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, April 11, 2017

Trauma Symptoms Adoptee Behavior


The Trauma Symptoms and Behaviors In Adoptees

The goal of my contribution to adoption psychology is to find the
questions, (answers come much, much later, if ever). To fill in the blanks that the U.S. psychology society intentionally left out when they refused to study adoption and refer to all adoption problems as related to attachment theory, and come to some form of acceptance of my forced adopted plight and psychological consequences.

I have an extreme phobia of doctors (and authority figures)
to the extreme position I took when I quit nursing. It seemed that the treatments were more damaging than the related illness that stood against my principles. I took my biological aunt to the doctor for osteo injections, seven days of dread and on the appointment day sheer anxiety and panic to the point of being awake 36 hours from hypervigilance. During my quiet escape from reality, I realized that medical authority was directly related to my many contributing factors to PTSD, from being the mother of a pediatric cancer patient that had two onsets. The ten years of caregiving where I begged to be sent to a mental hospital and had a brakedown. Abusive adult relationships where I played the submissive part that I was conditioned to in forced replacement adoption, down to the first primal wounding of my existence.  They all are emotional suppressed time periods of total dependence, helplessness, unworthiness, and based in fear. I continue to be unable to express emotions, as no one really wants to hear my bad experiences where I did play a part the victim, the healer, the aggressor and the solid stone mother that nothing could penetrate or I would not allow myself to have the reflective thoughts that are needed to process traumatic events. Doctors were in bed with the adoption machine, when I worked for doctors I had control. When I did not nurse I was not, am not in control, and they can force drugs, treatments and surgeries on me against my will. Even though I have a legal, active, yearly updated DnR, I don't trust it or the doctors that refuse to accept patient wishes. What I do know is that I keep reading, searching and hoping for answers that are real and continue to refuse pleasant polite acquaintance chit-chat, as it undermines the adoptee's words, thoughts and hope. To be real in my everyday truth is overwhelming to those that seek pleasantries that undermine the effort at healing, as there can be no healing without constant wound pain.   

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Psychological Abandonment


Adopted Child's Abandonment "Primal Wound"
The newborn child that is separated, taken from the biological mother at birth, severs the continuation of this biological bond and results in abandonment for the newborn child. Regardless of the mothers inability to fight off unscrupulous adoption agents that procure children for sale, the child's abandonment results in the "primal wound" that the child will live with and dread the reality of the abandonment for life.
This article is based on psychological abandonment, not P.W..
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, which is 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, 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’.
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 coerulous 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 making them more prone to becoming posttraumatic.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sibling Rivalry Effect on Adopted Children & Article Sibling Rivalry


The Sibling Rivalry Effect on Adoptees
In dysfunctional adoptive families the adopted child is resented
by the adoptive parent's biological children. When the adoptive mother is indifferent to the adopted child, the biological child takes on the role of punishment enforcer and executioner. The biological child does the physical enforcement of the adopted child and receives more favor ant attention by the mother. The biological child's ongoing revenge of the adopted child, is a primal response for taking away from him mother's attention and resources. His enforcement duty becomes an unconscious drive as he is repulsed by the outsider adopted child's existence and intuitively perceives his mother's disgust and ambivalence of the adopted child's presence. Due to the fact that the adopted child's temporary place in the adoptive family in conditional, the adopted-child-role is one of submission, injustice and blame for all of the biological family's problems, as the biological child experience of family continuity ended when the adopted child was introduced to the family. The biological child's perception and experience of everything changing in his family, his mother's depression, anger and hostility toward the adopted child, who he clearly sees as the enemy that is completely logical and the direct result of cause and effect.

In our culture it is the mother (in this case the adoptive mother) who dictates how her family will operate. The mother designates who is the most favored child, the next in line for her attention and who is not favored as she grimaces at the thought of affection toward the unwanted child that she is forced to have a relationship with.

