A New (for me, and here) and Important Perspective

Posted June 10, 2010 by caramelgalore
Categories: A shaky family support system, adopted family relations, conflicted feelings, Fitting in to your new family, Fitting into your adopted family, Maintaining a relationship with your birth mother, Meeting your biological mother, Reactions from others, Reactions to the long lost kid put up for adoption, Who am I?

Today I received a comment that I felt immediately moved by, and immediately replied to, and wish to share here. Rather than make you go read the comment under the post “NONONONO”, I will re-post it here, with my response (already emailed) below it. Wow. This has really moved the erath beneath my feet a bit, in a good way, and I am sure it will resonate for days to come. I have yet to get such a candid comment from the “other side”, the perspective of the family of the biomom. Whoa.
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_______________THE COMMENT_______________
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Hello,

I wasn’t adopted, but I can relate to your experiences. I think parents, in general, try to mold their children. I, myself, have to fight the urge to try to make my kids be someone I want them to be. My experience with adoption is that my grandmother gave one of her daughters up when she was born. My aunt was given to a friend of my grandmother’s, and she found out who her birth mother was while she was still a pre-teen. My mother has said it was awful. I also can understand what you say about being in the family, but being on the outside.

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My aunt comes around now occasionally to family functions, and it’s NOT the same as with everyone else. It IS like she is a guest. I wonder how long that will go on? I admit I’m not myself with her, like I am with my other aunts. It’s almost liek I feel guilty about my grandmother placing her for adoption. Although I wasn’t even born then. My grandmother practically raised ME.
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I feel bad for my aunt. My grandmother has 9 kids, and it’s a huge gathering when we all get together with grandchildren and great children also. My grandmother has never explained anything to my aunt about her adoption. I KNOW she feels great guilt and remorse because I tried to talk to her about it one time, and she started crying. My grandmother is a woman who I have never seen cry aside from then, so I haven’t talked about it again. I wish that she would give my aunt that chance to talk about the situation. She deserves that.
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__________________ MY REPLY__________________
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Thanks for sharing such a fascniating and resonant story with me. This is the first time I have ever heard from the family of a resurfaced adopted person and it does me so much good to hear it. I just cannot explain what, and how much, this means to me and how very very enlightening and …   (at an unusual loss for words…) well, it’s a huge first from a not-yet-explored perspective for me. And that you are so very candid about it — from how you feel and act to how others’ feel and act, and that your grandmother cried just that once. Well, it has the makings of an enthralling story. Actually, I’d love to hear more.
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Though I am close to one half-brother and very close to his wife, I still struggle to get along with biomom and have had minute successes but, on equal terms, not her terms, and those terms (hers) are a threat against my autonomy and independence and, most importantly, my true self. The root of that problem is that she is incapable of empathy so she cannot put herself in my shoes. I see this is her everday dealings and I absolutely see it with me. All she sees is the lack of what she wants from me. I also sorta wish I could reach out to your aunt. I think she is brave to attend any functions at all.
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Others — as in the bio family — often have no real idea how (though logically they know it to be probable), in the rest of your life you are this person with intellectual qualities and accomplishments and personality traits and everyday things and quandaries, hopes and joys, feelings, and groceries to buy; normal everyday stuff that has nothing to do at all with being adopted, but in the search-bio family you are a scarlet letter of sorts and like a walking neon sign for “the big secret”, and this is your identity, inevitably.
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That others simply cannot — for lack of experience, or even clues from watching sitcoms or shared anecdotes from acqaintances and friends — treat you as they would others merely speaks to the awkwardness of your being, and may possibly even signify that they care, for if you didn’t make them nervous, wouldn’t they be a teeny bit more at ease? Grasping at straws perhaps but I offer this hypothesis from my feeling that you care about your aunt, if only as a fellow human being, yet still feel ill at ease. It’s all so complicated and hard to tease out the myriad subconscious feelings and reasons when the surface ones are already so convoluted and confusing.
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Thank you very very much. I do take it that you must care about your aunt to have even perhaps googled the topic and found me. I get the feeling you are an extraordinary person and I am most grateful for this comment.
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You have added soemthing very precious and meaningful to my feelings on this topic. Thank you for taking the time to relate your experiences. I will share this with my therapist, and the close friends who know about this, my very secret and anonymous, adoption blog.
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best wishes,
Caramel (not my real flavor)  ;-)

NONONONONO!

