Many years ago my mother told me that if ADHD had been a thing back in my childhood, and Ritalin was available I may well have been put on it. I have never understood using medication to calm children down, always preferring to think that there is something that the child is trying to communicate, rather than being “bad” and needing calming or quietening down. So when I saw this the “Bright and Quirky Child Summit 2021” being held online I immediately signed up to it. Access it here It runs 8th-12th March 2021
I was drawn to the title “Tame the Overwhelm” and the fact that Stephen Porges PhD, he of the polyvagal theory fame is doing 2 sessions during the week. As someone who has had her craniosacral therapy training cut short by current global shenanigans, I am very interested in hearing more of what he has to say. I am sure 50 years ago it would have been a great help explaining what it was I was feeling, but unable to explain. This graphic shows where the vagus nerve innervates. Children and adults who have been relinquished, are living with an aroused vagus nerve situation, as they are constantly on the alert for danger. This graphic shows where they may feel the effects within their body, with increased heart rate, hyperventilating or breath-holding, stomach and gut issues being common in this group. Read more in yesterday’s post
Participating in this summit may help me understand more about how I function. I will bring you anything that I find of relevance, to the world of adoption, in this blog. Be sure to follow me to hear when I post new content. For now I will leave you with a picture of my own bright and quirky child, who needs no taming.
In Sunday’s Flourish session we were asked how it felt to be in our body. Well, without giving anything away from anybody else who is in the group, it would appear that we share an awful lot of bodily sensations. This is what I feel, and I wasn’t the only one.
I live in my head. Since joining the flourish group, I often find that I can’t switch my thoughts off. Sleeping was never really an issue for me, but since January I have found that some nights I cannot switch my thoughts off, to get to sleep easily. I drew my body with lots of ???? inside the skull. So many questions in my head at the moment, about the best way to help other adoptees.
I did give my head hair. Someone then announced that the hair was an extension of the nervous system. I drew tension across the top of my shoulders, and described it as carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I wonder what my atlas alignment is like at the moment?My heart was drawn as a heavy heart, and my stomach/solar plexus was active, as in the chakra was active. Again since January and joining the flourish group, my solar plexus has been over-active with lots of belching and wind coming up from the stomach. What is that all about? Need to do some meditaion on that and see what comes up. Not literally hopefully. Could it be that in all of the the processing I doing, I am fermenting some ideas, and like active yeast when combined with sugar, my thoughts are rising to the top, and giving off gas with it. I hope it’s not all a load of hot air and some of it can be nutrifying for others. I was quite unique in not having lots of stomach issues as a child. I can count on one hand the numbers of time I have been sick in my life (non-alcohol related).
The solar plexus is a big energy centre of the body, and sits underneath the diaphragm. In adoptees it needs lots of attention. They will often tell of feeling “empty” in this region or the feeling of being “punched in the stomach”, both of which are solar plexus’ imbalance and work on the chakras is beneficial to balance it. The solar plexus is the seat of the ego. It is the home of personal power and self esteem. When it is balanced the individual will have a high self-worth and confidence. Is it any surprise that it is out of balance in adoptees?
It may help to say the affirmation “I am worthy, I am worthwhile, I have worth” over three times whilst focussing on this area of the body. Imagine a small fire burning, and say “there is fire in my belly”. The colour of the solar plexus chakra is yellow. Eating foods yellow in colour can aid in balancing it, and wearing yellow can help too.
In over 20 years of working as a therapist, as a McTimoney Chiropractor, doing cranio-sacral therapy, massage and aromatherapy along with chakra work, I have experience in recognising what is out of balance with a person and what they need to do to bring their energy back into balance and harmony, using a range of tools. It is not always easy to recognise if a chakra has too much or too little energy in it. For my own healing I would do a meditation asking myself these questions?
What is my heart not in at the moment? Or am I putting too much “heart” into one thing at the expense of another? It is all about balance.
What can I not stomach? is there anything that I would express as “you make me sick”.
I would work on my whole chakra system to bring the business out of my head, and bring it down through my body and ground it. I am great at doing this for others. Today after work I am going to do this for myself, and use some grounding essential oils in my diffuser too. Do you have a favourite one?
Then I am going to start writing my ebook to offer help to adoptees to help them feel more comfortable in their body’s. Watch thsi space, as they say.
