Sano – To Heal in Latin

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.” – Henri Nouwen

I find myself fascinated by the healing/no healing firestorm I created by stating my own personal feelings on my “healing”.  The emails have continued to roll into me privately and I must say that are quite interesting. The demographics intrigue me. The various positions and who believes what is fascinating. 

Overall, I received much more support than I did negativity. That was wonderful.

When I review the comments made here and my emails, interesting data points rise to the surface.

Group 1: The Offended Healed
Those that were most offended, upset, concerned about me saying I struggled with healing were either adoptees or psychology professionals (or adoptees who are psychology professionals). In fact, every person that objected was an adoptee or a psych person.

Individuals in this group were offended personally (which amuses me) that my inability/refusal to accept the healing concept for my life somehow affected them and their own ability. Um, err, I don’t get that. A few words for that group: TAKE BACK YOUR POWER.

Several were incredibly rude and offensive and outright attacking…but they are healed. Um, yeah, okay. Who are you trying to convince? If you are so healed, why did my stating my personal struggle trigger something so deep inside you? You might want to revisit your own healing.

I find it laughable that it was suggested that my words would influence a legion of people to stop their own growth.

Why did the psych professionals get so bent?  Am I ceasing office visits for them? Have huge masses of adoption trauma victims read the blog of an overweight working first mom in New England and decided they will cease therapy? Clearly, I am being sarcastic.  Ultimately, I find it disheartening that these professionals were rather attacking of me instead of being supportive. The professionals hail from the US, Canada and Australia. Again, just interesting to me. What does it say about them?

Group 2: The Riding the Fencers
A number of people were still unsure. This group was mixed with moms and adoptees.
They had confusing, conflicting feelings about what it meant to “heal”. I received emails on the root origin of the word to heal, I received screens and screens of others stories and how they want to but don’t believe they can.  In general, this group was also supportive of me and seemed to understand that I was speaking for myself. They validated that they felt that understood my point but did not feel that my feelings anyway affected them. Good for you! That’s growth right there.

Group 3: The Agreeables
The final group of individuals was rather strongly aligned with me and my struggles. They were very thankful to me for voicing mine. This group was made up completely of natural moms. This point makes me curious.  I also find it interesting that while many of them comment regularly here on my blog, they were not comfortable to leave a comment. That says something, no?

Many feel the duality that I feel. That healing simply isn’t possible. At least not in the way some position it. How do you get over the loss of a child? To death, adoption, infertility? As mothers, we don’t see it. More importantly, in areas of adoption, we feel it is disloyal. We don’t want to. Not only do we think we cannot but we don’t want to. I touched on that in my previous post and my friend John states it a bit differently in his comment.

See the trap we are stuck in here?

  1. We cannot imagine feeling better. It feels wrong. Disloyal. Yet another crime against nature.
  2. Others tell us we must, we should, we can. More therapy, more reading, more support groups.
  3. Imagine we do, and then what? Then we have given the adoption industry baby brokers proof that adoption is easy, nothing, mothers get over it.

We want to feel better, but if we do, we feed the very beast that ate our children.

Finally, and probably related to the above, what exactly IS healing? Is it a state of making whole? Of it never hurting? Of the loss ceasing to matter? Is that up to interpretation? Does anyone have the right to tell another how to heal and what it will mean?

Consider this analogy.  I have a documented dangerously highly pain tolerance. Something with endorphins or something. Doctors told my parents at a young age to watch me. That I could seriously injure myself and it wouldn’t hurt me like it hurt others.
One could assume that means my “healing” would be different than someone else’s. They might hurt forever where I would hurt for weeks. They might scar. I might not.

How can we apply, truly, the same rules to everyone? How do we suggest that all can heal and heal the same way?  Or are we suggesting that?

17 Thoughts.

  1. Suz, I think for me that you said it…the loss is something I have never gotten over, I don’t feel as if I ever will…AND I DON’T WANT TO. If my son had died, I would have no choice but to move on, to heal to a point….Now…it’s just he does not want contact…..but, in that…there’s always a snowballs chance in hell that he could change his mind. I gave him away…to me, it would be to give him away again, if I give up and get over it. I can’t do it again. This is my life til the day I die. However I do want to find a way to cope with this loss and not weigh what I weigh!!!! UUUUGGHHHHH!!!!! Never ever did I picture this as my life as I approach 40. I want to scream and pull my hair out. Don’t know what good that would do me. But, that is where I want to start living with this loss.

