I am adopted and was raised in a family with extra doses of dysfunction, which I believe helped to lead me in the direction of helping others to end suffering and learn to build lives that thrive.
Being an adoptee is an extremely difficult experience.
People do not understand why it is so hard. The common response is that “your adopted parents loved you so much, why are you complaining?” or “you should be glad that you’re alive.” Clearly these folks just want to make us feel better and don’t have or want to have the empathy to understand what we are experiencing.
It is not complaining to talk about your emotions for the purpose of self awareness, and understanding, relief and healing.
It is not about how much adopted parents love though that is helpful. It is about being rejected by your mother in the womb.
It is about the feeling of not having a place in the world before you are even born.
It is a desperate attempt to know that you are okay in spite of the fact that the person who is making your life possible would rather you were dead or did not exist.
Please do not get me wrong some people are very happy with their an adoptive adoptive parents and then there are tragic adopted parents. Most adoptive parents are like everyone else struggling to figure out how to be parents and these parents are dealing with what can be a difficult situation.
As science and medicine are proving the cells and the consciousness of the mother passes through the placenta to the child. This means that as the child’s body is forming, its mind, its neuro system, it’s very cells and the DNA are being bathed in the emotional state of rejection.
We all know that emotions have chemical states that are generated, so the child is literally bathed in rejection, guilty, shame, ect. This is an experience that unless you have had it cannot be explained to another person effectively. How do you explain the inner battle of deeply feeling your drive to live, and the contrasting the feeling that you do not have a place in the world or even worse you feel the desire of the world to destroy you. Some of us feel that we should not exist, the hatred and desire of the mother to be rid of us haunts our thoughts but we can’t explain why.
I’m a strong and positive person. I have thought seriously about killing myself, in high school I took actions to do so, I failed so I am still here. If the foundation for myself image is built on my mothers feelings about me, of course I wish I didn’t exist. You can watch it’s a wonderful life as much as you want, but the deeply seated feeling of wishing for my nonexistence has an effect on my feelings about my place in the world.
This compounds all of the normal challenges people face. Everyone faces self-esteem issues, feels the fear of being lost and separate, and not being able to be safe and thrive.
As an adoptee that is how challenges of self compassion are multiplied. There is a profound drive to find your place in the world to bond to someone or something so you can finally relax and know that you are safe. the problem with this is that often adoptees tried too hard, which puts people off. We don’t know how to relax and feel like we have a place in the world. We take normal things too seriously, and feel every day experiences like being broken up with or being rejected are insurmountable.
This leads the leads the adoptee to create coping mechanism. Everything from being overly generous to find acceptance, to telling stories that make ourselves feel more desirable or acceptable to those around us. It also leads us to getting involved with the wrong people far too often. Too often we end up in situations where people are not treating us well, where people are taking advantage of our desire to please, or we do not genuinely feel love in exchange for everything that we do for those around us.
The way that people normally relate can be confusing to us. For example we tend to want to become too deeply involved with people to quickly or we tend to sabotage relationships that reinforce her feelings of loneliness.
While everyone experiences loneliness, and it is one of the worst feelings we can have, based on my studies of others and my experience of loneliness as an adoptee I believe there are profound differences. In very abused children or people who were rejected by their parents or were abused by their mother after her I see similarities, yet as an adoptee it is rare to find other adoptees with the same profound level of loneliness and what it sparks and our psyche.
There are things we can do about this, and we have to understand, we may need to create a specific life long support system for ourselves. May of the practices I describe have helped me. I will write more about it. I think the first place to start is recognizing that we are not built exactly like everyone else. I recommend reading or rereading The Primal Wound to start.
As an adoptee, I think learning to find self love and self compassion is the both the most difficult and most rewarding thing you can do. Being an adoptee has shown me how much we are all really connected and how finding our individual worth and beauty is the key reconfiguring our foundation in the world.