"Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.” – August Wilson
The strangest thing has been happening to me. Perhaps strange is not the word. The experience is not strange but the fact that I am aware of it and can physically feel it IS.
Since I set a boundary with my daughter (and in return honored numerous of hers), since I proposed a contact schedule to her, I feel well, better. I feel lighter. I feel like a enormous weight has been lifted from me.
As I lessen my expectations, begin to see her for who she is (and I don’t purport to know exactly who she is since I am quite confident I see only a small portion of her), I feel better.
Letting go of my false hopes for a certain type of relationship with her, working to accept what is, has made me physically feel better.
There are a number of things I have done that contributed to this:
- Stop reading the blogs of angry mean adoptees. Reading them would get me all freaked out that my daughter might be like them now or in the future. I cannot assume that. The only expert on my daughters feelings is my daughter.
- Stop taking responsibility for her actions and words. As her mother, some of her behaviors. word choice, actions, were very upsetting to me. They upset me personally, as an individual, but also as a mother. I would be upset if my sons spoke to another person in a hurtful tone. I couldn’t help but feel responsible for hers as well. This was wrong of me. I am responsible for my parented sons manners and behaviors, not those of my daughter. She was parented by people I had no contact with. Furthermore, I stopped assuming that the way she treats me is the way she treats everyone.
- I have found ways, areas, to share the love I would normally share with her. She has made it clear to me she has no need or desire for it now, maybe not ever. That doesn’t mean I can just stop caring. I will use that love inside me to love my children more, myself more, and work harder at volunteering and helping others.
- Regularly talk to myself and tell myself that my daughters preference to not pursue a relationship with me is not a reflection of me. It is not rejection. It does not mean I am a bad person, bad mother or deserve to be treated poorly. It means simply that she does not want to pursue a relationship at this time.
- I am attempting to feel less responsible for her feelings. Mothers who surrender, IMO, are required to bear the burden of their own trauma and that of our children. It matters not if we were coerced, drugged, locked up, young or even mentally retarded (as one mom in the maternity home was), we are responsible for their adoption wound. Our children have no responsibility to us for our pain yet we are responsible for theirs. Managing, minimizing, soothing something you are held accountable for but are not allowed to fix or be part of is incredibly difficult. My daughter wants to be treated like an adult and as such I will leave her pain, should she have any, to her. To date she claims she has no wound and no problems with her adoption (aside from me intruding on her life). Should the day come that she does have pain or difficulty or questions or other, I will absolutely be here. For now, I am in no position to challenge what she says. Again, she is the expert on her feelings. Not me, not Verrier, not Lifton. Her.
I have no control over the future. I have no idea if she will ever want to know her first family. Regardless of her choices, I have my life to live and I want it to be the fullest, happiest one possible.
Unlike when I was 17, my life, my decisions, my choices, they belong to me. I am owning them now.
I feel it.