Sunday, February 17, 2008

Lesson One


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Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

--Philip Booth

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hit Her With Your Best Shot ( Below The Belt Works Best )


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How to Challenge Your Mother in Reunion

1. Tell her that your adoptive parents don't appreciate her existence. (This may startle her at first and then really hurt. They certainly appreciated her existence when they 'got her baby'. She may wonder what changed but really, she will get over it. All "birth"moms get over it, don't they?)

2. Tell her that you are just answering her emails, text messages and phone calls out of obligation and you are doing her a favor. It's likely no one has done her a favor since she gave birth to you all alone (the nasty, mean nurses surrounding her don't count). Since words are sometimes misconstrued, when you are clearly being rude, say that "and this is meant to be rude and hurtful to you".

3. Tell her that nature/nurture is nothing. Assure her, repeatedly, that nothing she has or does is in any way reflected in you. She was just your incubator. Her deed is done. Genetics is a crutch for the person who lacks an ability to be a unique individual.

4. Tell her she is needy and obsessive and it's a bit too late for that. She should have needed you when she was 17 and doing you a favor by giving you a better life than she thought she could. Better yet, tell her she should have fought those drugs they gave her to sedate her when they took you from her. Come on. Surely, she was stronger than that? And tell her to save the tying in restraints sob story for someone else.

5. Tell her you really would prefer she not send you any gifts. The less you have of her around you the better. If she continues to send, invest in a big fat ol' RETURN TO SENDER stamp. You can get one at your local office supply store.

6. Imply to her, subtly, repeatedly, through thinly disguised contempt, that you think she is a moronic boob. (After all, only village idiots give away their babies) Repeatedly tell her to get a grip on herself and calm down even when she is not upset. She doubts herself as it is. You can really help her along by making your issues her issues. This is sure to send her over the edge she has been teetering on for years. Then you will really be rid of her.

7. Ask her how much she received in payment for the sale of you. When she says she got nothing, don't believe her. Insist that your adoptive siblings cost 20K and you want to know how much you were worth. Did she buy a car with the money the agency gave her? Maybe take a vacation?

8. Tell her there is no such thing as primal wound, adoption trauma or the like. Tell her it's all in her head and she is crazy and a bit unstable and you were likely much better off without her after all.

9. Don't answer her emails, or her phone calls, or letters for months or years. When she finally explodes with anxiety thinking you may be dead or something, explode back. Make your denial and avoidance of her into her issue. Refer to 6.

10. While doing all of the above, ask her to hang around while you grow up and decide if you want her in your life or not.

Source: Suz Bednarz Reunited Mother

Wearing Your Heart On Your Sleeve


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Should you wear your heart on your sleeve.
Should you let everyone know the way you feel.
Should you wear your heart on your sleeve,
And confirm what your shining eyes reveal.

Should you keep on saying his name
As though a band were playing.
Should you be outspoken.
Or are you apt
to get your poor heart broken.

To wear your heart on your sleeve isn't a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best... Margaret Thatcher

Reunion Etiquette


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Acknowledging the Other Party

"I am your child, but you are not my mother..."

Happy as they may be, adoption reunions can turn into a minefield of unintended slights, unfulfilled expectations and hurt feelings. Adoptees, in particular, walk a tightrope. While their natural families do have reunion-related challenges of their own to overcome, adoptees must now contend with the sometimes conflicting expectations of two sets of relatives. In addition to their own potential ambivalence with respect to the reunion, particularly if they were not its instigators, loyalty demands that they make it known, loud and clear, that their only "true" family is their adoptive family. As a result, many reunited adoptees, unable to integrate the various sticky issues, seem to live by the above statement in apparent ignorance of its built-in contradiction and its potential for creating hurt feelings.

"I am your child..."

I would think that most adoptees want their families of origin to acknowledge them and make them part of the family. What could be more natural? After all, nobody wants to be someone's dirty little secret. They want to belong. They want to be fully embraced as their natural mother's child. Anything less would be interpreted as a second "abandonment". What could be more understandable? In many cases, until reunion the shamed mother had kept the birth and adoption a secret from her current family. She must now come clean, make whatever revelations are called for, and publicly acknowledge her child. All of that is totally right.

"..but you are not my mother."

