Apparently I have lots to say lately…

27 Feb
I remember being a spectator in court one day.  Case after case called and excuses given by one side or the other about people not showing up, lawyers fired, continuance asked for the 5th time, etc.  And then a man’s case is called.  He gets up and walks to the front and the judge questions him if he has a lawyer and he replies no.  The judge asks if he wants a continuance to retain a lawyer and he answers no. The judge asks if he wants to enter his plea and he says yes.  So the charges are read and he is asked for his plea and he answers GUILTY. 
Personally I have never seen as many jaws drop at the same time in my entire life.  Well the judge and the prosecutor are both obviously flustered, and the judge finally tells the man that he really should not plead guilty without first having talked with legal counsel, and they can arrange for him to talk to a legal aid lawyer and he calls a short recess.  The man is talked to by both the prosecutor and another lawyer who was there about the need for him to have a professional tell him if he has done something wrong and what plea to give and have him represent him in court.  That the prosecutor has to prove their case and if any part was done wrong that it can mean the court cannot find him guilty and the smallest thing can have a bearing on the outcome.  He is told that people hire professionals to testify on their behalf to refute the evidence, etc, etc.  He listens but doesn’t say anything. 
So after this short delay the judge calls his case again and asks him if he wants a continuance to seek professional legal counsel.  The man says no he does not need to hire a lawyer because he knows he is guilty and he doesn’t want to waste the courts time or money.  To say that both the judge, prosecutors, and spectators were dumbfounded is an understatement, but the judge made a point of saying he admired him for his honesty and ability to own up to his own truth as he saw it, and accept the consequences of his actions.  That it was something he saw too little of. 
So where am I going with this post?  Since I have been on the internet adoption circles I have seen people refuting or defending the theory written about in the book titled The Primal Wound.  It seems to be so heated that no one will let it go, ever.  It is rehashed and debated and words picked apart and dismissed because other professionals say this or that others feel this they are wrong.
The side that refutes pick sentences apart from the book instead of listening for the intent behind the words over the context of the entire book.  They focus on studies and talk about observable reactions in infants.  Anything that even comes close to negating their words is picked apart and misconstrued, refuted, invalidated.  They talk about other professionals that refute the theory as well.  They say the theory isn’t so because it cannot be proven, but they leave out the key word YET.  They forget that we have not yet reached a complete understanding of everything in our realm.  That we are still young in our understanding of humans.  That new discoveries are happening even as I write this.  
And on the other side are who connect with some or all of the words written in the book.  They relate because it transforms a bunch of different conflicting feelings they have had for years, and puts it into something that makes sense, to them.  Someone had the ability to write down and try to explain what had been in their soul for years.  It is their truth and honest feelings about how adoption has impacted them.  Everyone’s truth about how they feel will be slightly to widely different from someone elses truth – yet no ones truth about how they feel is wrong.  But they are told they are wrong, over and over and over again because it cannot be observed… 
For what it is worth, I connected with the book and saw parts that spoke of my truth and feelings about being adopted and the impact it had on my life.  I don’t need science or professionals to prove my truth is, well, my truth.  But in case you are wondering, my dad observed my truth for over 6 months after I came home and compared how it was different from each of my siblings when they come home.  Same environment, different starting points, different individuals, different outcomes.     
So why can’t we all just stop telling others that their truth is wrong?  Why does it matter to others if some adoptees feel a connection or validation to the theory?  Why does it matter if other adoptees feel no connection to the theory?  I think it is ego driven myself… 
Think of it this way, you can tell me that you “think” I am a bitch, but you can’t tell me I “am” a bitch, because I know I am not a female canine…

Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Adoption



8 responses to “Apparently I have lots to say lately…

  1. Von

    February 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Thank you for some sense at last in this difficult area.


  2. The adopted ones

    February 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Thanks Von, I did not know if it would make sense or not…


  3. maryanne

    February 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    If Primal Wound is emotionally true for you, it is true for you, or any other adoptee who feels it is true. Nobody can really know another person’s feelings. The problem comes with insisting it is literal scientific truth for all adoptees, which is Nancy Verrier’s stated thesis. There are some adoptees who do not feel it is true for them, but they too are only stating their own feelings, not demeaning yours.

    I am a mother, not an adoptee, so I do not have access to inner adoptee feelings, only what adoptees tell me, and I hear from both sides on this issue. As a mother, I feel an emotional connection to all my children. Is this scientifically measurable? Probably not, and I do not claim that it is. Inner feelings are not the realm of scientific measurement, nor are they universal. We each have our own. Opinions about primal wound theory should not be taken as dismissive of the personal feelings of others or as a reason for hatred and enmity which they have sadly become for some.


  4. shadowtheadoptee

    March 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    AO, you rock!


  5. Raven

    March 3, 2011 at 6:43 am

    What frustrates me the most when the subject of “The Primal Wound” comes up is how so many people dismiss it out of hand without even bothering to read it. It’s kind of like giving a book review when you haven’t read the book.

    It’s a theory based on many, many studies done by respected perinatologists and prenatal researchers. It’s not built in stone—that’s why it’s a theory.

    All I know is Verrier’s theory rings true to me, not only in regards to my son but also myself. It’s a painful book to read. I read it when she first published it as her thesis in 1992, and I keep putting off reading it again.


  6. Amanda

    March 5, 2011 at 1:36 am

    There have been times when discussing The Primal Wound with people who disagree with it where I have suddenly realized “wait a minute, this person hasn’t even read it.” You’re right, to understand what Verrier is saying it has to be read in context. Not through my interpretation as to what it mean to me as an adoptee. Not through sentences quoted here and there. So on and so forth. It took me a handful of sittings to read the book from start to finish. I did not identify with the whole thing or agree with everything she said but it didn’t leave me upset and offended either.

    The reason I find the PW plausible is because of the things we can measure. We can measure blood sugar, heart rate, the effects of breastfeeding on both mother and baby, so on and so forth–all things said to be linked to mother-child closeness after birth. It seems as if a bond was created that was intended to continue. Why are nurse educators teaching expectant parents these things in parenting and childbirth classes if it doesn’t matter and isn’t, in fact, better for their babies to be close with them? That’s what frustrates me about these debates.


  7. Kara

    March 5, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Very generously and intelligently put. It is a hugely tired argument, and I am willing to concede much, except for what I feel and know inside myself.

    Maryanne, you wrote:
    “If Primal Wound is emotionally true for you, it is true for you, or any other adoptee who feels it is true. Nobody can really know another person’s feelings. The problem comes with insisting it is literal scientific truth for all adoptees, which is Nancy Verrier’s stated thesis. There are some adoptees who do not feel it is true for them, but they too are only stating their own feelings, not demeaning yours.”

    I can agree with this. I don’t believe that everyone feels emotionally affected by what Verrier has written. I agree with The Adopted Ones that it isn’t proven scientifically–yet–because it’s not observable.

    That said, I *do* very strongly feel that I was profoundly affected by separation from my mother. The primal wound exists for me as more than a metaphor to be used in therapy. If a person says that “I am just fine with being adopted, thanks very much; it doesn’t register for me in my life,” then good for them. I am not insisting that anyone else feels or doesn’t feel anything. How do I know what’s going on in anyone’s head or heart except my own? I don’t. But I can listen.


  8. The adopted ones

    March 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks guys – appreciate that you understand what I was trying to say…



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