’s pause for our listeners because James, as you heard earlier, had already been married and had already had two children. And so, so you knew this going into the swing dance, right? Like the super hot guy.

Heidi: Recently divorced two kids. And you’re like, he’s that hot? That I’m all at a hundred percent. 

Dr. Alissa: Oh no. I, the kids sold it more for me. That’s awesome. Uh, because I had actually, at the time I met James, I was like, okay. So I’m going to be a single lady, the rest of my life. So I’m just going to adopt, I want to be a mom I’m going to adopt and I’d actually gone to Haiti.

A month before I met James to make connections, to see if I could adopt, I was ready to be a mom. And I felt like my kid was already out in the world. And so when I met James and was like, infatuated, him, having kids was a bonus. Really? I have so many [00:22:00] questions right now, Alyssa, because, so you’re still at this moment.

Heidi: Like you’re still in purity culture and you’re right. Like you’re still identity. You just have gotten admission. Okay. So this is where I have some, because I did not grow up like this. Like I was a huge slut. I had already had sex with a million people. By the time I’m getting into this very similar story, I am.

I stand by her story over here

and now Mickey and I are confused by each other. So you’re 28 years old. You’re a Virgin question. Mark. Question, Mark. Question Mark. Okay. This is amazing. And then so tiny business, there was no funny business. Not even like we’re not even just talking a technical Virgin, like no funny business was my next question because I grew up in [00:23:00] North Carolina.

In the Bible belt, but all my slutty friends did everything but have sex.

Oh. So a thing that some, some girls have anal technical,

a hundred percent. I was like, you could kiss. That was it?

No. At 28 years old, you still have no STD. This is amazing. Clear at 35. I also still have no STDs. Wow. Well, get on it. That means you’re not having enough.

Okay. Alright. So this sweet little Virgin purity, her vision is showing up for her date with the guy who’s. Clearly he had sex cause he [00:24:00] has two kids and has been married and is now divorced. And God, I mean, he’s at this point, he’s so hot, you know, because this is a lot for someone I would imagine that’s impurity culture.

So anyway, let’s skip to the date. So is it super obvious that you don’t know how to swing dance right off the bat?

Dr. Alissa:  100% and not only do I not know how to swing dance, I’m also very nervous about swing dancing, period. Like that made me nervous. Like this is not something I know how to do. And then terrified because I’m going on a date with this guy that I have been absolutely.

You know, Facebook stocking for two months at this point and had been jokingly calling my boyfriend for, for, since we met. Yeah. I might

call them your future.

[00:25:00] Heidi: If it makes you feel better, I just call it manifesting. Yeah. Instead of stocking done it all. Yeah. I have like had about a thousand. I am doing it right now. Let’s open up him. I’ll tell you is my next husband, my boyfriend. Andre says are right now. Okay. Sorry. Okay. So keep going. You’re swing dancing. You, did you break an ankle?

Dr. Alissa: I did not. And very quickly into it. James figured out, Oh, this is a date like this. Isn’t just, this isn’t just like two new friends getting together, doing swing dancing and he was into it. So that was good. Like we were both. Like very into it. And like, it became a date more than just focusing on swing dancing.

So then we, so we did the swing dancing thing and then we left and we went to a bar and we talked for hours and learned a lot about each other’s lives. Like way [00:26:00] more than you tell somebody on a first date, which to be fair is how first dates go with me. So I eat therapists.

Heidi: Yeah. Everyone’s on a first date with us right now. Right. It’s a hot mess. Welcome to train wreck. So did you walk away from that date thinking, like, I think I’m going to marry this guy. 

Dr. Alissa: Oh, for sure. I mean, yes, absolutely. 

Heidi: And did you kiss, was there like a man? No. Okay. 

Dr. Alissa: So here’s the thing at this time, James was also have heavily.

Christian and was not having sex outside of marriage either. And not only that. So it was, it would be three weeks later, James would sit me down a Mexican restaurant in Nashville and read me a note that he had written asking to court me, my,

[00:27:00] we would have our first kiss outside of the Mexican restaurant in the rain. Oh, that is so the notebook. Oh, that says, I love that. Just remember how this story.

Heidi: Okay. Well, let’s just keep with the happy times right now. Okay. So you date and you fall in love and middle of the lot, and you just dropped the bomb early that you were like, you got married three months later, engaged three months. We got, so yeah, we got engaged three months later. Oh, yeah, that’s fast.

Yeah. Okay. And how did he do it? Or how did you do it? I don’t know. Maybe you, no. 

Dr. Alissa: We were at a park in East Nashville and James starts to play me the song. And then my friend, Allie is a photographer and she comes walking up and I’m like, what are you doing here? And she’s like, Oh, I was just taking some pictures.

Do you want to see? And she shows me [00:28:00] the camera and shows me. James and the boys holding signs in the camera and it says. Will you marry me, you know, Alyssa, will you marry me? And the boys and James are holding signs that say this. And then I start, I didn’t realize this was happening. And I’m like, well, what’s going on?

What’s happening? And James gets down on Monday and proposes actually a little bit of that black because it was such a big. Moment, but it also was really, really scary and I’m shaking and I’m like, yeah. And I’m so in, but also just so scared because this is such a big commitment, but I wanted it so bad.

Heidi: Yeah. Now you guys, I’m assuming, had already told each other that you loved each other and. You know, all of that. How long until you got married so that you could have sex, sorry. 

Dr. Alissa: Eight months later, five months later, we got married after where’d you get married? We got married in spring Hill, [00:29:00] Tennessee, which is South of Nashville.

It’s just beautiful outdoor wedding venue. On October 4th and yeah, it was, it was a beautiful day. It was a very, very cold day. Turned out to be the coldest day of the month. Every day around. It was really warm and 60 seventies that day was in the thirties, unfortunately, but it was a beautiful day. All right.

Heidi: So dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. Did you have sex on your wedding night? Yes. Oh, good job. See those of us sluts. Like me and Nikki had already had plenty of sex. We were too tired to have sex on her.

everyone drank. I was, I wanted to go to bed. 99% of everyone I know does not have sex on their wedding night because they had sex every other night before that, Nikki, I don’t know about you. The only people I know that have sex on their wedding night are ones that are Virgin. [00:30:00] But yeah, I did have sex on my wedding night.

Dr. Alissa: It was not like the glorious, you know, that it should be. It was more of like, yeah, we gotta do this.