Conversely, don't our reunited children owe us the same respect and consideration? That should be a given. Yet, time and again I hear about adoptees who are keeping their reunions with their natural mothers a secret for years, if not forever, for fear of hurting their adoptive parents' feelings. And most want to be acknowledged for who they are, our children, but refuse to acknowledge us for who we are, their other mother. To quote some of them, all we have in common with them is genetic material and all we are to them is "a good friend". I wonder how these same reunited adoptees would feel, should their natural mother do likewise. How would they like to hear that the only bond their natural mother feels with them is "shared genetics" and "friendship"? I'm willing to bet that this would not sit well at all. Yet, they expect us to be content with that and to silently swallow the affront. Which we do, fearful of losing our child again.

Walking a mile in the other person's shoes works every time, and so does treating others as we would be treated. Respect all around is required, and respect is based on truth. Just as adoptees want the truth of their origins and belonging to be acknowledged, natural mothers want their motherhood acknowledged and honored, at least in private. I don't know of a single natural mother who expects and demands that her reunited child now call her Mom in front of the whole world. But being pointedly told that we are not Mom, just "a good friend", is dismissive and unnecessarily hurtful.

Source: Josee Larose
Founding director of the Canadian Council of Natural Mothers


Shades Of Misery


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It took a while for me to see things as they were

In the light of truth, it wasn't you, it was me
I let myself get used to drownin' in the hurt
Against the wall; who'd've thought it was me?
From there, I couldn't even look over my shoulder
I kicked down all the walls and started all over

And I don't paint myself into corners anymore
In a brittle heart of clay
I threw my brushes away
The tools of the trade
That chained your memory to me
Are out the door
I don't paint myself into corners anymore

When you left, you left me with no other choice at all
But to sink to my knees and cry
I never knew just how far a soul could fall
Like a rock, couldn't stop, didn't try
I locked myself behind shades of misery
But when I let you go, I set myself free

Yeah, the tools of the trade
That chained your memory to me
Are out the door
I don't paint myself into corners anymore

To Let Go


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To let go does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can't do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off,
it's the realization I can't control another.
To let go is not to enable,
but allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means
the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
it's to make the most of myself.
To let go is not to care for,
but to care about.
To let go is not to fix,
but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their destinies.
To let go is not to be protective,
it's to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny,
but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and love more

The Scenery Is Changing


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The more entirely you dismantle the situation you were in, the more entirely you can recreate a new one. The more dramatic the loss, the more far-reaching and encompassing the reconstruction.

Float above yourself and see the larger view of your journey. The scenery is changing. Your experience will influence how you handle every situation and decision from now on.

Most people with a life that appears very positive can give you a list of the negative events that got them there. With maturity comes the patience you need to ride it out. Pretty soon, it will just be something you remember from your past.

Life Is A Hard Row To Hoe


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I'm still in the cotton fields but progress is being made

Fear and Terror


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Practicing reporting events to yourself as if a circumstance you find yourself in were actually a news story and you were the roving reporter, helps to identify the fear.

Announcing exactly what your surroundings are and what's happening "on the scene" at that very moment, helps you center.

Fear is always the result of an unquestioned past imagined as a future.

If you're afraid, find the core belief and ask yourself, "Is it true that I need to be fearful in this situation? What is actually happening right now, physically? Where is my body (hands, arms, feet, legs, head)? What do I see (trees, walls, windows, sky)?"

Impersonalizing our stories gives us an opportunity to look at circumstances more objectively and determine our responses to what life brings.

Believing our untrue thoughts is a good way to scare ourselves to death.

From Fear to Forgivness


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I truly believe that a mother and child have a Soul Contract on a spiritual level, a subconscious yearning to meet each other so they can heal the pain of separation.

Sometimes when an adoptee does find his or her first mother, she is not always prepared for this happening and may go into shock, followed by a state of fear. This reaction on her part will come across as "rejection" to the adoptee. What has happened is that for that moment, the younger split off self that was buried deep inside her has reawakened. This is the part of her that holds the fear.

As a young woman she may have been coerced into adoption by past cultural attitudes towards children born to unwed mothers. She believed she had to do what others insisted was best for her baby. She relinquished the child in spite of her misgivings and need to nurture it.