  2. When I think of healing from the things that have hurt me, I don’t think of never hurting anymore. I think of learning to live with the specific hurts that are part of me, of making peace with my feelings around it, of no longer blaming myself for things that happened *to* me, of forgiving myself for mistakes I’ve made, of being able to see the hurt in another person’s eyes.
    It makes me think of a friend of mine who said (more or less), “It’s not the situation I asked for but it’s the situation I got.”
    It was a big epiphany for me in therapy when I realized that some hurts don’t go away — I just find ways to live with them. And although that seems really hopeless as an epiphany, it was very freeing for me. I don’t have to stop hurting to be “all better” because sometimes all better means dealing with the hurt productively or at the very least without creating *more* hurt. (i.e., bad days no longer fuel bad choices and bad days can just be days to tuck in and feel bad)

  3. Suz,
    What you say is in the public eye. Telling people your mis-guided opinions is unethical at the very least. You are not a mental health professional and you are acting in a very childish and irresponsible way.
    Please get some real help for your adoption pain. Whatever you are doing is not working and you are hurting others
    Please heal you, then you can help others

  4. wow… joe soll??? what crawled up your ass? this is suz’s personal blog… she can write whatever she damn well pleases that pertains to her own experience… her opinions are not misguided… they are infact, her own experiences and unique to her (which she states)… as i see it the only one being childish here is YOU… you came here to attack suz on her own blog… grow up joe… yes suz is not a mental health proffessional… nor have i EVER heard her claim to be.
    let me just say… i was considering buying your book for me and the mother’s book for the mom’s in my life… well… after reading this childish post from you that has changed my mind… i would not trust anything you had to say… and i will definately NOT be recommending anyone else your books. maybe you should be seeking help for your own issues that you haven’t dealt with.

  5. oh yes… and a quote taken directly from joe soll’s OWN website stating exactly what suz has said in her blog:
    Injuries caused by separation of mother and child can, in time and with work, be dealt with effectively to the point where the loss will not interfere daily in our lives. Instead, the pain might rear it’s head a few times a year. We may need to cry–get a hug and perhaps vent our anger–but the pain will pass more quickly each time.”

  6. It’s not at all laughable that your words have an impact on so many. In fact, the sheer number of reactions you’ve received are a good indication of the influence you wield. You run an email group and you are vocal in the community – of course people are going to pay attention to what you have to say.
    If something is posted online, it must be true, right? How often have you heard someone say, “Well, I was reading online that…” followed by a seeming statement of fact? Words online have impact and, like it or not, you’re viewed as a leader in the community.
    To me, the real harm in people reading your opinion is exactly what you say in point #2 above. You say that people wrote to you saying that they want to heal but don’t believe that they can. Well, if a person they perceive as a leader in the community doesn’t think that healing is possible, then, unconscious or not, their views are affected. It’s possible that you will lead someone away from the best guess we have as a profession about healing traumatic loss simply because you are not willing to engage in the process right now. That’s a disservice to the community you serve.
    It’s somewhat understandable to not want to heal. I can see how you might think it would be disloyal, even though I happen to disagree. Saying you don’t want to heal and saying that you’re not ready to heal (or for the process of healing) is very very different from saying that healing is not possible. The former is about you and a statement about your thoughts. The latter does a disservice to a great many people by instilling the notion that healing may not be possible.
    As far as saying how healing has to happen – If you broke your leg, would you want a doctor to waffle about the best way to treat the broken with vague techniques and ideas, or would you want a doctor to come in with a definitive, evidence-based treatment? For my money, I want the latter. I don’t want quesswork. I want a definitive answer that will help. If that answer changes over time in light of better evidence, then good, but for now, fix the bone the best way you know how.
    In terms of how long it will take? Who knows. No one sets a timeframe on the process – yes, a bone will take about 6 weeks to heal. That’s pretty predictable. But will some people take longer to heal? Sure. Will some heal more quickly? Sure. Will some have a higher tolerance for the painful procedures required? Absolutely. It doesn’t change the process – it only changes the details.
    Finally, you say in your post that you were stating your own feelings about healing. But you weren’t stating any feelings at all. You were stating thoughts about healing. As you say, you have a therapist to help you sort out your feelings – and I agree – but I think it’s a mistake to confound thoughts with feelings when you’re talking about healing.