Posted March 7, 2009 by caramelgalore
Categories: adopted family relations, Fitting in to your new family, I don't know shit, Maintaining a relationship with your birth mother, Playing by birth family rules, Punishment for being adopted, WTF

ist2_2655048-darkness

This is how I feel when we speak on the phone.

I am not sure if what is happening is a search gone bad kind of thing or a simple personality clash, irrelevant of the search. I imagine the relationship/non-relationship must be a large part of this clash. I can’t manage to get a sentence out without being interrupted with some sort of challenge, as if I am uttering some untruth. I can say “it’s raining” and get “NO, it’s not” in that sort of jumping (as in, on me), snappy tone, as if I have been caught in some lie.

ist2_4251023-depression

I cannot even handle a phone call these days. I want to scream NO, I am NOT lying, it IS raining here.

Everything I say is suspect. Most often the challenge comes as a result of misunderstanding or not listening to what I am saying. As in, “the mailman, who is a friend of Jane, told her that he has a pink poodle…” which is then interrupted with “WHY would the mailman tell YOU he has a pink poodle? There is NO SUCH THING as a pink poodle.” She comes at me with all caps, bold and italic, accusatory and loaded with contempt. Everything begins with NO…  NO, it is not raining. NO, that is not how your ____ is, NO, you did not do that, and so on. NONONONONO. It’s a tiresome refrain. Read the rest of this post »

Fallout continues

Posted January 19, 2009 by caramelgalore
Categories: Uncategorized

Nightmares for days now. Black thoughts abound. I am cracking under this pressure. I wish I could go back to my former life in which I was neither The Secret or The Outsider. I want to move to another country. It’s that bad.

The holiday gift, which I had been told repeatedly would be XXX, even though I protested that I did not need it and begged them to not feel the need to give me, and which I had then been told, “We have your XXX and we already gave the other kids their XXX so we want to give you your XXX.” arrived as an XX in actuality. I never wanted it. It does not matter. But that I was penalized by an X for having made my own holiday choices, is a mindfuck I do not deserve. I refuse to allow emotional warfare to exist in my life. My flight instinct is revving up, ready to go.

HELP ME…. I’M MELTING….

Posted January 18, 2009 by caramelgalore
Categories: A shaky family support system, adopted family relations, Emotional Abuse, Fitting in to your new family, Maintaining a relationship with your birth mother, Playing by birth family rules, Reactions to the long lost kid put up for adoption

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There is a talk coming; it is necessary and thus, imminent. I find myself resenting that there even needs to be a talk. If people would all take a minute from their own view to consider another, such talks would not be necessary. It is January 18 and I find that I am still steaming from the unwanted gift of an imposed Christmas guilt trip and, since this trip I have been sent on (for it’s a gift you can refuse but one which resonates for its unwantedness and unmerited origin) my feelings toward others have changed.

What I want to ask is, “Have I done that thing?

Have I ever made you feel guilty for dropping me at the orphanage?

No.

It seems that not only have I not done that, I have bent over backwards to ensure that you will not, for a minute, feel any guilt, for I do not want you to feel anything negative, ever. that is my way in this world. Empathy and respect and only positive output.

That’s how people treat others if they love them. Actually I am grateful for the upbringing that I have had, sometimes perhaps more so, given this game. So, if I have not ever made you feel that oh-s0-common guilt, I do not expect, and actually resent, attempts to make me feel guilty.

ist2_4034991-savages-let-looseI told you several times that I had made other plans for Christmas. I was exceedingly clear. I chose how to spend my holiday. I have that right. But for you to demand, when we first spoke after the holidays, “Where were YOU? We waited ALL DAY for you, and FINALLY decided to go ahead and have dinner”, was so wrong.

I call bullshit.

