Monday, August 13, 2007


One of the things that has struck me in this process is how similar the experiences of the adoptee and the biological parent can be. (I have no reason to think everyone goes through this. But my birth mother and I seem to be.)

My birth mother told me about her fantasy that I was living the perfect life. And, like many adoptees, I think, I fantasized about my biological parents. These weren't the same fantasies, of course. But we both fantasized. And we both discovered that reality was different than the fantasy. It always must be, it seems.

Now that we've found each other, we both have fears. She is fearful that I won't like her or that I will pull away just after making contact. I have had similar fears. Maybe not always the same fears at the same time, but fears. Of rejection, of not being understood.

And the problem, for me, is that a feature of my personality that is probably due in part to the adoption in the first place, is the fear of abadonment. Of being left alone. This has always made me a bit closed-off, a bit reserved around others. I instinctively pull back and shut others out in order to protect myself. If I let people get too close, I'll get more hurt when they leave me. I've screwed up a lot of relationships because of that.

And it poses problems now, too. I am scared of getting hurt. So I keep feeling like pulling back. But that activates her fears that I'm going to leave again. She's already lost me once, and she doesn't want to do it again. Still, I have only begun learning how not to shut down and shut out. I'm not very good at it. I keep everyone at arm's length, and I have to make a conscious effort not to. It doesn't come easily.

So we both seem to have to learn to do things we aren't accustomed to doing. She has to learn to trust that I'm not going to disappear from her life again. And I have to learn to let down my guard. I guess we both need to work at it, and hope the other person has enough patience to stick it out.

Nobody said this would be easy. But I didn't really have any idea how hard it could be.

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