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.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Self-Consciousness Conditioning In Adopted Children


Self-Consciousness Conditioning In Adopted Children

Self-conscious emotions cultivated in adopted children, such as guilt, shame embarrassment, and pride, are emotions that relate to their lacking sense of self and self-consciousness of others' reactions to adopted children. The psychological burden of being adopted creates additional complexity of integration where the adopted child's genuine spontaneous feelings that are associated with their authentic self must be disregarded in favor of integration with the adoptive family's characteristics needed for psychological survival within this In-group. The adopted child's role is to blend in with the family that he does not genetically belong. The conscious and unconscious efforts of the adopted child to belong to the In-group in spite of the fact that he does not genetically belong, the adopted child compensates for the inability to belong.

Description of Self Conscious Emotions

During the second year of life, new emotions begin to emerge when adopted children begin to understand the extent that they themselves are oddities, and distinct from normal biologically raised children. Adopted children have difficulties and flounder while attempting to develop a normal sense of self. These emotions include:
  • Shame..........Feelings of shame and secrecy in adopted child self
  • Pride............Lack of pride in identity
  • Guilt...........Guilt grows through the parent's shamed adopted child 
  • Envy..Adoptee's envy as the outsider looking in at family cohesion
  • Embarrassment........to be the outsider, different and not belonging
Self-conscious emotions have been shown to have social benefits. These include areas such as reinforcing social behaviors and reparation of social errors. There is also possible research suggesting that a lack of self-conscious emotion is a contributing cause of bad behavior.
They have five distinct features that differentiate them from other emotions
  • Require self-awareness and self representation
  • Emerge later than basic emotions
  • Facilitate attainment of complex social goals
  • Do not have distinct universally recognized facial expressions
  • Cognitively complex

Development of Self Conscious Emotions

Self-conscious emotions are among the latter of emotions to develop. Two reasons are at the cause of this:

Body Language

Emotions such as joy, fear and sadness can all be gathered reliant on just a person’s face. However self-conscious emotions heavily involve the body in addition to the face (Darwin, 1965). This means that when humans are attempting to learn emotions, they have more to tend to, making the emotions harder to grasp.

Self Awareness

Due to the nature of these emotions, they can only begin to form once an individual has the capacity to self-evaluate their own actions. If the individual decides that they have caused a situation to occur, they then must decide if the situation was a success or a failure based on the social norms they have accrued, then attach the appropriate self-conscious feeling (Weiner, 1986). This is a complex cognitive skill, one that takes time to master.

Biological Complexity

As stated, self-conscious emotions are complex and harder to learn than basic emotions such as happiness or fear. This premise also has biological backing, for which adopted children do not master and are developmentally delayed understanding and difficulty in the utilization of complex emotions in the adopted child's everyday life.

Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks the brain selectively in the frontal lobe, temporal lobe and amygdala. Patients suffering from FTLD offer information on the biological complexity involved in generating self-conscious emotions. With the use of a startle experiment (where patients and control participants are exposed to an unexpected and loud sound) it has been shown that sufferers of FTLD show and experience the basic negative emotions expected to be attached to the startling sounds. However they show significantly less signs of experiencing self-conscious emotions compared to control groups. This is due to an inhibition of embarrassment caused by the damaged brain (Sturm & Rosen, 2006).
The ability to show basic emotions while lacking the ability to perform the more complex self-conscious emotions demonstrates that self-conscious emotions are biologically harder to perform than average emotions. It should also be noted that FTLD patients tend to struggle in social situations (Sturm & Rosen, 2006). This is again linked with their inability to perform self-conscious emotions adequately.

Social Benefits

Acquiring the ability to perform self-conscious emotions may be relatively difficult, but does bring benefits. The main benefits being those of social harmony and social healing.

Social Harmony

Self-conscious emotions are seen to promote social harmony in different ways. The first is its ability to reinforce social norms. It does this in a very similar way to that of operant conditioning. Performing well in situations while keeping to social norms can elicit pride. This feels good so therefore encourages the behavior to be repeated. Equally performing in a situation while not sticking to the social norms can leave individuals feeling embarrassed. This feels bad and is generally avoided in the future. An example of this is a study (Brown, 1970) where participants were shown to choose avoiding feelings of embarrassment over financial gains.

Social Healing

Self-conscious emotions enable social healing. When an individual makes a social error, feelings of guilt or embarrassment changes not just the person’s mood but their body language. In this situation the individual gives out non-verbal signs of submission and this is generally more likely to be greeted with forgiveness. This has been shown in a study where actors knocked over a supermarket shelve (Semin & Manstead, 1982). Those that acted embarrassed were received more favorably than those who reacted in a neutral fashion.
  • Levels of embarrassment have found to be easier to see in females and African-Americans, than compared to male and Caucasian targets (Keltner, 1995). This is due to social learnings from previous generations.

Poor Behavior and Self Conscious Emotions

Initially, self-conscious emotions were looked upon as troublesome and all part of an internal fight. However, views on this have now changed. There is a strong link between the ability of an individual to regulate their behavior in an appropriate manner and problems with their self-conscious emotions. A school was able to list a set of boys who were classified as ‘prone to aggression and delinquent behavior’. When these boys sat an interactive IQ Test, they scored higher on scores of anger compared with the normal boys at the school. They also scored lower in feelings of embarrassment (Keltner, 1995).
Caution should be taken with regards to these studies. While the findings are becoming more robust, the number of different variables involved will make it hard to ever come to a conclusion on the subject of poor behaviour being caused by these deficiencies. The difficultly being the hardship of creating the proper environment within a lab where self-conscious emotions would not only occur, but could be adequately measured.