  7. “What you say is in the public eye. Telling people your mis-guided opinions is unethical at the very least. You are not a mental health professional and you are acting in a very childish and irresponsible way.
    Please get some real help for your adoption pain. Whatever you are doing is not working and you are hurting others
    Please heal you, then you can help others”
    I tried to stay quiet about this but this is utter crap.
    As far as I know Joe, you have never been in a reunion yourself.
    There are things that only those in the charmed circle themselves know.
    Furthermore, as someone who has been in reunion her whole adult life, who has studied and researched adoption issues pretty thoroughly I will say, you do not speak for me Joe.
    I find your comments on Suz’s blog patronizing and uncalled for.
    In fact I find your whole attitude towards adoptees patronizing.
    I may have adoption issues, but I do not have self-esteem issues and can hold my own thank you very much.
    Suz is right, adoption is an ongoing living loss, one can cope but one doesn’t get over adoption.
    Just ugggh.

  8. Joe – What a passionate response from you. I could comment further but I think your own words speak volumes.
    John – Thanks for the tact with which you explain your feelings. While I disagree with one point in your comment, I am going to save that to blog about in a separate post. Overall, I respect your words and thank you for the tact.
    All others – Thank you, as always, for your support and understanding that this my blog, my processing, my show of my need for support. Before I was a “leader” of an online group for those separated by the Kurtz agencies, I was a mother of loss. It is her voice I share here. Her voice that has a right to be heard. Yes, MY voice.
    I ask that you not send me private emails commenting on Joe’s reponse or anyone elses. They can speak for themselves. Joe can be reached via his web site
    Finally, I find myself thinking of those who ask why some mothers refuse reunion, deny contact, dont share their feelings? Look what happens when we do?

  9. Hey, Suz
    I am an adoptee and agree with everything you have written. I am a bit tired of the “experts” in our community, and outside of it, telling me how I need to heal. Present me with theories etc. and let me choose which one suits my situation and personality, and I will decide if one looks good, or they all sound stupid.
    In fact, I recently realized that I am sick of the word “heal”. Healing is part of the journey for those who have lost so much by the practice of adoption, but for me it is certianly not the ultimate goal I am trying to achieve. It’s a tad too big for me:))
    I like my daily journey, and where it takes me….I really haven’t a clue. I know one thing, though, there will never be a day when I will say, “I have healed from adoption.” I do, however, often say, I’m feeling a lot better than I did yesterday, but tomorrow….crap, I don’t know – it could end up being the worst day of my life!:)) And at this moment, that’s what works for me.
    I can’t believe people challenged you….unreal.

  10. Suz I’m right there with you in Group 3. Don’t really want to be there (even though the company is good) but that is where I am.
    Can’t believe some of the comments here.
    Wondering if I’m reading the same Blog they are?
    I’ve NEVER seen you promote yourself as some sort of therapist, good grief.
    You rock. Please keep writing, and speaking your truth.

  11. Hmmmm – Healing huh? I guess I have learned a lot about healing. You as well as many first mothers have lead to the healing that I have accomplished so far. Yes I do agree that I need more. Just like you writing is healing for me.
    On another more personal note, having been raised in an alcoholic family, healing does take many paths. I sought help from groups like Alanon and a therapist. To be honest groups actually did better for me. I had a sponsor who was both an alcoholic and a member of Alanon. Alcoholism ran in her family. She had issues on both sides. She was one of the few that actually approached the adoption issue for me. I just wasn’t ready. I did have a first mother friend. She and I went to high school together. She gave a child up for adoption after I graduated from high school. It was something that we discussed. It wasn’t the basis of our friendship. It was the beginning of my adoption story. At the birth of my first child, I found out a woman that I deeply respected was a first mother. She is another one I think of often. I was her child for that moment and she was my mother for that moment. She is one that I wish that I could find. I loved her then and love her even more now. I have run into those situations several times over. Those situations have been very healing for me. Now I am stepping up again. I am going to a therapist next week. I have heard from another adoptee that she is good with adoptees. I absolutely got to get the anger under control in order to face politicians. I met another adoptee who has walked my road a little later than me. I believe in writing, talking, and listening to others who have walked this road. Everyone has a different path to healing. I do believe that there are situations that you never get over. I am still not over the loss of my step father. The pain has lessoned over the years but its a blessing that I know that his spirit still surrounds me. The hurt never completely ever goes away. His death brought up all kinds of emotions, memories, and experiences not dealt with. Its been almost five years ago. I am still putting it into perspective. Healing very very slowly. Losing a child to uncertainty is incomprehensible to me. I hope that I never have to deal with that issue. I would rather die first. So I so get how you feel. It is from that base that I come to many first mothers. It is from the base of being an adoptee that I come to you. How you deal with your healing is your issue. I read, listen, and absorb, thus learn. Every person does it differently. Every person feels differently about it. Every person experiences it differently. Who am I and many others to question what you can or can’t get over? Who are we to ask you to heal one way or another? Who are we to even ask that you do heal? It is not our job to take it on. Aren’t all you are asking from us is read and learn? I can do that.