The proud mother of two biological sons, that longs for a girl child that will be exactly like her. The intention, the pregnancy and the catastrophic result where this wished for female offspring dies at birth. Where all hope is lost in a tragic instant that inspired distorted coping mechanisms to quickly fix a shattered experience.
In my case the child adopted to fix the grief, that replaced the mother's third expected child was quickly realized to be a terrible mistake. The mother's grief based compulsion to adoption was realized too late as a monumental error in judgement. The grieving mother's error in overestimating child adoption, decision making under extreme depression and psychopathic trauma as a way to abandon her grief was realized far too late. This reckless decision during a grief reaction period when the reality of this consequence is finally realized, it could not be admitted to. There was no remedy to fix the inaccurate confusion of adopting that brought more depression, grief and denial.  The misinterpretation of adoption caused more harm as the misjudgment could not be repaired, the child would not be returned due to the social stigma attached to returning an adopted child. The adoptive mother denied her delusion based error and went on with life valuing her sons and excluding her adoption error. The valued sons took on the role of policing the adopted child to gain attention and praise.
These roles are set in stone as the behavior prompted and that originates with the mother's distress and alleviation of that distress are the foundations of what propels the actors to participate in the roles of their mother's play. The foundational roles of childhood designation continues throughout the relationships of the group members, never deviating from their assigned roles later in life.  
Sibling Rivalry Article:
The new view holds that conflict is not the natural state of sibling relationships. Still, for a third of us, discord sown early endures for a lifetime.
While few adult siblings have severed their ties completely, approximately one-third of them describe their relationship as rivalry or distant. They don't get along with their sibling, have little in common, spend limited time together, and use words like "competitive," "humiliating," and "hurtful" to depict their childhoods. 
The speed with which old childhood designations that create adult conflicts reduce these adults to children again prevents them from seeing one another in a new or adult light.    They push each other's buttons without knowing why or how and recast themselves in the same childhood roles that never worked in the first place.
When they talk about their brothers and sisters, adult siblings locked into old patterns and resort to a variety of familiar emotional strategies. Some try to diminish the relationship (and their feelings) by emphasizing the importance of friends and spouses instead. Some speak with frightening venom as they describe the horrors of growing up under the same roof. 
Others become very analytical, piecing together all that went wrong between them, thereby detailing the impossibility of ever finding common ground. (denying the past is common-ground?) 
For most conflicted brothers and sisters, there is an underlying sense that "this is the way it's supposed to be." (old distorted patterns from dysfunctional family dynamics)
Western culture has an obsession with sibling rivalry that began with the story of Cain and Abel and was elaborated by Freud, who labeled and dwelt on the competition between siblings for parental love and attention. It's colored our perception of sibling rivalry ever since. Therapists and lay people alike tend to view the relationship largely as one of struggle and controversy. We have no rituals that make, break, or celebrate the sibling bond. And family experts have underemphasized the sibling relationship, instead concentrating on parents and children and husbands and wives. Small wonder that sibling rivalry is accepted as the normal state of affairs.
There is a consensus among clinicians and developmental psychologists that the sibling bond is complicated, fluid, and influenced by many factors. Parental treatment, genetics, gender, life events, ethnic and generational patterns, and people and experiences outside the family all contribute to the success or failure of a particular sibling connection. To understand how these factors shape the lives of siblings, researchers have begun looking at young siblings within the context of their immediate families.
(How Parents shape sibling rivalry...)
At the forefront of this work is Judy Dunn, whose pioneering sibling studies are being conducted in her native England and in the United States. Through her observational studies of siblings at home instead of in the lab, Dunn's work presents a radically revised view of children's abilities and their social understanding. Dunn now knows that from the startlingly young age of one year, siblings respond to disputes between their siblings by supporting or punishing one of the antagonists. These same young siblings are profoundly affected by their mother's interaction with the other siblings.
"The message is," Dunn said, "that children are far more socially sophisticated than we ever imagined. That little 15-month-old or 17-month-old is watching like a hawk what goes on between her mother and older sibling. And the greater the difference in the maternal affection and attention, the more hostility and conflict between the siblings." From 18 months on siblings understand how to comfort, hurt, and exacerbate each other's pain. They understand family rules, can differentiate between transgressions of different sorts, and can anticipate the response of adults to their own and to other people's misdeeds.
By age three, children have a sophisticated grasp of how to use social rules for their own benefit. They can evaluate themselves in relation to their siblings and possess the developmental skills necessary to adapt to frustrating circumstances and relationships in the family. Whether they have the drive to adapt, to get along with a sibling whose goals and interests may be different from their own, can make the difference between a cooperative or rivalrous relationship, Dunn insists.
Parents' relationships with each of their children are very closely involved in sibling rivalry. As Dunn's work reveals, from one year on children are acutely sensitive of how they're being treated in relation to their siblings. When a parent shows more love, gives more attention, or is unable or unwilling to monitor the goings-on between children, it is often the siblings and their connections that suffer. Even though the social awareness and development of children is far more sophisticated than imagined, children don't possess the ability to understand who or what may have turned them against one another. 
Most rivalrous adult siblings aren't able to see the total picture, especially as adults.
Parental action and inaction have had a long-lasting impact on the rivalrous relationship between Karen Kalish and her sister. Grieved by the death of one twin and consumed with taking care of the surviving one, Karen's mother had no time for 30-month-old Karen. A nurse was hired to tend to her, and Karen, her mother, and her baby sister spent little if no time together. Karen was not only dethroned by the birth of her sister; she was abandoned. "She was left out... pushed out of the family orbit," said Kenneth Addison, associate professor of developmental psychology at Northeastern Illinois University. "She was not given the role of oldest child or any other responsibilities that go along with that position."
Even when parents do their best at loving and respecting all of their children, the influence of siblings on one another can be enormous. Brothers and sisters spend more time together during childhood than with their parents, particularly today when nearly 60 percent of mothers with children work outside the home. If the siblings are close in age and/or the same gender, the greater the potential for intense dysfunctional relationships.
Studies have shown that of the three sibling pairs, sister/sister pairs are the closest and brother/brother pairs are the most rivalrous. (Identical male twins tend to be the most competitive.) Sisters are the traditional kin keepers in our society and have a real commitment to keeping the relationship going. They are, according to sex-role expectations, more adept at expressing themselves on a personal level and in sharing their intimate feelings. Brothers, on the other hand, are more conflicted. Their childhood time together tends to be more competitive, and often that competition is carried into adulthood, exacerbated, it seems, by parental and societal expectations of men.
What makes brother/brother ties so rivalrous? Gold has launched a new study that is not yet completed. But she has found a consistent theme running through the interviews she's conducted thus far. "The thing that rides through with brothers that doesn't come across in other sibling pairs is this notion of parental and societal comparison. Somehow with boys, it seems far more natural to compare them, especially more than with sister/brother pairs. Almost from day one, the fundamental developmental markers--who gets a tooth first, who crawls, walks, speaks first--are held up on a larger-than-life scale. And this comparison appears to continue from school to college to the workplace. Who has the biggest house, who makes the most money, drives the best car are constant topics of discussion. In our society, men are supposed to be achievement-oriented, aggressive. They're supposed to succeed."
Sibling relationships are not fixed, however; they change dramatically over the years. Key life events in early and middle childhood can bring siblings closer together--or split them further apart. Dunn found that such events as a mother's illness and, in one case, a mother's death prompted siblings to be tremendously supportive of one another and to close ranks in the face of stress. The transition to school, on the other hand, diminishes the relationship between older and younger siblings.
Similarly, life events in adulthood--leaving home, getting married, tending to an ill parent, grieving over a parent's death, adjusting to an empty nest have the power to significantly alter the connection between siblings or to reinforce old rivalries. When it comes to the marriages of our siblings, for example, we are not unlike ex-husbands or ex-wives.
"Our brothers and sisters were our 'first' marriage partners," says Karen Lewis, a counseling psychologist and coeditor of Siblings in Therapy, a collection of writings about siblings. "We have a lot of emotional stock invested in them and in the spouses they choose." How will their entrance into the family affect how we all get along? Are our sisters- or brothers-in-law like us? Are they good enough to be one of the family? Apparently, many are not. In one of the few studies of young- and middle- adult siblings, two-thirds of the siblings interviewed said that the marriage of their brothers and sisters drove a wedge between them. Their already-conflicted relationships were exacerbated, or sibling relationships that appeared sound suddenly became strained.
In the interview I conducted for my book on siblings, stories of strained relationships following one or the other's marriage far outweighed stories of marriages that enhanced the sibling connection. In several cases, the spouse was "not like anybody else in the family." Siblings found it difficult to try to get along with sisters- or brothers-in-law who were different and sometimes difficult. For some, the new family member was seen as someone who made an effort to keep siblings apart. (and they do)
Yet another sibling talked about how his sister's husband destroyed their relationship. For some rivalrous siblings, divorce offers another chance to improve the relationship. In a few cases, adjustments are made. For the others, the rift can last a lifetime.

