A couple of people recently have asked me for some insight into why their adult child will not put forth any effort at having a relationship with them. I have been thinking a lot about the possible reasons adoptees have for denying contact or pushing away the idea of working toward a healthy relationship. I think it’s easy for me to understand why someone (meaning another adoptee) might not embrace the idea of a relationship. I see a great many factors involved which could put someone over the top, emotionally crippling them from any sort of productive action and let’s face it- a relationship on any level takes WORK. What it must come down to then must be those willing to do the work and those not willing to do the work.
So, do you REALLY want some insight? OK, but it’s not pretty. I’m definitely NOT saying any of this is justified or correct, kind or morally just. I am simply saying I can put myself into these uncomfortable shoes long enough to help (my friends who asked) better understand possible reasons for terribly confusing reactions by their adult children.
(I) have not come to terms with these emotions yet so this is why I (adoptee) can’t have a relationship with you:
ANGER. Anger at being given away. I know, I know, you’re saying it wasn’t like that, but I am just trying to take it down to bare bones. TECHNICALLY I was given away and that makes me angry.
LOYALTY. Loyalty to the parents who did want me. Good or bad they took the job my own mother didn’t want. ***A particularly strong emotion if you happen to live with parents who have made it very clear how THEY feel about being “replaced”.
GUILT. Guilt for experiencing twinges of something undefined. Something pulling on my heartstrings in the recesses of my mind that says “mother”. These are very confusing feelings toward someone who in fact has not been my mother.
FEAR. Fear of the unknown. Who are you? Will I like what I see? What if I don’t? What if you are a horrible person? What if you’re not a horrible person? That would almost be worse because then I would have to accept that all of the fantasies I made up about you are true and that would leave a hole in my heart I’m not sure could ever be filled.
CONFUSION. Not sure how to act upon the idea of allowing such an intimate stranger into my life. Where will you fit? How will this work? Honestly I don’t know if I am up to the task.
REJECTION. Fear of being rejected a second time. Fear of letting you in just to have you walk away. You did it once, what’s to say you won’t do it again? Something about me wasn’t good enough. What happens if you find out I am STILL not good enough? Is this worth the risk?
CONTROL. I have had none from the day I was born. I have SOME now and I’ll be damned if I am going to give that up. I get to call the shots. How does it feel? How do YOU like other people making decisions for you? It sucks doesn’t it?
Do you have a son or daughter you don’t understand? Are their actions confusing, cold, distant, hurtful? Consider: The mind is an amazing thing. If all of these emotions are too overwhelming we simply wrap them ALL up into a neat little package, stuff it into our sub-conscious and falsely call ourselves…………..indifferent.
OK, there you have it. The bitter truth. How do I feel about it personally? Well although the emotions are understandable I find those adoptees willing to remain indifferent to be weak and honestly a bit lazy. I think it’s sad because they are only hurting themselves. It makes me sad because even stored in our sub-conscious those emotions will eat us alive if we let them. A person living in a place of indifference can’t fix a problem they do not see. So the emotions go unaddressed and indifference can go about it’s business, unnoticed, eating away our souls.
Now, I would really love SOMEBODY to give ME some straight answers as to why my mother would HONESTLY choose to remain in the place of indifference over working at a relationship with her daughter. A daughter who came to terms with each and every one of the feelings listed above. NOT an easy road but I did the work. Why won’t she? Am I simply not worth the effort? I want answers. REAL answers. Not the simple “she is just in so much pain over loosing you that she can’t deal” answer. You want to talk about pain? I know pain. Forgive me for not allowing that answer to suffice. I want to understand why I am not worth the effort. What emotions (like I gave above) do YOU (first parents) feel that could possibly have kept you indifferent? Anyone?
And while were at it, how about Adoptive Parents sharing their true emotions about reunion? What feelings did you have to work through to put forth the necessary effort? Are you still working on them?
Adoptees did I miss anything? Do I have this all wrong? Do you agree or disagree?
Let’s lose the sugar coating for five minuts, it’s really not doing anything for any of us and quite frankly I’m not really into sweets all that much. I not only want to understand, I NEED to understand. Thank you so much for helping me because I cannot get these answers from the people I should be hearing them from.
If you are so inclined write about it on your blog and give me the link so I can post it here: