Heartened

The whole kit & doodle!

Emotional baggage and logic – an oxymoron

This one was in response to a birthmom trying to understand why her daughter has begun to pull back post-reunion.

As an adoptee who is not in reunion, and not even sure I want to BE in reunion, I don't think you are doing anything 'wrong.'

As I've read over adoption discussion forums, I've noticed that many other adoptees share certain behavioral traits with me. One of which is a tendency to go months without talking to people we care about, both family and friends.

When there is something big or fun or exciting going on in my life, I tend to draw people close to me and have them be involved. But the minute my life slows down, or the minute anything in my life starts going 'bad,' I withdraw.

I believe part of this lies with an unconscious belief that I have to 'have something special' happening in order for people to want to be with me. Who would want to be with me when my life is 'normal' or hitting the skids? Of course, realistically I know that those who love me don't only love me when my life is 'perfect,' but those abandonment/rejection issues say otherwise.

Even though you are in reunion with your daughter, I promise you, she has not worked through that unconscious 'first rejection' that's floating around in her psyche. Being in reunion doesn't undo a lifetime of unconscious thought. It doesn't matter that you didn't want to reject or abandon her, it doesn't matter that you don't think you did reject or abandon her. There's nothing 'rational' about these feelings, they simply are what they are. And they don't go away overnight.

Logic doesn't work with a young child, and some part of her is still that young child.

Don't reject or abandon her again. That may not be your intention, but in this instance, it's all about how she is going to perceive your actions on an unconscious level. If she has not asked for 'no contact,' I would continue to send supportive emails or text messages from time to time. Send a Christmas card. Birthday, anniversary, etc. Resist the urge to send presents unless you have mutually agreed to exchange them for the holidays. You can't 'buy' her love. Not that you're trying to, but again, perception is everything.

And know that it's likely she is not conscious of any of this.

I'm glad my birth family have not found me yet. I need the time to process through all these emotions and behaviors that I am only now identifying well into my 30's. I think if we had established contact before now, it would not have been particularly fulfilling to any of us. When I've healed a bit more, then I'll be in an emotional position to allow someone into my life like that.

Give her time. She has a lifetime of emotional baggage to work through.

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January 6, 2006 - Posted by | Adoption Rants

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