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Avoiding or Facing Reality

Posted by on Nov. 12, 2009 at 4:20 PM
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 "Emotional sickness is avoiding reality at any cost. Emotional health is facing reality at any cost." - M. Scott Peck

This struck a chord with me. When I was trying to deal with the loss of my son to adoption, I was emotionally unable to deal with the reality of how much I loved, longed for and would miss him. I mentally did all I could to avoid thinking about him, dealing with his adoption and my feelings about it.

At reunion, I was in a healthy emotional state and KNEW that I finally had to face the reality of my loss, and I did.

 

by on Nov. 12, 2009 at 4:20 PM
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PortAngeles1969
by Group Owner on Nov. 12, 2009 at 5:34 PM

I agree.

Facing it "whatever the cost" can sure feel like craziness when in fact it is the more healthy path.  It takes a lot while in the midst of everything that rushes at you to remember that even though it hurts and often makes you long for the ease of avoiding it, it really is the better path to be on.

I think that's part of why people in my life have resisted when I've been in the mode of facing my reality.  They see that working through it hurts - and they don't like to see me hurting even if it is my path to healing.  I wish others would understand that often the healthier choice involves opening yourself up to the pain. 

PortAngeles1969   www.postadoptioncoach.com

Group Owner:
Adoption
http://www.cafemom.com/group/adoption  
Group Administrator: Birthmoms http://www.cafemom.com/group/birthmoms

2jeffsmom
by Bronze Member on Nov. 12, 2009 at 9:25 PM

Southernroot, How did you reach that healthy emotional state? I want to be there. Maybe your method could help others heal too. I've wanted to ask for help, but didn't know how to form the words. The only people who understand, are the women here. I don't know anyone personally who's given a baby away. I'd really appreciate anyone's input.

Southernroots
by Group Admin on Nov. 13, 2009 at 1:52 AM


Quoting PortAngeles1969:

I agree.

Facing it "whatever the cost" can sure feel like craziness when in fact it is the more healthy path.  It takes a lot while in the midst of everything that rushes at you to remember that even though it hurts and often makes you long for the ease of avoiding it, it really is the better path to be on.

I think that's part of why people in my life have resisted when I've been in the mode of facing my reality.  They see that working through it hurts - and they don't like to see me hurting even if it is my path to healing.  I wish others would understand that often the healthier choice involves opening yourself up to the pain. 

Facing your loss is incredibly painful and I think many of us instinctively try to avoid pain. Denial is a coping mechanism that sometimes helps us survive. Even many professionals do not understand what is needed to help a mom grief for the loss of her child to adoption. And, people around you want to "fix" you and make you feel better. They don't want to see you cry and mourn, but, sometimes that is what is needed.

In early reunion, many times when my husband saw me crying, it upset him and he wanted to cheer me up and make me stop crying. One day when I was crying and he saw me and was upset, I finally told him that it was okay that I was crying. I was okay, it was what I needed to do.

As to how I have been able to heal, I knew early on in reunion that I could not do it by myself. I knew I would needs lots of support, so I found it. I found an adoption therapist and a local CUB group that I attended faithfully for several years. I read everything I could about adoption, went to conferences and grieved hard for that first year or two of reunion. I was fortunate that my children were grown and I had the luxury of doing very little but go to work and come home.  I surrounded myself with birth parents and adoptees for several years, because I needed to be with people who understood my pain. I was nearly worthless, I could barely function and my husband picked up the slack. But, I was determined to heal and I set my mind to it and worked hard. Fortunately, I am normally an optimistic and happy person. I desperately wanted to get back to being happy, but they were times I wondered if I would ever be happy again.  The hardest step for me was to forgive myself for relinquishing my son.

Southernroots
by Group Admin on Nov. 13, 2009 at 2:07 AM


Quoting 2jeffsmom:

Southernroot, How did you reach that healthy emotional state? I want to be there. Maybe your method could help others heal too. I've wanted to ask for help, but didn't know how to form the words. The only people who understand, are the women here. I don't know anyone personally who's given a baby away. I'd really appreciate anyone's input.

Wanting to heal is a big part of the battle, and knowing that it is possible as well. I eventually realized that continuing to beat myself up and wallow in guilt would not be good for me or anyone else in my life. It was hard to let the guilt go, and it still rears its ugly head sometimes. But, I finally told myself that I had suffered enough and had to let it go. Then I started rebuilding my life to get back the joy.

One of Joe Soll's books was helpful to me. It made me realize that many of us moms were outwitted and duped by skilled professionals. I personally had only myself to blame, and the one person in my life who arranged for my son's adoption. I trusted the wrong person, like so many of us did. I remember too that I was only 21 when my son was born and didn't have the strength or wisdom to fight to keep my son. The myths about adoption are so strong and widespread that even today moms get duped, and over 40 years ago when I relinquished it was far worse. Excuses, reasons.... both, I guess, but, I felt powerless and that I had no choice. NOW, I forgive myself for having been that way.

Sheppy
by on Nov. 13, 2009 at 3:50 PM

What do you do when reality is painful no matter what you do? 

blessedwboysx3
by Bronze Member on Nov. 13, 2009 at 4:57 PM


Quoting Sheppy:

What do you do when reality is painful no matter what you do? 


For me I did and do anything to escape the reality.  I also learned this year I'm bipolar so it plays into some of the things I have done.  I have a counselor now that I've been going to for 2 years (its been 17 years since I placed) and I'm still dealing with grief and pain it has caused me.  

