this page, which resonates with me so strongly.
"When someone suffers a trauma at age 30, she can go back to age 25 or 27
as a reference point for her feelings, attitudes and behaviors. She
knows that she wasn’t so fearful, so mistrustful, so needing to be in
control, so sensitive to rejection, so depressed and anxious. She knew
who she was and it isn’t who she appears to be now. Birth mothers, who
experience trauma at the time of relinquishment, often get stuck
emotionally at the age at which they gave birth.
You as adoptees have no reference point. For most of you, your trauma
occurred right after birth, so there is no “before trauma” self. You
suffered a loss that you can’t consciously remember and which no one
else is acknowledging, but which has a tremendous impact on your sense
of Self and others, your emotional responses, your behavior, and your
world view. Your brain synapses connected according to your perception
of your environment which seemed unsafe, unfamiliar, and in need of
constant vigilance. This need for vigilance may have filled you with
anxiety. Some of you became compliant and tried to be perfect, while
others of you acted out and tested everyone who was important to you.
As children, these behaviors are to be understood and worked with
patiently and lovingly (that is if adoptive parents are given a clue
that their children have experienced trauma). But as adults, it is up to
you to begin to realize the impact your actions have on others and to
take responsibility for those actions. This is not always easy, because
many of you don’t even realize that you have an impact. (Mom leaves, baby cries, mom doesn’t come back = I have no impact, no effect, no importance.)
It is the baby mind that believes you have no impact. For the “adult
truth” you have to check with others. Ask your husband/wife/mother/
partner: “Did it hurt you when I did…?” Then you can modify your
behavior to reflect their answer. You have to begin to notice and
acknowledge the effect you are having on others and then take
responsibility for it. Take it from me: You do have an impact! You do matter!
Separation from mother is the ultimate loss. Although hidden from your
conscious memory, that loss affects much of how you act in
relationships. To be in a mature relationship, you must learn how your
beliefs differ from reality. Then you can begin to change harmful
behaviors. You may be acting from your trauma and not from your true
self at all. Allow others to help you distinguish between the two, and
learn to act from your true self, rather than from your traumatized
I’ve met thousands of adoptees since the publication of my first book in
1993, and each and every one has had a unique and wonderful
personality. Yet there are many similarities in their behavior patterns,
some compliant, some defiant, but behavior patterns which emanated from
early trauma. As adults, it is time for you to gain control in your
life. By you I mean the mature adult you, not the traumatized child you.
(How many of you would consciously put a three-year-old in charge of
your life? Well, you may have unconsciously done just that!) You have to
begin to distinguish between your child and adult selves, and act from
your adult self. You owe it to yourselves and those who love you.
Remember: You deserve to be treated with love, respect, and dignity, and
you deserve to treat others with love, respect, and dignity."
I'm on the hunt for that book and another titled Journey Of The Adopted Self.