Monday, April 3, 2017

They Were Looking For Me


They Were Looking For Me

There is something so significant and monumental to an adoptee with no identity or sense of self-worth, in knowing that someone in this world was looking for me. To be intentionally abandoned by those you belong to is to be banished deliberately to a cruel world where you knew in your heart that you never belonged.
To be told over and again that your very existence is a liability that takes away from others these precious efforts that should never be wasted on such a worthless cause of an unwanted child. Where these efforts of kindness turn into anger and rage as they are unnatural, guilt provoked as society's expected duty that is forced on an adoptive mother. Where dread and grief are provoked in the mother by the sound of the adopted baby's cries,
no relief can be found in the grieving adoptive mother except for repulsion and removal of the needy unwanted infant. To allow another to exist in torment is to drain the energy from the other.
To coexist in disdain and ambiguity where the one of less worth is assigned blame and projected as the problem that becomes their designation in the family group. Where we are not wanted but forced to be, although we know no alternative to how we live as children. We accept this designation without argument or malice as we don't know any better and rely on the resources of others for survival. Like the token family dog is banished from the home and chained outside and away from the group, we still want to be with the group. The isolation and lack of interaction takes it's toll on us, makes us mean and unpredictable.

Then there lies this jagged edge, a sharp glimmer of hope in a message that lives outside these prison walls and is kept from the child's real family. The sharp object of truth that could cut our flesh to the bone or give us hope...the hope for being loved and to love our real family is sometimes seen as a gift that might make an unwanted child arrogant, greedy and is seen as all bad by the adoptive parent that chooses to keep the adopted child submissive and dominated for the adoptive mother's own well being. As she does not care for the child, but doesn't want to loose title of her hated object that serves a particular purpose.

