About Adoptee Rage

Statistics Identify large populations of Adoptees in prisons, mental hospitals and committed suicide.
Fifty years of scientific studies on child adoption resulting in psychological harm to the child and
poor outcomes for a child's future.
Medical and psychological attempts to heal the broken bonds of adoption, promote reunions of biological parents and adult children. The other half of attempting to repair a severed Identity is counselling therapy to rebuild the self.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Infant's Memory ARTICLE: "What and How the Child Remembers"


ARTICLE: The Infant's Memory "What and How the Child Remembers" 

Most of us have been told at one time or another that children aren’t supposed to remember anything that happens to them before – roughly – the age of two. Emotionally painful experiences during infancy will therefore have no lasting impact. These words might have been reassuring, if they didn’t also imply that our infants don’t remember the love we have given them, and so our love at this time has no lasting impact either. As science continues to throw open the mysteries of the brain, and the nature of memory, this kind of advice will gradually vanish. Every emotionally meaningful experience - whether joyous or painful - is stored in memory and has a lasting impact on a baby’s developing nervous system. The way our world feels to us as babies influences our unfolding personality, emotionality and relating styles profoundly, for the long term. There are different kinds of ‘memory’, beyond the stories we can recount. And we ‘remember’ a lot more than we realise.
Within the limbic system of the brain - an area concerned with processing emotions - are the amygdala and hippocampus. The amygdala processes highly-charged emotional memories, such as terror and horror. The hippocampus processes narrative, chronological memory. The amygdala is mature at birth, so babies are able to feel a range of intense emotion, even though they cannot understand the content of the emotion and its relation to what is going on around them. The hippocampus on the other hand, does not mature until sometime between the second and fourth years. Until then, babies are relatively unable to organise memory meaningfully in terms of sequences of events. Only rarely does anybody consciously recall the events of infancy. However, the storage of the emotional content of memory is facilitated by the amygdala. We therefore remember every emotion and physical sensation from our earliest days, and even if we have no clarity about the events that took place, these memories imbue the way we relate to each other as adults.
Just as memory can be divided up into the dual categories of ‘Short Term’ and ‘Long Term’, there are also two qualities of memory: ‘Explicit’ and ‘Implicit’. The capacity for ‘explicit’ memory reaches full maturity at around three years of age. This is the kind of memory that is conscious and enables us to tell a story that makes sense of what happened. ‘Implicit’ memory is available from birth or earlier, it is unconscious, and is encoded in emotional, sensory and visceral recall. In other words, what we don’t remember with our minds, we remember with our bodies, with our hearts and our ‘guts’ – with lasting implications for our thinking, feeling, and behaviour.
The process of ‘forgetting’ is more superficial than we once thought: it only rubs out conscious recall. Even as adults we are mercifully capable of deleting any record of traumatic events. If we are unlucky enough to face a situation of panic or terror which we feel helpless to escape, the brain secretes endogenous opioids in order to numb us to overwhelming emotional or physical pain. These brain chemicals also interfere with the storage of explicit memory, though implicit memory of the trauma remains available. Experiences that are emotionally too overwhelming to deal with are stored somatically, as a body memory. Thereafter they are expressed as an unconscious response to stress. When we over-react to mildly stressful or even innocuous situations without knowing why, this might be the result of implicit, traumatic memories dating back to childhood or infancy.
The memory centres that govern narrative recall, emotional memory and body memory can operate independently of each other. Despite being in a coma, one man went into physiological anxiety states when exposed to a smell that was associated with a personal trauma. It is possible to have strong emotional reactions without conscious recall, even without consciousness! Another man whose damaged brain had lost all capacity for short term memory, still reacted aversively to specific doctors who had conducted unpleasant tests on him, without any recollection of having met them. A brain-damaged woman who had also totally lost her short term memory refused to shake the hand of a doctor who had earlier hidden a sharp pin in his hand. She was bewildered by her own refusal, since as far as she was aware, each time she met him was the first. So, much of what we think, feel and do is induced by implicit memories ‘written’ into muscle, sinew, fascia and viscera. Not one of our experiences is lost to us. Each experience, particularly those that are charged with emotion, adds to the complex mosaic of our personality.
Our brain has an amazing capacity to make associations. Something or someone that ‘reminds’ our brains of a traumatic situation - a smell, a song, a person that looks like someone from our past – triggers our automatic, self-protective ‘fight, flight or freeze’ responses. This reflexive reaction occurs too quickly; before the information reaches the cortex where it can be evaluated rationally. That is why we sometimes over-react to things, people or situations reminiscent of a traumatic event, without any conscious recollection of the event in question.
There are occasions when implicit memory can be made explicit. Since implicit memory is ‘stored’ in the body, repeating certain movements, gestures, breathing patterns, or assuming certain postures associated with highly-charged emotional memories can bounce these memories into explicit, conscious awareness. It is as if the body releases its secrets to the mind. Many individuals have been able to retrieve traumatic memories, both from adult and infant experiences, when induced by strong emotions associated with the original experience. In certain states of consciousness, in psychotherapy or meditation, people have spontaneously recalled things that happened to them as babies. Many have remembered how it felt to be a baby, howling for a mother who would not come. In reconstructing a particular body posture, or talking about a similar emotionally charged event, the contextual memories of unbearable longing, rage or terror come back into focus. It is equally possible for sweet, joyous memories of a parents’ loving face to resurface. This phenomenon is called ‘state-dependent memory retrieval’, and while it is not essential, it can bring healing under certain conditions.
But even if not consciously remembered, early memories show themselves indirectly through behaviour. It is intrinsically human to re-enact defensive reactions to forgotten traumas, though our reactions are no longer relevant. Often early memories become evident through persistent feelings that don’t seem to relate to a present situation, or through bodily sensations that don’t seem to make any sense. More commonly, these early memories of emotional pain or hurt are indirectly evident through persistent difficulties in relationships, particularly in intimate relations.
Implicit memory - or body memory - explains why, for instance, a woman who was molested as a child remains fearful of intimacy - at least with men that ‘remind’ her of the perpetrator – even without a trace of conscious memory of the traumatic episodes. A man fears being alone because it triggers an emotional memory of terror as he cried in the crib, and no-one came to comfort him. He has no recollection of the event, and all around him find him likeable and congenial. He has no understanding about his compulsive avoidance of solitude. Though successful and functional, many people can be avoidant, clingy, or perhaps insensitive in relationships. These are just some of the problems of relationship that have their roots in hurts we felt at the advent of life. To some extent, most of us suffer from some behavioural manifestations of painful implicit memories.
Unbeknownst to our ‘rational’ minds, we sometimes respond mistakenly to current challenges as if they were the hurts we suffered originally. This dynamic holds true in our relationships with our children. There are many reasons why, for instance, we might find our children’s expressions of need aversive and overwhelming. Here is a common scenario: when a baby screams, our bodies react the same way as when our parents screamed at us as children, we are neurologically conditioned to escape or push away, rather than to respond with spontaneous compassion. Alternatively, our baby’s cry might trigger in our bodies an implicit memory of a time when our own cries, as infants, were not met with a loving response. Either way, our baby’s cries evoke our own painful memory, and so we seek refuge. We are all biologically capable of a wellspring of spontaneously loving responses toward our children, and toward each other. Sometimes this love is blocked by automatic defensive reactions to unresolved, implicitly remembered hurts. We are not insensitive nor neglectful; we are wounded.
When a child is reprimanded, an image of the scolder’s looks of disapproval gets stored in the lateral tegmental limbic area of the brain. The growing child and adult judge their own behaviour through the lens of these stored inner representations, which are imprinted as images charged with feelings of shame. These inner visual and auditory records of the shamer usually – but not always - operate beneath conscious awareness. The experience of parents setting healthy boundaries literally grows the child’s orbitofrontal brain, whose purpose it is to contain and regulate raw emotion. But when the parent imposes limits, for some time following the symbiotic time of infancy, the toddler feels a degree of hurt and betrayal. This developmentally necessary change in the parent-child relationship is emotionally stressful. It is important that the parent soothe the toddler after imposing restrictions on him, to help him cope with his ‘shame-stress’. Reassurance of the parent’s love repairs the child’s wounded ‘self’ and restores his self-confidence. If parents diligently assist with their child’s shame–repair, he soon learns to take over, and based on his parents’ role modelling, repair his own shame when needed. Inner representations - stored as emotional and narrative memory in the brain - of a soothing and reassuring parent are used later in life as a template for shame-repair. This internal portrait of a reassuring adult is essential so that as an adult the individual won’t be disabled or overly inhibited by experiences of shame. Though this process is usually unconscious, it secures our ability to self-soothe, and to recover from shame when needed.
Psychological and social problems arise when a child grows up with too many images of a disapproving face stored in the brain centres that store implicit memory, without the subsequent images of a soothing and reassuring adult. A child that lacks these positive images, stored in his emotional memory centres, is at risk of slipping into depression, becoming overly inhibited, or defensively hostile.
From the earliest moments of life, parental nurturance shapes the child’s emotional make-up, literally altering the course of brain-growth. One of the key elements of secure parent-child attachment is affectionate eye-contact. A parent’s sustained, loving gaze and smile suffuses infants with indescribable joy. What ensues is a cascade of dopamine, endogenous opioids, enkephalins and endorphins in the baby’s brain - all feel-good chemicals associated with loving relations. This joy-precipitated surge of brain chemicals promotes the maturation of precise regions of the cortex, which are concerned with healthy regulation of emotion later in life. Every baby requires this kind of nourishing experience regularly and frequently, for healthy brain development.
By the end of the first year, the infant has stored an internal representation of her mother’s loving face in the area connecting the anterior temporal and the orbitofrontal cortices. These images, though rarely consciously remembered, form the basis for an internal working model of relationships. It is as if the child has filed a video-clip of her mother in her brain’s ‘hard-disk’. Henceforth, these inner representations will animate her core emotional responses, forming the basis of her fundamental relationship style. When she feels her emotional needs are consistently attended to, this engenders in the child an enduring expectation of a supportive world. This attitude is pervasive and unconscious, and it inclines the child toward friendly and considerate behaviour.
Just as we might not remember learning to walk, yet our legs and feet seem to play their parts perfectly, some of our most pivotal lessons in human relations were learnt at a time that our bodies, but not our minds, can remember. The greatest gift in these discoveries is the knowledge that every loving moment we share with our children, from the very beginning, will stay with them for life.

