I wonder if there ever really is any getting over contact denial. Oh this is all SO tiring. I scream at myself on the inside to just get ON with life but it is always hanging there like a cobweb I can’t quite reach. Nobody else even notices the stupid cobweb but I do and it drives me batty.
Usually when I help someone search I end up trying to prepare them emotionally for what may surface during the process. It’s pretty simple really. I help them search, give them steps to take which they either do or don’t do. I think it’s important to be involved in your own search because it helps you prepare and also gives you a sense of control in a situation where you have very little, if any. Some people are totally on board with it and others really expect you to do everything, taking a more passive approach. I have had success finding and I have had failure and no matter how hard I try failure is always entirely frustrating.
Usually if searching meets with success I sort of silently celebrate, wish them well and that’s pretty much the end of my involvement. Recently however I began helping someone who over the course of several months has become a very good friend. Now I feel like I have a vested interest in the success of his reunion, it’s VERY personal and that is new territory for me. I became attached to him and his beautiful family and thus to the outcome of his search.
My friend did not have an accurate name to go by so after several weeks of searching I suggested he suck it up and go through the state run intermediary program at the whopping cost of 750.00. I get physically sick when people have to pay this kind of money for their OWN information but all avenues had been explored and there was nowhere else to go. As it turns out he had the wrong name to begin with so the intermediary program was the right choice. If you can call it a choice.
A short time later he was assigned an intermediary and with his records in hand she was able to locate his family in a matter of days. After the intermediary received the siblings consent form and sent it to the court (another absolutely rediculous step) she was able to give my friend the contact information. Two days ago he spoke to his siblings for the first time. As it turns out two of them live in the same state that he does and one lives only about 40 minutes away. It’s a miracle. He was supposed to be having dinner with one of his sisters last night!
Now comes the hard part. I have never really allowed myself to become completely emotionally involved with anyone I was searching for but this time around I definately was involved. We talked almost every day. He explained the emotions he was going through and I assured him that what he was feeling was quite normal. The thing is because he shared so much with me each step he took felt like I was going through the process all over again. And the worst part? Now that his search has met with success I am struggling with jealousy. I can’t tell you how horrible it makes me feel that I cannot bring myself to simply feel happy for him. I AM happy for him but it is cluttered with my own sense of loss.
I am not at all sure what to do with this. Maybe it has to do with the fact that my own failed reunion is reaching it’s sixth year anniversary, maybe it’s the holidays, I don’t know. All I know is that it is causing me to question my motives for helping others search. Initially I knew it was somewhat selfish. You see when I helped others it made me feel like there was a reason to the madness of the outcome of my own search, but even with the justification I was doing a good thing. It was a win-win situation. With this search though it FEELS like a win situation for him and all I am feeling is a huge sense of loss. I feel like a fake. When I talk to him on the phone I tell him how happy I am for him. He shares every success because I have stood by him since the beginning. He feels I deserve to be a part of the rewards of a lot of hard work. I wish I could feel the same. I really do. Instead I just feel cheated. As he is telling me about his sister crying on the phone because she is so entirely happy that he has found them I am experiencing this crushing pain in my chest. I am feeling that ugly sense of unworthiness that comes with being rejected by one’s own family.
Instead of celebrating my friends success I find myself thinking once again about whether or not to send Christmas cards to my mother and my siblings. Whether or not to include a photo of my beautiful children. Whether they will be received in the spirit for which they were given or looked upon as an intrusion where I am not wanted. It’s the same thing every year but this year it seems like the wound has been ripped open. It’s exposed and raw once again.
Does it ever truly heal? By helping others with their own searches am I inadvertantly ripping the wound open time and time again? Did I just feel it more this time because of the extent of my emotional involvement? If so would I have done things differently? Probably not.
Entitlement is tricky. I know I was not owed a relationship with my family of origin but sometimes the mind and the heart don’t necessarily work in tandem.
I am sorry my friend. I love you and there IS a part of me that is celebrating with you. I wish that’s all there was. You deserve this happiness and I promise to work on being a better friend.
Envy photo credit: Janice Dunn