Heidi: Not to say it was a bad thing. I was just tired. I was too tired. It was also pregnant. We’ll get into that later.

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. So I just. So here you’ve dated for eight months. Everyone knows where the story is going. So what I think is on our listener’s minds, because it’s on all my friends and family’s minds. And so let’s just ask some of those questions, right. Is in those eight months of falling in love and like getting married and having sex and like moving in together and starting your life together, you know?

What was your [00:31:00] greatest fear? Like what did you think if you ever got divorced? What did you think would be the reason I was afraid that it would be growing apart. Okay. Or falling out of love just over time. So yeah. Or me missing the signs, like thinking this was God’s plan for me, but you know, like maybe it wasn’t and like this, it just would be really hard or, yeah.

So your inauguration and to becoming a wife was also becoming a mother stepmother at the same time. Yes. When did you and James decide to have your own biological child? 

Dr. Alissa: So the funny thing is, so my very best friend, Lindsey, she and her husband had been trying for, for a while to have a baby. And then you found out on Monday that they were pregnant and were so excited for them.

And then James said, well, should we [00:32:00] try to, and like, you guys could maybe be pregnant at the same time. And I was like, yeah, let’s do it. Like, that would be awesome. I found out Friday I was already pregnant. Oh, that’s so sweet. So you hadn’t been on birth control or anything? No, we’d done natural family planning, but I was kind of like loosey goosey about it at that point, because I was at that point, I was okay if I got pregnant.

Heidi: Okay. So now I need you to catch me up because you just said natural family blaming again. At what point does the Christianity piece drop for you and James?

Dr. Alissa:  It was after Jamison was born. So my, my son, my youngest son, it was after he was born. And for James and I still, I say James, because that’s, we’re talking about.

And yes, at the time, you know, it started to fall apart for him, first reading, Rob bell, you know, that heritage, some other more progressive theologically [00:33:00] Christian folks, you know, and there was a question of. I think it was, is there really a literal hell or something? There was something like that for James that was like, you know, struggling with this.

And I was like, Oh my God, my husband is losing his faith. What is it? This is the thing that tears us apart. Oh my gosh. You know, he’s not a godly husband anymore. And then really just a few months later, it would start to fall apart and unravel for me too. And what made it unravel for me? Was one day James said, did you know that the Bible is by definition, not an errand because there were errors in the early texts that they have in created the Bible from.

And I said, that’s not true because if that’s true, the whole thing falls apart. And he was like, no, it doesn’t. And it did. I was right. It did, it all fell apart for me after I really accepted. The truth that like there were errors in the early scripts. So [00:34:00] by definition it cannot be an errand. Once the Bible was not an errand, in my opinion, the rest of it just fell apart.

Heidi: So I they’re being judged for this next statement and I care zero, but I actually think it’s a very beautiful thing to let go of faith together. Actually more powerful than like you said, going separate ways. And on separate paths and journeys, but being able to be support for one another as you kind of just dissect a new reality and let yourself unravel so that you can rebuild in kind of spirituality, faith or nothing, you know?

So I kind of think it’s beautiful. I just needed to kind of catch up from like the 28 year old Virgin to like, I know today where you’re at in that. So Alyssa, your marriage pretty typical, happy, like, tell us about your marriage, any [00:35:00] signs that maybe the person that you were married to wasn’t their true self of who they were born to be?

What was marriage like? 

Dr. Alissa: Our marriage was great, right? I mean, we decided before we even got married, that we would be committed to growing together. We would go to, you know, marriage retreats every year we would go to marriage counseling. We were just really committed to having a healthy marriage. And so, I mean, we would go to these marriage retreats and do these little games that are designed to show like how well you communicate and things like that.

And we’d be. The best out of all of these couples, like couples, who’ve been together 50 years couples who’ve been together 10 years and we’d been married one. And we would be the ones that like did the thing faster than anybody. Cause we could communicate so well and we just, we liked each other and we loved each other.

And we, we did, we worked so hard at being good at marriage. And I think that was a goal, [00:36:00] James, because of having been married before and that marriage not working was wanting to be good at marriage. And I think like he really was, no, he put forth every effort. That he could into being a good husband. And so, you know, we had, we had a good marriage and there were no signs for me that James was really Jamie.

You know, the molest that I could say is, you know, James had a, a limited emotional range, which is not unusual for a man, right. In our culture. Lots of men. Don’t experience a range of emotions because they’re told that they shouldn’t. And so that made sense with his history upbringing, you know? And so that’s it.

And now knowing Jamie, Jamie has, Jamie has all the feelings. And so now again, hindsight, like I can put the two next to each other and see, okay. That. If anything, that would [00:37:00] be a sign that James was not fully whole, but again, like culturally, if it’s so even looking at it that way, like, no, there really weren’t any signs.

Heidi: So, and I’m going to dig even deeper in this because people are curious. Right. And so. So your idea of what sex should be or should look like that was good and normal for you and your marriage. It sounds like. And your dating life. I mean, I think that there’s a misconception out there. Like people are like, Oh, did you ever catch it M in your clothes?

Like, no. Why? Why? Like husband was wearing my thong? Why would I have been.

Like we all have children here, which means we were sexually very sexually charged and attracted to our partners. So, Melissa, I just wanted to kind of make sure that we said that for listeners in your [00:38:00] story, right? Yeah. There’s no, yeah, there were, there was no, there were no signs and our. In our marriage, that James was really a trans woman now.

Yeah. So leading up in episode one, we heard about the bombshell being dropped at the birthday party. What was it like for the couple of months or the week before that happened before James told you about becoming Jamie? You know, at that point we were both still finding our way through spirituality. And connecting to different things, faith wise or spiritually.

Dr. Alissa: And so, you know, that was part of where we were, was both kind of exploring on our own, our own individual spirituality. And so I think. Part of that is where Jamie is born. It was in that spiritual journey recognizing that she really was [00:39:00] trans. So, I mean, I was aware for sure that we were both kind of figuring some of that spiritual stuff out and that there were.

That was just a, it’s an uncomfortable process to kind of lay everything out and go like, what do I, and don’t type a leave and what stays, what goes. And so we were both kind of still in that process. So that’s kind of where we were the couple months before I would say, and maybe even, you know, butting heads at times on some of that and not landing at some of the same places, which I think is fine, but again, kind of led to where we ended up.