Damasio, Antonio (2000) ‘The Feeling of What Happens – Body, Emotion, and the Making of Consciousness’. Vintage.
De Bellis M, et al (1999) ‘Developmental Traumatology Part II’. Biological Psychiatry Vol 45, pp. 1271-1284.
Patten-Hitt, Emma (2000) ‘Childhood Abuse Changes the Developing Brain’. Cerebrum, Fall 2000, pp. 50-67.
Perry B.D., Pollard R.A., Blakley T.L., Baker W.L. and Vigilante D., (1995) ‘Childhood Trauma, the Neurobiology of Adaptation, and Use-Dependent Development of the Brain: How States Become Traits’. Infant Mental Health Journal Vol 16(4), pp. 271-291.
Perry, B. D. (1997) ‘Incubated in Terror: Neurodevelopmental Factors in the Cycle of Violence’. In: Osofsky JD ‘Children in a Violent Society’. The Guilford Press.
Perry, B. D. (1999) ‘Memories of Fear: How the Brain Stores and Retrieves Physiologic States’. In: Goodwin J. and Attias R., ‘Splintered Reflections: Images of the Body in Trauma’. Basic Books.
Rothschild, Babette (2000) ‘The Body Remembers – The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment’. WW Norton & Co.
Schore, Allan (1994) ‘Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development’. Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc. NJ.
Teicher, Martin H (2002) ‘The Neurobiology of Child Abuse’. Scientific American, March 2002, pp. 68-75.
Van der Kolk, Bessel (1994) ‘The Body Keeps the Score: Memory and the Evolving Psychobiology of Posttraumatic Stress’. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, Vol 1, pp. 253-265.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Silent Voices Heard" The Impact of the Natural Mother's Experience


