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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Adopted Child's Self Image


Category: Adopteed Child Perception

Topic: Adopted Child's Self-Image

What Self-Image Is:
A person's self-image is the mental picture, generally of a kind that is quite resistant to change, that depicts not only details that are potentially available to objective investigation by others (height, weight, hair color,gender, I.Q. score, etc.), but also items that have been learned by that person about himself or herself, either from personal experiences or by internalizing the judgments of others. A simple definition of a person's self-image is their answer to the question "What do you believe people think about you?".
Self-image may consist of three types:
  1. Self-image resulting from how the individual sees himself or herself.
  2. Self-image resulting from how others see the individual.
  3. Self-image resulting from how the individual perceives others see him or her.
These three types may or may not be an accurate representation of the person. All, some or none of them may be true.

A more technical term for self-image that is commonly used by social and cognitive psychologists is self-schema. Like any schema, self-schemas store information and influence the way we think and remember. 
For example, research indicates that information which refers to the self is preferentially encoded and recalled in memory tests, a phenomenon known as "Self-referential encoding".
 Self-schemas are also considered the traits people use to define themselves, they draw information about the self into a coherent scheme.

Poor Self-Image In Adopted Children

Poor self-image in adopted children is the result of negative adoptive parent appraisal, constant and accumulated criticisms that the adopted child collected in childhood which has led to damaging their own view of themselves. Adopted children in particular are vulnerable to accepting negative judgments from parents and authority figures because they have yet to develop competency in evaluating such reports. Also, adolescents are highly targeted to suffer from poor body image issues. Adopted individuals that already exhibit a low-sense of self-worth may be more vulnerable to develop social disorders.
Negative self-images can arise from a variety of factors. A prominent factor, however, is personality type. Perfectionists, high achievers, and those with "type A" personalities seem to be prone to having negative self-images. This is because such people constantly set the standard for success high above a reasonable, attainable level. Thus, they are constantly disappointed in this "failure."
Another factor that contributes to a negative self-image is the beauty values of the society in which a person lives. In the American society, a popular beauty ideal is thinness. Often times, girls who feel that they do not measure up to society's "thin" standards, which leads to them having a negative self-image.


When people are in the position of evaluating others, self-image maintenance processes can lead to a more negative evaluation depending on the self-image of the evaluator. That is to say stereotyping, stigma and prejudice may be the way individuals maintain their self-image. When individuals evaluate a member of a stereotyped group, they are less likely to evaluate that person negatively if their self-images had been bolstered through a self-affirmation procedure, and they are more likely to evaluate that person stereotypically if their self-images have been threatened by negative feedback. Individuals may restore their self-esteem by derogating the member of a stereotyped group.
Fein and Spencer (1997) conducted an intriguing study on Self-image Maintenance and Discriminatory Behavior. This study showed evidence that increased prejudice can result from a person’s need to redeem a threatened positive perception of the self. The aim of the study was to test whether a particular threat to the self would instigate increased stereotyping and lead to actual discriminatory behavior or tendencies towards a member of a "negatively" stereotyped group. The study began when Fein and Spencer gave participants an ostensible test of intelligence. Some of them received negative feedback, and others, positive and supportive feedback. In the second half of the experiment, the participants were asked to evaluate another person who either belonged to a negatively stereotyped group, or one who did not. The results of the experiment proved that the participants who had previously received unfavorable comments on their test, evaluated the target of the negatively stereotyped group in a more antagonistic or opposing way, than the participants who were given excellent reports on their intelligence test. They concluded that the negative feedback on the test threatened the participants’ self-image and they evaluated the target in a more negative manner, all in efforts to restore their own self-esteem.
Residual self-image
Residual self-image is the concept that individuals tend to think of themselves as projecting a certain physical appearance or certain position of social entitlement, or lack thereof. 
Self-image of victimisation
Victims of abuse and manipulation often get trapped into a self-image of victimization. The psychological profile of victimisation includes a pervasive sense of helplessness, passivity, loss of control, pessimism, negative thinking, strong feelings of guilt, shame, self-blame and depression. This way of thinking can lead to hopelessness and despair.

Children’s Self-Image Disparity

Self-image disparity was found to be positively related to chronological age (CA) and intelligence, two factors thought to increase concomitantly with maturity: Capacity for guilt and ability for cognitive differentiation. However, males had larger self-image disparities than females, Caucasians had larger disparities and higher ideal self images than Blacks, and socioeconomic status (SES) affected self-images differentially for the 2nd and 5th graders.

Self-Image Strengtheners

A child's self-awareness of who they are differentiates into three categories around the age of five: 
1.their social self, 
2. academic persona, 
3. physical attributes. 
Several ways to strengthen a child's self-image include communication, reassurance, support of hobbies, and finding good role models.

Evolved Awareness of Self-Image in the Mirror

When does a child become aware that the image in a mirror is his own? Research was done on 88 children between 3 and 24 months. Their behaviors were observed before a mirror. The results indicated that children's awareness of self-image followed three major age-related sequences:
  • From about 6 through 12 months of age, the first prolonged and repeated reaction of an infant to his mirror image is that of a sociable “playmate”.
  • In the second year of life, wariness and withdrawal appeared; self-admiring and embarrassed behavior accompanied those avoidance behaviors starting at 14 months, and was shown by 75% of the subjects after 20 months of age.
  • During the last part of the second year of life, from 20 to 24 months of age, 65% of the subjects demonstrated recognition of their mirror images.

Physical activity

Regular practice of endurance exercise was related to a more favourable self-image. There was a strong association between participation in sports and the type of personality that tends to be resistant to drug and alcohol addiction. Physical exercise was further significantly related to scores for physical and psychological well-being. Adolescents who engaged regularly in physical activity were characterised by lower anxiety-depression scores, and displayed much less social behavioural inhibition than their less active counterparts.
It is likely that discussion of recreational or exercise involvement may provide a useful point of entry for facilitating dialogue among adolescents about concerns relating to body image and self-esteem. In terms of psychotherapeutic applications, physical activity has many additional rewards for adolescents. It is probable that by promoting physical fitness, increased physical performance, lessening body mass and promoting a more favourable body shape and structure, exercise will provide more positive social feedback and recognition from peer groups, and this will subsequently lead to improvement in an individual's self-image.