The other day I stapled my finger, it caused a momentary sting, I noticed it was bleeding, put a band-aid on and went back to what I was doing. Until I sat down to write this post, I didn’t think of it because the wound was so minor I’d forgotten it in a matter of days. If I do it again, it may trigger a vague memory that I’ve done this before, then it will be gone.
Some wounds are so minor they just aren’t part of your conscious life, the above is an example that is vastly different from my next tale…
When I was little, I was attacked by a very big dog and ended up with multiple bites. Dad fixed me up, and eventually the wounds healed, but they left scars that I have to this day. I wish that the visible scars were the only remnant of what happened to me so many years ago. Despite the best efforts by mom and dad – I developed a terrible fear of big dogs, an emotional scar of the event. Fear that ran so deep that if I saw an unleashed big dog I was frozen in place and afraid to even breathe, even just walking by a dog on a leash scared me, and I would cross the street in a hurry. It took years reduce that fear. It took facing that fear head on with varying levels of success. That fear still exists when I face an unleashed dog, so I have only overcome some of my fears, but I’ve still come a very long way from what I was as a terrified traumatized little girl.
I’m not unique and what I have gone through in my life is not even close to what others have gone through.
The loss of my son left a big wound in my soul. Now I’d call it an emotional scar, something that stays safely out of sight, unless triggered by certain dates, or something that happens around me. The only scar is what is deep inside me, invisible to everyone.
What I experienced when I got sick was terrifying without the ability to speak or write. The wounds I experienced, not just physically, but emotionally, left scars. I was afraid of doing things that everyone else does without a second thought. The endless tests terrify me because they have the potential to tell me what I don’t want to hear, I’d prefer denial because it’s easier, but it isn’t the right choice.
We all have physical and/or emotional scars. You can’t go through life without experiencing some type of trauma. How little, or how much they affect you is dependent on a variety of factors unique to what happened, and who you are.
Being adopted means our life deviated from what would normally occur if all things were equal, regardless if it turned out to be great, or very bad, it changed the trajectory of what was supposed to take place. That event (regardless if you want to argue it is what led up to it happening, or it was the event itself) – leaves some processing on what it means to be adopted, whether it bothers you, or you never felt any loss. Good or bad – you lost your original family, you still need to process that.
So why am I talking about wounds and scars?
Every once in a while, some starts talking about the book ‘Primal Wound’ by Nancy Verrier. Generally any discussion goes down hill very quickly. I read the book several years ago, it fascinated me. I didn’t see myself in everything I read, or even in most of it, but the feelings I did have that were mirrored in the book, were, for the very first time, validated. What I did understand from the moment I started reading it, was that it was based on many different experiences, and feelings, and the different reactions based on talking to many adoptees. I didn’t expect to read a book that would mirror my experience. I can’t believe that anyone would assume such a thing. Just like my experiences I speak about in this post will not mirror anyone else’s experience, they may though, see similarities. We all feel what we feel and if anyone thinks the book is trying to say we are all the same, then we read a different book, or with a completely different mindset. I’m not saying this is a book you need to read, but, I do see discussions take place between adoptive parents talking about the same feelings their children have, that I read about, in the book. Read it, don’t read it. Just don’t let the title send you into a defensive tizzy.
I’m ending this post with the first paragraph on the preface in the book published in 1993 when there was little published information that spoke about the feelings of adoptees.
“This book is about adoptees. I am writing for those adoptees all over the country who have opened up their hearts to me and whose inner stories I’ve promised to tell. It is also written for the adoptees’ birth and adoptive parents as a bridge to understanding their children and to promote the healing process for all of them. It is my hope that will also aid professionals in their understanding of the complex issues pertaining to adoption. I will begin with my experience of what I call the primal wound as I observed it in my own daughter, who, twenty-three years ago, was the first person to bring it to my attention.”