Silent Voices Herd Impact of the Natural Mother's Experience


Silent Voices Heard Impact of the Birth Mother Experience:
Then and Now
by Donna Portuesi, MSW
To live an experience is to know it. For the birth mother, however, living the experience and understanding the totality of the experience may be a lifetime journey. The relinquishment of a child for adoption permeates all aspects of a birth mother’s life. Only a couple of decades ago, many unwed mothers, no matter how capable, were scorned and labeled "loose," "bad," "unfit" and "undeserving." The social manipulation of the past created an environment in which most birth mothers felt that they had few choices. This shamed mother-to-be often had to "hide" as a way to safeguard her secret from friends and family.
Much has been written about the adopted person’s struggle with identity, and rightfully so. However, little has been published about the impact of pregnancy and relinquishment on the birth mother’s identity. Eric Erikson, a development theorist, describes the identity-forming years around adolescence as a time when an individual strives to achieve "a sense of uniqueness as a person [and] a meaningful role and place in society," and attempts to define both self and goals. These are difficult tasks under the best of circumstances. For many young women, becoming pregnant and relinquishing a child during the crucial "identity forming" years only compounds an already complicated situation.

Is it any wonder, then, that an unwed mother, whose womanhood was shamed, disdained and stigmatized by society, and who was deemed unworthy by her family and friends, would have a host of issues around her identity—then and now? Often the birth mother believes that she is undeserving and a bad mother. In addition, she may feel punished for years because of her permissiveness. Over a decade of clinical practice at Adoption Search and Counseling Consultants (ASCC) has demonstrated that issues of self-esteem, relationship difficulties, "numbing" behaviors, depression, over- or under-achieving, compulsive-obsessive and panic disorders are often the residue of the relinquishment experience. In addition, after the loss of a child, it is common for birth mothers to experience secondary infertility for reasons not yet understood. Birth mothers who have other children are often overprotective as a means of preventing future loss. More research in this area is vitally needed.

If the birth mother is in her teens at the time of relinquishment, it is reasonable to assume that this experience created numerous emotional scars, in additional to the physical loss of her child, due to the mother’s age. Denial becomes survival for most birth mothers. Frequently the ability to love or trust again is arrested. The psychological trauma may also cause amnesia around certain aspects of the experience, such as date of birth, hospital and birthing details, and events, places, and significant people at that time. It is not uncommon for the birth mother to become developmentally fixated at the age of the trauma.

In exchange for their tears, many birth mothers were promised that they would "forget." Indeed, few birth mothers ever forgot. Thus, the necessary grief work and healing at the time of loss, and years after the loss, became nearly nonexistent. In grief therapy, it is believed that when the feelings around loss are arrested, so are other feelings like anger, joy, and happiness, as well as the ability to feel and fully grieve other past and future losses. Life becomes muted.
The following list of "birth mother losses" was compiled by the participants of a two-day workshop and retreat that I facilitate for birth mothers:

Birth Mother Losses
infant/babycontinuitybaby image
innocenceacceptance"self" and self-worth
confidencespontaneityability to grieve
memoryfeelingsfeeling loved
courageeducation"good girl" status
virginitycontrolright to motherhood
excitement surrounding pregnancy and birth
childhood, humor and happiness

Clearly, the losses associated with the birth mother experience are numerous and far-reaching, and undoubtedly impact the birth mother in some way today. The pregnant young woman of yesterday becomes today’s unacknowledged mother.

Healing is difficult because of the complicated and delayed grief reaction. It is particularly difficult to grieve the loss of a child as though dead when that child is still alive. The hope for a reunion also arrests the grieving process. Healing is important, especially as connected to the reunion. The issues and losses compromise the birth mother’s sense of self and are carried to the reunion with her child. The birth mother who reunites may, at some point, confront the same intensity of pain as when her younger self suffered the loss of her child. It is the younger self, with all her pain and vulnerability, that will be present at the reunion.
Just as the adopted person brings both the infant and adult self to reunion, the adult birth mother and the younger, traumatized mother are also there. 

Thus, the reunion of mother and child is very complex, because there really are four people present at all times. It has been stated that the adopted person has two mothers and two fathers, but only one set of parents, the adoptive parents (if a couple). I believe that the birth mother, too, becomes a parent to her child by helping the adopted person understand the impact of the relinquishment and adoption experience. To do so, it is essential that the birth mother get to know herself and the ramifications of her experience so she can be present, available, and open to meeting her child with his or her special needs. Then, as a mother and a parent, she can help, teach, guide and support the adopted person through the delicate reunion and post-reunion stages.

