Some Things In Common

Hi Nina,

I wanted to write you regarding your recent reunion with your mother. Among
other things. I knew you were going to meet with her. Every time I thought about
visiting to see how it went I had this totally hard core anxiety
attack. I know that must seem weird but let me explain.
Our experiences seem very similar. Actually its uncanny. I knew reading about your
reunion would trigger a boatload of emotions in me. I felt bad for not coming by
and supporting you but I just couldn’t, you know? Anyway, the thing is I
definitely WAS thinking about you and I wanted you to know that.

My mom is just like your dad. She is a full blown narcissist drama queen. I don’t
need to explain what that’s like, you already know. I think when you grow up
adopted there are all these layers of pleasing and measuring up to contend with. That in and of itself is a challenge but it is super difficult when you are being raised by someone like our parents.
In my case the issue was compounded by the fact that my parents have a bio son (twenty years my senior) that they were constantly comparing me to. An honor roll student, he went on to become a successful doctor and was/is the “perfect son”. I don’t need to tell you how proud the fact that he is a doctor makes my hypochondriac mother.

They got it right the first time so there is only one explanation for adopting me twenty years later.
I am convinced they adopted me so I could take the full burden of responsibility
for their behavior. In other words if it were just the two of them they
would have nobody to blame for their dysfunction. So I was forced into the roll of
the source of all that was wrong, the scapegoat. Yet I worked my butt off trying to FIX everything for years. Honestly I
still feel like I have to fix everything. It’s a hard habit to break.

I suppose if I were to be totally honest there was a huge part of me that
desperately wanted to find a healthy version of a mother in my natural mother E. I told myself I wanted the
usual; “to know where I came from”, “to say thank you” and all of the other
load of crap sayings we feed ourselves as an excuse for wanting the most natural thing
in the world which is to simply know our mother. I didn’t find a healthy anything, instead I found an equally
weak and self absorbed mother.

Much like your mother she insists she has no regrets,
did what was best, dusted herself off and went on her way. She has not provided
me with one shred of selfless kindness. She has not shown me one iota of
compassion nor has she displayed any ability to feel the most basic instinctual
love for me as a human being, much less a daughter. This shouldn’t be a big deal since you can’t miss what you never had right? Wrong. It hurts like hell.

Now after the disaster that has been this fruitless reunion you would think I
would run screaming in the other direction at the mere MENTION of going through
it again, but no. I really want to know who my father is. I want to know and I really feel I
deserve to know. But E doesn’t see it that way.

She told me and I quote;

“I could care less if you search for
him but I’m certainly not going to help you.”

“I mean really, what if you contact him and ruin his life, disrupt his FAMILY?”

and…

“Besides, I don’t know who he is and anyone that WOULD know, I left in the past. I certainly
would not contact them for this. ”

Even if I could get a copy (which I can’t) my father is not listed on my birth
certificate. Unless E grows a conscience I can’t find him. She doesn’t
deserve that power over me but she has it and there is nothing I can say or do
to change things. I can’t FIX this and I think that is what hurts the most. I
think it all stems back to how I was raised like some vicious circle. It’s my being sick over the fact that as
hard as I have worked to make things right they may never be right.

So how do we become OK with that? How do we live the essence of the Serenity Prayer and accept the
things we cannot change? How do we do that KNOWING that someone else CAN change
things for us and choose not to? How do we live with the knowledge that the person who
can and won’t is our own mother? How do we not take that personally? As much as I hate that stupid Let It Go term, perhaps it needs to happen in some form. Maybe it isn’t as much “letting go” as handing over the unchangeable to someone or something with the power to touch the unchangeable in a way we never could.

The comfort and healing I have gained regarding this aspect of my life has
come from those who understand. Going through life having to constantly try and
make people understand you is exhausting. Especially when you feel like if they don’t understand you have to fix that too. It’s nice for a change to be in a world where explanation is rarely expected. I know that I can come by your blog and say “I understand” (which I often do) and that would suffice. This time though I really wanted you to know ……-

I . DO. UNDERSTAND.

I was going to email this to you but I may just post it. There must be others out there in our situation and they should know at least two other people on this planet understand them too.

xoxo,
Mia

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11 Comments

Filed under Adoptee Family

11 responses to “Some Things In Common

  1. This makes me cry. Your mothers — both of them — ought to be ashamed of themselves. Of course they probably aren’t, but they ought to be. Nina’s too.

    I’m not in your shoes and I wouldn’t insult you by saying that I know exactly how you feel because I don’t . . . but I wish I could give you a huge in-person hug because you’re my friend and you’re hurting and you don’t deserve this. Nobody does.

    No platitudes. Just *hugs*, my friend. That’s all I have for you, and for Nina. A listening ear, support, and *hugs*.

  2. Mia,

    Who knew that the most supportive, meaningful and on-target words possibly ever delivered to me would be conveyed over the internet? I thank you. I really really thank you.

    Was trying to explain the complexities of emotions to several close people and it just made me depressed and frustrated because they made well-intentioned comments like, “But all parents back then were more self-absorbed” and “But they must have loved you. You’re being too hard on them” and “She wanted a better life for you and you know what a mess she is. You should be grateful she didn’t raise you.” After that, I went silent.