It’s not fair to make it seem like I kept people waiting and ruined any holiday spirit for not showing up where I was NEVER expected.

I have never done that to anyone and never will. Do you ever try to see things from my point of view? Do you ever wonder how it feels in this situation in which it is all of you and me? Maybe can you see how it is perhaps difficult and uncomfortable to join an entire family as the sole outsider? The Secret? Have I imposed any expectations on you, or tried to get you to do life my way or join in my habitual plans? I think not. Then why, oh why, would you do this to me?

Do you not see how some members of your family do not entirely accept me?

ist2_6450448-xxl-being-green

I do. Have I ever complained about this or even mentioned it? Do you not see how your husband has acted out in small passive-aggressive ways to force you to choose, “situationally”, between me and him? Remember that time he “accidentally” sabotaged that party for me? I do not blame him, for I don’t expect others to be any more human than I am. But that this sabotage even happened – and you did notice, even if you are in denial over it – was hurtful. I still care for him. I do not condemn. But it made me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed to have this action taken against me. And I know it’s me personally but that I represent a relationship with another man; one about which you have said he was always jealous, though they never overlapped. That the same event was sabotaged two more times by both of your other children (of whom he is the biological father) was again hurtful. It’s beyong coincidence and thus obvious. I expect no more or less than that, for I expect noting from you all, and do not know how I would react had my mother suddenly turned up with another child, a secret, that was not my father’s. But I am no fool and could not help but notice this, this thing which you’d have to be clueless to not notice yourself, and it does make me uncomfortable for I am also human. I give myself the same credit that I extend to others. Fair is fair.

ist2_381585-illustration-lieI am a grown up.

I have had a whole life before meeting you. I choose to retain that life and my own family. I am most comfortable with that family and that life. If I choose to spend my holidays with those with whom I feel most comfortable and joyful; if I choose to put myself and my own well-being first, then how dare you not only scold me for that but go so far as to twist that into a lie, and into one in which I have behaved badly and insensitively. For it is a huge and blatant lie to pretend that you waited all day for me at Christmas when I could not have been clearer that I had other plans and would be out of town and NEVER said I would be there.

I heard from another family member that no waiting occurred. I was never expected. No dinner was delayed. Not for a single honest minute. That other person got my message without confusion – the same message I sent to you repeatedly.

I do not respect lying. I do not respect disregard for others’ feelings.

I do not respect fake martyrdom. I will not be a false martyr and happily do what is asked of me over what I want to do, over what is enjoyable to me, in order to do what you want me to do. Martyrs are not selfless, they are foolish sufferers. It is enough that I am there a lot, and do a lot for you and give you things that are precious to me and would actually rather keep. I do not have to give up the holidays that I so cherish. I can understand disappointment. I do not understand demands, deceit and condemnation. And then, rather than discuss this painful scolding you had just unloaded on me, you suddenly had to go, “bye!, you said, and hung up. You knew you’d stepped over a pretty important line. You had to control the conversation and would not allow any further discussion. undiscussed things like this fester and get infected. It’s not an admirable tactic.

You actually refused me the right to discuss this.

That’s also not fair. AT ALL.

ist2_1621082-crown-of-thornsI cannot have this. I cannot be expected to put my life aside. I can share it, but I cannot put it aside or deny myself any of what I have built for myself in favor of your wishes. I will put myself first. You gave up the right to dictate terms to me when you dropped me off at the orphanage. I have no issues with that decision and understand it and know it must have been painful and have sympathy for what you must have gone through. But I expect some consideration as well. It cannot be undone, but I am happy to make it easy to move past that. I will not go through a second childhood with you. i will not be molded into something new and form-fitting; I will not be made into a compliant, controlled half-being.

I am respectful, considerate, kind, thoughtful and empathetic.

That is a fact. It is why the people who love me do so with such abandon. It is how I treat you. Show me some of that in return.

We can have a relationship and we can be friends and I can even love you, unless you refuse to even try to learn to see things from any view other than your own, your desired outcome. That’s not fair or reciprocal. It is one-way thinking. I adhere to the Do Unto Others edict and will never allow you to feel guilty and will go to great ends to see to that. I don’t want you to feel pain or guilt.