If I had it to do over again, I would have trusted my heart and kept my son.  Two years after he was relinquished I had another son and there was no doubt I was keeping him (even with all the pressure to relinquish again - even the a-parents jumped on the bandwagon telling me how important and wonderful it would be to have two biological brothers raised together). I did whatever it took to take care of him.  I realized then that I could have done it two years prior- but no one was telling me how.  I worked grave shifts to make more money, found friends and friends of friends to help babysit, went to WIC and State for assistance, had friends help me find a place to live - it wasn't pretty believe me a leaky trailer...but it was home and it was shelter, hand me downs, garage sales, goodwill...the only new items my son had was a crib and a swing that my inlaws bought him.  I ate peanut butter & jelly, toast and egg sandwiches, basically most of the things you could get from WIC for at least a year - so my son could have the food & formula he needed.  I used clothe diapers. I made it work and I know now I could have done it all with my first son and still finished HighSchool because I was determined.

 

 

PortAngeles1969
by Group Owner on Nov. 13, 2009 at 5:21 PM


Quoting Sheppy:

What do you do when reality is painful no matter what you do? 


Ahhhh - YES!!! 

When the reality is painful no matter what you do - you do what people who are living with painful reality do.  You wake up each day, you put one foot in front of the other, you try to forgive yourself and others for your/their parts in the pain in your life, and you focus on the here and now - what's possible given what you've come through.

It's important to fully understand and recognize the pain of the past so that you are able to see what may be an opportunity in front of you in the here and now.

This is why so many birth moms have been answering your questions....despite the painful reality of what they (we) are going through part of our healing is that we focus on what's possible now.  Talking to expectant mothers considering adoption so that they have MORE information from MORE sources than we had so that their decision making is MORE informed that ours.

You have such good questions Sheppy :)

 

PortAngeles1969   www.postadoptioncoach.com

Group Owner:
Adoption
http://www.cafemom.com/group/adoption  
Group Administrator: Birthmoms http://www.cafemom.com/group/birthmoms

Southernroots
by Group Admin on Nov. 13, 2009 at 6:43 PM


Quoting Sheppy:

What do you do when reality is painful no matter what you do? 

That is precisely the position most of us felt that we were in.  Most of us were quite young, scared and had no clue how to handle the situation that we found ourselves in....an unplanned pregnancy. Many of us relied on others for advice, and often they were nearly as clueless as we were.

I think the biggest mistake many of us made was that we looked for a quick fix to our problem, and did not consider the long term. In some respects, adoption at first blush can appear to be "an easy way out," of a difficult situation. Most of us discovered, however, that in the long run, adoption was not how we imagined it would be. We underestimated the long-term and lifelong effects of losing our children, even in open adoptions.

When both your choices are painful, you need to carefully and honestly weigh all your options by educating yourself. No matter what decision you make, you will feel better about your decision IF it is a fully informed one. Many of us had our heads buried too far in the sand to hear any warnings about the possible dire consequences. Some of us knew NOTHING about adoption...hard to imagine, huh?  We were naive and trusting and made our decisions based on fear and ignored our hearts AND minds.

Whatever you decide to do, make your decision ifrom a position of strength. Find a way to empower yourself and work through the pain and confusion. Don't "choose" adoption because you are afraid because that kind of decision rarely holds up over time. Take ahold of your fears and conquer them, and then you can make a decision that you will likely not regret 5, 10 or 50 years down the road.

Get some professional help from someone like Nancy Verrier or Marlou Russell. They are two of the wisest experts I know in adoption. Nancy Verrier is an amom/therapist/author and Marlou is an adoptee/therapist/author. Both of these women REALLY understand adoption.  Even if they are not in your area, you can reach them via email or phone. I know Marlou does email consultations.

 


 

jadalley
by Member on Nov. 14, 2009 at 2:45 PM

The only advice i can give, is face it, you have to first forgive yourself (thats the hardest) then you just have to let yourself heal by talking about, this group helps its taken me 21 yrs to forgive myself, and that was after reunion. I love my son and no one can tell me any different regardless of the circumstances around his birth...keep your chin up..we are here for you...

ceejay1
by on Nov. 16, 2009 at 1:09 PM

SOUTHERN, very good post, I waited a few days, to think on this one.  One has nothing to do but think when inside of a Combine all day, so think is what I did.  I do not know IF I will ever be able to forgive myslef, maybe...I do not know, maybe IF and WHEN I get the pleasure to see my sons face to face, and HEAR their journey...maybe!  I do know for sure, one cannot FORGET, if one forgets, it has possibilities to be repeated.  I seem to have gotten past the days of painful gutteral dispair, and maybe by allowing myself to FEEL like they ARE okay, has helped.  It has been a very enlightening year for me.  Going from knowing NOTHING, to having a single picture, and finding them alive and well, (or so I am told),to now waiting yet once again, to see if a judge, will allow the next step.  I have faced reality now for 20 of the 23 yrs., the first 2 yrs. are indeed still a "lost memory" for me.  I don't know, maybe one day I wil remember, don't know how important it is...would change nothing.  I hope i will be strong enough( I am pretty damn strong), to face them and give light to ALL our past !   I am a much more at ease Mother, being in the place I am now in...reality is what one lives with each and every day.  I guess, in reality of it all...I hold NO great expectations...I really hold NO expectations, maybe this is a protective mechanism...I do not know for sure.  I do not expect any one single thing...none!  Even if there is a reunion one day, I harbor no expectations.  I will KNOW just being looking into their eyes...I know this and feel this...and maybe that will just be enough.  Until then, i will kep turning to you and port, and one then twins, along with some fine young mothers whom have adopted, some fine youn mothers whom do nothing but love with all their hearts, stillamom,dvt,journeytopeace,rain,so so many countless others....you will all guide me and catch me when and if I tend to stagger and fall.  Thanks, ahead of time, Blessings, C.J.

CEEJAY1

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