If my adoptive mother knew someone was looking for me, sent me letters or wanted to love me she would have been repulsed and angry at such a gift that no adopted child of her's deserved. The gift of love would be labeled dangerous to the family's dysfunctional way of life. This message of love would have and does become the public enemy to the institution of adoption. I would have never been told of a phone call, a letter all would have been burned and I would have been punished again for reasons unknown to me. Why my adoptive mother was so angry this day or that day seemed irrelevant to me as all days were living the same fear of mother. But hope is despised when it is in the form of what an adopted child needs most, to fill the adoptive mother's designated place where her anger is directed, to be that adopted child who accepts punishment without knowing why or asking why and to be the perpetual punching bag adopted child to the grieving mother that lost her real child to stillbirth.  

When the hope finally arrived, I was safely away from the adoptive mother's cruelty. I refused to share my joy with anyone as the feeling of joy can be ruined by another's condemning words or selfishness. When my hope came I was able to embrace it knowing all those terrible years, I was being looked for by my blood relatives. I was missing from their history, from their narratives and missing from their life. To imagine that someone out there loved me unconditionally because I was their blood, their family and their missing connection that they never gave up looking for me. I was always too afraid to dream or imagine such a connection as I couldn't bear the thought of knowing it could be taken from me. Such imaginations were taboo to a child that has lost all hope in family, the world and in themselves.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Baby-Scoop Era Caused Psychopathy


Baby Scoop Era Caused Psychopathy

Psychological Disability in Exiled Mothers

This Australian doctor parallels adoption separation with the unresolvable grief of families whose sons were MIA (missing in action).
Summary of "Psychological Disability in Women who Relinquish a Baby for Adoption," by Dr. John T. Condon (Medical Journal of Australia) Vol 144 Feb 3 1986
Existing evidence suggests that the experience of relinquishment renders a woman at high risk of psychological (and possibly physical) disability. Moreover very recent research indicates that actual disability or vulnerability may not diminish even decades after the event.
Condon defines how the relinqishment experience differs from perinatal bereavement in four crucial psychological aspects.
  • Firstly: although construed as "voluntary" most relinquishing mothers feel the relinquishment is their only option in the face of financial hardship, pressure from family, professionals and social stigma associated with illegitimacy.
  • Secondly: their child continues to exist and develop while remaining inaccessible to them, and one day may be reunited with them. The situation is analogous to that of relatives of servicemen missing "believed dead" (MIA). The reunion fantasy renders it impossible to "say goodbye" with any sense of finality. Disabling chronic grief reactions were particularly common in the war in such relatives.
  • Thirdly: the lack of knowledge of the child permits the development of a variety of disturbing fantasies, such as the child being dead, or ill, unhappy or hating his or her relinquishing mother. The guilt of relinquishment is thereby augmented.
  • Fourthly: the women perceive their efforts to acquire knowledge about their child (which would give them something to let go of) as being blocked by an uncaring bureaucracy. Shawyer describes poignantly how "confidential files are tauntingly kept just out of reach, across official desks". Thus the anger that is associated with the original event is kept alive and refocused onto those who continue to come between mother and child.
On a study of twenty women who relinquished their baby, all but two of them reported strong feelings of affection for the infant, both during the late pregnancy and in the immediate post partum period. None reported negative feelings toward the child.
Feelings of sadness or depression at the time of relinquishment were rated on the average as intense and "the most intense ever experienced". Anger at the time of relinquishment was rated at the time as between "a great deal and intense." Only 33% reported a decrease over time, and over one half said their anger had increased. Guilt at the time was rated as "intense" with only 17% reporting a decrease over the intervening years.
Almost all the women reported they had received little or no help from family, friends or professionals. Over half of them had used alcohol or sedative medication to help them cope after relinquishment. Almost all reported that they dealt with their distress by withdrawing and bottling up their feelings. One third had subsequently sought professional help.
A most striking finding in the present study is that the majority of these women reported no diminution of their sadness, anger and guilt over the considerable number of years which had elapsed since their relinquishment. A significant number actually reported an intensification of these feelings especially anger.
Taken overall, the evidence suggests that over half of these women are suffering from severe and disabling grief reactions which are not resolved over the passage of time and which manifest predominantly as depression and psychosomatic illness.
A variety of factors operated to impede the grieving process in these women. Their loss was not acknowledged by family and professionals, who denied them the support necessary for the expression of their grief. Intense anger, shame and guilt complicated their mourning, which was further inhibited by the fantasy of eventual reunion with their child. Many were too young to have acquired the ego strength necessary to grieve in an unsupported environment.
Few had sufficient contact with the child at birth or received sufficient information to enable them to construct an image of what they had lost. Masterson (1976) has demonstrated that mourning cannot proceed without a clear mental picture of what has been lost.
The notion that maternal attachment can be avoided by a brisk removal of the infant at birth and the avoidance of subsequent contact between mother and child is strongly contradicted in recent research. Condon and others have demonstrated an intense attachment to the unborn child in most pregnant women.
There is a strong impression from data that over-protectiveness is part of the phenomenon of unresolved grief and serves both to assuage guilt and compensate for the severe blow dealt by relinquishment to the self esteem in the area of being a "good mother".
The relatively high instance of pregnancy during the year after relinquishment invites speculation that this represents a maladaptive coping strategy that involves a "replacement baby".

