Secrets and Lies….An Adoptees Nightmare

I’ve always wondered why I’ve been such a stickler when it comes to secrets and lies.  I just can’t tolerate even a little white lie told for my benefit.  Honesty is paramount in my world.  I don’t care if it hurts me I’d rather know the truth.  My insistence has caused many rifts in my growing years and been the cause of many relationships going down the tubes.  Most people take secrets and lies in stride, as a normal part of life.

 I don’t.  I can’t.  I won’t.

ImageI’m around three in this picture and already caught in the world of secrets and lies of adoption.  Stuck in the twilight zone and suffering PTSD at three is something no one would understand back then in the early 50’s.  I look at her and my eyes fill with tears.  I only have a few pictures and they all have the same blank look, the clenched fist and at that time I refused to wear socks for some reason.  My adoptive mother being the perfectionist she was, was always so angry at me.  Pictures that had must be perfect….were anything but.

 Smile..smile..come on smile.

 Over and over but never the perfect picture.  The truth always showed and she didn’t want anyone to know the “perfect family” was sick.  Sick with secrets and lies.

“A family is only as sick as the secrets it keeps”

John Bradshaw

Secrecy erects barriers to forming a healthy identity.  Sealed records  and false birth certificates implicitly ask for an extreme form of denial.  Nowhere in the history of psychology will you see that denial is a positive strategy for forming a sense of self and dealing with reality.  It wasn’t until I threatened with a lawyer when my daughter was around 6 that I finally got “my last name”.  Once you have your own child, the importance of finding out genetic information becomes priority and the search intensifies.  I had no information or medical history until I was 50 and by then, so much damage was done, but for my daughter, she now has something I never had.  Information, history, heritage, existence.

Nancy Verrier believes that the nine months spent in utero  establishes a connection with energetic transmission of either positive or negative emotions.  Then, with the severing of the connection, the primal wound is created.  This affects the adoptees sense of Self and most often manifests in a sense of loss, basic mistrust, anxiety and depression.  You lived nine months in utero trauma and were born only to experience the worst trauma of all.  You can’t tell me, if you really look at that little girl above that none of those things exist.

Within secrets and lies you find shame.  What a person withholds from another becomes a hidden truth when if fact, it’s reality might be questioned were it allowed to reach the light of day.  That’s why it’s so very important for everyone to tell their story, to share the traumas and secrets and set yourself free.  Even in everyday life, communication in an honest way clears up many illusions turned secret.

Brene Brown has many videos on her research about shame.  It’s epidemic and it’s fostered with all the secrets and lies we live.  No wonder we have such a physically and emotionally sick society.  Once you can bare your truest self to select people, it makes space for a new kind of connection in your lives.

As an adoptee you grow up pretending you are someone else’s child and of course, the topic is seldom discussed at least in my era.  You were trained , act as if genetically you belonged.  That only works so long until you begin to discover genetic traits that “your family” can’t accept.  Adoption isn’t talked about,  The church family don’t know you aren’t really who you say you are.  The people across the street, the kids you go to school with and sometimes, you don’t know yourself until a later age.

In some twisted way, when I look at the picture..how would she understand that her mother didn’t want her or couldn’t keep her.  How could an already traumatized child grasp that.  I can’t even get into the words used such as “chosen”.  Yet, the truth is what we need and want.

 A new direction in adoption needs to be followed where the truth is faced head on.  No matter what age.  A child can sense a parents discomfort and blame themselves.  These indirect messages such as relatives commenting on how much so and so looks like their mother affect adopted children greatly.  Blood related people don’t realize the frequency of these biological references but Adoptees do.

It’s no wonder then, that myself and many adoptees can sense a secret or lie hidden behind a false smile or statement and refuse to tolerate anything but open and honest relationships.

 It takes an instant to break the trust and a lifetime to repair the damage, if ever.

I’ve lived as most adoptees, a life of dualities..the person you show the world and the person you have no identity for.  Now that I’ve been able to fit some of the genetic puzzle pieces in the blank spaces and write my story I am lighter, free of the fear and shame of being discovered.

 I now exist.

13 thoughts on “Secrets and Lies….An Adoptees Nightmare

  1. as our little spirits are broken, shattered into more fragments each blow, we were/are required to accept it all with a grace not of our understanding but by outer conditions… left to sweep up all the broken pieces on our own as we try to grow wings to fly toward our own unstable peace.

    you paint in words the adoptee lament from experiences, in it’s raw beauty the familiar pain we adoptees learned to establish boundaries to keep the pain inside and the world separate.

    as well we learn ourselves, along with our adoptee connections, resources, that our healing is an inside job, responsibility, and practice bringing another day for us to feel our spirit more alive, a little bit more whole, and a little more filled with our own grace and beauty.

    thank you for adding to the truth of adoptees…tender in expression, knowing the work of our journey, encouraging always to see…

  2. Sorry your childhood was like that, not easy.
    .
    May I. Humbly give another way of perceiving life or the past. Do you feel you are damaged mentally from childhood? And do you think it is permanent?

    Do you believe the shame you feel is real,,or based on reality?

    How much energy does it take to always have to respond when the rigid standards you created are enforced.

    How well has that behavior strategy worked so far?

    May I say that I believe you not damaged, in fact blessed now with strengths waiting to be unfurled when you let go and heal. You are perfect right now, need not change a thing, need to do nothing but start letting go of thoughts for a while.

    Good healing and I see a caring soul with awesome potential waiting to escape, to live fully.

    Let me give you all the encouragement I can muster to keep searching, keep trying and living.

    • Thank you Marty for your note of encouragement. I have done much healing in the past few years and the writing of Finding Heart Horse and The Wall of Secrets and allowed the story to lie between the covers. I am no longer my story. Yes, I am emerging from my cocoon, slowly but always going forward. I enjoy your posts and look forward to our connection
      Namaste
      Claire

  3. Oh Claire!!! I can ‘read’ that photo so well, your poor little tense body and your one sock maybe the only way you could defy what was happening to you. What hardships and cruelty we suffered, adoption is so harsh, unlovely and unloving. ❀

  4. I nominated you for the Sunshine Award, Clair. If you choose to accept, go to my blog and look for my latest Jan. 11 post about the Sunshine Award to read the details. (I’ll be working on the Liebster.)

  5. Yes you do my friend yes you do…and when you are no longer here your books will speak for you and you will continue to share and reach others…Thank you and Here’s to your strength…;-)

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