One of the things that has always struck me about myself is how much I try to accommodate myself to my circumstances.
I have been thinking recently about how I don't feel as though I'm really myself around my (adoptive) parents. I think I would feel better about my visits home if I could be more myself around them. The problem is, I have trouble articulating what that is. I don't know what I would have to do differently in order to feel as though I were being "myself."
One of the things that my reunion has done (in part, anyway) is to undo some of the damage done earlier on. I have long been unsure of who I am, as though I lacked a well-defined sense of self. (I may have talked about this before, but I keep thinking about these things in new ways.) Meeting my original family, getting to know them and where I came from, has settled some things in mind.
Even that is hard to express, but I think it's made me more aware of when I'm not being genuine, when I'm putting on an act for someone else's benefit. It's as though my reunion put me back in touch with a part of me that I had long hidden from anyone, so they couldn't hurt me. So they couldn't see who I was, decide they didn't like it, and leave me.
I know that probably sounds pathetic. But I don't care. That's how I felt for so many years. I don't feel that way anymore. Or at least, I don't feel as strongly that way. It's not really that my mom gave me some explicit knowledge of who I was. It's that meeting her, knowing her, having her in my life, freed me up to get back in touch with that part of myself that got put away so long ago.
The reason this seems to impact my family more than anyone else is that I still try to relate to them the way I always have. Those patterns of behavior are pretty well entrenched. Breaking them seems so threatening, even though the reason for them in the first place seems to be gone (mostly).
Still, this is a better problem to have than not feeling like I know who I am.