Heidi: So like the morning of. Pretty normal day on that day. Did you wake up still thinking I’m going to be married to this person? Forever.

Dr. Alissa:  Of course, absolutely. I was very committed to Jane. Yup. I think it’s important that this is where we talk about the introduction of trauma. So hearing Alyssa, you walk [00:40:00] through your whole story and the fun and the love and.

And the creating a family and changing and journey together and waking up in the morning thinking, you know, I love my life and it’s gonna be like this forever. And then a major trauma being introduced. And we each have our own unique stories that we’re going to go through, but that’s where banks it’s.

Nikki: The trauma comes from. Alyssa, thank you for sharing that big story. Next episode, we’re going to dive into my story and the episode after that, we’re going to dive into Heidi’s story. Then we’ll move into the aftermath and the coping and the healing and the grief of all of this and how each one of us are on different planes and levels.

But at the same time, in the same place. So, thanks. It’s the trauma.

[00:41:00] Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast is not a substitute for therapy or mental health advice. If you or someone you love is in crisis, please call one 802 seven three. Talk +1 800-273-8255. You can also text the word home to seven 41 seven 41. To reach a trained crisis counselor.

Thanks. It’s the trauma.

Season 1: Episode 1 – Intersections

Link

1 TITT V4

[00:00:00] Dr. Alissa: Welcome to thanks. It’s the trauma. I’m Dr. Alissa, and this is a podcast with my friends, Nikki and Heidi. We’re connected by a unique 

Dr. Alissa: and unusual experience. And we talk about it and other traumas with honesty, booze and cussing

season one episode one intersection. 

Dr. Alissa: Hey, it’s Dr. Alissa and I’m here with Nikki and Heidi. 

Heidi: cheers. Margarita. It’s very good. I’m super excited for our very first episode, the inaugural season of why our lives are fucking crazy. I shouldn’t 

Dr. Alissa: know. You just keeps going. 

Heidi: Yeah. Like we shouldn’t know each other.

We shouldn’t, but I’m really glad that we do. So, 

Dr. Alissa: what are the odds? You know, what are the odds that we would find each other across state lines? 

Heidi: What are [00:01:00] the odds? 

Dr. Alissa: And not only that 

Nikki: in 

Dr. Alissa: the, in the same doctor’s office, you know, like so close and then so far. Yeah. Right. 

Heidi: So I guess we should tell everyone where we live.

Hi, I’m Heidi. I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina, staring at my zoom computer. Where Dr. Alissa and Nikki are together 

Dr. Alissa: in Nashville, Tennessee 

Heidi: music city, every time we 

Nikki: didn’t know each other, but we do, 

Dr. Alissa: we do. I’m 

Heidi: glad that we do. I’m so glad that we do too, but I was thinking maybe as we kick off this podcast, we should have a code word that whenever we hear it, we’re allowed to drink.

Is that okay? Yes. I think that would be 

Dr. Alissa: acceptable.

Heidi: And maybe that’s how we let everyone know that. I think the word 

Nikki: should be Tinder 

Heidi: or hinge. I’m not on Tinder 

[00:02:00] Dr. Alissa: hinge swirl on him. 

Heidi: So jury God. Yeah, Alissa, I’m dying to know why

Dr. Alissa: it’s the mystery to you, huh? Yeah. So I guess I’ll start off with my, just a small version of my story and how it connected. The three of us. So I’m Dr. Alissa and I was married to James for 

Heidi: five years 

Dr. Alissa: and we had a great marriage. It wasn’t perfect, but it was, it was a great marriage and we loved each other very much.

James had two kids from a previous marriage, and then we had a child together, but we are now no longer married and. That started for me August 4th, 2019, on my nephew’s [00:03:00] 16th birthday party, James told me, as we were sitting in the kid’s play room and the kids were running all around us, that he was questioning his gender.

And I said, well, what does that mean? And James said, I think I might be a trans woman and that is the moment that I laid on the floor to try to stop the room from spinning and yeah, and then it just continued from there. So. You know, this big reveal, I might be a trans woman, but then not really fully knowing it was like, what do you mean?

We mean, you might be a trend woman because this has never been something that has ever been discussed before. James was a very manly man. There was nothing about him that made me think that he might be a trans woman or a woman in any regard. 

Heidi: And, 

Dr. Alissa: but it had been something that he had been thinking about for a few months and really came to fruition then.

And then a couple of weeks later, [00:04:00] He came to me and said, you know what? I think that it’s wrong. Maybe it’s just some weird fetish, it’s wrong. I’m going to stay. And I was relieved and I believed it. And I told you know, anyone who knew, nevermind, don’t worry about it. James is really, really a man. It’s okay.

Hey, this is Dr. Alissa interrupting this podcast episode to give a disclaimer. 

Heidi: In this episode, we talk in detail about our 

Dr. Alissa: experiences with our former spouses who are transgender. Our former spouses have given us their permission to share these parts of our story. We affirm their gender and affirm every person’s gender 

Heidi: and sexual 

Dr. Alissa: orientation.

Not every person who experiences their spouse coming out as trans will interpret it as a trauma. But that is our story. We are still growing as former spouses of trans folks. And we certainly 

Heidi: make mistakes along the way and 

Dr. Alissa: pronouns and names. We have no [00:05:00] intention of mis-gendering 

Heidi: or deadnaming. 

Dr. Alissa: There is nothing wrong with being transgender.

Their identities are valid 

Heidi: and we for all LGBTQ 

Dr. Alissa: folks now 

Heidi: back to the episode, 

Nikki: So this is Nikki and we’re all still getting to know each other. I think me and Alissa know each other. Well, I think Heidi and Alissa know each other well, and me and Heidi are still learning each other. So Alissa and Heidi, I want to know your story.

How did you two meet? 

Dr. Alissa: Well, I apparently a few days after, I don’t really fully remember this, but a few days after James told me that he might be a trans woman and was questioning his gender, I found a trans. Spouse support group was that it was what it was called. Yeah. And I made a fake Facebook account so that nobody could find out that I had joined this group.

I was terrified that somebody would find out and it would out to James and change our lives. And so I made a fake [00:06:00] account to get on there and see what other people’s experiences were. And then that’s how I found Heidi 

Heidi: done, done, done this wasn’t really, this is kind of a hard story for me to even go back and.

