Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dealing with Grief: It's a Solitude Thing

In response to my previous post, Third Mom Margie (a must read) and social worker Leroy Dissing (another must read) expressed their hope that I had support in dealing with my adoption related grief.

Yes. And no.

My husband is a wonderful listener and I talk about it with him almost daily. My therapist is amazing and is a troubled adoptee's dream come true. Sometimes, I have a nightmare that Dr. Laura has taken over her practice and she scolds me for being an ungrateful big baby and to quit whining about being adopted because it's no big deal.

But as for my friends, and I have some great ones, they just don't seem to GET adoption. Invariably, they nod and listen and feel compelled to say something like, "Yeah, well, my mom treated me like such and such and I wasn't adopted" or "Sometimes I wish I was adopted because my parents are such a nightmare and it freaks me out I'm related to them." That kind of stuff. On my birthday, I finally admitted that my birthdays make me sad because it was also my relinquishment day. This seemed to distress my friend and she tried to make me feel better by saying another way to look at my birthday was it was a day that friends and family could honor me...or something along those lines. This only made me feel worse.

All this just seems to highlight the isolation that adoptees can feel...even when surrounded by caring people with the best of intentions. Being adopted is such an odd, peculiar thing and everybody who isn't adopted seems to have an opinion on what it is and what it isn't. But most of all, when one finally talks about it, you can sense the other person's discomfort kick in.

But dealing with grief - in semi-solitude - is welcome. I've spent the whole week taking long walks with my dog, often crying, and I'm learning to experience feeling intense emotions after walling them off for so many years. In the process, I'm getting to know myself better and today, I'm feeling calmer and much more focused.



Blogger Doughnut said...

Nina...You need to do what works for you. I can tell you that long walks work for me too. It is a chance to be alone with myself and God (if you are spiritually inclined); as well as clear my head of all the worldly things around me; and to set priorities. Sometimes it is nothing more than putting your mind in neutral and drifting like on your back in a pool or on an inner tube floating down a river. Somedays I want to be those leaves being blown around in the wind; free and no cares. Other nights I want to be on the bright full moon and look back at the earth.

Your journey is one of restoration. Restoring that which should have been - a mother/father/daughter relationship...a family. Maybe it really is all about restoring oneself...maybe that is all it can ever be at this stage. And for those of us who have never had a similar experience as you Nina, just means we have to listen more closely and talk less (of which I may be guilty of at times). The healing comes in letting yourself be to be me....for you can never be "we" unless you are first a "me".

12:37 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

That's really beautiful imagery, Leroy, thank you. And sheesh, we're ALL guilty of occasionally talking a bit too much and not listening enough. Active, attentive listening is an acquired skill so few people. And BTW, in the virutal world, you are an exceptional "listener" who gives insightful comments which are always welcome.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Doughnut said...

Thank you Nina...I have much yet to learn. I have gained from you and others much more than I have or will ever be able to give back.

I will continue to listen and comment when I can offer something useful. I am glad you feeling calmer and more focused.

4:48 PM  
Blogger In Reunion said...

wow. nina. i sound like a broken record, i know, but you really help me in mamy ways. not only to understand my daughter but to validate me. the way i handle the grief, and the comments i am subjected to (by alledgedly well meaning loved ones) often defy explanation. people definitely dont get it. they have been spoon fed the adoption is wonderful crap for so long they cannot imagine someone expressing grief over something so fabu.
glad you have support. i have wonderful therapist who has a friend who is a natural mother in reunion. therapist is also big follower in the german therapist, bert hellinger, who essentially believes adoption is very very wrong and has life long affects for all generations. its been wonderful to find someone who validates. (this is suz..something crazy with my other id)

5:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


I find that adoption makes me much more of a loner than I think my nature would warrant.

I like being alone, I like not having to pretend

2:16 PM  
Blogger Doughnut said...

You don't strike me as a loner Joy....more extroverted, but I agree, we all need our alone time and then we need that "together" time too. Its just how to balance it can be interesting or painful.

2:58 PM  
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