Adoptee over-reaction

So, I have these issues around abandonment.

SHOCKER, I know. How unique: an adoptee who has issues with abandonment!

But the thing is, until maybe 2 or 3 years ago, I had no idea. I thought I was just weird. See, I tend to over-react to minor things in life. A friend doesn’t call me back. An unreturned text (not that I text much). An e-mail that just languishes with no response.

Weirdly, I sometimes do these things to other people. I don’t call people back right away. I don’t see or answer texts that often. Sometimes it takes a week or two to e-mail someone back. I know how life actually is, that we can’t always drop everything and respond, and even if we wanted to, sometimes we’re just not up to it right then. I get it!

And I still feel abandoned and unwanted when someone does it to me.

I know where this comes from now. Therapy, reading, learning. I was abandoned as a newborn, and I still feel it viscerally. Now I know where that feeling began. I know what caused it. I know why I feel that way.

Knowing doesn’t change the feeling. I swear, I’ve written this before. But I think what kills me about this cycle is that it keeps happening, and though I know its root causes and can stop myself from acting out of deep hurt, I can’t move any further away from it. The only way out of feeling abandoned is to actually feel abandoned. And it is awful and horrible (and I’m making it worse by judging myself for not getting over this feeling). Maybe, eventually, the knowing helps. Maybe that’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Right now I don’t see it.

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3 thoughts on “Adoptee over-reaction

  1. My therapist told me the abandoned infant/child will never understand, but the adult part of us does. When abandonment feelings are triggered the adult can comfort and soothe the child, letting she/he know that you will never abandon them. Easier said than done when the trigger seems to come out of nowhere but I find this approach definitely helps.

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  2. You said: “The only way out of feeling abandoned is to actually feel abandoned.”

    Did you see the new Disney film Inside Out? It kinda shows the same thing about Sadness. We try so hard not to feel it, when sometimes feeling it is our salvation our path to connection.

    I think this is a very wise post.

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    • I haven’t yet seen the movie, but I want to (and I’m not a big fan of kids’ movies!). I think that’s true of all emotions, too. And thanks for your kind words.

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