Some of the many constructive ways a birth mother can work on healing are listed below.
  • Educate. Perhaps the most important tool is education. Education provides knowledge, and knowledge offers insight. This insight and the understanding of one’s experience is what facilitates healing and provides the opportunity for personal growth and empowerment.
  • Search. Search activity may represent an attempt to resolve this significant loss. While search cannot achieve restitution of the surrendered child, it is an important step towards connecting with the lost part of yourself.
  • Reunite. The journey of self and reunification with one’s child can be a profound and intense experience. Think about how you would like to look back on the memorable day a reunion finally occurs. Planning a reunion, in some respects, can be like planning a wedding day. It is a poignant beginning. Preparation is critical. Unlike a wedding, however, you may want to delay the involvement of family and friends, at least initially, to permit a relationship to develop that will promote healing. If the reunion is not all you fantasized it would be, you can still know that a great deal of healing will occur.
  • Reach out. The journey a birth mother embarks on when searching for—and, if successful, finding— a child relinquished for adoption can become all-consuming. Although search and reunion can be fulfilling and rewarding, they also dig up feelings and issues from the past. Friends and family rarely understand the depth of this personal journey. Therefore, it is vital to reach out to those who have had a similar experience. Support groups are very beneficial, and provide a way of connecting with others in your situation—especially those in search and reunion. Consider attending local and national conferences and workshops.
  • Read. A number of good books discuss the birth mother experience, search, reunion, and the adopted person’s journey. Suggested reading is listed at the end of this article, or you can contact ASCC or your local support group for a book list. The AAC Web site also contains lists of suggested reading.
  • Find specialized counseling. Therapy with other birth mothers or triad members can be empowering. Individual counseling can be a means to address the past, to incorporate the past into the present, and to move into the future with a sense of clarity and purpose. Search and reunion counseling or consultation by a knowledgeable specialist is undoubtedly beneficial as a way to prepare for an upcoming contact or reunion, and to avoid common pitfalls.
  • Believe. Know and believe that you are a mother to this child.
  • Forgive yourself. Above all, forgive that younger part of yourself. Know that you did the very best you could, given your age, knowledge, support, choices (or lack thereof), and societal expectations at the time you relinquished.
  • Forgive others. Parents, birth fathers, significant others and society are all a part of the past and parcel of your experience. Consider letting go of the blame you may feel. And, if the forgiveness doesn’t come right away, that is okay; in time it may.
  • Accept. Forgiveness is often hard to achieve as a birth mother. That is okay. Work towards acceptance of "what is, is." It’s not possible to change this piece of history, but it is okay to accept that you did the best you could in a traumatic situation. No one told you what possible consequences there might be down the road. After all, you were supposed to "forget."
  • Remember. Remember it is not so much the experience in and of itself, but rather, how the experience is interpreted individually, that is important. Thus, it is beneficial for birth mothers to understand their own interpretations of their experience. Only then can the birth mother begin to recognize and appreciate the strengths and gains that were developed to survive the experience. These same strengths are used today.
    Birth mothers’ voices deserve to be heard. Their losses deserve to be recognized. As parents, birth mothers deserve to know how their children have fared. They deserve to be acknowledged as mothers—because they are.

Reading suggestions for birth mothers:
Carol Schaefer, The Other Mother (Soho Press 1991)
Heather Carlini, Birthmother Trauma (Morning Side Press 1997)
Merry Bloch Jones, Birthmothers: Women Who Have Relinquished Children for Adoption Tell Their Stories (Chicago Review Press 1993)

"Abandonment" Understanding the Adopted Infant's Trauma


 "Abandonment" Definition and Understanding the Adopted Infant's Trauma

The definition of abandonment (article below) uses the explicit example 
of the adopted infant, that the U.S. pro-adoption society completely ignores, discounts and invalidates the abandonment experience and the emotional and physical fallout of being abandoned for adoption purposes. Based on the century old "blank-slate theory" that has been proven false time and again, by scientists, social, psychological and child development experts. The abandonment trauma that the adopted child experiences carry with it it's own consequences as the trauma from separation, that the biological mother experiences equally with her severed-bond adopted child. Both will suffer life long effects from the abandonment trauma that can never be undone, fixed or healed. Like the abandonment action, the trauma manifests as a reaction to the forced or compliant separation. The abandonment is an event, the reaction is an event and adoption is an event, all are events that happened at a certain point in time, some are documented with a date stamp, other events are not date documented. If the infant's reaction to his abandonment was documented and dated on the infant's medical chart , maybe the reaction and the expected sequence following such a horrible event, the event, the reaction and the diagnosis of PTSD, would be taken more seriously instead of being ignored by society.    

The adopting mother's perpetual denial of the "infant's lived experience in being abandoned", the infant's physical and emotional experience & reaction to being abandoned, the resulting manifestations to the infant's mind and body from anxiety, fear and PTSD are reactions from the infant's assault.  
The infant's perception is loosing the other-half-of-himself (his mother), prematurely forced into the state of self-recognition (9 months premature), and the infant's most horrible experience in being alone from his mother. His isolation, fear and pain that the infant experiences is a valid perceptions that the infant's first experiences in the post-birth world is frightening. 

The entitlement mind set that too many adoptive mothers possess in their selfish perspectives that they are the "chosen one", the chosen mother by their god to save the adopted child from their true genetic nature, is proven to fail and disappoint when reality and time reveal the adopted child to be the carbon copy of their biological parents in adolescence. To deny the horror that the infant has endured is to forever silence his voice, as he is a designated object to be consumed and nothing else.


Abandonment (emotional)

 Emotional abandonment is a subjective emotional state in which people feel undesired, left behind, insecure, or discarded. People experiencing emotional abandonment may feel at loss, cut off from a crucial source of sustenance that has been withdrawn either suddenly or through a process of erosion. In a classic abandonment scenario, the severance of the emotional bond is unilateral, that is, it is the object of one’s attachment that has chosen to break the connection. Feeling rejected, a significant component of emotional abandonment, has a biological impact in that it activates the physical pain centers in the brain and can leave an emotional imprint in the brain’s warning system. Abandonment has been a staple of poetry and literature since ancient times.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety, a substrate of emotional abandonment, is recognized as a primary source of human distress and dysfunction. When we experience a threat to or disconnection in a primary attachment, it triggers a fear response referred to as separation stress or separation anxiety. Separation stress has been the subject of extensive research in psychological and neurobiological fields, and has been shown to be a universal response to separation in the animal world of which human beings are a part. When lab rat pups are separated from their mothers for periods of time, researchers measure their distress vocalizations and stress hormones to determine varying conditions of the separation response. As the rats mature, their subsequent reactive behaviors and stress hormones are reexamined and are shown to bear a striking resemblance to the depression, anxiety, avoidance behaviors, and self defeated posturing displayed by human beings known to have suffered earlier separation traumas.
Owing to the neocortical component of human functioning, when human beings lose a primary relationship, they grasp its potential repercussions (i.e. they may feel uncertain about the future or fear being unable to climb out of an abyss), thus encumbering an additional layer of separation stress. To abandon is "to withdraw one's support or help from, especially in spite of duty, allegiance, or responsibility; desert: abandon a friend in trouble."  When the loss is due to the object’s voluntary withdrawal, a common response is to feel unworthy of love. This indicates the tendency for people to blame the rejection on themselves. "Am I unworthy of love, destined to grow old and die all alone, bereft of human connection or caring?" Questioning one’s desirability as a mate and fearing eternal isolation are among the additional anxieties incurred in abandonment scenarios. The concurrence of self devaluation and primal fear distinguish abandonment grief from most other types of bereavement.   