This Sunday just gone, 28th February, brought up a new topic, that of our body. How we inhabit our body. What we feel in our body. It is a huge topic and as I have just published a huge post entitled I Don’t Care Anymore, Or Do I? I am going to take a rain check on writing my reflections on it, as it is a huge topic which needs time and care to give it the love and attention it deseves. So forgive me for not writing my usual reflections on a Monday. I hope to get it written later today and publish tomorrow.
I hope to include some self help tips on how to feel better within your own body.
This past week I have been reliving the music of the 1980’s, especially Phil Collins. Back then Phil was separating from his wife, and you could hear the breakup in his music. Oddly enough around that time I was in “reunion” with my birth mother, Pat. The words of many of his songs summed up the angst I was going through, although at the time I didn’t recognise that. I have spent this weekend listening to one particualr song, I Don’t Care Anymore, and writing my emotions about the period of my life in the 1980’s.
“Well you can tell everyone I’m a dam disgrace. Drag my name all over the place. I don’t care anymore”
Well if you had told everyone the truth about you meeting Tom, a married man, and conceiving me, and owned your own behaviour as disgraceful, rather than trying to blame me for my reaction to your behaviour, I may have cared more.
Oh and as for dragging my name all over the place, what on earth did you think you were doing by twisting my father’s wife’s name around and blessing me with it? Bizarre bordering on borderline personality disorder if you ask me. The meanings of my name is awesome, and funnily enough I feel more connected to “Tish”. Maybe it is the energy that is in our mutual names that joins us. As for your reason behind it- I don’t care anymore, to even bother thinking about it.
“You can tell everyone about the state I’m in. You won’t catch me crying ‘cos I just can’t win. I don’t care anymore”
Turning up in my life when I was 19 certainly put me in a state. I had had a very stable upbringing thanks to Ivor and Vera and their childen. I was a cuckoo in the nest, but it was a stable one, with a sense of family and British traditions. Looking back at the colonial sense of entitlement is not great, but it is in my heritage, so I have to acknowledge them as my past. White, British, Privilege.
“I don’t care what you say. I don’t play the games you play. Cos I’ve been talking to the people that you call your friends. And it seems to me there’s a means to an end. They don’t care anymore.”
Well your funeral was certainly interesting, meeting all your friends. No wonder I wasn’t invited to all your “family occassions”. You should have seen your matron of honour’s face when I told her that your daughter and Tom’s daughter were one and the same person. They had no idea that you had met Tom in 1959, leading to my conception and birth a couple of years later. They thought your 2 daughters were separate people. And as for poor Russell. What did he find in the house in France? And what had you told him about your marriage to Tony? Did you bring it forward by a couple of years to make it look as though you were married to him when I was born? Where did Russell think I was brought up? By you and Tony? Russell wrote to me after he had been to France. He sounded confused. I tried to tell him that I had been adopted “out” not that you had adopted Marilyn. Is that how you explained her colouring, that you had adopted her? I can’t even begin to imagine the stories you must have made up to try and explain why we, your daughters didn’t go to family gatherings. Family gatherings like your wedding? Did you tell Russell that you hadn’t invited us, that you sent an Order of Service to me, 2 weeks after you got married. Or did you let him believe that we had been invited, but we chose not to go. My what games you played in your life. I was brought up to be honest and truthful. That wouldn’t work in your life would it? Having people find out your truth was never an option.
“And as for me I can sit here and bide my time. I got nothing to lose if I speak my mind. I don’t care anymore. I don’t care anymore. I don’t care what you say”.
I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain if I speak my mind. Because my mind holds my honest thoughts and truths, my truths about how I feel about your behaviour and the repurcussions it has had on my life and who I have become. By speaking my mind, I have unpicked the hurt, and healed from it and embodied the name Joysmith, as somene who finds joy from going through the hard times and being fashioned into a beautiful soul, in the heat of the furnace. I bided my time, but my waiting was futile, you went to your grave holding onto your lies and secrets.
“We never played by the same rules anyway. I won’t be there anymore. Get out of my way. Let me by I got better things to do with my time. I don’t care anymore.”