    And then you wrote,
    “Going through life having to constantly try and
    make people understand you is exhausting. Especially when you feel like if they don’t understand you have to fix that too. It’s nice for a change to be in a world where explanation is rarely expected. I know that I can come by your blog and say “I understand” (which I often do) and that would suffice. This time though I really wanted you to know ……-

    I . DO. UNDERSTAND.”

    Soothing music to my ears, Mia.

    I’ll respond to you in a post on my blog tomorrow or Friday ’cause it’s crazy teen schedule now. But I soooo appreciate your post and that you shared your feelings about the difficulties of reunion.

    I UNDERSTAND, MIA!!! All the way from Northern California.

  3. Mia

    ((((m2one))))) to you too. I am really lucky to have you as a friend.

    Nina I really did struggle with whether or not to post this or send it to you directly. In the past I have rarely spoken about my parents on here. I am always afraid that people will think “OH, so THAT’S why she’s so sad/angry/bitter or whatever. If she had only had good parents like mine she would be happy/grateful/healthy.” Which is totally missing the point.

    I have just begun to realize though that the two are so interlinked that I would be neglectful not to look at the connections. You have been integral in the begining stages of that process. I see you view things as they are without sugar coating and without apology. Seeing things as they truly are is a necessary process and I am learning thanks to people like yourself.

    So what I am trying to say here is……thank YOU!!!

  4. You’re absolutely right, Mia. The two are linked. Being adopted has its own challenges, but they are compounded when we are placed with narcissistic parents who are incapable of parenting in the way we desperately needed to be parented. Instead, WE were parentified children (and now adults) and it’s really quite a wonder that people like us – abandoned twice – didn’t end up homeless, psychotic or (if you’re a guy) a military dictator. I felt so guilty and awful at first writing about my adoptive parents in such a manner. I denied it for more than 40 years. But it was literally making me sick…full of anxiety. There is so much pressure to honor and love one’s parents…no matter what they do to you. Eventually, I may get to the forgiving stage (I can’t stay stuck in angry forever!), I’ll NEVER condone how they treated me…even if they were poor and ignorant and didn’t know any better. Whew. Anyway, I just meant to stop by and say hi, hugs to you too, and I linked to your blog from mine. Sheesh. Good thing the minestrone is in the crockpot!

  5. Great letter/post Mia.
    I am in awe of you and Nina.
    You both have the most wonderful gift with the pen/keyboard – I am honored to know you both.
    You dig out those deep deep feelings that are within many of us adoptees – and you speak the truth – a very rare thing in the adoption game.
    These words were by far the most resonating……

    “The comfort and healing I have gained regarding this aspect of my life has
    come from those who understand. Going through life having to constantly try and
    make people understand you is exhausting. Especially when you feel like if they don’t understand you have to fix that too. It’s nice for a change to be in a world where explanation is rarely expected. I know that I can come by your blog and say “I understand” (which I often do) and that would suffice.”

    If I nod any harder – I think my head might fall off.
    Biggest hugs, Poss. xxx

  6. Mom2One & Possum, I feel lucky to have come across you and your stories which have enriched my understanding of adoption from the various angles. Besides, you’re fun despite all the challenges!

    And Mia, I’m working on reply post and it should be ready Sunday or Monday. In the meantime, I keeping reading yours and get something new out of it everytime.

  7. I also understand Mia. Thank you for sharing this, thank you for sharing more of yourself.

    I think adoption and narcissism are like evil twins. I know they both fucked me up beyond all measure.

  8. Mia

    Hi Possum!

    Nina please don’t feel like you have to reply OK? Seriously, it’s not at all necessary. I appreciate the thought but I don’t want you stressing about anything.

    Elizabeth I know you can understand this too. Your situation was over the top worse than mine was and I didn’t want to presume I knew how you felt. There are so many extra layers you had to endure! But I did think of you while I was writing this. You’re one of the strongest people I know. xoxo

  9. Mia: You were one of the very first fellow adoptees to welcome me, support me and let me know that you, too, understood. Through you and others (including all who have already left comments, and many more of your faithful readers), I have learned more about adoption and myself in the past 6 months than in the past 35 years. It has been a rebirth and I thank you all for that.

    I’m so glad you shared your letter to Nina. Hugs to you, her and all the above post-ees. 🙂

  10. Mia

    You have taught me a lot too Paula. You are a very insightful and sincere writer.

    We’re all sort of like a team aren’t we? It’s all SO very cool.

  11. Mia, Oh golly! The bells keep ringing, as they do whenever I hear an adoption story. I cried too when I read your post. I don’t understand why b/mums won’t reveal b/fathers’ names. My b/mum told me at our first and only meeting that she was not going to tell me who my b/father was. But I was lucky…I knew. You don’t, and that is so so unfair. My sister, who is also adopted, has the same problem with her b/mum, but she buries her adoption pain with devastating results. And you’re so right, people just don’t understand. I really appreciate your insightful posts.

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