Psychological trauma

The depression of abandonment grief creates a sustained type of stress that constitutes an emotional trauma which can be severe enough to leave an emotional imprint on individuals' psychobiological functioning, affecting future choices and responses to rejection, loss, or disconnection. A contributing factor to the trauma-producing event is that 'being left' triggers primal separation fear, also referred to as primal abandonment fear – the fear of being left with no one to take care of one’s vital needs. Our first anxiety is a response to separation from Mother. This sensation is stored in the amygdala – a structure set deep into the brain’s emotional memory system responsible for conditioning the fight/freeze/flight response to fear. Primal fear may have been initiated by birth trauma and even have some prenatal antecedents. The emotional memory system is fairly intact at or before birth and lays down traces of the sensations and feelings of the infant’s separation experiences. These primitive feelings are reawakened by later events, especially those reminiscent of unwanted or abrupt separations from a source of sustenance. 
In adulthood, being left arouses primal fear along with other primitive sensations which contribute to feelings of terror and outright panic. Infantile needs and urgencies reemerge and can precipitate a symbiotic regression in which individuals feel, at least momentarily, unable to survive without the lost object. People may also experience the intense stress of helplessness. When they make repeated attempts to compel their loved one to return and are unsuccessful, they feel helpless and inadequate to the task. This helplessness causes people to feel possessed of what Michael Balint calls “a limited capacity to perform the work of conquest – the work necessary to transform an indifferent object into a participating partner.” According to Balint, feeling one’s ‘limited capacity’ is traumatic in that it produces a fault line in the psyche which renders the person vulnerable heightened emotional responses within primary relationships.
Another factor contributing to the traumatic conditions is the stress of losing one’s background object. A background object is someone on whom individuals have come to rely in ways they did not realize until the object is no longer present. For instance, the relationship served as a mutual regulatory system. Multiple psychobiological systems helped to maintain individuals’ equilibrium. As members of a couple, they became external regulators for one another. They were attuned on many levels: their pupils dilated in synchrony, they echoed one another’s speech patterns, movements, and even cardiac and EEG rhythms. As a couple, they functioned like a mutual bio-feedback system, stimulating and modulating each other’s bio rhythms, responding to one another’s pheromones, and addicting to the steady trickle of endogenous opiates induced by the relationship. When the relationship ends, the many processes it helped to regulate go into disarray. As the emotional and bio-physiological effects mount, the stressful process is heightened by the knowledge that it was not you, but your loved one who chose withdraw from the bond. This knowledge may cause people to interpret their intense emotional responses to the disconnection as evidence of their putative weakness and ‘limited capacity to perform the work of conquest’.

Post traumatic stress disorder

Some people who experience the traumatic stress of abandonment go on to develop post traumatic symptoms. Post traumatic symptoms associated with abandonment include a sequela of heightened emotional reactions (ranging from mild to severe) and habituated defense mechanisms (many of which have become maladaptive) to perceived threats or disruptions to one’s sense of self or to one’s connections.
There are various predisposing psycho-biological and environmental factors that go into determining whether one’s earlier emotional trauma might lead to the development of a true clinical picture of post-traumatic stress disorder. One factor has to do with variation in certain brain structures. According to Jerome Kagan, some people are born with a locus coeruleus that tends to produce higher concentrations of norepinephrine, a brain chemical involved in arousal of your body's self-defense response. This would lower their threshold for becoming aroused and make them more likely to become anxious when they encounter stresses in life that are reminiscent of childhood separations and fears, hence more prone to becoming posttraumatic.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Foundation of Non-Verbal Communication


The Foundation of Non-verbal Communication

Nonverbal communication accounts for 90% in human communicating, verbal communicating accounts for 10%. 
(Article Link Below)

It's well known that good communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, be it personal or professional. It's important to recognize, though, that it's our nonverbal communication—our facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and tone of voice—that speak the loudest. The ability to understand and use nonverbal communication, or body language, is a powerful tool that can help you connect with others, express what you really mean, and build better relationships.

What is nonverbal communication and body language?

When we interact with others, we continuously give and receive wordless signals. All of our nonverbal behaviors—the gestures we make, the way we sit, how fast or how loud we talk, how close we stand, how much eye contact we make—send strong messages. These messages don't stop when you stop speaking either. Even when you're silent, you're still communicating nonverbally.
Oftentimes, what comes out of our mouths and what we communicate through our body language are two totally different things. When faced with these mixed signals, the listener has to choose whether to believe your verbal or nonverbal message, and, in most cases, they're going to choose the nonverbal because it's a natural, unconscious language that broadcasts our true feelings and intentions in any given moment.
The way you listen, look, move, and react tells the other person whether or not you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re listening. When your nonverbal signals match up with the words you’re saying, they increase trust, clarity, and rapport. When they don’t, they generate tension, mistrust, and confusion.
If you want to become a better communicator, it’s important to become more sensitive not only to the body language and nonverbal cues of others, but also to your own.

Nonverbal communication cues can play five roles:

  • Repetition: they can repeat the message the person is making verbally.
  • Contradiction: they can contradict a message the individual is trying to convey.
  • Substitution: they can substitute for a verbal message. For example, a person's eyes can often convey a far more vivid message than words do.
  • Complementing: they may add to or complement a verbal message. A boss who pats a person on the back in addition to giving praise can increase the impact of the message.
  • Accenting: they may accent or underline a verbal message. Pounding the table, for example, can underline a message.
Source: The Importance of Effective Communication, Edward G. Wertheim, Ph.D.

Types of nonverbal communication and body language

There are many different types of nonverbal communication. Together, the following nonverbal signals and cues communicate your interest and investment in others.

