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The Things We Say (to ourselves)

I suffered recently what can only be to an adoptee a blow. Plans made with biological family that was cancelled last-minute. 

I'm not going to lay any blame at anyone's door. Sometimes things do happen, and sometimes things just don't go the way you plan. This isn't about blame, it's really more about the bullshit that adoptees tell themselves when these things happen. Trying to help sort out what it is that makes us torture ourselves.

Because we do. We tear ourselves apart for things that we can in no way claim responsibility for. None of these things are true, and intellectually we know it. Someone needs to tell it to our hearts, however.

We feel insufficient. Like we aren't enough. I've been gone so long, you aren't really missing anything without me anyway. I'm not important enough to deserve your undivided attention, or to be at the top of your list for once. I wasn't enough as a baby for you to want to keep me, was I? 

We feel alone. That's not new. That's one most of us are used to. We never really fit in with the people brought us up, did we? Always the black sheep, the outsider. "Not one of us", "not really their child", "not blood-related". In fact, some of us are not even informed when our parents die, nor are we mentioned in their obituaries or wills. Many of us survive no-one.

We feel stupid. Yes, stupid. Foolish to think that we could trust them, even with that connection, even with the obvious care and worry shown to some of us when we reunite. Our trust has been misplaced and destroyed so often, we've learned to never trust or truly believe in anyone. There's always a piece of ourselves we keep locked in a box; our secrets we've never told, the sabotage we keep for ourselves, the poison we have on reserve for ourselves alone. The parts we take out at night when we can't sleep, like razor-sharp puzzle pieces we use to cut ourselves open. 

Unloved can go unsaid. Even if we know better, when the wall goes up, we can't feel you anymore. And that wall goes up whenever we feel in danger of being hurt. Half the time we can't even control whether or not the wall is up.

And when we do feel happy, we feel as though we are betraying ourselves. Setting ourselves up. Ensuring that we are going to get screwed over and badly damaged down the line. It's very difficult when we feel this way to allow ourselves to feel happy, even when we want to.

There's really two or three people I hope read this; I can explain things so much better in writing than I can while speaking. But even if they don't read it, I hope this finds someone and lets them know they aren't alone. Shared misery actually seems to ease misery at times.


  1. Yes, exactly this! I've experienced the cancelled plans more than once and while I intellectually try and stay grounded thru it, the feelings of rejection, inadequacy and stupidity can be overwhelming. Thank you for your words.


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