Valentine’s day. For some it means romance, cards, chocolate, and gifts. For others, it’s the one day of the year when buying flowers is not an act of apology or raises suspicions of wrongdoing.
Some treat it as a celebration of love and connection. Others greet him with cynical disdain. It is the annual reminder of celibacy and loneliness. Ultimately, it’s about relationships, or the lack of them. It can bring up unpleasant memories of lost loves, but the nostalgia is normally forgotten by the time the flowers wither and the chocolates disappear.
What if Valentine’s Day or relationships in general were a stark reminder of the most painful and agonizing events you’ve ever experienced? What if they caused a trauma so terribly difficult that it would forever change the way you approach life?
Welcome Valentine’s Day and Adopted Relations.
Take a moment to recoil from such a provocative and absurd statement; that saving a child through adoption can lead to a life of relationship problems. He is ungrateful and even accusing of altruistic adopters. It’s insulting to those struggling with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other psychological issues associated with adoption.
Yet believe it or not, developing intimate relationships can be a major challenge for adoptees. Their first and most important relationship was irreparably destroyed. The person who is supposed to love them the most has inexplicably vanished. Then they were passed on to strangers and they were expected to claim this nothing happened.
Seemingly mundane relationship issues should not be overlooked, minimized, or dismissed. The impact of this broken relationship is colossal. It constantly changes everything they were intended for. It changes the way they relate to people. This poses linkage problems. It leaves them angry, sad and helpless. It interferes with emotional development and instills in them a persistent fear of abandonment.
This fear has an impact on future relationships. Many adoptees fear that what happened once will happen again. They worry that every new relationship, like the very first, won’t last. If their own mother abandoned them, then why won’t the others?
It affects their ability to trust. Their confidence in adults was shattered when they were most vulnerable. The idea that their mother loved them so deeply that she gave them away is a puzzling paradox. Connection, intimacy and love are forever linked with rejection, loneliness and abandonment. Not being able to remember traumatic events only makes the problem worse.
It is therefore not surprising that adoptees often have tumultuous adult relationships. For partners, it can be an emotional roller coaster. Adopted people are sensitive to criticism and find it difficult to express long suppressed emotions. They have hair triggers and lack impulse control, often overreacting to minor stresses. They can be manipulative, intimidating, combative, and argumentative. The complete lack of control over childhood decisions gives them a relentless need for control in adulthood.
They use various distancing techniques to avoid the vulnerability of intimate relationships. They withdraw and isolate themselves, often acting emotionally absent or completely disinterested, making sure the partner feels unloved and assuming the relationship is going downhill. They are constantly testing the limits of their partner’s patience, pushing them to see if they’re going to go or just pushing them back before they get close enough to abandon them. This counterphobic “rejection before rejection” reaction is a classic sign of delayed emotional development and unresolved trauma.
That’s not to say adoptees don’t want privacy. They often want to “give everything”. They aspire to a close and trusting relationship. They want to let someone “in”, but the openness and vulnerability is petrifying. Letting someone “come in” also opens the door to rejection.
This is why adoptees are drawn to others who are deeply hurt. They choose partners who are also emotionally, physically or socially unavailable. They are attracted to those who reflect their Pain. Their partners are often unable to express their emotions, angry at a previous injustice, not for past relationships or have similar stories of abandonment. They choose those who avoid and shy away from stressful situations. These partners will agree to keep everything on a superficial level level. However, they will end up doing what they fear the most: abandon them.
Even though partners recognize that there are deep and sensitive wounds, they tire of walking on eggshells. The emotional roller coaster is exhausting. They are tired of the “parenting role” they often take on. Even if the adoptee matures and gets glimpses of his behavior, the damage may have been done. The partners reach the breaking point and leave.
But who can say that failed relationships can’t be a blessing in disguise?
Failed relationships can exorcise the frightened and hurt child and force adoptees to realize that their coping mechanisms keep partners away. Sometimes it takes a failed relationship to admit dormant, suppressed, or hidden secrets. Experts even suggest that if adoptees are ever inclined to seek help with adoption issues, it is often because they were triggered by failure or failure. relationship.
Painful and consistent relationship failures can actually trigger awareness that is ultimately positive; that childhood trauma must be healed and the paradoxical desire for intimacy but fear of connection must be addressed.
Either way, maybe the deep wounds caused by a failed relationship could only be healed by a failed relationship. For adoptees, the important lesson might be that sometimes you have to fail to be truly successful.