Facial expressions

The human face is extremely expressive, able to express countless emotions without saying a word. And unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, facial expressions are universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures.

Body movements and posture

Consider how your perceptions of people are affected by the way they sit, walk, stand up, or hold their head. The way you move and carry yourself communicates a wealth of information to the world. This type of nonverbal communication includes your posture, bearing, stance, and subtle movements.


Gestures are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. We wave, point, beckon, and use our hands when we’re arguing or speaking animatedly—expressing ourselves with gestures often without thinking. However, the meaning of gestures can be very different across cultures and regions, so it’s important to be careful to avoid misinterpretation.

Eye contact

Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an especially important type of nonverbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Eye contact is also important in maintaining the flow of conversation and for gauging the other person’s response.


We communicate a great deal through touch. Think about the messages given by the following: a weak handshake, a timid tap on the shoulder, a warm bear hug, a reassuring slap on the back, a patronizing pat on the head, or a controlling grip on your arm.


Have you ever felt uncomfortable during a conversation because the other person was standing too close and invading your space? We all have a need for physical space, although that need differs depending on the culture, the situation, and the closeness of the relationship. You can use physical space to communicate many different nonverbal messages, including signals of intimacy and affection, aggression or dominance.


It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. When we speak, other people “read” our voices in addition to listening to our words. Things they pay attention to include your timing and pace, how loud you speak, your tone and inflection, and sounds that convey understanding, such as “ahh” and “uh-huh.” Think about how someone's tone of voice, for example, can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence.

Nonverbal communication can’t be faked

You may be familiar with advice on how to sit a certain way, steeple your fingers, or shake hands just so in order to appear confident or assert dominance. But the truth is that such tricks aren’t likely to work (unless you truly feel confident and in charge). That’s because you can’t control all of the signals you’re constantly sending off about what you’re really thinking and feeling. And the harder you try, the more unnatural your signals are likely to come across.

How nonverbal communication can go wrong

What you communicate through your body language and nonverbal signals affects how others see you, how well they like and respect you, and whether or not they trust you.
Unfortunately, many people send confusing or negative nonverbal signals without even knowing it. When this happens, both connection and trust are damaged.

Nonverbal communication and body language in relationships

Ted, Arlene, and Jack are all articulate speakers who say one thing while communicating something else nonverbally, with disastrous results in their relationships:


believes he gets along great with his colleagues at work, but if you were to ask any of them, they would say that Jack is "intimidating" and "very intense." Rather than just look at you, he seems to devour you with his eyes. And if he takes your hand, he lunges to get it and then squeezes so hard it hurts. Jack is a caring guy who secretly wishes he had more friends, but his nonverbal awkwardness keeps people at a distance and limits his ability to advance at work.


is attractive and has no problem meeting eligible men, but she has a difficult time maintaining a relationship longer than a few months. Arlene is funny and interesting, but even though she constantly laughs and smiles, she radiates tension. Her shoulders and eyebrows are noticeably raised, her voice is shrill, and her body is stiff. Being around Arlene makes many people feel uncomfortable. Arlene has a lot going for her that is undercut by the discomfort she evokes in others.


thought he had found the perfect match when he met Sharon, but Sharon wasn't so sure. Ted is good looking, hardworking, and a smooth talker, but Ted seemed to care more about his thoughts than Sharon's. When Sharon had something to say, Ted was always ready with wild eyes and a rebuttal before she could finish her thought. This made Sharon feel ignored, and soon she started dating other men. Ted loses out at work for the same reason. His inability to listen to others makes him unpopular with many of the people he most admires.
These smart, well-intentioned people struggle in their attempt to connect with others. The sad thing is that they are unaware of the nonverbal messages they communicate.
If you want to communicate effectively, avoid misunderstandings, and enjoy solid, trusting relationships both socially and professionally, it’s important to understand how to use and interpret nonverbal signals.

Setting the stage for effective nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication is a rapidly flowing back-and-forth process requiring your full concentration and attention. If you are planning what you’re going to say next, daydreaming, or thinking about something else, you are almost certain to miss nonverbal cues and other subtleties in the conversation. You need to stay focused on the moment-to-moment experience in order to fully understand what’s going on.

To improve nonverbal communication, learn to manage stress

Learning how to manage stress in the heat of the moment is one of the most important things you can do to improve your nonverbal communication. Stress compromises your ability to communicate. When you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to misread other people, send confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals, and lapse into unhealthy knee-jerk patterns of behavior. Furthermore, emotions are contagious. You being upset is very likely to trigger others to be upset, making a bad situation worse.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, it’s best to take a time out. Take a moment to calm down before you jump back into the conversation. Once you’ve regained your emotional equilibrium, you’ll be better equipped to deal with the situation in a positive way.

How emotional awareness strengthens nonverbal communication

In order to send accurate nonverbal cues, you need to be aware of your emotions and how they influence you. You also need to be able to recognize the emotions of others and the true feelings behind the cues they are sending. This is where emotional awareness comes in.
Emotional awareness enables you to:
  • Accurately read other people, including the emotions they’re feeling and the unspoken messages they’re sending.
  • Create trust in relationships by sending nonverbal signals that match up with your words.
  • Respond in ways that show others that you understand, notice, and care.
  • Know if the relationship is meeting your emotional needs, giving you the option to either repair the relationship or move on.

Tips for reading body language and nonverbal communication

Once you’ve developed your abilities to manage stress and recognize emotions, you’ll naturally become better at reading the nonverbal signals sent by others.
  • Pay attention to inconsistencies. Nonverbal communication should reinforce what is being said. Is the person is saying one thing, and their body language something else? For example, are they telling you “yes” while shaking their head no?
  • Look at nonverbal communication signals as a group. Don’t read too much into a single gesture or nonverbal cue. Consider all of the nonverbal signals you are receiving, from eye contact to tone of voice and body language. Taken together, are their nonverbal cues consistent—or inconsistent—with what their words are saying?
  • Trust your instincts. Don’t dismiss your gut feelings. If you get the sense that someone isn’t being honest or that something isn’t adding up, you may be picking up on a mismatch between verbal and nonverbal cues.
  • LINK:www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/nonverbal-communication.htm#types

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Face-Slapped Adopted Child


The FACE-SLAPPED Adopted Child

Face slapping is generally placed in the same category as humiliation or degradation. For centuries the general populous has viewed face slapping as being the second greatest insult that one can receive, the first on the list is being spit on. Through time it has been utilized to express hatred, frustration, anger, disgust…and sometimes even love. 

