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Connecting the dots…

24 May

By TAO

I have a post that I have struggled with posting, or not, wondering if it will make me feel better.  I didn’t want to write it, simply because, it shows my more sensitive side.  I am strong, I can get through anything, my emotions do not control me, ever.  I don’t like not being able to push through whatever comes my way.  I always continue on, even if it requires acceptance of things I can’t change, it’s still done on my terms…

So in the spirit of pushing through it…

Val commented on my post on Mother’s Day.  I had not connected the dots, and whether she knew I hadn’t without knowing what those dots might be, or, she was just being the empathetic soul she is, her comment touched me deeply, a simple comment of only a few words…

“I do hope over time you are able to find more peace.”

That comment made me dig inside to understand why, after all these years, Mother’s Day specifically has so triggered me in the last few years.  Why now, I’ve been at peace with my son’s passing for so many years, until recently.  And what I found is that I am still at peace with his passing.  What I’m still struggling with though, triggered anew by that day are feelings directly related to his passing, but not about me.  You see, years ago, my grandfather was told he was a great-grandfather and at the same time hearing of his passing.  The same with my mother being told she was a grandmother and that he had passed.  I still can’t shake the feelings that come from knowing they went through that, and couldn’t do anything, not even to reach out to say I’m sorry, not ever even seeing a picture of him, or me.  Every action, or inaction, about my other family were done because I believed I was protecting them, but since I found this out, I have questioned my decisions, regardless if there could have been a different outcome.

Those are the unintended consequences of adoption that no one talks about…

Just like they couldn’t do anything then, I can’t do anything about that now either, because they both passed away years ago.  That’s what been triggering me for a while…knowing that, and the lack of being able to do something, and for someone who is always in control and protecting others first, I’m finding it hard to find peace with those feelings and being able to put them away, like I normally can do.  Perhaps, I can just accept them now I have written them out, and allow the feelings pass over me when dates, or days like Mother’s Day trigger them, instead of having them haunt me like they have been.  This is me trying to accept something else I can’t control, putting it behind me, continuing on.

I wish you all a beautiful weekend…I am going to enjoy this weekend gardening, the best place of all to restore my soul…

 

 

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10 Comments

Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Adoption

 

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10 responses to “Connecting the dots…

  1. carolahand

    May 24, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    TAO, thank you for sharing such deep and important insights. In my own life, it is often the things I failed to do that cause the deepest questioning. As I read your post, it was clear that your choices were motivated because you were trying to protect others. This is a gift that, unfortunately, they are not able to acknowledge.

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    • TAO

      May 25, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you Carol…

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  2. Heather

    May 24, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you for writing this.

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  3. dmdezigns

    May 25, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I actually just wanted to come hug you when I read this. I hope I’m not overstepping. When I read your words, I sense guilt and what ifs. I talk a lot about forgivenss and extending grace. I find it’s easiest to do that for someone else, someone who has hurt us rather than extending ourselves that same grace. So I’m going to share what I used for my mom – regarding all the choices she made that caused me physical and emotional pain – only applied to you (I’ve applied this same thought to me at times as well. I find it helpful, I hope you do to). You made the best decision you could make at that time, with who you were as a person, what you knew then, and the things you were dealing with. See that’s all any of us can do – every decision we make is impacted by who we are, our motivations, what we know when we make that decision, the environment we’re in and everything going on in our world right then. The problem comes in that later when we learn other information we start to engage in what ifs and doubt our decisions. Yes, you’d probably make a different choice today knowing what you know. But you aren’t the same person today as you were then. Give yourself a break, extend yourself a huge cup of grace. You did the best you could which is all any of us can do. When I start to feel angry at my mom, I repeat that mantra. When I start to what if my own choices, I do the same. You deserve that grace, it’s okay to allow yourself to accept it.

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    • TAO

      May 25, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      You’re right, it’s far easier to extend grace when you are outside looking in. I’m glad I wrote the post because until I did, I didn’t realize I was beating myself up on my choices…Hugs back D…

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    • anenomekym

      May 31, 2014 at 11:45 pm

      D,
      It’s interesting that you should mention forgiving oneself. Several people have mentioned that to me.

      Years ago, an ex-bf suggested that I was making a mistake as I broke up with him again. I replied that I didn’t know whether I was or not, but if I was, I’d live with it, because I can only expect of myself to make the best decision I can for myself given the information I have up until that moment. I knew that I needed a complete break and to be able to explore myself without feeling responsible for someone else. Several years later, I’m so glad that I allowed myself to do that, and even wish that I had allowed myself that freedom and self-exploration many years sooner, but we can never go back.