  12. Well, well, well. What a stir this post has caused.
    While I can kind of see some people’s perspectives as to thinking that Suz has some sort of responsibility to the masses because her blogs are so well read. The reality is that Suz is not a professional in the mental health field. While some may find comfort and validation in her words, in the sharing of her experiences, the key here is that they are HER experiences. They are not meant as “this is what I feel and have felt, so this is what you should feel”. This leads us into Suz’s insightful post on ‘shoulding’. Being the eternal optimist, I am hoping that your criticisms of Suz were said with the best of intentions. Not to be a condescending and insulting as they came across.
    How can one person dictate what it will take another to heal? Again, the healing process I feel is unique to each and every individual. What one might considered ‘healed’ another might look at and think “Oh, poor thing. He/she hasn’t even begun to heal”.
    Bottom line of this post is that this is Suz’s blog. Not Dr. Phil’s or Sylvia Browne’s. If you are not comfortable with the content, don’t read it.
    Oh, and by the way. I am Suz’s sister. You have any questions about how much healing she has done, feel free to ask. You don’t know her. You don’t know the pillar of strength she is. You don’t know the adversity that she has overcome, and it is amazing to me that she can still laugh as she does.
    She is the most remarkable woman I know.

  13. Joe S; you just lost any credibility in my mind that you had. You are speaking out of your ass, out of pure ego, ignorance, pride. Get over yourself.
    Suz, I am amazed by you. The post about healing actually helped me to feel like I can let go of the need and drive to “get over this”, b/c I never will. I somehow have to learn to live with the agony, and I have learned in some ways, and I know I have more to go. I am fortunate to have you in my life, someone who understands, who is compassionate and who can speak her mind.

  14. So do I throw the book away or do you want me to bother sending it back? Love you, Rebecca

  15. Dear Joe,
    Your response made me laugh out loud.
    I quote you: “”Please get some real help for your adoption pain. Whatever you are doing is not working and you are hurting others””
    I “got help” for many years. I went to a professional, and I participated avidly in “my own healing.”
    It didn’t work, either. But it did cost me the proverbial arm and leg.
    As far as I’m concerned, I hope to hell that I hurt others. Because any hurt that I can possibly inflict is the tiniest fraction of the hurt that was inflicted upon me with the loss of my son to the industry of adoption dollar.
    The saddest part is that, for many years, I lived the same double life as Suz, in that I lived the sorrows and the tears behind closed doors and at the office of a counterpart, while I peronally played the part of a professional in another area.
    I changed people’s lives when they would let me, but I couldn’t heal my own pain, and neither could anyone else- even with my eager participation.
    I don’t even feel the same as Suz in one area. I don’t feel any need to hold onto the pain for my son’s benefit. Never occured to me. It just won’t go away.
    Hell, I feel the opposite- for my son’s sake, I SHOULD get over it so that he doesn’t meet someone who thinks that adoption (his life experience) is one of the great moral failings of our generation. A moral failing that will one day be looked upon with the horror of yesterday’s mass lobotomies.
    You make me laugh, with your attitude that “proper help” absolutely WILL help her get over her loss and heal from it.
    Been there, tried it… didn’t happen.
    15 years later, and with years upon years upon years on the couch (so to speak) behind me, and I still cry at Christmas. I still cry for Birthdays. And I’ve only JUST begun to accept that adoption was done TO me, and not BY me.
    15 years, buddy.
    15 years of hell.

  16. The internet is a “wild west” and we are all adults hopefully. Suz is an interpretive artist and has found a venue for her gifts to flow. I value her freedom of expression above all else! Her human rights were cleverly stolen from her by a machine so evil who would have believed it. LET HER EXPRESS HERSELF. She has overcome her gag order, which alone is a HUGE STEP, and is finding a voice for herself. I applaud her either way healed or unhealed. Part of the adoption slaughter is what it does to a Mothers creative self expression. It is VERY difficult to overcome.
    I made a vow to myself “to protect my hurt and adoption pain at all cost” simply because that was all I had left of my daughter . . . I protected the pain like my special treasure. An “exquisite” inner wound to the very deepest places in my being. I made it a ritual to visit like a headstone a vow to never forget. I stacked the pain like a brick alter in my soul, a sacrificial tribute to my missing daughter. I needed to dismantle it myself. I have begun to take it down very slowly and at my pace and . . . after reunion. Before reunion the hurt wasn’t budging for me. . .

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