And kind of, you know, go through Alissa, but sort of before we get to meet, can I ask you some more questions please? About your story? Yeah. So I think in later episodes, I know in later episodes, we’re going to share all of the details of our personal stories and journeys. I want to go back to that moment of your, like James had just told you, and you’re laying on the floor and you have a doctorate in counseling.

What did you do to get off of the floor to be able to get onto Facebook, to make a fake account? Like I kind of missed that part of your. Journey cause that’s how you got to me. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah, I think, you know, part [00:07:00] of it feels like a black hole. There’s a lot of those moments. I don’t remember because I mean, really it was, it was a trauma to me.

And so, you know, my initial response was just keep going, take the next step. You know, it was shock. There’s a lot of shock. And so, you know, in the immediate it was just shock and hope that it wasn’t true. You know, some dial perhaps and, um, getting on that group was, you know, I was hoping to find other people that.

Could answer questions for me. Like, what does this mean? Did your spouses always know weren’t they like little kids and they knew that they were a girl in a boy’s body and they hated their body because those things were not true for James. So, you know, I was looking for answers and I only have vague memories really, of those early days of reaching out and trying to find them.

Heidi: Yeah, that’s [00:08:00] just so eerily similar, you know, so, Hey everybody, I’m Heidi. I have, I have two young children boys until they tell me otherwise. And I was married to Jay and all of us were actually married to Jay’s. So, but I was married to Jay and well, we had a very happy. Marriage. We were deeply, deeply in love, cruising through life.

Like I just thought, you know, I felt sorry for everybody else, honestly, because my marriage was great. I mean, Jay is one of my favorite people in the entire world, just perfect soulmate kind of match. And the way that I found my way to Alissa is because on October 21st, after about [00:09:00] nine months of my husband being in a pretty severe depression, And was typically a pretty happy and go lucky kind of guy.

He tried to commit suicide and after he. Attempted or, you know, thought about and was attempting to take his life. He opened up to me and shared with me that he was depressed and he saw a counselor and little did. I know he had sought counseling with a gender identity counselor. And my story is very similar to yours, Alissa, in the sense that Jay also did not have memories of.

Like just, it was only a recent thing. He didn’t have memories of being like a young boy that wanted to be a girl, but all of a sudden his brain was exploding. This is how he describes it. But his brain was exploding with images and thoughts of [00:10:00] being a trans woman. Just being a woman, not being trans woman, but being a woman.

And that led him down the route of suicide, which we will address extensively. I think in each one of these episodes. Wow. Well, I decided to give my husband some space and I took our kids on a level long trip. I think we were gone four to six weeks just on a road trip. And we went to Disney world and did all sorts of fun things while the meds could kick in and.

And could find some peace because at that time I just thought we were, or in the middle of, you know, a major depressive episode. And when I returned on October 21st, 2018. So you know, about 10 months earlier, then your story started Alissa. My husband handed me a letter when I got home from that trip and that letter described and he read it to me.

So he said, we need to talk those words you never want to hear. And [00:11:00] I thought, God damn it. He cheated that. Son of a bitch and the depression is all because of his guilt. And this is ridiculous that this has become my life. You know, I trusted him and he’s getting ready to open his mouth. And what I did not think was coming out of his mouth was.

I’m transgender. And I swear to you, I had never even, like, I don’t have a doctorate in counseling, like the only person I had ever heard of to use this term. Well, to actually there’s a little boy, Reiland that like, had this, you know, viral YouTube video when I was pregnant with max and then Caitlin Jenner.

And so I’m reading this letter. And I’m thinking, Oh my God, the blackout, like you said, that’s when the blackout started. I remember I did say to my husband, I love you. And God made you perfectly in his image. This was not a mistake, but I’m gonna, I need you to [00:12:00] leave before I go. Crazy. You know, I mean, like I need some space.

Well, I ended up leaving one of my really good friends who is also a doctorate in counseling drugged me. And I mean, and then it became a blur, but I, I found myself. So the way I got to this Facebook group is I found myself Googling. Transgender spouse, because I didn’t have language. I’d never heard the term cis-gender as I’m Googling, I’m reading all these things.

I, my eyes were never open to, even though my family is very liberal and very affirming, it was just an eye opener of doing is different than saying for our family. So I was learning, learning, learning as much as I could to wrap my head around this. I didn’t know what it meant for our marriage, our kids. I just, I knew I needed help.

I knew, I felt very alone. I felt humiliated. I felt embarrassed. I felt [00:13:00] shame. All these things where we could get into. And then I was also kind of blacking out, not eating, not sleeping and stuff. So I jumped on Facebook after Google. I will say Google failed me. Google was like, you mean your child is trans gender.

I’m like, Nope, Nope. I mean, my spouse is transgender and I didn’t know it. So I also found that there’s a lot of people that know their spouses, transgender and knowingly get married to someone who’s transgender. And that wasn’t my story. So I was just having a very difficult time and I typed in transgender spouse into Facebook and I was like, Oh, wonderful.

There’s a support group. And you have to answer these questions and you jump in it. Well, You know, Alissa, I don’t really remember what I posted, but it was, let’s just save, you’re listening to this podcast. You’re probably not in that, that [00:14:00] support group, because that support group was nothing. This gender heterosexual, female that were surprised that their spouse was trans.

Dr. Alissa: Very few, certainly very few, 

Heidi: very, very few. I think I put something on there. Like I feel like a widow or, and I use the male pronoun because, you know, my husband just said he’s transgender, but he hadn’t transitioned yet. So like, I don’t know a she or her, I just know, you know, at this time I just knew him.

And so anyway, long story short, I got a nice collated on this Facebook support group. It was the opposite of support. I was shamed and I was attacked for not like being all, knowing of all the correct terms. And I just was not the right place to be. This particular support group was for spouses of transgender persons who were [00:15:00] going there’s difficulties in that that are different than our difficulties.

Dr. Alissa: Well, and to be, to be fair there isn’t another one. 

Heidi: There is a way 

Dr. Alissa: for people who were unhappy with their spouse being trans, that doesn’t exist 

Heidi: today does now. Our podcast. Yeah, we have a Facebook group. Everybody, if you didn’t know, it didn’t even know we have a Facebook group and she made it the trauma.

And if this story is sounding all too familiar, please come join the hot. Wives of transgender

X, Y X wives of transgender women. 