To live with this decision of separation and cope with the emotional pain in her psyche, she buried the pain within herself and split this part of herself from her outward personality. To hide the truth from both herself and those around her, she took on a fa├žade.

Convinced she was unworthy of keeping her child and never having known where her child was, the split side of her personality remained in a state of fear, anger, sadness, unworthiness, guilt and shame. These feelings can remain locked up in the subconscious mind and on a cellular level for years, unless she finds some way to heal.

When her relinquished child suddenly calls her years later, the split self within her brings all the cellular memories to the surface. Unexpectedly, she is reliving the surrender of her baby. Hearing the adoptee's voice suddenly reawakens this alternate reality. Every cell in her body is recognizing that familiar emotional chemistry from the past trauma. As each emotion has its own chemistry code, those same emotions she experienced at the time of relinquishment are now surfacing and the pain and fear are often overwhelming for her.

The emotions of sadness, anger, unworthiness, guilt and shame are all awake and she goes into momentary turmoil. For many first mothers the first emotion to awaken is fear and this is what the adoptee sees as rejection. Unfortunately, he/she does not understand that the first mother is re-experiencing the abstract feelings that are left over from the disenfranchised grief that she was never permitted to handle in the past. For that moment she feels like that young woman of years ago when she felt herself unworthy of being able to respond to a call from her child.

She may also fear that the adoptee is going to be very angry with her for the relinquishing him or her as a baby when it was at their most vulnerable stage in life.

She searches her memory banks for a reference point that will tell her how to handle this situation in the present, but she can't find one. As a result she may experience one of three types of symptoms. The first may be hyperarousal in which the lower emotions of anger, fear, guilt and shame are felt to the extreme. These are the emotions she experienced when she had to surrender her baby, that were locked into her body cells and are now reawakened.

She may then go through a stage of intrusive symptoms in which she needs to tell the story over and over to anyone who will listen, looking for validation and support. The truth is finally out and it has become "real". The third symptom is constriction which makes her feel powerless so that she goes into a state of surrender, shutting down all her emotions.

Most first mothers experience them to some degree when faced with reunions. These symptoms will oscillate from one to the other until she finds a way to heal her inner pain.

Rejection then, isn't always what is seems. It is really about the fear the first mother is experiencing along with the other hidden emotions from the past that she was never given permission to heal. In some cases the first mother may regress to a state in which she is living out of the emotions of the fragmented younger self.

If you wonder why some first mothers react so harshly while others are delighted with the idea of a reunion, I think the source of the problem lies in the ways she coped over the years with her loss and whether or not she was able to talk about it with others. If she allowed herself to discuss the past and had read books on adoption issues she will most likely be delighted with the idea of a reunion. But if she locked away the pain so deeply within herself, she may have created a mental block that parallels amnesia. When the memories of the relinquishment resurface, she begins to experience the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.

The adoptee should be prepared not to judge her for her initial reaction, which appears as a rejection. The first mother needs time to find support and validation for her trauma. The first mother's initial reaction to reunion is an abstract of mixed messages clouded by fear. The pain and insecurity she feels will disappear with time and acknowledgement of the grief. If the reunion cannot be accomplished successfully, she must at least go on and try to heal her own trauma that the adoption has caused her over the years.

I believe we need to heal adoption issues on four levels, mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. Once these issues are healed, the final process of forgiveness will take her out of the past and into the present moment. If both mother and child can reach the point of forgiving the past, they can develop a healthy relationship and leave the past behind. Trying to intellectualize and make sense of what happened to them in the past is counterproductive to their growth in the moment. It is better that they let go of the pain and allow compassion to enter their hearts, leaving the lower emotions in the past.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Backstabbing

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Stab me in the back
Come and break my neck Yeah, trust grows slowly But dies so fast (Nothing ever lasts) I know There's a blade for everyone And one was made for you There's a blade for every hypocrite telling lies - lies And every knife that cuts my skin Leaves a scar on you Every knife that cuts my skin Leaves a scar on you - you Tell me: How many knives can we dig from our backs? How many knives can we take? We're all hypocrites Everyone's a fake We're all being cheated Everyone's betrayed - yeah We're all hypocrites Everyone's a fake We're all being cheated At the end of the day I know