thoughts on The Primal Wound (part 2)

I’ve just entered part two of the book… and as I read the way the “primal wound” manifests in the lives of adoptees, I can’t help but think that they seem very non-specific, and common to all sorts of people, not just adoptees. Relationship problems? Issues with abandonment? Anxiety resulting in physical symptoms? Well, my mother and father were raised by their biological mothers, both had terrible anxiety, and depression, and debilitating relationship problems. Most people I know have one or more of these problems resulting from some wound in childhood . So maybe being wounded in life is just part of growing up? So many people are unable to commit, unable to open up to partners, suffering from anxiety and/or depression, feel that something is “missing”, feel they are always lonely no matter who they are with, and on and on and on. In fact, I myself have gone through some of these, and can name several people who suffer from a combination of all of them, none of whom were adopted.

I can’t really even think of many people who haven’t felt or been through some of those things! Do we all have terrible, hidden wounds from childhood then? Is adoption and the loss of the biological mother just going to be, potentially, the one that causes my kid to seek out therapy some day?

I mean, as a six-year-old I had panic attacks and was physically ill whenever my mom dropped me off somewhere. I wasn’t adopted, nor was I separated from her in an incubator at birth, or raised by other family members when I was young, or anything of the sort. Divorce? Child abuse? Bullying? Raised by substance users? Were the middle-child? Lived in a rough part of town? Turned out to be gay? Or part of some other disadvantaged minority? I mean really… there’s something for everyone, isn’t there?

I’m in no way trying to say that the primal wound isn’t important. It is. As important as the reasons for my own wounds are, as important as anyone’s reasons ever are. Reading The Primal Wound has been bringing tears to my eyes, because my daughter has already been wounded, so deeply, and she’s two. I believe that what this book is saying is right on the mark and accurate, and also extremely important to understand for everyone in the triad: first mother, adoptive mother, and most importantly, adoptee.

I think I also believe, or maybe just hope, that we can all heal to a certain point. I believe (or hope) that I can still be a great mother to M and provide her with a childhood that will give her a lot of strengths to fall back on when she deals with her primal wound and whatever other issues she has someday. After all, I went through some crazy wounding shit as a child, but knowing that my parents loved me and did their best (even if it took some years to really get that), that provided a foundation for healing for me. That foundation is what I want to give to M, and all of the resources and good memories that a stable and happy childhood can provide.

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1 Comment »

  1. For SOME people being adopted is a huge wound. For SOME people it flat isn’t. The second is particularly true when children grow up with truthful information about what happened etc. HOWEVER, each person is different so maintain your awareness and do not assume for your daughter because each person at different ages will have different attitudes about adoption and being able to talk to you about it OPENLY and FREELY is always good.
    You are being her best mom today. You will be her best mom all her life. We all have worries and issues and problems, being able to talk about them safely is really what is important.

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