Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Psychological Suicide

When I decided to search for my first mother last year, I hoped she would still be alive.

By my calculation, she'd be over 80. Being a hypochondriac, I imagined all sorts of things would have killed her. Like cancer which I was sure had devastated both sides of my birth family. Or complications due to adult onset diabetes that I was sure would crop up at the next doctor's appointment. Or some rare genetic disorder of mysterious origins. Or, worst, she'd have dementia like both my adoptive parents.

But no. She was alive and mostly well.

So focused was I on the finding her before it was too late that I gave little thought to the relationship that we might have. Or not.

Four months have passed since we met in person for the first time.

We haven't tried calling each other.

I just can't bring myself to do it. I don't want to- can't - talk to her. (At least not now)

Oddly, if I'd met her before the Adoption Fog induced by Never-Discuss-Adoption- Brainwashing, I'd probably be calling her every week because of my pre-therapy People Pleasing tendencies. I'd call and listen to her talk and talk and hang up and have no clue why I felt unsettled. I'd have no idea that she's self-absorbed due to the neglect she suffered in childhood and, as a result, needs constant attention. I wouldn't have been able to observe that she's an awful lot like my adoptive dad. I wouldn't have been able to laugh at the irony of it all. That the social worker managed to find parents as dysfunctional as the one I would have had if she hadn't abandoned me at the hospital much like the stray kittens she rescued, then tired of a week later and called animal control to haul them away. (Another story she tells with pride).

Speaking of control, I am no longer willing to be controlled by guilt. It's one of the positive things to come out of A Year in Therapy. I am no longer willing to be emeshed or coerced or any of the other things that used to make my life chaotic and inauthentic and shallow.

Many, many things can impact the quality and sustainability of Adoption Reunion.

I am beginning to suspect that I COULD have had a relationship with my first mother IF I had remained in my Adoption Fog and was willing to play my often requested role of listener/supporter. But I want something more. A reciprocal relationship. But from personal experience and from what my birth family says, she's just not capable.

As my mother, she has enormous power. I try and not give it to her - try and think of her as just a woman I'm getting to know - but it's there. This thing between us. Me the daughter. She the mother. The power to make me feel small and invisible. She has the power to send me back to that scary place where her needs are first and mine are, well, whatever she decides. When she doesn't give me the chance to speak, when she interrupts after my sixth consequtive word, when she abruptly changes the subject after I've said something that's important (to me), she's erasing me all over again.

This time, I just can't let that happen. It's psychological suicide.

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19 Comments:

Blogger Rhonda said...

I had an almost ten year relationship with my mother while I was still in my adoption fog. It was too many years of making concessions, doing whatever I could to please everyone, all the time.

Trust me, it is a good thing you've entered reunion as an "awakened" adoptee. And, I am learning a lot reading about your experience.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

That must have been exhausting and confusing and more than a little sad, Rhonda. I use the word "fog" a little loosely, I think. Muddle may be better...because much of the time, while unaware, I was really all over the place..emotionally chaotic. Grief and anger was underneath. I need to catch up w/you, too. Unusually busy home life and not as much time for blogging buddies!

5:53 PM  
Blogger suz said...

Nina, wow. This post confused me. I usually see so much of my daughter in you, I usually understand, yet this one I had to read and reread and while i understand what you mean for you..its causing some confusion in me. I must ponder that more. That usually means something. Like for example, I am trying constantly to understand my daughter. She isn't attempting to please me at all. Is she in fog? She isn't denying me. Is that fog? I don't know. Just confused. I suspect I will be back to read this a few times. Something about it is calling me -- even if I don't understand it yet.
As always, thanks for sharing.

6:15 PM  
Blogger LeRoy Dissing said...

I think you are much healthier than a year ago because you have established your personal space and boundaries. You have taken care of you and that is where it all starts. People only have power over you if you allow them and to me, thats true no matter what the relationship. Not only that but the best relationships are those where no one is concerned about power - an interdependence exists that allows for a free flowing exchange of thoughts and feelings within a safe environment. Kind a like here :)

Thanks for sharing Nina!

3:34 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

Suz, Please let me know if and when you figure it out...if you feel comfortable doing so, naturally! Didn't get into here, but...since working on a relationship with one's mother after adoption does take a certain amount of emotional energy even if the mother is empathetic (like you), it's possible that there's something else in her life that takes up much of her emo energy, like maybe handling her a-parents or a boyfriend or whatever. Like, when I was managing my a-mom's Alzheimers care for almost a decade I wanted to search, but just couldn't find the energy to do it let alone actually have anything approaching a relationship. Just some extra ideas.

Leroy...So true your words of wisdom yet I need to keep reminding myself!!! Thank you!

12:41 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Yeah, blogger is letting me post today.

You validate me all the time, just wanted to tell you that.

You are awesome Nina, and I'm glad that you are here posting your truth and insights.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Andie D. said...

I found my mom about 1 year ago. She's only 56, but she sounds a LOT like your mom.

I'm so glad to have found this online community of all members of the adoption triad. But in a sense it makes it just a little bit harder to deal with a bmom who is apathetic. We read about so many bmoms who want relationships and are trying so hard to have them.

"When she doesn't give me the chance to speak, when she interrupts after my sixth consequtive word, when she abruptly changes the subject after I've said something that's important (to me), she's erasing me all over again."

It is phychological suicide. Bugger all.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

Elizabeth, Have been trying to start a blog on wordpress, but it won't let me...argh. Glad to know you get something out of my blog cause I get soooo much outa yours!

ANDIE, It IS tough to hear about other first moms and all their concerns and efforts made on behalf of their lost children. Except I don't feel lost. More like ditched. Thank you!

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Vicky said...

Well said.

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