As a side note – I’ve been sitting on this post for over a week. I said I was going to write for 100 days, and I am. However, I need to lighten up on my inner critic and press post! The perfectionist voice in my head generally keeps me from doing so. Healing – it’s a tough thing isn’t it? So after several days I give you this post.
How do you fit into your family when you believe are loved but you never feel like you belong? I’m still trying to figure that out.
I loved my parents. I really loved my dad. A true daddy’s girl, I still believe my dad loved me more than my mom did. Or it may be that she just showed it differently, or didn’t show it in a way I could feel it.
Some of you can relate, I’m sure. Especially for girls, our relationships have a tendency to be different with our moms. Mine always was.
Joe Soll, LCSW says in his book Adoption Healing…A path to recovery
“Not surprisingly, since they don’t know what they did to cause their natural mothers to surrender them, adoptees frequently worry unconsciously they may do something that will prompt their adoptive parents to abandon them as well. The child tends to handle the anxiety this provokes in one of two ways – either by rebelling in an effort to force the other shoe to drop (being abandoned again) or, more frequently to avoid further abandonment, by attempting to be super-good, (being a perfect child) but always walking on an invisible tightrope…”
That sums up our family 100%.
My brother was the “bad” child and I was the “perfect” child. Those were our roles.
Sadly, it put him and I at war. A never ending war that continues to this day.
It’s only been recently that I can really see that both of us were just grieving and wounded children trying to survive. Neither one of us fit into the family.
When you don’t fit in you’ll do anything to fit in or risk getting thrown back out. Something my parents made clear could be a reality.
It became my brothers.
I was so unlike my parents in every single way. How could I fit in? Not only did we look nothing alike, but even our personalities were completely different. I was short and bigger boned, or fat as they liked to say. My mom and dad were taller and very thin. My mother went absolutely bonkers when my hair decided to go curly when I hit puberty. She could never understand why I didn’t brush it.
That still makes me laugh.
Add into the mix that our interests were completely different. I loved music and theatre and they could care less. I played soccer, did gymnastics and ice skated. I even played my dad’s favorites- basketball and softball, which I hated with a passion. If I’d been a boy I think they might have been more interested in my activities.
My mom was the leader of my Brownies troop one year. That was as involved as she ever got. I have to give her credit for driving me to ice skating on an almost daily basis. My parents saw me skate one time in twelve years. They never saw me play soccer or do gymnastics. They came to one play in forty years of my doing theater.
What could I think except they just didn’t care?
It wasn’t for lack of trying on my part. I tried everything to please them, and to connect with them – to be like them. I longed to fit in.
Really, I just wanted them to love me no matter what.
I never felt it. That – the unconditional love.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say. It’s not like we never connected, but for me, I never felt like I could truly be myself. It was work to be the daughter they wouldn’t send back. It’s hard to be always be perfect. It was hard work; it was exhausting and depressing.
I failed so often, and knew it. I felt it.
Yet, I was tenacious. Refusing to quit and scared to death of not having them as my parents, I continued to try until the day that both of my parents were gone. I didn’t have to try to fit in any more. At least with them.
Fitting in is still an issue for me. There are very few times when I am not working to fit in. My husband and children will nod in agreement to this quote from Betty Jean Lifton.
In Betty Jean Lifton’s Journey of the Adopted Self she says about Adoptees:
Wanting to fit in at any cost, it will deny its own needs for the sake of others.
Last year was the first time I was going to find my birth family no matter what.
I HAD to.
No matter the cost.
My question is – If you never felt like you fit in – will you ever feel like you fit in? Beyond that… Do you ever really fit in?
Now that I’ve found my birth family I’m starting to see how I fit with these people – my family. My biological sisters and I share so many similarities – for the first time in my life I can really see it. I can feel it! I fit with them. These women are not just friends, they are my sisters!
If I can fit in with them, maybe I can fit in other places and with other people.
My prayer is that all Adoptees will experience the true connection you have with your first family. There is nothing like it.
Yes, it’s a risk looking for your first family.
It’s the bravest thing you’ll ever do.
If you haven’t yet found your family I pray you will. From talking with other Adoptees finding your family is the beginning of true healing and finding how you fit in.
Thanks for stopping by, it’s so appreciated. Blessings to you!!