What is the Primal Wound?
“…Being separated from their birth mothers and handed over to strangers in the adoption process is the only trauma where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful…”
Nancy Verrier, The Primal Wound
Even as a young child my parents can tell you that I was a very inquisitive. I was also the child that questioned EVERYTHING. There was no accepting because someone said to. I had to know the “whys.” This has often led to difficult roads and battle wounds as a result. As an adult with a very difficult diagnosis to comprehend much less to ask someone else to understand, I still question everything. Maybe it’s normal to question these things. Keep in mind that I function most of the time as a “teenager with an attitude” and you know how much ego, time and energy that requires. Sometimes it’s just like having annoying bags of hell that can suck the life out of everything it touches including my body attached to me like appendages. But sometimes the internal conversations are better than any comedy routine I’ve ever witnessed including the questions.
I question every person’s motives, practitioners, governments, my adoption, abusive behaviors and, yes, I still question my diagnosis A LOT! Being on disability, currently, allows me time to search for answers about my puzzled life. As you’ve read throughout my blog, my connection to adoption and why it’s so painful for me has led me to some obsessive days and nights searching online for something to explain the pain in my soul that I’ve never been able to accurately paint a picture of with words.
On an Attachment and Parenting blog, one adoptive parent is quoted as saying….
“Scientific research now reveals that as early as the second trimester, the human fetus is capable of auditory processing and in fact, is capable of processing rejection in utero. In addition to the rejection and abandonment felt by the newborn adoptee or any age adoptee for that matter, it must be recognized that the far greater trauma often times occurs in the way in which the mind and body system of the newborn is incapable of processing the loss of the biological figure. Far beyond any cognitive awareness, this experience is stored deep within the cells of the body, routinely leading to states of anxiety and depression for the adopted child later in life.”
I now have a simple explanation for the type of feelings that can destroy me to deal with. The rejection and separation process can still be felt deeper than any other sensation I’ve personally felt. These words gave me an instant reaction and all internal members on guard and children/teens to safety. I realize that the intensity felt by other adoptees is on a continuum of variance. The intensity I feel today is the same intensity I felt as a infant, child and teen. And as an adult, it can still be very crippling as the loss is for both me and my birth mom is extremely powerful.
In Nancy Verrier’s book The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child, 1993, she describes the Primal Wound Theory by saying, ” that develops when a mother and child are separated by adoption shortly after childbirth. It describes the mother and child as having a vital connected relationship which is physical, psychological and physiological, and examines the effects of disrupting such bonds.” I still haven’t been able to read that book because of how much the topic really disturbs me. The Nature vs. Nurture debate is another avenue in continuous research. I see myself both sides of the debate which as people we are a constantly evolving through that very mixture.
As an adopted child, I needed and wanted to find parts of my identity. I was always the kid that looked nothing like my parents but I did have some behavioral traits. I was raised around some comedy goodness with both my daddy and Nannie. Their individual humor is enough to sit and tell stories for several hours. My environmental and social interactions helped to shape beliefs both about myself and other people. There’s a much longer discussion for that debate. Genetically, my skin color, facial characteristics, bone structure, eye color, etc. is the Nature side of the debate. The debate often centers around the effect genetics have on human personalities as opposed to the influences that environment and development might have. So you can see that this will probably on for infiniti + infiniti.
As a developing child, not being able to look in the stands at my ballgames or in a crowd at the mall and not see anyone that I looked like was torture. I love my adoptive parents no less. Unless you’re an adopted child with this strong need to just know “why” you can’t understand the obsession. At major life events birthdays, weddings, graduations, birth of a child, etc. while I tried to enjoy everything in the moment, I couldn’t help but to feel the loss for people who I originally belonged to. This has also been a big source of guilt and shame from just wanting to know.
My parents were always very supportive in my efforts to find my answers and truth about this situation. My birth mom, father, full brother, aunts, uncles, paternal grandmother, half brothers, half sisters, step-mom and some cousins eventually met but not on the same turf. As an adopted child, I had to accept prior to going to meet them all that I would be rejected again. This time the rejection would be felt as an adult. I needed that one-on-one time with my mom to ask her the “whys” that continue to haunt me after my answers were received. But, first, the willingness to feel that incredible lifelong wound gaped open even further if the universe saw fit and it did. Not the Lifetime ending I was looking for.
What I have done to deal with this wound in the past was to shove anything I could into that big, dark hole in my soul. I poured alcohol, pills, razors, purging, restricting, perfectionism in certain areas, people pleasing, etc. into this insatiable appetite for something only she could fill. I guess we can just call this particular therapy topic a work in progress. And maybe, in time, with COACH by my side, I’ll attain some resolve and peace. The whole purpose for moving to Texas was to get some healing. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.