Thursday, January 04, 2007

To Meet or Not to Meet Birthmother?

And that, dear readers, is the BIG question.

Not that she's asking to meet to me, by the way. I think she sort of assumes that we'll meet when I'm next in town.

We're in limbo, right now.

Me taking a break to mull over the following information, presented in sequence, learned over the last seven months:

--That her decision to relinquish me was her own. She was 37 and not a coerced, vulnerable teenager;

--The letter I mailed after finding her (too fast!) was a dream come true. For her. In it, I said as a woman I sympathized with her terrible dilemma and respected the choice she made and that despite some difficulties, I was leading a good life. In a way, I shot myself in the foot. She's now seems more satisfied than ever with her decision and pats herself on the back, repeating how she chose adoption over the objections of her mother and sisters and how she refused to see me more than once because she "couldn't let herself get attached." This and other stories are said in an off-hand, cavalier manner. She's not malicious. In fact, she's awfully sweet but jarringly insensitive. But these explanations are devastating. Which leads me to.... ;

--I don't feel SAFE when I'm talking with her. She seems to have no filters. I have to admit that at the end of every conversation, I feel TERRIBLE. I feel INVISIBLE and DIMINISHED and DISCOUNTED. She's an awful lot like my adoptive dad, except she's not narcisstic, just talks a lot;

--And then, another bombshell. She's an alcoholic;

--And then (I hope) the final whammy: She allowed her ex-husband to sexually abuse not just one but THREE children in her care. This ex-husband ended up leaving her for a woman with younger kids, but when she talks about her marriage (which is frequently) she makes no mention of the abuse, just that she "rescued" these kids from bad home situations.

Okay, most of this info. is a recap of what's appeared in other posts, but I'm trying to gauge the full impact of it all.

What was I expecting from reunion?

I got one thing: a grounded feeling. No matter how bad, at least I KNOW.

But how much is enough? When to say, okay, that's about as far as I want to take it. Maybe it's not SAFE for me to meet a person like this? From all that I've heard, my birthmother is considered a fun, talkative gal, but she's also considered a rather "heartless" person who doesn't show emotion. If talking to her on the phone makes me feel bad, then maybe meeting her would be harmful to my psyche. Maybe I should take my time and trust my instincts this time. My instincts are badly underdeveloped. I used to ignore them. Mostly because I was so busy people-pleasing. Now that I have THAT under better control, I'm surprised to hear "warning, warning, danger up ahead" and that's what I'm hearing, folks.

So what to do about it?


Blogger Celera said...

If you arent' ready, you aren't ready. It is great when people can meet their birthparents and forge a warm and supportive relationship with them. But it just isn't always possible. Your bmother doesn't seem to have a lot of warmth to offer. The time may come when that won't bother you -- when meeting her just to gather information about your heritage will be enough. But if right now you need her to validate your experiences and feelings, and she isn't going to be able to do that, then it's just not the right time. You owe her nothing, really.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

That's the great thing about comments, Celera, because they often offer some interesting perspective. I didn't think I wanted her to validate my experiences and feelings, but maybe I do. I went in thinking I just wanted to KNOW, but not necessarily have a relationship. Maybe on a subconscious level I do want some sort of validation. I also like the bit about not owing her anything because that's what I was feeling...but hesitant to express b/c it sounds so...well, coldish. But it's true. She did give up all rights.

8:01 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

I hope I'm wrong, but she definitely sounds narcissistic to me. The way she makes you feel after talking to her sends big red flags.

9:09 PM  
Blogger LeRoy Dissing said...

You have taken all the initiative Nina in finding your mom, making contact, listening to her talk about herself, uncovering your family history, ect. From what you describe, she has done really zippo. I agree with celera: you owe her nothing, but you have given her a lot already. You have given her your time, attention, your history (although she seems disinterested and then twists what you told her to "stroke" herself for making the decision to give you up). I think in her mind, she owes you nothing and you should be grateful for her time - all of which I find sad.

From what you describe, this search was done for you and by you; to discover the truth about you - where you came from, why things happened; to help put the missing pieces of your life's puzzle together. I would not make this about her which I think she would love.

You are showing her unconditional love. Hers will always be conditional; always has been. Because of her history and yours, caution and going slow may be a wise course.

If it were me as your parent, I would be estatic that you wanted anything to do with me - and I would definitely want to meet you when you were ready. When you don't feel like you are walking on eggshells, when you can be yourself with her, then it might be time.

1:33 AM  
Blogger singing feather said...

Alcoholic!! Run for the freakin hills girl. Your first Mom has way too much baggage. It is hard enough in reunion, this would be impossible. Sorry this happened to you, it must be so hard.


8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't sound like you're ready to meet her yet. Remember this is still about YOU. Try not to feel the need to fix HER.

Best wishes,

9:12 AM  
Blogger Joy said...

I think I would regret not meeting my mother at least once whatever her baggage.

I would go with protection though

ie support not a pistol

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with celera - that maybe in time when you feel that just gathering the info will be enough - then that would be the time to meet. When you aren't expecting any more than that and you won't fall apart unexpectedly upon seeing her - which could still happen but when you feel you can protect yourself enough. No, you do not owe her. But maybe it might be beneficial in some unconscious way to just see her in person, just once. I guess the question would be, can it hurt any more or could it help close that book if you need to?

btw, I added your blog to mine in the links - I hope that's okay. Please let me know if not and I'll remove it.

2:16 PM  
Blogger LeRoy Dissing said...

Joy...well maybe a water pistol to cool things down if the meeting got heated :)

4:56 AM  
Blogger HeatherRainbow said...

Hmm... sounds like she is in denial. If she's an alcoholic, she definitely is not ok with everything in her life.

She might be saying that she is happy for your benefit.

I wish you the best, in whatever you decide to do.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Being Me said...

Ooooh Nina, I'm with the take it slow crowd too. Reunion brings up SO MUCH. I had no idea what I was dealing with. Bmoms start out ignorant and hopefully grow up, but not necessarily! You are smart to listen to yourself! Take care of yourself and do what supports you step by step.

6:41 PM  

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