Nikki: Um, 

Heidi: well anyway, I get annihilated in this group and then I get this text message on Facebook messenger from this [00:16:00] girl lists B and it’s like, Hey. I think we should talk offline. I think our stories like intersect and I was like, Oh, I just remember thinking, Oh God, you know, please.

So let me read you Alissa, your text message from August the ninth, five days, 

Dr. Alissa: five days after I found out that yeah, that might be 

Heidi: transgender. And let me also just take a reminder that this way, 10 long fucking months of sorrow and loneliness, loneliness, like deep, deep loneliness. I mean, you can’t just call up all your friends and be like, Hey, my husband thinks he’s transgender.

What do you think about that? I mean, so anyways, 10 months of loneliness and I get, hello, Heidi. This is lispy from the spouses of transgender people group. I created an alternate account, so [00:17:00] I don’t out my spouse on accident by people seeing the group I’m in. Right. When I read that, I was like, well, shit. I accidentally outed him to a whole bunch of people.

Okay. It says Alissa continues. So we are super early into this process. My husband has only realized over the last few weeks that he’s a trans woman, I’m devastated. And I know in my gut, I cannot do it for many reasons, mostly because I’m straight. We have a very young child together and two other young children.

That I’m a stepmom too, that I’ve been helping raise for the last five years. This is complicated to say the least, how are you handling this process? It’s so nice to find someone else in a similar situation. This is me bawling, bawling, bawling. And then I go into. I don’t believe her. This is a stalker crazy [00:18:00] person who was like coming to get me.

So I don’t respond for days. 

Dr. Alissa: How many days, how many days did 

Heidi: you make me wait, two days. Jesus. Heidi. Two days. Okay. So I waited two days and then we started chatting and then we like exchange phone numbers. And for the first time in my life, I am just kind of like. Oh, my gosh, this is amazing. I have, I have like a friend in this, so I waited several days to respond to Alissa because I thought she was like a fake, but then we started talking and sharing and it was really apparent and I stalked you on Facebook.

And then I realized, you know, this was a real person. And so we exchanged hundreds of text messages. And for the first time, I just feel. I feel like I’m going to make it right. I feel like if there’s one, one person in this world, one that’s, all I need is one I’m going to be okay. [00:19:00] And. I’m not kidding you.

Two weeks later, Alissa, she sent me a text message that says , I’m just kidding. 

Dr. Alissa: Did not. No, no. Tell me what you said. 

Heidi: Tell me what you said. 

Dr. Alissa: I said, James thinks it’s 

Heidi: actually a fetish 

Dr. Alissa: and so he’s not really transgender until I think we might be able to figure it out and work out our marriage. 

Heidi: And for everyone listening right now.

Yes, it was like, I got punched in the stomach and left for dead and I was like, well, good for you. I’m glad that your husband’s not transgender. Mine still is now. I have to go back to Google and that fucking God awful

try this again. But anyway, but 

Dr. Alissa: unfortunately for me, a couple of [00:20:00] weeks later, James realized, but really he was a transgender woman, Jamie, and started that transition at that point. 

Heidi: And then I got a text message that was like, Just kidding again.

We should be friends. We do have something in common.

it’s this weird thing, because like I had felt happy for you and sad for me. And then now I was switching back to like feeling sad for both of us and just kind of, you know, well, For me, Alissa, this launched this, you know, long distance friendship, long distance support system that I really honestly for 10 months thought was an impossibility.

And so, you know, I’m forever grateful and I’m so [00:21:00] excited now that I’m friends with Nikki too. So now. Nikki. I, I like, I sorta know a little bit of this story, but like how in the world? Spoiler alert. Nicky’s husband’s trans too. If no one else. Yeah, not yet, but like Nikki, how did your life intersect with Alissa?

Nikki: I work in a doctor’s office that Alissa goes to and, you know, she’d been a patient and we shared some more moments where I was packing wounds and things like that. Fairly gross. It’s disgusting was awesome. One day she wrote into her provider and I get every message from patients and I divvy them out to the providers.

Necessarily, and I didn’t even read hers. It just said Xanax, I think as the subject line and everyone asks for Xanax, so it to her provider and her provider actually stands right in front of me with her [00:22:00] laptop and we talk to each other and she looks at me and 

Heidi: she goes, Nikki, 

Nikki: did you read Alissa’s.

Message. And I said, no, she wants Xanax and you need to read it. So I’m read it. And I look at the provider and I say, Give her my phone number. You can put it in the message. You can tell my story. I don’t care at this point. And 

Heidi: so she 

Dr. Alissa: asking for Xanax because I was having panic attacks because of James coming out as transgender.

Nikki: Literally minutes later, I get a text message from Alissa and that begins the history of our friendship. And we, I think we met for breakfast that weekend. And Alissa was still very raw and I was 

Heidi: approaching

Nikki: divorce. We had already filed and we were going to be final in October. And this was, 

Dr. Alissa: I mean probably, probably August, probably August.

Yeah. [00:23:00] I reached out quick. 

Nikki: Yeah. 

Heidi: Yeah.

Now that you know, almost 

Nikki: everything about us. 

Heidi: Let’s hang out on social on insight. You can find us on. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast, everywhere else, including our website just thinks it’s the trauma. And if you have any questions or want to email us, we would love to get back to you. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast@gmail.com.

Nikki. I want you to back up and tell me what this part of your story that I don’t know. And that’s right. All of it. So Alissa gets to you, but like, so honestly, like we’re all pioneering, but you’re really pioneering. Cause you, you went first, I guess, and this, and so will you just share a [00:24:00] little bit about what your marriage was like and your life and how you came to discover or how you were told?

Nikki: I was also married to a James. We met when I was 21. And it was, uh, for me, I just knew it was that, you know, this is going to be the person we dated five years while I was in college. And then we got married and we were married for 18 years. Plus the five we dated and lived together. We have two teenage sons and in 2015, his story starts, and I’m not going to tell any of his side of the story because that’s his story or 

Heidi: her story.

Nikki: I am the most not correct in using the right pronouns, just so you know, we’re working 

Dr. Alissa: on it.

Nikki: I’m working on it. These two, these two are teaching me because I will always forever have my husband in my mind when I speak about him. [00:25:00] That desk, that’s where I’m at still. So there’s still things for me. 

Heidi: I think that this is an important break for our listeners as Nikki and Dr.