Psychological Dilemma of the Adoptee & Unwanted Child Study


The Unwanted Child Psychology Study & Psychological Dilemma of Being Adopted

The magnitude findings in the reality of the unwanted pregnancy in this 30 year study in Finland and Norway is ongoing and continues to publish data related to the detrimental effects of being unwanted at conception.

For adoptee's from the Baby-Scoop era all are unwanted and unintended pregnancies, yet we were allowed to mature in utero developing relationships with our mother-self-bond and at birth we were stolen and given to more appropriate, deserving and financially stable couples according to societal judgments.
Through forced adoption we were not necessarily unwanted by our family, as our mother's protested this impossible forced situation that kept her from asserting her human right to parent her offspring. Forced adoption where we are sold and bought by unrelated strangers to be owned by them.

The adoption conditioning to act appropriately grateful, which is against our true nature, yet the manifestation of being adopted is an unnatural act in itself. We adoptees were told, assumed we were unwanted by our adoptive parents whose best interests depend on this lie. And wanted through false assumptions about the adopted child that deny our primal instincts, that reinforce our true nature is in fact unwanted by the adopters.

The truth can only be attained by a reunion with biological family in developing a continued relationship that was severed at our birth. The baby scoop era stole babies from their mother's arms systematically denying her rights and objectifying the child as chattel to be profited by. To solve the adopted child's conundrum is in fact dependent on factual evidence that is not biased by the adoptive parent's need for their own psychological safety. Yet most of us will struggle with this false perception that being taken against our mothers will is perceived by the newborn as being abandoned that is not the fault of our mother.

We the adopted child and our mother are the victims of a tragic practice that is based on supply and demand products of a system based on financial gain. We are hurting, our mother is hurting though years brings denial, defense coping mechanisms and false assumptions that cover up the original tragedy that brought us here. That we were and are the hostages in societal games for who has the most toys. The only way to reconcile this lie is to search for our origins and find our truth to comprehend our origins that is the adoptee's psychological dilemma.

