It’s a disease. Always trying to please others, thinking of my own feelings last, harboring a crippling fear of rejection, allowing others to treat me unkind if that’s what they feel they must do to be a presence in my life.
Obviously I don’t think this mentality is exclusive to adoptees but I’ll tell you I know for a fact these character traits are VERY common among us. I have watched so many of us give up following our bliss to avoid rejection. We make exceptions with our careers, our friends, our lifestyles. We shift our likes and dislikes to match more closely with those whom we are trying to keep close. We try and try again and allow ourselves to be treated poorly by people we don’t even necessarily like because we tell ourselves we love them, they are important to us, we need them.
No greater example of this is there than what I have allowed to happen in my life by the woman who gave birth to me.
And for what?
For six years I have done my best to be respectful, understanding and kind. Six years is a very long time to try. Unexpectedly I woke one morning recently and decided I had had enough. I wrote a letter. It wasn’t a happy letter, it wasn’t my usual bend-over-backwards kind but it was honest and real and raw. For some strange reason at that moment I felt it was time I stood up and took care of me. For some reason beyond my comprehension I found a part of my soul I didn’t even know existed. I found self- love, I found pride. I think pride gets a bad rap. I think pride isn’t so bad after all.
So I sat down and wrote. The dam broke and truth, passion and courage poured out of me. I set the record straight. I told her about parts of me that I wanted her to know because for six years she hadn’t bothered to ask. Then I filled out the form and wrote the check necessary to obtain my OBC and took it to the notary. I have been holding on to that form for all these years, afraid to ask her to sign it (because I need her permission to obtain my birth certificate). Then I put it all in an envelope and took it to the post office and sent it certified. The woman at the post office thought I was certifiable myself because I wouldn’t let go of the envelope when she tried to take it. I told her I wasn’t sure. I knew that sending this letter most likely meant the end of any possibility of a relationship with the woman who gave birth to me.
In the end I let go. I let go of the letter. I let go of her.
It may seem silly but after all these years I think it would have been nice to have the last word because in essence it has been the ONLY word I have gotten. The only voice in forty years I have had. But that was not to be. Five days later an envelope showed up in my mailbox. My husband reluctantly held it up. I asked him to read it. I knew by his face that it wasn’t good.
The first thing he handed me was the form for my OBC and my check with VOID sprawled across it in red pen.
I will not be getting my birth certificate.
The letter was nasty, mean and intentionally hurtful. In a delusional fury she claims she does not believe I am her daughter in one sentence and that I am selfish and I obviously take after my father in another. The father she claims she does not know. I cannot begin to convey to you how incredibly cruel her letter was. I will spare you, just believe me when I say I cannot begin to tell you how entirely awful it was.
Facing my fear:
She ended it by saying; RELATIONSHIP OVER! No signature. Just….RELATIONSHIP OVER!
I can’t say I am surprised nor can I say I am even losing anything. Certainly not a relationship because we never had that. The loss of my mother happened forty years ago. It’s an old wound scarred over by years of wonder and fantasy. Losing her a second time hasn’t even happened because I never really had her back in my life.
I’m not really sure how I feel about this. Sad, maybe a little relieved that the torture and anguish I allowed is finally over? I just don’t know. She is right about one thing -I have now learned that sometimes it’s necessary to be selfish. I had a good teacher for six long years. I now know that selfish has it’s place and can be as important a protective measure as pride. I am not suggesting selfish and prideful are characteristics to strive for but at the end of the day they can serve as salve for a wounded soul.
So on that note……….. sad, relieved or whatever I know one thing for certain and I am publicly stating this:
Rejection- you can BITE ME!!! You don’t scare me anymore.