Alissa and I speak about the past. We will speak with the pronouns, he and him and our husband. And as we move to present day, you’ll hear us shift to the pronouns of she and her or their new names, correct? Yeah.

Nikki: In February, 2016, my husband had been attending therapy for 

Heidi: quite a few months 

Nikki: and I thought it was for trauma therapy, but it ended up turning into, he.

Or learned that he was transgender and wanted to be a woman first, it was just gender dysphoria. And then it, it dived into full transgender and wanting to change. And when he told me, I thought he was going to tell me [00:26:00] he was gay and that was very cut and dry to me, 

Heidi: you know? No, we weren’t going to stay 

Nikki: together because I mean, it wasn’t, you 

Heidi: know what I mean?

It was incompatible compatible. Sure. 

Nikki: But then yeah. He told me he wanted to transition into a woman. And I don’t remember what happened after that, because I tend to forget things that are traumatic in a moment. And you guys did research. I tried to research on Google as well and find groups and support groups.

And I did join a couple of Facebook groups. And when I am in a traumatic. Overwhelmed and anxious situation. I shut off and I don’t want to know anything. I don’t want to research it. I don’t want to talk to anyone who’s going through it. I don’t want to know what’s lying in front of my path ahead of me.

I just want to kind of fold inward and just. Deal with whatever I’m dealing 

Heidi: with. 

Nikki: I do that. I find [00:27:00] myself doing that often in traumatic situations and eventually I’ll snap out of it. But my first initial reaction is to not be compliant in any way. That’s my nature. 

Heidi: Did you also reach out to your doctor for Xanax like diabetes 

Nikki: or not?

No. And I work with doctors all day long and they watched me cry my eyes out every morning and I would tell them what was well, not really. I didn’t tell anyone for a long time because I was very ashamed. And how do you tell anybody that this is going on? What are the words. What are the words for me? I don’t know.

I could imagine 50 different other reasons of why I might be getting divorced. This was never one. Yup. And I had deal breakers. My deal breaker is if you cheat on me, we’re done. I’m not gonna. There’s just no situation for me that will refer back to my childhood hood history later when we dive into that.

But no, this was [00:28:00] not on my radar. And I think all of us had that initial thing pop in our head where we didn’t sign up for this. This was not in my life plan. 

Dr. Alissa: Wasn’t in the vows. 

Nikki: And I don’t want to be with a woman. I want to be with a man. And that was. You know, and we spent two more years together where I thought he was in midlife crisis and he thought I was going to learn to love a woman, or 

Heidi: she thought I was going 

Nikki: to learn to love a woman.

And it just wasn’t happening. And then like Alissa, James went away for a work event and came back and said, you know what? I want to be a man. I, yeah, forget it. I I’ve changed. You know, it’s not me. That’s not, I’m not going to be a woman. And in seven days he came back and said, yeah, I can’t do it. I want to be a woman.

Wow. And that’s where my heart shut off. 

Heidi: I said, 

Nikki: that’s it we’re done. This is the end. 

Heidi: Yeah. 

[00:29:00] Nikki: It was a hard line instead of just a blurred line that became a hard line. And I was mad now. I was mad. That was a heart jerk around. So yeah. So from about then I would say that was in September. 2017, 2016. Maybe we stayed together a little longer.

He, she moved out in December of 2017 

Heidi: before Christmas, 

Nikki: and I moved into another house with the boys. 

Heidi: In April of

Nikki: 2018, we filed in July of 2018 and we were final by 

Heidi: October 18th. It was a whole nother year plus before your life intersected with Alissa 

Nikki: right there intersect until 2019. 

Heidi: Was there any other.

Person that no, you heard of new. Okay. Okay. Well, let me, let’s just laugh about something for a [00:30:00] minute. Cause you didn’t email Chris Jenner like I 

Dr. Alissa: did. Yeah. Did you relate?

I was like, I know 

Heidi: transgender spouse he’ll drink. I was like the whole, we should have her on 

Nikki: the podcast. 

She 

Dr. Alissa: should come on here. 

Heidi: And she needs to explain herself as to why she didn’t respond. So the deaths fail, you know, because 

Nikki: I didn’t want a million now I wasn’t going to watch any TV shows or documentaries or read any books I wasn’t doing any of it.

No, my personality is I’ll do this myself to myself. Bare down. I’ve done harder. I’ll do it myself. 

Heidi: Okay. Well, that’s just how I 

Nikki: work. 

Heidi: Well, it’s 

Nikki: not unhealthy.

That’s going to be many examples of me not being healthy [00:31:00] mentally in all of this here, I’m standing. So also my ex did become suicidal. And there was suicide ideation and he had a plan and I worked a lot of years in suicide prevention and with loss survivors of suicide. So he was smart enough or she smart enough to tell me that this was going on.

This is what she was thinking. And this is the plan that she had. And. That’s kind of, when we, um, really dove, he, she got really involved in therapy, really intense therapy. 

Heidi: Well, for everyone that’s listening, I think that you’ll hear many ways in which the three of our lives have intersected and really the ways in which our ex spouses lives have intersected, although they don’t know each other.

So we talked about like, we have this one common denominator, like we all are [00:32:00] cis-gender heterosexual women that are attracted to men and loved our husbands and have children, you know, younger children, like under the age of that are not adults, you know, 18 and under. 

Nikki: And I have an 18 year old. I have adult children now.

Heidi: Well, I mean, at the time of, at the time of learning though, like all non adult children, two of us have had spouses that had suicidal ideation or attempts to others. Have you had the intersection of trans phobia, internal transphobia where they, your spouses said yes. Uh, no. Uh, you know, yeah. Um, and so I want to share that because anyone who’s listening who needs this, we are going to address on this podcast.

You know, all of [00:33:00] these, we’re going to dig in so deep, like you’re going to know about our sex lives and our dating life and our lives and, 

Nikki: you know, trauma and anxiety. 

Heidi: Yeah. And so what we just have, everyone will, we’ll stick around for, you know, so much more of this intersecting. Like we’re just scratching the surface.

Well, now I want to share. Nikki about like how we got to know each other right then. Right. So it’s like this domino effect is going on and we hope like other we’re going to hear from other women. We just hope that. We’re going to hear from other women in our, in our like hot ex-wives club is going to grow 

Dr. Alissa: because there are other people who’ve had this experience.

And even in that group, there were women having this experience who felt like they couldn’t leave or shouldn’t leave. And who had so much shame themselves about the situation that they just felt trapped in it. And [00:34:00] so, you know, we certainly want to be a safe place for other people who are having this experience.