So why are you trying to do this to me?

Is it more important to you that people think I have dropped everything and everyone I know to spend holidays with you simple because you want it? Or do you really care about my happiness? Why can’t I be happy and comfortable? Why do I have to be the ONLY one to acknowledge how the rest of your family feels about me? Denial is a band-aid and not a cure. I am big enough to understand that I am an outsdier and that my presence is not much apprecaited by all, and am not much bothered by it. You can deny it all you like, but you’d do better to try for a minute to see how it might be uncomfortable for me. I do not complain of it and I do not let it stop me from coming around. I cheerfully ignore it and am polite and considerate of your entire family, regardless. I make no mention of it to you. But I want some iota of that same empathetic consideration for myself. I do not condemn them for not accepting me and will still visit with them from time to time.

But have any of you ever considered how it must feel from my point of view, to be the perpetual outsider?

ist2_2789202-traveling-with-luggageI think not. Keep it up, and we’ll inevitably become like those other reunion stories in which the people ultimately drift apart. Because, I’ll not continue to put up with this. I will not give up my peace and happiness to play out a pipe dream. If it does not change – this expecting me to walk all the way over the line and into your expectations and demands – it will not last. I have bent, beyond nice, and empathetic, and understanding, and have met you FAR more than halfway. Don’t take advantage of that. Think of me for a minute. Stop making demands.

I have feelings. If they hurt too much, I will protect them at any cost.

I will flee. I have to live with them. I am sensitive. You are not being sensitive of the feelings in this situation which are not your own. Try to be sensitive of all feelings in this situation.

Take a cue from me.

A Convoluted Badge of Something

Posted January 8, 2009 by caramelgalore
Categories: Adoptee control Issues, Fitting in to your new family, I don't know shit, Learning to be part of a new family, Maintaining a relationship with your birth mother, Playing by birth family rules, WTF

Tags: , , ,

A Greek Tragedy for a Convolute?

ist2_1085349-snow-globeThe psychic looks at my left palm; the one which depicts where I have been, which bears little resemblance to my right palm, which is where I am, and am going.  He says, “Can I be frank?” I nod in an of course manner and consciously decline to utilize the obvious, “I thought your name was Henry?” joke, because I do not much ROFL over recycled humor. Cerebral humor is more my style; a mind-chuckle being more enjoyable than the mind [rhymes-with-part-of-the-word-chuck(le)] that was my childhood.

He says, “Your childhood was really convoluted.” Finally! The most succinct poetic ode to my childhood. A tidy one word summary. It is such the perfect word. I still have it. And it works. And, as long as we are being succint, if I had to sum myself up in one word I’d say I was an italic. And that my life has been in constant pursuit of the appropriate life-saving em dash. Maybe I am a Convolute.

I sometimes hesitantly suspect that I might be a dangling particle. But in reality, I am not entirely positive just what a dangling participle is and cannot immediately identify one. I mean I know, but I am not 100% certain, therefor I am one, because that would explain my confusion about who I am, in a metaphorically grammatical way.

ist2_5290011-who-s-that-manI think about such things all the time because I am very confused. I was raised by one family; I have another family now and I am getting to know them. But I wonder how much they are getting to know me. I don’t think either family really knows me. I think both families have tried to shape me. Why are we not all merely seen for who we are and not for what me might be? My bmom does not listen. I can hear her thinking of what she is going to say next rather than simply listening. Mostly in our conversations I just listen. I hear. I don’t really think much that she hears what I am saying but rather, hears what she wants. Hence The Guilt Trip.