My rules were truth and honesty. I had better things to do, like go travelling in an effort to find myself. Emigrating to Australia was probably one of the best things I ever did in my life. I found out who I was, got to choose where I went, where I ate, what I ate. I discovered what I liked. Who knows what would have happened in my life if I had stayed in Oz, but life events brought me back to the UK. I had to nurse myself back from my grief. I too had my secrets. I never told you about Jack did I? Maybe if you had shared your secrets with me, I would have shared mine with you and opened up about my feeling s and emotions, but you just weren’t somebody I wanted to open up to, pure and simple, I don’t care anymore.
“Well I don’t care now what they say. Cos everyday I’m feeling fine with myself. And I don’t care what you say. Hey I’ll do alright by myself”
It has taken a lot of work, a lot of tears and tantrums dealing with the brain trauma and psychological trauma that your behaviour, decisions and reactions have had on me. Holli, your grand-daughter asked me the other day that she wished that I’d sorted it all out before she was born. I wish I had too, because I do care. I do care how my behaviour effects the people around me. I do care that I used to struggle to control my anger. I care enough to work on myself, to work on my adoptee adaption behaviours. I can only pray that Holli and I can discuss it, and she can work on herself, to heal the ancestral wounds, because I care enough that they end here and that they end now. We are working through them, slowly but surely.
“Cos I remember all the times I tried so hard. And you laughed in my face ‘cos you held all the cards. I don’t care anymore.”
All I really wanted from you was some information around how you and Tom met, you know like other children know where their parents met, what music was on the radio, your first date, that sort of thing. I get it that it was possibly over the tea urn in a psychiatric hospital. I get it, I really do. But you kept that all to yourselves didn’t you? No matter how hard I tried. I admit that I am now able to voice my requests more eloquently than I could in my 20’s. Back in my mid 20’s I was in the fog. I just didn’t know that such a thing existed. Looking at Phil in the youtube video I can see the anger in his face. Mine was angry too. I am happier now, less angry, more content. I now hope to help people navigate the fog, give them a road map out of it. If you’ve ever driven in fog you’ll know exactly what I mean. Signposts need to be literally right in front of your face before you see them. I’ve even set up a facebook group the Finding Joy Community. It’s just for adoptees who are ready to start, or continue their healing from their primal wound.
“And I really ain’t bothered what you think of me, Cos all I want of you is just let me be. I don’t care anymore. D’you hear? I don’t care no more. I don’t care what you say. I never did beleive you much anyway. I won’t be there no more. So get out of my way. Let me by. I got better things to do with my time.”
I really am not bothered what you think of me, you relinquished me. I am not sure if you stopped and thought about the letter that you wrote to the social worker. I came across it in my social file after you passed. Tony Pollock wasn’t interested in any child by another man and as you hadn’t even seen me, you were going to find it easier to let me go. So forgive me if I put as much effort in trying to hold onto you, as you did into holding onto me. So I will re-iterate again. I have better things to do with my life. I have a loving wonderful husband, and a beautiful daughter, your grand-daughter. I owe it to them to be the best that I can be. And now I have an adoptee family, the Flourish Family. They got me to look at some music and I identify with Phil Collins and so many of his songs as potential adoptee anthems for disatrous reunions.
I wish that things had been different between us, I wish I had the tools that I now have, back then. Things may have been so different. I maybe could have forged a relationship with you and Tom, better than we had. My recovery and acceptance of myself would no doubt have been hastened.
I do care, I care greatly. I care what your behaviour towards me, inflicted in me. I had a whole era of not caring. I am who I am. I have worked hard on learning to care for myself.
“I don’t care anymore. D’you hear me? I don’t care anymore. I don’t care no more. You listening? I don’t care no more, no more. No More!! You know I don’t care no more! No more, No more, No more, No more, No more No more”.
I have to admit to being quite relieved when I heard the news that you had died. No more could I put myself in the position to meet you, and have you fail to turn up, without any warning, triggering the abandonment feelings and emotions all over again. I could now start to look for myself and heal from something I didn’t know existed until recently, a primal wound.
I have learnt to take care of myself, investing financially in my own mental and physical health. I have to admit to not having taken a lot of time to look after myself physically recently, spending far too much time sitting and writing and far less time stretching and doing yoga. So I will sign off here and do some self-care.
If you are looking for some help in dealing with the issues that relinquishment and adoption have on your health and life, then please consider joining us in the Finding Joy Community We are not a group that helps you find birth parents. We are interested in helping you to find yourself.