      More recently, after I had exploded at a sympathetic, but very uninformed-about-adoption, friend, who said that I should forgive myself. I replied that I do forgive myself, that I have neither bought nor sold any children. That I have never encouraged anyone to buy or sell any children. Being part of the adoption industry was never my choice or a result of my actions.

      Also, more recently, the person who imported me suggested that to repair our relationship, we should forgive each other. This was after I had spent a month trying to educate his thick, Harvard-educated, skull about how child trafficking, kidnapping, re-homing/Maynarding, erasing and recreating non-consenting people’s identities and histories are NOT OKAY and should not be overlooked, about how often child traffickers and Maynards don’t get punished. He suggested that we create more laws. I told him we already have laws, but they are repeatedly not enforced. I could tell he felt beaten up, but crikey, he’s had a few DECADES to listen and pay attention.

      But back to the forgiveness he suggests – I find it insulting, coming from him, the person who culturally misappropriated a few babies from their own cultures (all transracial displacees), one of whom (me) is a bit peeved at his extreme cognitive dissonance and wouldn’t it be oh-so-gracious of him to forgive me for *MY* wrong-doing (huh?). Does he mean my errors (*sarcasm*) in getting imported from across the world, does he mean my “infant-like” insistence (*sarcasm*) in losing my culture, country, heritage, and language, and family, because HE didn’t mind? Or does he mean my reaching a new-found maturity and understanding about the events in my life, or me taking the necessary steps to piece together the fragments of my life and standing up for what’s important to me? Or does he mean, because I raised my voice?

      To me, I am proud of my progress and self-development (although slower than I would have wished, but better late than never). And I’m still glad that I’ve never willingly participated in this adoption/displacement circus and wish I never was forced to participate (but that’s not something I’m guilty of).

      To this day, I have no idea why he feels I or we could benefit from his “forgiving me”, but until he changes his attitude, forgiving him isn’t on my agenda.

      I agree that some people should forgive themselves and be kinder to themselves. I’ve talked to some of them and wish they would feel better about themselves. But for this displacee (me), I’m not sure why people think I should forgive myself, be forgiven, or be nicer to myself. Perhaps, for me, it reflects more their wish to ignore or minimize the global and domestic injustices in child trafficking and THEIR own guilty conscience.

      Sorry for this long comment. I know none of you know me personally, but any thoughts? Perhaps “forgiveness” is another way to cause displaced amputees who already question themselves and their identity to internalize and feel guilty for actions inflicted on them by other people who should feel guilty, but won’t?

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      • dmdezigns

        June 2, 2014 at 11:40 am

        First of all, it’s rare for me to suggest that someone apply forgiveness to themeselves. I find that appropriate when the what ifs of their own actions are causing them further pain. There’s a point to let go and accept that you did your best. I have no problem with introspection for the purpose of learning how to avoid a painful situation, or analyzing a situation to figure out what you could have done better as long as you don’t bog yourself down in the land of beating yourself up over something you can’t change.

        Most of my talk of forgiveness isn’t even telling someone they should forgive. It’s talking about what forgiveness means to me and what it doesn’t. I think forgiveness of others especially is a gift we give ourselves. It has nothing to do with the person who hurt me. I don’t think they even need to know. It’s not about them. It’s about letting go of the anger and the pain so that it doesn’t poison my spirit. It’s about reclaiming my power over things that happened so that the pain isn’t crippling. It’s not about allowing someone hurtful to be in my life. It doesn’t restore things to the way they were before the injury occurred. If you damage my trust, I’ll forgive you for my sake, but that doesn’t mean I trust you. For example, I’ve forgiven the ex step dad who adopted me, abused me and abandoned me when he and my mom divorced. I was blessed at 11 years old to meet a person who was so angry at their parents (for similar things). They were in the “I’ll show them mode” and acting out. Somehow, at 11, I saw through that and knew they weren’t hurting their parents at all. Their parents didn’t care. They were angry and bitter and only hurting themselves. (I’m not saying the anger wasn’t justified, just that it wasn’t productive and it was allowing the hurts they suffered to continue to ruin their lives.) I didn’t want to be that way. So I found ways to release my anger – writing poetry, journaling, at times even hitting trees with sticks when it was overwhelming (hey, you do what you can when you’re 11, angry and have no help to deal with it). Now, I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’ve dealt with the wounds he inflicted. I no longer pick at the scabs and I don’t let others words reopen those wounds. But he’s not in my life. I haven’t told him I forgave him. It’s really not his business. I have the power now to decide whether or not those things will hurt.