I keep thinking of the whole journey as akin to the myth of Pandora’s Box, which was really a jar and only became known as a box due to a mistranslation of the Greek Pithos for “jar”, which became “box” when translated into Latin.  Pithos sounds like pathos, and is one of the three modes of persuasion, in Aristotle’s philosophies in rhetoric so it’s all Greek to me, and all tied together and convoluted.

ist2_3223613-entrance-hall-of-brussels-courthouseEvents of Pathos, or, Pathetic events, in a plot “are also not to be confused with tragic events. In a tragedy, the character brings about his or her own demise, whereas those invoking pathos often occur to innocent characters, invoking unmerited grief.” – wikipedia

Interesting, that jar/box thing – a mistranslation or mis-communication that changes the meaning of a thing forever. Pandora opened that jar out of curiosity and when she saw what was in it Read the rest of this post »

Rants and Fancypants

Posted December 30, 2008 by caramelgalore
Categories: Emotional Abuse, Fitting in to your new family, Learning to be part of a new family, Maintaining a relationship with your birth mother, What did I do wrong?, WTF

ist2_1407030-blooming-dandelionI realize than ranting about relations with my bmom will possibly not endear me to bmoms out there wishing for a relationship of any sort at all with their bkids. But maybe it is useful information. Maybe it is helpful to know how it can feel as a middle-aged (btw, since we don’t know how long we are going to live, how can we know when we hit the middle of it?) person trying to delicately navigate a relationship with a stranger.

But I have no delusions of grandeur or perfection and I approach life and its inhabitants with the utmost of respect, humility and empathy, carefully examining situations from all sides of things; inside-out, outside-in, vertically and horizontally, upside down and rightside up, and perhaps I just wish for some of that from the other side. I just want to be who I am and never allow myself to be affected by the wants of another for that is not being true.

Truth is the most precious gift, to be handled with care and packed in bubble wrap at all times.  And my rant below is truthfully about the unnecessary cancer of a guilt that was imposed on me for a crime I had never, and would never, commit. No one among us should ever distort the facts as a means of alleviating other, perhaps hardly related or deeply rooted guilts, for doing so is to risk irrevocably damaging a precious relationship. I am not Ms. Righteous FancyPants. I do not judge. I merely react. I try too hard and offer too much respect to be slapped with guilt.

All that you have is your soul.

Guilt trips always get me down

Posted December 28, 2008 by caramelgalore
Categories: Adoptee control Issues, conflicted feelings, Fitting in to your new family, Learning to be part of a new family, Maintaining a relationship with your birth mother, Meeting your Biological Family, Meeting your biological mother, Playing by birth family rules, WTF

Tags: , , , , , ,

Rainy days and Mondays are, however, fine.

IT’S A PARKING LOT WITHOUT LINES

ist2_4356889-coal-for-youOh, the holidays. What loaded fun. What complicated, charged, bloated, booby-trapped, commercial, expensive, meaningful, non-meaningful, joy! Good thing the big one is only once a year. This is not to say that I am against holidays or don’t like them but rather an acknowledgment of the emotional brew bubbling beneath the surface. No matter how I might try, if I do what I want – what is comfortable and meaningful, and peaceful and happy for me – I get in trouble. I am starting to resent that. And I refuse to continue to always put myself second to others, which is be a huge shift from the last few decades of subservient merry-making and everyday life.

Since beginning my search I have spent a lot of time thinking. Thinking and thinking all day long. Some times in all capital letters, sometimes in italics, often cluttered with colons and semi colons, brackets, asterisks and pound signs. Especially asterisks. I am an Asterisk. Actually, I am a Spasterisk. To illustrate that I am making the quotation mark sign in spastically rapid motions as I say “Spasterisk” as if I am paraphrasing myself. I should have named this blog My Life as a Spasterisk. Shit, always the best ideas are a day late, a dollar short, and then freely offered up for the next person to use. If I see a blog named that I am going to scream. today is a very rare anger day for me. It’s been brewing.

ist2_6547957-country-highwayI had thought and thought about the impact my search might have on my birth mother and for years was unwilling to take that risk, to possibly disrupt her life in a painful or negative way. Since meeting her I have tried to use what my friends determine is my immense capacity for empathy to weigh her feelings and possible perspective into my decisions and quite often made decisions to do things that I’d not wanted to do; to spend more time together than I was as of yet comfortable with. I have always tried to meet in the middle give or take a few miles, but the middle can start to shift farther and farther away till I need binoculars to see from whence I came.

So, for Christmas I had made plans to go visit friends, childhood friends, a few hours away. Read the rest of this post »


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