My thanks to Debyem for this post. We frequently inspire each other to write. It is nice to see the topic of “borderline personality disorder” being discussed in the adoptee/adoption community. She also mentions a book that could be next on my reading list. Bless you Debyem J x
This attracted my reading attention right away because for quite a few weeks, months?, I’ve been reading a book titled Healing the Split – Integrating Spirit Into Our Understanding Of The Mentally Ill by John E Nelson, MD. Because there is evidently a severe case mental illness (likely paranoid schizophrenia) in one of my childhood siblings, this book has really spoken to a heart that will always have concern about her well-being, even if my relationship with her has become hostile from her side of the equation. But the book goes into much more than merely mental illness but deeply into how spirituality evolves in a human being. As a matter of fact, I had my own spiritual emergency in my early 20s and but for my own realization around that, I might have ended up very much like my…
The Flourish Family have done it again. After our last session a week ago someone posted in our group Kesha singing This Is Me from the film The Greatest Showman, and called it the Adoptee Anthem.
Someone then asked us to post the songs that most resonates with us and our journey through adoption. It didn’t take me long to list Phil Collins Separate Lives
I have since spent the past week listening to much of Phil’s music, that was the background to my life back in the 1980’s. His personal life, the splitting up from his wife, led him to write many lyrics, that when I heard them, mirrored my feelings that I had in my relationship with my birth mother, Pat. Pat had turned up in my life when I was training as a nurse, and what should have been a period of discovering more about myself, turned out to be a stressful and emotional time. She couldn’t bring herself to explain what had happened back in 1960, to bring about my conception, and so I didn’t see much point in continuing the relationship. I couldn’t find a footing to have a relationship with someone who I felt was of my parent’s generation. I had nothing in common, we had no shared experience to begin a conversation. What we had shared, my 9 months of gestation, she became upset over and I was accused of upsetting her! She couldn’t or wouldn’t even tell me what time I was born. The words in the song “You have no right to ask me how I feel” took on great significance, that when singing along, I would shout them out with passion in the middle of the song.
I Don’t Care Anymore summed up how I was feeling about my relationship with Pat and how I couldn’t take her behaviour anymore. It starts with Phil on the drums, and it has a tribal feel to it, that gets my heart chakra energised.
This past week, revisiting the time of my life in the 80’s has been enlightening. I have listened to lyrics that had meaning for me at the time, that I now have a slightly different view of it, as I have healed over the years.
So thank you to Sara, for raising the question about the music. I will continue to listen to Phil, but I will also remind myself:
I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, This is Me!
Thanks for reading. What is your adoptee anthem?
There is a Finding Joy Community over on facebook, for any adoptee who is searching for ways of looking to help with dealing with the feelings and emotions of being relinquished. I look forward to welcoming you there.
I came across a video on youtube where Dr Ramani was talking about borderline personality disorder (bpd) and how to recognise it from the 9 traits of it. Watching it I thought wow! This sounds so much like the traits of an adopted person.
There are the 9 traits according to Dr Ramani. You can listen to the full interview here.
She describes it as a disorder of instability and impulsivity. In relationships, moods and behaviour, and sense of self. OK how many adoptees reading this have already put their hands up as recognising themselves in that description?
A TREMENDOUS fear of ABANDONMENT! It cuts through the disorder. No shit Sherlock! Have you ever asked any of your clients that you are treating if they have actually been abandoned in their life, especially around day 1? Did they teach you anything at psych school about the primal wound? Have you read the Primal Wound? I totally recommend it for anyone seeing clients with what you are labelling as bpd. Have you ever asked the person that goes ape shit over someone being late for a dinner date what it’s like waiting for your mother to take you in her arms, but it never happens. Have you ever thought how a simple thing like someone turning up late could trigger that feeling. Although they cannot recall that memory, their body certainly remembers the feeling and so when they get triggered, then bam, they are reliving those feelings and emotions that they experienced at hour zero. OK rant over, I will now try and write without emotion and triggers and just write emotionless over the traits that Dr Ramani calls bpd, which I prefer to call “adoptee functioning”.
Fear of Abandonment: real or perceived. A sense of self fulfilling prophesy when someone leaves you.
Unstable and Intense inter-personal relationships. Relationships have a roller coaster feel to them.
Identity Disturbance: Doesn’t know who they are. Changes appearance, hair colouring, tattoos dress style. Multiple personality identity.