When Pregnancies are UnwantedBy Nancy Felipe Russo, Ph.D., Arizona State University and Henry P. David, Ph.D., Transnational Family Research Institute
Bonding and love between parent and child is a crucial foundation for family integrity and wholesome child development. It is sometimes said that parenthood, particularly motherhood, is a 'natural' condition in which 'there is always room for one more.' But can all parents learn to love a child who was unwanted during pregnancy? Further, even if a woman does love a child born after an unwanted pregnancy, is love ever enough to ensure wholesome child development? Although it is true that unwanted pregnancy does not always translate into unwanted births, research on the development of children who were unwanted during pregnancy suggests that when women say they cannot adequately care for a child, it is important to listen to them.
Both unintended and unwanted childbearing can have negative health, social, and psychological consequences. Health problems include greater chances for illness and death for both mother and child. In addition, such childbearing has been linked with a variety of social problems, including divorce, poverty, child abuse, and juvenile delinquency. In one study, unwanted children were found less likely to have had a secure family life. As adults they were more likely to engage in criminal behavior, be on welfare, and receive psychiatric services. Another found that children who were unintended by their mothers had lower self-esteem than their intended peers 23 years later.
The adverse health consequences of teenagers' inability to control their childbearing can be particularly severe. Teenage mothers are more likely to suffer toxemia, anemia, birth complications, and death. Babies of teenage mothers are more likely to have low birth weight and suffer birth injury and neurological defects. Such babies are twice as likely to die in the first year of life as babies born to mothers who delay childbearing until after age 20.
Although high?quality prenatal care can largely prevent the physical health problems of these children, research has established that their social and psychological problems persist, partially because the mothers are themselves from disadvantaged backgrounds, but also due to the lack of future education and poor employment prospects of teenage mothers. Children born to teenagers are more likely to have lower achievement scores and poorer school adjustment and problem behaviors than children born to older women.
The burden of unintended and unwanted childbearing often compounds social disadvantage, falling disproportionately on women who are young, poor, or members of ethnic minority groups. In 1994, 49 per cent of pregnancies in the U.S. were unintended, with the highest rates of such pregnancies found in women who were between 18-24 years of age, poor, unmarried, Black, or Hispanic. The portrait could be worse: About 54 per cent of those unintended pregnancies were terminated by abortion. When abortion is legal, women who are the most motivated to avoid unwanted childbearing are most likely to seek this option. If they are able to exercise it, the correlation between unwanted childbearing and negative outcomes in the remaining population giving birth is reduced (albeit not eliminated).
Access to abortion continues to play a major role in the prevention of unwanted births around the world. In developed countries (where average desired family size is small), of the 28 million pregnancies occurring every year, an estimated 49 per cent are unplanned; 36 per cent end in abortion. In developing countries (where average desired family size is larger), of the 182 million pregnancies occurring every year, an estimated 36 per cent are unplanned; 20 per cent end in abortion.
Longitudinal research has found that when abortion is denied, the resulting children are more likely to have a variety of social and psychological problems, even when they are born to adult women who are healthy with intact marriages and adequate economic resources. A long term study of children born in 1961-63 to women twice denied abortion for the same pregnancy and pair matched control children born to women who did not request abortion showed significant differences, always in disfavor of the unwanted children. All the children were born into complete families with similar socioeconomic circumstances. Being 'born unwanted' carried a risk of negative psychosocial development, especially for only children who had no siblings. At age nine they did poorer in school (despite no differences on intelligence tests), were less popular with classmates, and were more frequently described by mothers and teachers as being difficult. By age 21 -23 they reported less job satisfaction, more conflict with coworkers and supervisors, and more disappointments in love. By age 35 they had experienced more mental health problems.
In summary, there is a substantial literature that documents the serious health, social, psychological, and economic consequences of unintended and unwanted childbearing. These consequences can include increased maternal and infant death and illness, unstable marriages, and the restriction of educational and occupational opportunities leading to poverty and limited roles for women. These adverse effects are not shared equally by all segments of society, and in the United States fall more heavily on those who are poor, young, or members of an ethnic minority group. Further, evidence suggests that even in advantageous social and economic circumstances, when a pregnancy is unwanted and the women requests an abortion, to deny it forces her to bear a child at risk for psychological problems that are long lasting. In this context, the watchword of the family planning movement - 'Every Child a Wanted Child' has particular meaning for health professionals.
This essay draws upon and updates an essay titled 'When Children are Unwanted' by the authors that was previously published as a Social Issue release from the Board of Social & Ethical Responsibility for Psychology of the American Psychological Association (n.d.).
Additional references:
Alan Guttmacher Institute (1999). Sharing responsibility: Women, society, and abortion worldwide. New York: Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Axinn, W.G., Barber, J. S., & Thornton, A. (1998). The Long-Term Impact of Parents' Childbearing Decisions on Children's Self-Esteem, Demography, 35, 435-443.
David, H.P. (1992). Born unwanted: Long-term developmental effects of denied abortion. Journal of Social Issues, 48, 163-181.
Henshaw, S. K. (1998). Unintended pregnancies in the United States, Family Planning Perspectives, 30 (1), 24-29, 46.
Kost, ., Landry, D. J., & Darroch, J. E. (1998) Predicting Maternal Behaviors During Pregnancy: Does Intention Status Matter? Family Planning Perspectives, 30(2), 79-88.
Kubicka, L., Matejcek, Z., David, H.P., Dytrych, Z., Miller, W.B., and Roth, Z. (1995). Childrenfrom unwanted pregnancies in Prague, Czech Republic revisited at age Thirty. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 91, 361-369.
Matejcek, Z., Dytrych, Z., and Schüller, V. (1978). Children from unwanted pregnancies. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 57, 67-90.
Matejcek, Z., Dytrych, Z., and Schüller, V., (1992). On the prognosis of children from unwanted pregnancies (In German). Der Kinderarzt, 23,1838-1842.
Matejcek, Z., Dytrych, Z, and Schüller, V. (1992). On the prevention of psychological subdeprivation (In German). Der Kinderarzt, 23, 1843-1845.
Myhrman, A.,Olsen, P., Rantakallio, P., and Laara, E.,(1995). Does the wantedness of a pregnancy predict a child's educational attainment? Family Planning Perspectives, 27, 116-119.
Myhrman, A., Rantakallio, P., Sohanni, M.,Jones, P., and Partanen, U. (1996).Unwantedness of a pregnancy and schizophrenia in the child. British Journal of Psychiatry, 169, 637-640.
Russo, N. F. (1992). Psychological aspects of unwanted pregnancy and its resolution. In J. D. Butler & D. F. Walbert (Eds.). Abortion, Medicine, and the Law. 4th Edition (pp. 593-626). NY: Facts on File.
Denious, J. & Russo, N. F. (2000). The Socio-Political Context of Abortion and its Relationship to Women's Mental Health. In J. Ussher (Ed.). Women's Health: Contemporary International Perspectives (pp. 431-439). London: British Psychological Society.
David, H.P., Dytrych, Z., Matejcek, Z., and Schuller, V. (1988). Born unwanted: Developmental effects of denied abortion. New York: Springer Publishing Co.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Distortions Created By Adoptive Parents

Distortions Created By Adoptive Parents

What the psychopathic adoptive mother projects on to the adopted child, the adopted child is forced to accept without cognitive development.

