Adoption Trauma

Paul Sunderland Talks About Adoption and Addiction…

If I could ask anything of the world, it would be to better understand trauma. Today, more specifically adoption trauma.

Why are some of us so hyper-vigilant in relationships?
Why do some adult adoptees push others away before their friends get a chance to?
Why are some of us so hypersensitive?
Why some adoptees can read minds and energy (empathic)  because that is how they avoid rejection?
Why is it difficult for some of us to have healthy attachments to others?
Why do so many of us have Borderline Personality Disorder and how that is a protection mechanism?
Why in relationships are some of us on red-alert?
Why do some of us run for the hills as soon as we form attachment to others?
Why waiting for responses (sometimes) to a message can be like death for some adoptees? Why is coping with rejection almost impossible and lead to suicide ideation?
Why do some of us do whatever we can do, strategically, to avoid endings in relationships yet are the ones who cause it at the same time?
Why do so many of us people please and lack healthy boundaries?
Why do some of us feel we don’t fit in anywhere?

I am confident this lecture I posted below will answer these questions compassionately and thoroughly.

I feel like I have spent my whole life waiting for my mom to come back to me. In certain situations, waiting is a form of death for me especially if there is a possibility that I might be rejected. The ignorance revolved around adoption trauma even trumps sexual trauma. We can at least identify sexual trauma as a trauma. But most (and unfortunately so many in the mental health profession) are unlikely to consider adoption trauma a trauma. Adoptees are the most gaslighted and misunderstood people out there.
I have tried to explain, to others, the culturally underappreciated dynamic of the mother never coming back. It is unique from any other kind of attachment trauma. This does not mean adoption is the worst attachment trauma, but it is one that I would like to be understood.  I understand that not every adoptee suffers from adoption trauma. I understand that other traumas can overlap and factor into similar symptoms. I also understand that not all adoptees experience the loss of the birth mother in the same way. I also understand that the birth mother also suffers trauma from adopting out their baby.  I finally understand that adoption isn’t always personal from the mother-end.

Those who are emotionally repressed, disconnected from their inner-children or who are dissociated or detached are more likely to cope with the trauma. Today, however, I want to suggest that adoption trauma is particularly painful if one is in touch with themselves, their inner child, their bodies and their emotions in an intimate way. For those who are very sensitive people and who are wide-open emotionally, you know the pain I speak of. But it’s a bittersweet one (for me) as being open emotionally is the key to healing from it. I am finding (for myself) this trauma can only be healed in relationships, but the caveat is that the therapeutic relationships necessary for this healing is most challenging as some of us adoptees know it is hard to keep someone around for long before we find a way to to bail or push the other person away. Eeep. All I can say is just keep on trying and keep on learning and keep on changing and eventually we’ll meet people and not destroy the friendship and/or meet people who are trauma-informed and love us enough to stick with us through the rough times. Ouch. I get that’s a tall order!

My husband just instantly understood adoption trauma and got me. I did not even have to explain anything to him. He just gets it and is so patient with me because he gets it. The gentleman in the lecture below also gets it. I want to live in a world where we all make a consorted effort to understand that there is a GOOD REASON people behave the way they do. I don’t think the behaviors should be excused. Of course, we adoptees need to own our destructive behaviors, to be clear. We need to take responsibility for our triggers. We adoptees need to make an effort to heal so that we overcome our unconscious and anti-social behaviors, indeed. However, it would mean the world to me for this kind of trauma to be understood.

The only reason I speak up is because it is important to be trauma-informed. A lot of people throw those words around without even understanding it. If you all could spare 53 minutes of your time to listen to Paul Sutherland talk about adoption trauma and also why it’s a different dynamic from even refugee-camp trauma, I would really appreciate it. This is the best lecture I have ever heard on it.

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