Oddly enough some people love getting their face slapped. They crave the echo of a vicious hand connecting with delicate flesh, the ringing in their ears and the vision blurred by their own tears, the burn of a tear stained cheek and the hungry eyes begging for more. 

Face slapping is an art form, as those that are true connoisseurs understand. A slap can say a thousand things, without uttering a word. It can shake someone in his or her boots and humble the biggest man. It can transform an adult into a fragile, and frightened child. 

One clear sign of an emotionally abusive mother is slapping the son or daughter in the face. I call slapping is emotional abuse because it is intended to intimidate and humiliate more than to physically hurt. It leaves an emotional scar, not a physical one although the mother's red hand imprint can be seen on the child's face. It is usually designed to oppress unwanted opposition. It is, therefore, oppressive. Typically, a mother slaps her son/daughter in the face in response to their spoken words. 

My adoptive mother's "face-slaps" are too many to list, A few examples below: 

Example #1. The mother asks the child "How do I look?" depending on the child's age, innocence and honesty, they might reply too honestly and infuriate the adoptive mother "mommy you look like the woman that you said looked like a slut" SLAP!

Example #2. My adoptive parents frequently listened to the Cheech & Chong soundtrack on 8-track tape that was popular in the 1970's. I was in the Sprouse-Ritz with my adoptive mother she was shopping, looking in the Halmark cards section. I began reciting one of the Cheech and Chone comedy routines about "Jamie" the Hispanic kid that shoved beans up his nose....which was one of the cleaner Hispanic comedy routines on the recording. Completely unexpected, without warning and lacking the usual verbal threats to "shut up", she struck me in the face so hard that I herd ringing in my head, became dizzy  & disoriented. She literally slapped the smile off my face, took the temporary child contentment out of my consciousness and humiliated me in-front of the other shopping moms that were witnessing her brutal reaction to a child trying their hardest to impress their mother with word for word reciting. In reality if a parent believes the content of what they enjoy is not acceptable for children, the parent should not expose their child to it or humiliate them by what the child retains from their parent created environment.

Example #3 Watching my brother's baseball game in Vista, California, I was playing on the monkey-bars on a nearby playground when a bully much older girl began to beat me up. She then began to drag me on the ground by my hair. Another parent that witnessed the bullying broke up the one-sided fight and walked me back to the bleachers and told my adoptive mother what happened to me. I was about 7 years old, my long hair was totally messed up from being dragged by it in the dirt, my dress was dirty, my face was all red and I was trying not to cry. My adoptive mother flew into a rage, blaming me for starting trouble, not behaving like a polite little girl and mostly for interrupting her time with her friend talking on the bleachers. My adoptive mother struck me in the face in front of everyone watching the game, the woman that rescued me tried to intervene that It was not my fault. My mother grew more angry at my rescuer and told her to "mind your own god-dammed business", "my adopted child is none of your business". I was punished for the rest of the game, the ride home to Fallbrook, and was punished again at home for causing "trouble between adults", "getting into a fight" that "I should know better" than "behave like a boy"....There's that theme again of forcing girly-girl behavior on me when I am not. I am a tomboy raised with two brothers playing boys games outside in the dirt and loving every minute of rough and tumble boy play.

I have never seen my adoptive mother or adoptive father ever strike my brothers, their biological sons, hit them in the face. This "striking in the face" was an honor only bestowed upon me, the adopted child. Striking me in the face for whatever they think I did, knew I did or imagined that I might do in the future. 

I believe there is a significant unconscious reactionary and behavioral meaning of "facial repulsion" in adoptive parents. The adopted child's face is unrecognizable, anonymous, alien and represents the actual faces of the adopted child's biological parents that is repulsive and offensive to the adoptive mother. The adopted child face is a mystery that can never be solved until biological reunion. The face of an adopted child can not be read or understood by adoptive parents, as the gestures, facial expressions, personality traits and cues are communications significant to the genetic language of a biological family.   The biological family have their own genetic language that is based by their biological relatives that use genetic mirroring in their unique communication within blood relatives. 
The biological family with their own genetic language, that acquires an adopted child with his own unique genetic language, will have non-verbal communicating problems. Genetic language specific to one biological family can not be learned or understood by any non-genetic outsider, as genetic language is non-verbal communicating between biological ties only makes sense to that clan, their unique type of gestures, facial expressions, intuitive understanding and reasoning that is shared in biological tied groups as they are and act and is completely understood within their accepted genetic makeup group.

The adopted child's alien facial appearance will always be an incomprehensible face to a biological family's conscious and unconscious preference of their own genetic-language. The genetic language of an individual's family is their non-verbal communication and understanding of each other. A specific biological group (family) knows that their family communication is in contrast to outsiders of which verbal language us acceptable. The incorporation of an adopted child, that has his own genetic language, does not and can not learn speak your genetic code language. It is assumed that an adopted child will learn to coexist in the adoptive family, but deciphering or learning either (the adopted child's or the biological family's) genetic language is impossible. Where the adoptive parent has invested time and resources in the adopted child, yet the non-verbal communication of genetic language will never be attempted or mastered. The reality of the adopted child's difference, appearance and mental uniqueness grows each day more genetically-predetermined and not like the adoptive family's biological appearance, behavior or mentality. The growing reality of difference in an adopted child can cause problems for the adoptive parents that were sold the adopted child "sponge", or "blank slate" philosophy. 