The lies, distorted thinking and unrealistic fantasies told to me by my adoptive mother were believed and accepted by my adopted child ignorance prior to my cognitive development. I was brow beaten, treated with cruel indifference and forced to swallow and repress my emotional needs as they annoyed my adoptive mother.

The adoptive mother's constant punishment based conditioning of the little outsider adopted child to served her purpose for not allowing me to develop an ego. The young childhood years and before elementary school are well remembered as all of my interactions with my adoptive mother are coupled with my fight-or-flight response so the individual will never forget any threat.

My adoptive mother wired my already traumatized brain to detect all forms of threats in my hostile world of the adoptive mother. I am still permanently wired to physically react to any situation that shifts from neutral to the possibility of her screaming at me or striking me in the face. I was conditioned never to speak unless spoken to, asked a question by an authority figure. The authority figure that may or may not allow me to speak has become a later in life problem as I fear all authority figures (at 48 years old) and automatically experience the fight-flight adrenaline responses that I can't control and dread doctors appointments, civil procedures like county clerk offices, police officers, teachers etc. Anyone that spoke to my adoptive mother about my less than acceptable behavior or education failures in childhood is amplified now in adulthood as I respond in fear.

as an adult I will never speak unless I had experienced a situation or done extensive research on the subject to have the ability to speak with my voice as knowledgeable on the topic. And in adulthood my adoptive mother will still say "NO" to my expertise or discount my voice as I am still that ignorant stupid adopted child that knows nothing and surely is not a reliable on any subject matter as she constantly discounts me to my face as a 40 year old adult.    

The magnitude of my adopted child reality is that I am forever this adopted child owned by my adoptive mother who can only see me as that submissive, ignorant and unintelligent child that she rescued. In her mind I was never born so I could never grow up.
What is ironic is that she wanted me to remain dependent in ignorant bliss, which is the opposite of my driving force to be educated, to learn skills and to be independent enough to escape her prison of distortions. The adoptive mother demanded I stay dependent yet felt hostility towards being depended on by the adopted child. The mother was not dependable to the adopted child, but was very dependable, nurturing and respectful to her biological sons.

The adoptive mother role gave the mother social recognition that she craved but the actual relationship with the adopted child was repulsive to her. The adoptive mother's narcissistic tendencies were not directed toward her biological sons, as she thought that she shielded them from her own terror inciting behavior. Yet as grown children of the narcissist mother's behavior we all developed psychopathic coping mechanisms. The more socially acceptable coping behaviors of alcoholism and gambling is contrasted by the adopted child's coping mechanisms of turning her anger, hostility and hatred inward on myself. Yet my saving grace was knowing that I was adopted, that her behavior was not my behavior although very scary, I was not like her. I knew that If I was to successfully escape her clutches, she would be just a bad memory from adopted childhood.
Adopted child, a title that I would spend too many years distancing myself from and denying that adoption existed. To deny that adoption had anything to do with the my present miserable situation, yet I continued to replicate it and seek out replacement abusers that were just as hostile, ignoring and cold to me. Knowing that in the long run they will eventually abandon me and that is the normal cycle of my life as it is all that I know.

When you are told that you were never valued by your real mother and adoptive mother, you have no value. When you are repeatedly told that you are worthless, a financial liability and that you have nothing to contribute to the adoptive family group, you are reduced to a mere parasite taking away
precious attention and resources from those that belong to the biological family.

When the only continuity you have experienced is traumatic events, extreme punishments and psychological manipulations that tell you that you are worthless, you seek the company of other worthless individuals. As these other worthless individuals use you and discard you in this never ending cycle of being abused you embrace it as it is all that you know. Eventually you see every mistake that you have ever made is directly behind you as a tornado path that you created with every piece of trash that you intentionally discarded, individuals you left before they discarded you, the debris of your existence laying in the pile of used trash that constitutes your life and causes you great shame. Where there is no where to turn but inward where these toxic messages distort your being, you are worthless when the only people you know hate you...you hate yourself.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Adoptee's Acknowledging Adoption Pain