Nikki: I want to ask you two questions. Did you ever at any time think that you could stay? 

Dr. Alissa: No. I wanted to, I saw my therapist and I was like, I just, it feels so wrong of me to leave. And she’s a lesbian, thank God. And she looked at me and she leaned in and she said, Alissa, You are not a lesbian. And I was like, right, 

Nikki: right, right, right, right, 

Dr. Alissa: right, right, right, right.

So I knew that I could, and I felt guilty and ashamed for wanting to, you’re thinking that having a gut, knowing it wasn’t even a wanting, I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to get out of my marriage, but it was, it was a deep, deep knowing and Glennon Doyle talks about that in her books. But that knowing with the capital K and it was my knowing that this was what was right for me, was to leave.

Heidi: Well, my [00:35:00] answer is different than Alissa. So I spent, I also have a therapist who is a lesbian, who reinforced to me that I was not lesbian many times. And so I spent a lot of time in therapy, not trying to know if I was going to stay in a sexual relationship and our marriage as it. Was forever, but I did spend a lot of time contemplating whether or not I could continue to be married co-parenting partners and an asexual marriage with my best friend, because that’s who Jay is to me.

I was figuring out for about the first eight, nine, 10 months. This is like insert Alissa. Right? I was hiding behind the like, shame that I can’t share this with anyone. Well, if I just [00:36:00] stay and we kind of keep it in our little bubble. Also, my J is moving at like a snail’s pace. Okay. So we’re here, we are. 18 months later.

I am still married. I should probably disclose that. Legally. At least we don’t live together. Our children, you know, no, we’re not together and all of that kind of thing, but like there wasn’t this quick transition. And in fact, on most days I’m seeing someone who’s like, sorta looks like a guy, but like is on estrogen and like, You know, it’s just difficult.

Cause sometimes he, it has a baseball cap on and like hiking shoes and like still, you know, well, maybe not so much anymore, but for awhile afterwards, like just still looked like my hot ass husband probably before estrogen still looked like my hot ass husband. And it was like kind of hard to like, You know, make your brain switch over to like, you’re seeing one thing and hearing another thing and it’s just all sorts of confusing.

So anyway, I thought [00:37:00] about it. I said, yeah, sometimes I still kind of like, you know, negatively fantasize about not having to get divorced and being able to raise my children and a family. I don’t ever consider the possibility of like being intimate. With Jay ever again. I mean, that is like gone gun, gun, gun, gun gun, as long as they don’t.

I mean, cause now I do kind of look at them, her as, you know, a girl that I’m not a drag to do in any way. Jay, if you ever listen to this podcast, I’m so sorry I’m saying that, but so yeah, I struggle still with it because I am deeply in love. I don’t even know I’m saying that in the present tense. And as I say it, it still sounds weird, but like, I am, I deeply love the person, the soul, the human.

That Jay is. And I like, I would have never gotten divorced unless he told [00:38:00] me he was going to be a woman. Here we are. 

Dr. Alissa: That’s the thing, you know, 

Heidi: that’s the thing. Yeah. 

Dr. Alissa: I knew like James was never going to cheat on me and James was never going to leave me. Like we were going to stay married, but the, it turns out this is the thing.

Heidi: So if you’re like 21 right now, you know, I mean, there’s conversations with your fiance, you know, before you counseling, this never came up. Pre-marriage counseling, sorry, premarital counseling. This question never came up. So now Nikki, you said you stayed for two years while you know, their journey on folded kind of back and forth.

Like, did you think at any point. We’ll talk about this later on, when we addressed denial as one of the stages of grief, did you think really at any point that this was ship was going to turn around that this was just a phase? 

Nikki: Yeah. [00:39:00] I thought it was midlife crisis. I thought, instead of buying a really expensive 

Heidi: car, we were 

Nikki: going to do this instead.

Or instead of him finding a really young, hot girl in her twenties, this is what we were going to do. And so that’s also a reason. I didn’t tell anyone because. What if his mind changed halfway through this and I was going to have to be like, listen, but be like, eh, never mind. Yeah. So I just, um, it was probably the biggest secret I’ve ever kept 

Heidi: for the longest time.

I will say that right now I’m moving towards divorce. Alissa, you are already divorced because frankly it’s easier to get divorced in Tennessee than it is in North Carolina. So 

Dr. Alissa: is that, so 

Heidi: yeah, it has to, it takes a long time. It takes a long time over here and the Bible belt, but you know, I still think about things like ethical non-monogamy right?

Like, could I. Continue to be partnered with [00:40:00] someone, but then I am free to date and have sex with other, you know, people, but that we live, we’re friends and we live together and we raise our children together and we partner in co-parent. So I don’t think that that’s the way my life is going to go in any way, shape or form hints.

Nikki and Alissa have me on hinge.

Nikki: Sure. Yeah.

Heidi: All you hotties out there. Just look up Heidi and North Carolina. Okay. No, but I mean, you know, I, so, so it’s, it’s evolving for me, uh, through my therapy and my healing. So part of my permission is falling out of love. And letting go and accepting that, you know, accepting that the person that I fell in love with really no longer exists.

Dr. Alissa: So I decided to have a [00:41:00] goddess party. Uh, because have you guys seen him? Sorry, 

Heidi: the show. I’m sorry. The show. 

Dr. Alissa: It is so freaking funny. Nick, you have to watch it so on. I’m sorry, which is a hilarious show, highly recommended it’s on Netflix. There’s a woman in the show. Who gets divorced and she has a goddess party and the main character thinks it’s hilarious and we Wu and kind of hokey.

And, but then she goes, and she’s like, this is actually quite like beautiful. And I was like, after I realized I was getting a divorce, I looked at my best friend Lindsey, and I was like, you’re throwing me a goddess. So I decided to have a goddess party. And of course I invited the two only people I’ve ever met in my entire life that have been through this situation to my goddess party and Heidi.

And so then you guys, you guys, 

Heidi: you, 

Nikki: you, 

[00:42:00] Heidi: Oh my gosh, 

Dr. Alissa: that. Yeah. 

Nikki: Yeah. 

Heidi: I, I kept it as a surprise, I guess. I mean, I don’t. Yeah, but I mean, it was like this really cool thing because I landed in Nashville and I’ve Alissa, I think we were having coffee and you’re like, yeah, There’s going to be this other girl.