Adoptive parents that are ashamed by the appearance of their adopted child, who represents the appearance of the adoptee's biological family (mother father, sisters, brothers, extended family members) that all share the same genetic code may be forced to face the vast difference and not adaption to the adoptive family that was promised by their adoption agency'. In the stage of denial, the adoptive parent could ignore the truth, yet as the adopted child nears adolescence and cognitive awareness of fact becomes understood by the adoptee, the reality of adoption is forced on the in-denial adoptive parent that may or may not retaliate with the feelings of hostility toward the adopted child.
In my humble opinion being the victim of my adoptive mother's hostility, disappointment 
and What she considered a burden, By "striking my face" she was punishing my existence.
By striking me in the face she was punishing my biological parents for their burden of me the adopted child on her life. The disturbing thought pattern that an adopted infant could stave off her depression from the trauma of loosing her own child at 40 weeks to stillbirth.
To push back against the small town perception of a stillbirth tragedy and emerge with her vanity, dignity and restoration of social grace, plus the public perception of adoption saviors as an added benefit to how the town would see her as a prize winning adoptive mother. People dependent of social acceptance become prisoners of it, as they will do anything to keep their public status and perceived social class acquirement.

My adoptive mother's repulsion of me, her adopted child came as the epiphany that she could not rid me of who I am genetically. The lifelong task of unraveling the secret of "Who I am genetically"  is also a result of knowing for certain....who I am NOT! I am 48 years old, I now have a relationship with my biological sister that has changed my life as I know who it is that I am when I am in her presence. The wounds of my adopted childhood are healing by writing about them...taking trauma memories, writing and talking about them often, and in the process these trauma memories are becoming biographical memories. My traumatic childhood does serve a purpose, to tell other adoptees what happened to me when I was young, innocent and could not defend myself. The cruel brutality that rendered me without worth, without esteem and without value can be understood in the adopted child abuse victim's perspective and other adopted children survivors words  have helped me more than any conversation or book by the so-called experts. As adopted children are human beings with biological, legal and human rights that have yet to be legally established. 


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Adoptive Mother's Emotional Cruelty


Adoptive Mother's Emotional Cruelty

Thrown into the adoption ocean, sink or swim, yet never reaching the shore where humans emerge to walk upright in the sand.

The human infant is born to be nurtured, cared for and genetically mirrored by it's biological mother, father, siblings and extended families. Adopted infants are denied their own satisfying biological relationships, they languish and are frequently transferred between foster homes to prevent attachment to any one foster mother. I am the product of such a disturbing practice, as I was finally adopted between 4-5 months of age to a depressed adoptive mother suffering from loosing her own biological infant to stillbirth.  

My adoptive mother was not receptive to me, and I was sent away to live with adoptive grandparents in another state. Upon my return, I was cared for by a new live-in babysitter that was opportunistically taken in by my adoptive parents as she was thrown out of her own childhood home. I remember being a barefoot vagabond little kid, always on my own, playing by myself and running around outside in the morning hours while my own adoptive mother slept late into the morning.There was no structure, no "time" which things would occur like breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time or bed time. I was and am still in complete comfort being alone, isolated from others and entertaining myself while living in my own fantasy world where I feel safe. 

My reality is isolation from others, yet the chronic punishments were always me being forced to go somewhere with my adoptive mother. Riding in the car, going for a "drive", to the mall to go shopping, out to lunch or some other girly-girl stuff that I hate. The thought of riding in the car with my adoptive mother is still provokes my greatest anxiety and dread of the "car captivity". Driving around a parking lot for twenty minutes looking for a spot in the front row still makes me shutter! 

Yet the forced outings were the least of my forced negative conditioning by the adoptive mother that wanted a girly-girl daughter that was like her, not the barefoot dirty faced tomboy that liked to play with cars in the dirt. The negative impact she had on my childhood psychological well-being came in the form of an adoptive mother's disappointment at the child that preferred to be outside instead of shopping for new cloths at the mall, getting her hair done and always motivated to look pretty. I was a natural child in nature and nature was naturally within me, to be outside, gardening, playing in the dirt climbing trees in the grove and socializing with the animals and birds in my chosen environment.   

The disgust toward me was one reason I would retreat outside at any sign of my adoptive mother's hostility. Her scowls, the loud facial expressions, rude & offensive body language and other aggressive non-verbal gestures told me just how much she truly hated who I was. The adoptive mother's verbal communications to me never matched what her body and face said to me. I was never welcome to talk with my adoptive parents, I was constantly reminded in a hostile manner to "speak when spoken to", yet they never talked to me only at me, as I was always in trouble. All talking at me was verbal confrontations for what I possibly did wrong as a small child. The action of a normal child expressing their emotions was the grounds for me being slapped across the face, any butting-in when adults were speaking was certain that I would be struck in the face. 

When I was forced to appear "on stage" in public for my mother's peers, I would submit and perform flawlessly the "adopted child role" to make my adoptive mother not hit me. Although If I did not perform how she wanted I would be hit and ridiculed in front of her friends. The threat of public humiliation was the motivational factor, as being shamed in public was a punishment that was well known to me, that I constantly feared and dreaded. The facial sting of being struck in the face was ten times worse when it happened in front of others. On too many occasions the people witnessing my mother slap me in the face were made extremely uncomfortable by mother's violence toward me and they would instantly depart, and their departure was always blamed on me...the secondary punishment. My adoptive mother never saw past how her violent behavior in public toward me, made her peers feel uncomfortable toward her own uncontrolled violent tendencies. 

The cognitive dissonance in my adoptive mother's own mind, said that the child's bad behavior is responsible for making her friends uncomfortable and leave. In reality the witnesses to my adoptive mother's violence toward her young child in public made her peers question her ability to control herself and they wondered if she would act violent toward them....When she would strike her young, helpless adopted child in the face for butting-in in an adult conversation, that was dependent on her for love, care and guidance.

The perception of one person Vs. the perception of another can cause a narcissistic personality to react violently to their perceived perpetrator.

My adoptive mother issues are not worked through, I have barley started to dive into this septic pit of pain, silence and injustice of my adoptive mother perpetrator.