raised as boys

I'm thinking today about people who are raised as boys. I think maybe they struggle with identity in a different way than those who are raised as girls. They seem to look at their fathers and ask, “Am I like him?”

Maybe my memory is faulty, but I don't remember asking that about me and my mother. I do remember swearing not to be like her.

My children's father seems to be a self hater who lashes out at everyone else. Inconsistent. Rageful. Pontificating. Insecure. Craves authority and makes a complete mess of it every time he gets some.

He also lights up on everyone's gaydar but adamantly proclaims he's hetero.

And he tried to raise my children “right” – impose his values and identity on them through controlling their behavior. Disastrously.

I've watched my children, raised as boys, struggle with these. They still struggle well into adulthood.

I wonder if we'd had AFAB children instead, would they have been so tortured. I think not, because the model of maleness my ex follows doesn't invest its own identity in how girls turn out, but instead in how well they are protected. They would have been expected to follow my pattern instead of his.

My pattern is its own hot mess. A different hot mess.

So maybe, yes, they would still have big struggles, just a different set.