There was an interesting discussion among several adopted people yesterday on facebook. As I was reading the replies to the question posed, I was thinking that any mother considering adoption for her unborn child should have to read it also. For you cannot go into a fully informed decision for adoption until you have learned about how that choice might possibly effect your child in the future.
The discussion was about the Psychology Today article "10 Surprising Facts About Rejection". A question was posed asking if others who were adopted felt that #10 on the list ("10. There are ways to treat the psychological wounds rejection inflicts.") was true for those who were adopted. Below is the question posed and some of the replies. I asked if it would be ok to post their discussion here ~ some preferred I use their names and some preferred to stay anonymous.
Thanks to all of you who allowed me to share this discussion!
Adoptees, I would like you to share your thoughts on this article. We all face rejection, and we all know it runs viral among the adopted. I see myself in a lot of the traits posted in this column. I don't see #10 in the same light as the author. Thoughts?
When I began delving into adoption it was the same day as my discovery coming up on 8-years-ago. I was very surprised when I learned that rejection is an adopted person's hugest trigger. While everyone fears rejection, it is 10-fold among we adoptees. "The Primal Wound" details how relinquished babies experience a rejection as soon as we are removed from our mothers. It is a trauma we never overcome.
I cannot totally agree with #10. While there are treatments for feelings of rejection and abandonment, no one I know of has as of yet cured "the primal wound." If someone were to I know they would make millions. Have any of you cured the Primal Wound?
"Number 10 feels off to me, too. We may think we've gotten past feeling a certain way, but something can send us down the rabbit hole where we feel old stings anew. At least "I" do. I hesitate to say we, but I know I've heard other express similar feelings over the years.
I think the best I can do is learn to cope with my emotions and everything that goes along with them better. For me, this is a lifelong process of constantly tweaking my thinking and how I treat myself."
"I can't cure the Primal Wound, but sometimes I can slap a big enough bandaid on it so that I can cope."
"I don't feel we can *fix* the Primal Wound.... Only learn coping skills. Not a professional - but I have lived it."
"They may not be taking into account trauma that occurs in infancy. There's definitely a difference because the infant has no knowledge of it's self before the trauma. Check out www.lifeworkscommunity.com for more about this. They also have a page on FB. Paul Sunderland also has a video on YouTube, "Lecture on Adoption", where he talks about this. He's from the UK and trained for many years in addiction. He found such a strong link between adoption and addiction that he began looking deeper into the effects of adoption (or relinquishment, as he calls it). He talks extensively about PTSD. Very interesting!"
"damn, just reading that article...makes me feel hurt."
"Very interesting, especially 7 and 9 for me"
Holly Carter: "You can't correct the Primal Wound. We don't have a self before the actual wound. We can't go back to before because there is no before. We are severed forever and will always carry that with us. While it can be put in the closet and set on a shelf, every so often, when entering the closet, it can jump off the shelf at the most inappropriate times. Also, until society realizes that we have this real pain with adoption and society allows us to grieve our loss, there won't be a real healing of this rejection. I feel it is always there, we just learn to live with it & put it aside & it will erupt at any given time, weather we realize it or not. I'm pretty sure that's why I can talk circles around people when I don't really want to answer a question or discuss something. Hope this makes sense."
"I can see how someone with an adoption rejection experience could find him/herself with twice as much time as others just thinking and anticipating a rejection before it even happens. It's like hiking 200 ft up a hill and back tracking 200 ft and going back up again....the stress is at maximum"
"Holly states it very well…there is no cure for the Primal Wound……Before I read that book, I also read Being Adopted the life long search for self and between the two books…It was such an epiphany for me on how I maneuvered my life…not to risk..not to trust….leave a relationship before one can leave me….Divorce rate is higher among adoptees as well according to a book I read…Our adoptee issues always seems to be there…it is how we manage it all so it doesn't get too overwhelming at one time or moment…"
"I agree that there is no cure for the primal wound, & I've often wondered if those of us that are adopted are so conditioned to it that we subconsciously set ourselves up for more rejection by subtle things like body language & facial expressions, especially to people who tend to be human predators whose skills are honed to smell fear & pounce on it."