        As for your ex-bf, any man who had the gall to tell me I’d be sorry for leaving — I’d leave and never look back much like I left my first husband. I did have hurts from my exhusband. I let those go too.

        I don’t know why your friend felt you should forgive yourself. Maybe they thought you were blaming yourself for something? If not, I’m clueless as it makes no sense to me. I can see if you were adopted that you might at some point feel the need to forgive those who wronged you. But only you can decide if there is anger and hurt that you need to let go of. My experience is that some people can use their anger to effect change for a while before they need to find a way to let it go. But there’s a difference in indignation/anger over injustices and that deep seated anger that can poison a soul. I don’t know you. I don’t know what is in your life.

        As for the person who adopted you (you used the word importer so I’m guessing this is the relationship), the suggestion of forgiving each other makes sense to me here. You indicate they felt verbally beaten up. You feel justified in that verbal beating but to them it probably felt like a verbal assault. That’s what they would forgive you for. You would have to find a way to let go of the anger you still hold that you let lose on them. That’s what they are asking for. To move on and have a relationship. You may not want that or be able to do that. It’s your choice. I can understand why they would ask, but only you get to decide now if it’s a benefit to you to have them in your life.

        I don’t think anyone is trying to get adoptees to feel guilty for others actions by suggesting forgiveness. I think that most of the time people are uncomfortable with the anger. A lot of people can’t distinguish between indignation/anger of injustice and the deep seated anger of severe pain and hurt. People still think that if you had good adoptive parents you should be grateful for the life you had here. They can’t see what you’ve lost. They don’t get the anger even in my case where there was physical abuse. People are uncomfortable with anger period. So if you come across as angry, yeah regardless of why, someone will either tell you to lighten up or to forgive someone so that you aren’t angry.

        It’s when the anger becomes all encompassing, when it takes over, when the pain of what has been done to you is overwhelming. When you feel you are going to drown in it, that it will take over your life forever. . . . . . the tears all night long over what happened, the feelings that you will never be normal or good enough, when you can hide it in public but it’s still consuming you. You’re playing the role for everyone else but yourself. That’s when forgiveness can be a blessing. If I hadn’t found a way to forgive, the abuse I suffered would still be dominating my life and who I am. Instead, it’s a footnote, that I can share without pain, anger or hestitation. The anger only exists now when it happens to someone else. Then it’s indignation/anger.

        I don’t know if I actually helped or answered your question – but since you directed your comment to me, I thought I’d respond with what I mean when I say forgiveness. It’s not what the rest of the world thinks. It’s not forgive and forget. It’s not an instant and automatic reverting to the relationship before the hurt. It doesn’t restore trust. It merely gives me my power back.

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  4. Valentine Logar

    May 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Tao, I find as I march through all my feelings about so many different things whether things I have done or have been done to me it is nearly impossible for me to always open my hand completely. What I mean by this, some things are inextricably tied to my ‘being’, who I am and how I come to peace with the world I live in. The grace I achieve comes with opening my hand, allowing light through the cracks in my heart, where once those cracks only held the darkness at bay.

    What I know now, choices I made were made with what I knew at the time. They were made with the best intentions and with love. My intent was to never do harm, even if in not doing harm then I may see in retrospect my information was faulty, those I love knowing my heart will forgive me and will embrace me without holding back. It is with this I can open my hand and let go, allowing the cracks in my heart to heal.

    It takes time to learn this act of kindness to self. It is so much easier to extend it to others. So I will say to you two things today and leave you with something I listen to often.

    I hope over time you extend to yourself both grace and peace my friend, you deserve it.

    My peaceful song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_NpxTWbovE

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    • TAO

      May 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Kindness to self, a work in progress for me obviously. I love this song, it always makes me pause whatever I am doing to just soak in how beautiful it is, thank you.

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  5. anenomekym

    June 1, 2014 at 12:17 am

    TAO,
    Once again, thank you again for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I reiterate the sentiments of others, please be kinder to yourself. First, I’m sorry to hear of your loss. And second, many people, especially when grieving themselves, have difficulty knowing what to say to others to give them comfort. We’re all human. I don’t know what to say about the afterlife, but perhaps they know how you’re feeling right now. We all strive to be the best we can, but we can never be better than what we are/were at any given time.

    I think many adopted/displaced people were “created” to ease the suffering of others, and we take pride/feel better/get rewarded when we can. We can’t do that for everyone all the time though. We have our limitations and need to take care of ourselves too, just like everyone else. As I wish for everyone, I hope you find peace and give yourself a break.

    Salaam Alaikum – be in peace/hello
    Ahnyonghaseyo – are you in peace/be in peace/hello

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