They are Nikki. And I’m like, there’s someone else. And then the jealousy kicks in. I’m like you have a friend right down the road. I had to buy a $500 plane to get like, this is not fair.

Dr. Alissa: So what was that like for you guys to meet each other, to meet another person who has been through this? 

Nikki: I was just waiting for the story to be similar. You know. Okay. Tell me if you’re, I think that’s the thing is I want to know everyone’s story. That’s going through this because I want to find the similar, because did I miss signs?

[00:43:00] Did I not see things that I should have seen all these years? Everyone always asks you that. Did you know, did you have a sign? Did you, did you feel like no, never showed up anywhere. And I mean, we were together over 20 years and I’m like, nah, never, 

Heidi: never. Like people, let me just give you a little thing. If you are straight and you are in love with your spouse.

No, no. You have no idea. You know, like no idea, like, no, there was not a clue. Like, no, they were 

Dr. Alissa: like, yeah, even, even my mom, even my mom was like, When I told my mom, she goes and she’s nodding. And this is something that you guys have been working on for a long time. 

Heidi: No, 

Dr. Alissa: even my own mother was like, surely you knew this, this is something you are 

Heidi: aware of.

Dr. Alissa: No, I know. I fucking wasn’t. No, 

Heidi: no. 

Nikki: Yeah, 

Heidi: totally [00:44:00] blindsided. I think we tried to also name this podcast that. But I think something that was helpful was that the people all around my J two were just as surprised as I was like every, every friend, your friends, I will say, even Jay, like I’m working on it in therapy.

It’s still very hard for me to believe, but like now I’m going to go to present tense. You know, my husband hasn’t transitioned yet, so it’s very hard for me to use the female pronoun. When they haven’t transitioned, but I will try here’s my first attempt, she, when she shares her story is very, the past is a black hole.

So if there were thoughts or feelings, they were pushed out or repressed at such a young age that they don’t even know that they. Exist or are there. And that has been one of the hardest things for me is moving [00:45:00] to trust and belief that you know, that the person and that I loved and that I love and fell in love with and had children with.

Wasn’t like lying to me for seven years. Nikki. Did you feel like James had been just lying to you for 20 years or? I felt 

Nikki: so betrayed. I felt something and I didn’t know what the word was. And then one day we went to therapy together and it was a different therapist of my choice this time. And the therapist asks, have you ever apologized Nikki for the betrayal and the look on.

My ex husband’s face. He didn’t even answer. He would just kind of stumble. Well, I, uh, uh, I kind of, uh, yeah, and, and I answered, I was like, no, no, never, but that was the first time, the word betrayal encompassed, everything that I felt because they 

Heidi: did feel betrayed. I 

Dr. Alissa: don’t like, I 

Heidi: didn’t feel bad 

Dr. Alissa: at all. And I still don’t 

[00:46:00] Heidi: feel that at all.

Dr. Alissa: I never had any anger toward Jamie for realizing who she was. And I do think that a piece of that is because of what I do is being a counselor. Having seen people who are, you know, come out in different ways. And, um, just having the knowledge that I have about what it means to have gender dysphoria. And so I think like having all of that was a gift to me to be able to.

Have compassion for Jamie. And that has served me really well as far as co-parenting well with Jamie, it, unfortunately it did not serve me well when it came to my family and they’re supportive me because they did not understand my not feeling betrayed and angry and not wanting to totally disconnect from Jamie.

Heidi: Oh, interesting. My family has been so supportive. And affirming that it’s almost made me a little mad sometimes. [00:47:00] Cause I’m like, can’t someone be angry at Jay, you know, and really, you know, everyone’s sad that I’m hurting, but they’re sad that she’s hurting. Also. And so, but I will say there’s been some days where I’m like, all right, thanks everybody.

I would just like one person to be on my side and just say, yeah, that’s really ridiculous. So as we close the season one episode one, and you’ve learned a little bit about our lives and our intersecting. It’s very important that we leave a little note for everyone. That’s listening. Just a little 11 note to say that we are all works in progress.

That we have no intention to offend. We’re trying to use the correct language to be affirmative and informing and educational and supportive and loving. And we are [00:48:00] also doing this podcast because it serves as counseling for each of us also. So we just ask anyone that’s tuning in to listen, to stick with us.

And here. So much more about the crazy twists and turns of this life and the stories and growing through it. But to give us leeway in compassion, if we use the wrong pronoun every now and then. 

Dr. Alissa: Because we are not transphobic and we are, and I was accused of that and leaving. And I don’t know if either of you were, but in not saying I was accused of being transphobic.

And so that is something that we want to make sure that we communicate is that we are affirming, you know, and if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. 

Heidi: Right. This is 

Nikki: from our point of view, we’re not going to speak their story. We’re not going to say what it was like for them, because we don’t know we weren’t in their shoes, but we know what it’s like to be in our shoes on this journey.

Heidi: So, [00:49:00] and lady except our invitations to interview them, right. Not 

Nikki: later, 

Heidi: later in this year. So Dr. Alissa share, before we sign off, what are some things that listeners can expect out of season one? 

Dr. Alissa: So, what you’ll hear in the rest of this season 

Heidi: are our stories. 

Dr. Alissa: So yeah, this was an abbreviated version of our stories is really our intersection, 

Heidi: how 

Dr. Alissa: we met, how we know each other and why in this unbelievably fucked up situation.

Uh, but in our stories, we’ll go a lot deeper and we’ll also go through. How we 

Heidi: initially 

Dr. Alissa: really coped well, have a conversation about that and then what we needed permission to believe, and then where we are now, what points we’re at in each of our lives, some similar and some really different, and we’ll end there.

Kayla 

Heidi: is that you’re really Heidi. 

Dr. Alissa: You are so 

Heidi: strong. It’s [00:50:00] the trauma, Nikki. You are so sarcastic. 

Nikki: Thanks. It’s the trauma.

Heidi: It’s the drama cheering each other on and cheering you on from my Vilvas. They LA to you.

Love you girl.

Nikki: Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast is not a substitute for therapy or mental health advice. If you or someone you love is in crisis, please call one 802 seven three. Talk +1 800-273-8255. You can also text the word home to seven four one seven four one to reach a trained crisis counselor.

You’re so funny. Thanks. It’s the trauma. [00:51:00]