Impulsivity: Acting without thinking of consequences. Bingeing, addiction, act out in the moment. Using substances to soothe, not addressing the issue. “Don’t want to feel this way”.
Suicidal Behaviour: thoughts or attempts. Response to inner pain they cannot manage. Uses threats to keep relationships.
Affective Instability: fluctuating moods. Tidal wave of emotion, express it openly, cannot inhibit it. Over react to everything in their environment.
Chronically Feels Empty: Struggles to feel whole. A hollow shell or drum. Psychological skeleton is missing.
Inappropriate or Intense Shows of Anger: Frustrated by small things, quick to throw things, and be intense. feels everything, really really thin skin. Everyone walks on eggshells. Regretful after anger, continues the abandonment cycle, suicidal thoughts, an emotional loop.
Transient Stress Induced Paranoid Idealation: Under stress, may experience paranoid experiences. “Everyone’s out to get me” Symptoms of dis-associtation “Act like a child”
To get a diagnosis of BPD, you require 5 out of the 9 traits according to Dr Ramani. Well I don’t know about any other adoptees who are reading this, but I would say this is pretty typical behavior of someone who has experienced being relinquished at birth, and it is the way that adoptees function, rather than it being dysfunctional. If professionals understood the psychological trauma that Paul Sunderland speaks about in his Addiction and Adoption lectures, adoptees might get the right type of support that they need. Support them to help them come to terms with their relinquishment.
I am going to re-label Borderline Personality Disorder as Adoptee Adaptive Personality, caused by relinquishment and will explain my reasons in a later post.
If you recognise these behaviour traits in yourself or someone close to you, then please come and join the Finding Joy Community on Facebook. We hope to offer help in recognising these situations and how you can help yourself to come to terms with the issues that adoption can cause.
The lovely Esther Chilton over at Esther Chilton Blog sets a challenge every Thursday, to tell a story in 5 words. I share my offerings with you in 5 Word Friday. This week’s word was “Mistake”. Here are my offerings:
Not easy. Make no mistake. Mistakes become life long learning. Menstrual dates mistake begets baby. Experiencing personal growth by mistakes. Cooking mistake reveals new recipes.
I was listening to a youtube video yesterday, which I will write a long blog post on. It is on “borderline personality disorder” or bpd for short. I was reminded yesterday of how far I have come in managing those tiny moments in life when you realise that what you thought you had, isn’t what you actually have.
Background story to this is that my husband asked me if I would like a hot cross bun for breakfast. For those who may not be familiar with this British delicacy, it is a bun with mixed spice and currants in, that we traditionally eat at Easter time. The cross signifying the cross that Jesus was crucified on. They are delicious toasted and eaten warm, when the butter melts on them. So, looking forward to the moment when those familiar tastes of fruitiness and spiciness hits the taste buds, I wasn’t expecting what actually came.
This picture below is what the buns look like. They look like hot cross buns, right?
On reading the sticker on the package, it reads Hot Cross Buns right?
Have a closer look at what is written. Can you see it yet?
What we expected to be hot cross buns filled with currants and mixed spice, were in fact mocha flavour with chocolate chips. Not what we expected at all. My husband’s face was a picture as I tried to explain that that is what my whole life is like, expecting something when in reality it turns out to be something else. They were still buns, and they were quite nice, but not what we were expecting and so the eating of them was tinged with disappointment. Now times that a thousand-fold to the expectation that the baby had to be placed in it’s mothers’ arms at the moment of birth, that never came. You are now beginning to realise how life’s tiny un-realised expectations take on huge proportions in the adoptees life, than can lead them to be labelled as borderline personality disorder. Can we get the clinical psychologists, such as Dr Ramani to take note? I would like to think that we could, with some re-education into what actually leads to someone behaving like she described in the video.
More on that in forthcoming posts, where I compare bpd with adoptee behaviour and why they do what they do, based on their life experiences.
For now thanks for reading. I’ll leave you with the last picture, of my own Hot Cross Bun dough, all ready for proving. They say that the best creations come out of the darkest moments don’t they. Well as I was kneading the dough I was listening to Phil Collins “Take me Home”. The phrase “Take, take me home, I don’t remember, take take me home” had me in tears. Husband is expecting them to be ready for when he comes in from golf. He’s going to be disappointed. But I hope my darkness makes them taste good.