thoughts on The Primal Wound (part 3)

I am currently reading discussion forums, articles, and blog posts written by reviewers and readers (both adoptee and non-adoptee) of the book, to get some opposing opinions or just additional thoughtful commentary on the theory of the primal wound. I have to admit that it is a disheartening read for an adoptive parent… where does she ever acknowledge even the possibility that some adults, adopted by their parents, don’t actually feel the pain of this wound later in life? That there are some who actually bond very easily and just as closely with their adoptive mother as they would have with their biological/birth mother? That some infants, and some older children, are simply more resilient, or just have different personalities, and therefore are less traumatized later by this initial loss?

What I’m seeing from these adoption forums is this: like any other minority group or subset of the population, everyone is different. The adoptees who were still experiencing issues, from whatever happened earlier in their lives, were seeing the author (Nancy Verrier) for therapy, so her theory was born from her time with this more troubled population of adult adoptees. I don’t see where she addresses the fact that she has no control group in her research… not that it negates the theory that the primal wound is playing a huge role in the issues being experienced by her clients, just to add some perspective.

Obviously, I hope and hope that my daughter falls into the more resilient, “this primal wound theory is a load of hooey” camp, because I want her to be as happy and healthy (ok, even more happy and healthy) than the average kid, adopted and non-adopted alike. In spite of the fact that I think it’s too assuming to apply the “primal wound” theory to every adoptee in the world, or even the country, I believe it’s important to recognize the trauma that an infant has gone through, the grief and loss, and be aware that it could manifest in anxiety or other issues in the future. It’s necessary to know, as a parent, that many adoptees do grow up to feel this wound in their hearts, and that it can affect them from small ways to profound, life-changing ways.

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Categories: adoption, parenting

1 Comment »

  1. Thank you for writing up your thoughts on this. The book was recommended to me by a friend who was raised by her grandparents and she felt it explained so much to her. I read (most of it) before getting my son (at 2 days old) and it made me upset but I thought it was something to think about. I also let a friend thinking about adoption borrow the book and she had the same feelings as me. I feel like your thoughts are pretty much on the same page as ours and I’m glad you did additional research and shared with us. I enjoy reading your blog and hearing about your adventures. Thank you again for sharing!

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