(first published Aug 2007)
I’ve been thinking today about love and fear, and how that plays into my relationships with my family and friends.
It’s my guess that many adoptees (or at least those with any “issues”), whether they realize it or not, are living from a position of fear rather than love.
Let’s face it. You know deep down that the person who should have loved you the most, the woman that conceived you and carried you in her womb for nine months, was able to walk away from you and give you to someone else. My adoption was through an agency, so I feel like I wasn’t even given to a hand-picked couple like you can do now, I was simply left to the agency…hopefully they had someone who wanted me.
If that person who should have loved you so much was just able to leave “like that” – what is to stop anybody else from leaving for any little reason?? (I hear birthmothers groaning all over the country – I know in my head it isn’t anything “just like that” – but my heart still aches and growing up you really don’t understand just how hard it might have been for the birthmother)
As with other adoptees, I think I put up walls from an early age to avoid getting hurt again. I *seemed* (and still seem) to be a totally well adjusted adoptee. Smart, friendly, a good daughter, a good wife. It belies that fact that I often feel totally dead inside…empty. There is little love. There is fear. Fear that no matter how much I did, how perfect I was, how good my grades were or how well behaved I was – everyone could just pull the rug out from under me at any time and say, “You know, this isn’t what we bargained for, we’ve changed our minds.”
It’s funny (in a dreadful sort of way, lol) that as a child, you think that if that happens you will be left totally alone, to be eaten by wolves or something. Maybe in my heart I knew that was the equivalent of finding out I was not loved, again. Maybe it didn’t matter than in my head I knew there would be another family out there to take care of me again. Who cares when you “know” you are unlovable?
I know my adoptive parents parenting style had something to do with this fear – if I screwed up, they stopped talking to me. And usually it was things beyond my control, or just a misunderstanding, or something where one parent said one thing and the other one freaked out because of it. I apparently had the power, by simply making unintentional mistakes (no outright defiance, mind you, I didn’t *do* that) to make them stop loving me.
Let’s fast forward to today, so I can someday make my point in this post! 😉 I have a problem, as I think I have mentioned, of being the martyr with my family. I sacrifice and sacrifice, and when no one else wants to sacrifice with me, get upset and cry and feel sorry for myself – and feel like nobody cares, nobody *really* loves me. I don’t expect thanks, I just expect them to *also* want to sacrifice for MY greater good just like I am doing for them.
Here’s what got me thinking of this today. I was putting away laundry. For some reason my usually sane husband now likes his underwear folded in his drawer. 😉 I have been perfectly happy throwing it all in a lump in the drawer like I do with my own. But he has been bitten by the decluttering and straightening bug (my fault!) and he likes the look of his neat “drawers drawer” now. 🙂 So I was folding them and putting them in the drawer today, thinking, “I am doing this against what *I* would prefer to do, and doing it out of love.”
Then I really stopped to think. Am I?? Granted I *do* love this man. He is the one person in the whole world I think I can honestly say I *feel* love towards – feel a connection, a tie, not a “puppy love” romantic feeling but a true deep love. But why am I doing things like folding his underwear a certain way, or watching only what he wants on TV, or a million other little things that are not my preference but his? Is it love?
OK, I’m totally weeping now (which isn’t hard, I’m 34 weeks pregnant, remember) – but I’m realizing it ISN’T. Here I was going along in my marriage thinking I’m doing all this sacrificing out of love, and I’m really not. It’s fear. Fear that if I don’t do things his way, he won’t really love me. I don’t want to be *tolerated*, I want to be loved, fully and completely. Now, I *do* want to make him happy, so I think there is a *little* love behind the actions. I know it makes him happy to have a neat drawer now, so I can do it because I love to see him happy. But the fear comes in when I realize I can’t NOT do it anymore. I *have to* do it. Because of the fear. The fear that if I don’t, I’m back with those wolves. Alone and unloved.
What’s the answer to this? Why don’t I ever know? LOL I hate ending all these blog posts without answers, without that “ray of hope” that is supposed to tie everything together. There IS hope that I’ll get through this, especially with Saint DH for a husband. But right now I’m not sure what the path is. First, I will let dh read this though. I bet he will have some good insights, he always does. Praying that I see each family member as God does always helps too, but the feeling doesn’t “stick” and I’m still left with my *actions* being out of fear even when there is some love in my head.
Anyway, dinner is almost cool enough to eat so I’d better run and feed my munchkins who are presently learning how to cook better than I can by watching their favorite Food Network shows. 😉