Anthropomorphic Pain

" Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go."  – Herman Hesse

Cindy Sue (which for some reason causes me to say Cindy Loo Who in my head and think of Whoville, but I digress) made a rather profound comment on this post. I extracted part of the comment below.

"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"

I read this comment at about 4 in the morning. Bleary eyed, having just been kicked in the back by my son who decided to insert his small feet into my underwear and create some new form of sock, I rolled over to check email on my iPhone (yes, I have a problem). Cindy’s comment was there.

What I take from her comment is that she lost her daughter and all she had left was the pain of the loss and that pain became the substitute child. She hung onto that horror with all her might as it was all she had left.

This may not be exactly what Cindy did or meant but that is what hit me and it made me think if I have done the same thing.  I think I have mainly because I have done that before. 

I hung onto dreams and hopes and love of my daughters father for many many years. While I still love him and always will, the unrealistic expectations and false hopes were let go of long ago. I realized at some point that I was hanging on to him (even virtually) as a way to keep her near. She was gone but he wasn’t and he was part of her so I clung to him and memories of him as if they were more needed by me than the oxygen I breathe. I wasn’t seeing him or truly loving him, I was loving what he represented to me (no different than what many adoptive parents do with the children they acquire).  Nowadays, when I say I love him, I truly mean him. He is separate from her in my life – even if he is her father. They are distinct, though related, individuals to me.

But now, now I think, is this pain, this horror, the final shred of the false daughter I had? Now that I do know where she is, I know what she looks like, do I need to hang onto this pain/daughter any longer?

Do I want to see my daughter as PAIN or do I want to see her as HER? How would I want her to see me? Clearly she sees me and sees trauma and horror and abandonment.  She doesn’t see the love I want to share, she doesn’t see my great eyes, or crazy red hair. She sees something unappealing.  She doesn’t see ME.

I  cannot control her thoughts or feelings, but I can control my own.

Gonna continue to work on this. I think I maybe onto something here.  Of course I realized I held onto pain, but only now have I begun to suspect I held onto it as a substitute daughter.

Thank you Cindy Sue Loo Who.

11 Thoughts.

  1. And vice versa for me too. For too many years, all I had was phantom imagination images of her, and him. A creation of what I wanted to hear or believe had happened. I found my non id when I was very young. The “story” i created from reading it, now that I look back and read it, as well as know the truth, is un-real.
    The only real connection beyond our blood, DNA, roots etc. was pain. We didn’t know what each other looked like, where each other was, how one another were doing.
    One of the worst moments of her life after our surrender, was when her brother died, I was on the other side of the world, and I fainted. I don’t remember much of it, but my amother found me in a corner, underneath the kitchen table crying, huddled in a ball, terrified.
    This post of yours and cindy lou who’s comment is profound for me.
    Not to mention I just read your last one, the Care to play a game post, and I feel like I’m going to puke. How has the industry managed to brainwash so many people? Is propaganda that powerful?

  2. Gersh – Good article on power of conformity and why we give into the propoganda. And if you havent read the book “The Lucifer Effect” you MUST.
    Why We Conform

  3. “Clearly she sees me and sees trauma and horror and abandonment. She doesn’t see the love I want to share, she doesn’t see my great eyes, or crazy red hair. She sees something unappealing. She doesn’t see ME.”
    I think you are wrong. My mother relinquished me at birth. I swear I remember the moment in the office of the hospital with her and her mother… flash forward 18 years. My mother she came to see me. I didn’t tell her about remembering.
    When I gave birth to my first child my mom was there. I asked her did you hold me and she said NO. She lied I know she held me. I remember. I know her for her… not for pain and abandonment. After her son died from brain cancer she has emotionally abandoned me and my four kids whom she told to call her gramma. She refuses to communicate and or give any reason to communicate with us.

  4. Maria – I am sorry your mother was not able to handle her subsequent loss of a child and felt the need to push you away to deal with the possibility of losing another a second time. I hope you both are able to find peace and support to help you. If I had lost another child to death or adoption or anything after losing my first, I would want to die. At the very least, I would go into a deep depression and want to push everyone away to protect myself. I fear I might have even killed myself if I did not have good friends and family to support me. I had suicidal ideations after the loss of my daughter. I dont think I could survive the loss of another child. Thankfully that situation did not occur. I hope it never does. My heart goes out to you and your mother. My condolences on the loss of your brother.
    As for me being wrong, no, I dont think I am. My situation is not yours. You dont know the words my daughter has shared with me. I am a problem for her, a pain, something she doesnt want to deal with and would rather not exist. We can aruge this is the surface level and even if that is true that doesnt make it less real – for me or her.

  5. Cindy’s original comment is well worth reading (I see it was on a post that was before my time of following your blog). It reminded me of how I too held onto my pain, secretly, how it came back in spades after reuniting with my son, and the work of dismantling it now.

  6. Hmmm…have to admit, I feel exactly like what was stated on your 2007 post, “We want to feel better, but if we do, we feed the very beast that ate our children.” Not that I even have a clue as to how to go about healing, but I do know that I feel that if I give up certain parts of me – what is it the grief, the anger – then I’m somehow accepting what happened to me as “okay”. It was/is not okay, but somehow – somehow – I have to figure out how to let go.

  7. Carol – Interestingly, you are feeding right into my next post on this topic. I dont have time now but want to confirm that what was done to you, what was done to me, what done to our children was very wrong. However, I am beginning to feel we should let the burden of that crime lay with those who committed it – not us. We did nothing wrong. Would you tell someone who was raped they asked for it? Would you tell a child who was molested they shouldnt have been in that situation? No.
    We are not to blame. This cross is not ours to bear.

  8. She was gone but he wasn’t and he was part of her so I clung to him and memories of him as if they were more needed by me than the oxygen I breathe. I wasn’t seeing him or truly loving him, I was loving what he represented to me (no different than what many adoptive parents By SueWho. The most profound verbage I have ever read and can relate to. After I lost my darling son, his dad only represents to me these feelings and I still have them. Without him all my memories shared are gone. Insofar as adoption! We watched a movie two actors searching for their son who was 16. They came together after years apart it was a great movie, so I thought. He (husband) turns to me after it was over and merely says “I dont believe in this” If you give up a child you made your choice. This is not an argumentative subject to me so I just left the room. I felt dismissed.

  9. Wow, Suz, very profound post! Truly insightful and eye-opening. It does seem as if you are moving in a positive direction, and finding some ways to repair your broken heart.
    Even though I’m on the other side of this fence, I see it works the other way too. See, I carry the fear of loss my mother had. I have an irrational fear of losing my children. Something I have nightmares about, yet have not experienced. That’s why your blog the other day freaked me out, and I think that’s why I have such great compassion for all the birth mothers I read about. I know this fear comes from my mother, and when I read your post I wondered if maybe I cling to this fear as a way to stay connected to her. Because I was grown in the womb of this fear — I have it in my blood.
    Letting go is a whole subject unto itself… Only one time in my life have I grieved to the point of truly releasing it all, and it was an exhausting process. But I have done it once… I can do it again. We can all do it, we just have to be okay moving through the waves of grief.
    Love and blessings to you, Suz. You really are a healing beacon for everyone!
    Take care,

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