From a natural mother: "The saddest thing to me is how much I wanted my daughter. I wasn't looking to abandon. I was told the biggest lie of coercion; If you love her enough you will allow her to have the nuclear family she deserves. No one told me she would feel abandoned or have any negative effects about adoption. And that's why I do what I can to help young pregnant women know the truth. My apology from all of your mothers."
"in reading number 10 I would say it falls along the line with PEER therapy…releasing all the stored negative emotions that exist in the body…self soothing only works so well and having other people soothe us is not always realistic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3euHCetX34"
"my birth mother was told the same set of lies. It took me awhile to fill her in about my not-so-positive adoption experience and she was devastated to find out things weren't all rosy as she was promised. Young women in distress are prone and want to believe the best case scenarios, especially if those around them are all sending the same message. Adoption should be a last resort, not looked at as the perfect solution."
Jodi Gibson Haywood: "#10 sounds kind of vague. Rejection definitely does not respond to reason or logical thought, especially with adoption wounds. Decades after the fact I discovered I wasn't actually given up, but taken in a family abduction. That did nothing to ease the pain of rejection. The primal wound is incurable. Some days the pain can be managed better than others."
"I think that the important part of #10 is, "To do so effectively we must address each of our psychological wounds... " Because our emotions run HOT it is very hard to stop long enough to calmly and coolly "address" our wounds. Personal experience - I was told by a cousin that I was not wanted. Not by my Mother or Father - No one wanted me. My Mom and Dad felt sorry for me so they took me in. Sound familiar?? Then when I was in grade school a classmate told me that being adopted meant that my Mother was a prostitute!! Lovely, eh. Well, my Mom (at this point - the 50s) was very forthcoming with what she had been told (which proved to be true) so my wound was bandaged by what she told me... BUT throughout my life I have heard the same crap over and over about adoptees and/or why children are surrendered for adoption. It is a very sore point with me. After two years of addressing this point with a useless - USELESS - therapist (?) in my early 20s, I talked to a neighbor who was a Psychiatrist and he asked me one simple question (that I would never have heard or thought of in an emotional fervor), "Did your cousin, schoolmate, or any of these people who say that your or anyone else's Mothers didn't want them know the Mothers?" Because of my own personal life situation at the time I was able to look back at these situation and realize that all of these people (or their parents who had planted the idea in their heads) were all talking out of their asses. This was not the end of having to deal with feelings of being "other" or not good enough But it was the beginning of awakening and working for reform."
Wendy Blitzer Barkett: "Tylenol??? Really??? Tylenol actually makes me feel the need to throw up, perhaps now I know why. It's trying to fight with rejection, and rejection wins out every time.
Someone mentioned the band aide and that I can relate to. I had no idea that I pushed people to see how long it would take them to leave, to reject me, to walk away. I knew I did it, I never knew why. It was when I pushed my husband while we were engaged that the fear that he might actually leave hit me. For the first time, I was pushing someone away that I didn't want to leave, and so I stopped, for the most part.
Years later I read about rejection and abandonment and being an adoptee and how they all related to each other.
I don't think we can ever cure it, or heal it per say. Make it less painful, yes, for sure. Even tylenol will do that!
But there are plenty of healthy, as well as rather unhealthy ways, to erase the rejection feelings. Some refer to healing their inner child. I can't relate to that. If there ever is a cure, or a clinical study, I'd be sure to think about giving it a shot. Until then I just ignore it."
Jodi Gibson Haywood: "the fact is that prolonged separation from your mother, as a baby or young child, is automatically perceived as rejection because we're not capable of understanding the circumstances behind it. Whether we were abandoned, abducted, or orphaned in the true sense of the word, it feels the same. It also makes us especially vulnerable to - and traumatized by - subsequent rejections. My healing is coming from acknowledging the primal wound while not allowing it to define me. Not an easy thing to do, but less negative side effects than the self-destructive stuff I did before."
"I do believe there is a way to address and treat our wounds. One way is to be aware of self defeating behavior that may elicit rejection and make changes in our imteractions with others. I have done this in my own life. Am I "cured"? Of all wounds? No. But the pain lessons with time. Like cully mentioned about those people who didn't know what they were talking about, sometimes logic can help me see that it isn't just me walking around wounded. Everyone has their baggage and fears rejection so I have learned not to take it as personal when it happens. Painful? Yes. But I can soothe my wounds by spending time with those who love me and have shown they won't reject me. (Of course this takes trust)."