Adoptee's Acknowledging Adoption Pain

Our society thinks that adoption is a one time event
that the child can't remember, that is constantly celebrated       by the adoptive parent. The reality for the adopted child
is that we were torn away at birth from our family,
stripped of our identity and forced to live a lie that
benefits the adoptive parent strangers self-esteem.
Although the adopted child's self-esteem is diminished by
providing self-esteem to the adoptive parent by accepting
the adoption lie and denying our own truth.
When we deny ourselves the truth, and live as a puppet
to serve a master, we hate ourselves.
Child Adoption is a lifelong burden to the adopted person
if we acknowledge this truth to ourselves, we don't hate ourselves. We hate adoption, but there is nothing we can do about this fact other than accept it and experience the bad emotions that accompany something that was forced on us when we could not defend ourselves. The truth of forced adoption is that it is a complete injustice to the child, that we had no say when we were young. Now that we are adults we can control what we believe,
but to deny this truth that carries enormous pain each time we are reminded by others that we don't fit. We must acknowledge our emotional pain, it was always there and it will always continue to exist, regardless of biological reunions, good or bad adoptive parents, to deny our pain creates the adoptee's burden of anxiety that accompanies this denial. The more that we mentally acknowledge the pain, verbally talk about our emotional pain, write about this pain and think about it....we let this smoldering infection to co-exist within us, and allow it to be. The adoption pain we feel has nothing to do with the quality of parenting, the number of parents, nothing to do with reunion or building new relationships. There is nothing that defines this adoption pain, unless we deny it, then it has the capacity to control us because we pretend it does not exist. The Adoptee's adoption pain stands alone, it has its own category and is an entity, a manifestation of the many traumatic situations we have survived and is the experience that we dread and refuse to feel. When we allow this pain to live through us, it no longer has the power over us when we try to avoid these dreadful related emotions from being adopted. I will allow my adoption pain his own space as denying that it exists has taken away too many years trying to avoid it. That bad emotional feeling in the pit of my stomach, that comes without warning, as I suppress it.....it morphs into something else that causes me to feel anxiety. When I realize, remember and acknowledge that I am feeling this adoption related pain again, I feel down, sad, alone and then suddenly it is gone as quick as it manifested. Thank you adoption pain for that short visit, may all of your future visits be short and shorter. I am beginning to heal. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Not Belonging in the Adopted Child


To Belong or Not to Belong for the Adopted
Belongingness is the human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, a religion, or something else, people tend to have an 'inherent' desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves. This implies a relationship that is greater than simple acquaintance or familiarity. The need to belong is the need to give, and receive attention to, and from, others.
Belonging is a strong and inevitable feeling that exists in human nature. To belong or not to belong can occur due to choices of one's self, or the choices of others. Not everyone has the same life and interests, hence not everyone belongs to the same thing or person. Without belonging, one cannot identify themselves as clearly, thus having difficulties communicating with and relating to their surroundings.

 Baumeister and Leary argue that belongingness is such a fundamental human motivation that we feel severe consequences of not belonging. If it wasn’t so fundamental, then lack of belonging wouldn’t have such dire consequences on us. This desire is so universal that the need to belong is found across all cultures and different types of people.

Psychological needs

Abraham Maslowe suggested that the need to belong was a major source of human motivation. He thought that it was one of 5 human needs in his hierarchy of needs, along with physiological needs, safety, self-esteem, and self actualization. These needs are arranged on a hierarchy and must be satisfied in order. After physiological and safety needs are met an individual can then work on meeting the need to belong and be loved. According to Maslow, if the first two needs are not met, then an individual cannot completely love someone else.
Other theories have also focused on the need to belong as a fundamental psychological motivation. According to Roy Baumeister ,Mark Leary all human beings need a certain minimum quantity of regular, satisfying social interactions. Inability to meet this need results in loneliness and mental distress and a strong desire to form new relationships. Several psychologists have proposed that there are individual differences in people's motivation to belong. People with a strong motivation to belong are less satisfied with their relationships and tend to be relatively lonely. As consumers, they tend to seek the opinions of others about products and services and also attempt to influence others' opinions.
According to Baumeister and Leary, much of what human beings do is done in the service of belongingness. They argue that many of the human needs that have been documented, such as the needs for power, intimacy approval, achievement and affiliation are all driven by the need to belong. Human culture is compelled and conditioned by pressure to belong. The need to belong and form attachments is universal among humans. This counters the Freudian argument that sexuality and aggression are the major driving psychological forces. Those who believe that the need to belong is the major psychological drive also believe that humans are naturally driven toward establishing and sustaining relationships and belongingness. For example, interactions with strangers are possible first steps toward non-hostile and more long-term interactions with strangers that can satisfy the need for attachments. Certain people who are socially deprived can exhibit physical, behavioral, and psychological problems, such as stress or instability. These people are also more likely to show an increase in aiming to form new attachments.


In all cultures, attachments form universally. Social bonds are easily formed, without the need for favorable settings. The need to belong is a goal-directed activity that people try to satisfy with a certain minimum number of social contacts. The quality of interactions is more important than the quantity of interactions. People who form social attachments beyond that minimal amount experience less satisfaction from extra relationships, as well as more stress from terminating those extra relationships. People also effectively replace lost relationship partners by substituting them with new relationships or social environments. For example, individuals with strong family ties could compensate for loneliness at work.
Relationships missing regular contact but characterized by strong feelings of commitment and intimacy will also fail to satisfy the need. Just knowing that a bond exists may be emotionally comforting, yet it would not provide a feeling of full belongingness if there is a lack of interaction between the persons. The belongingness hypothesis proposes two main features. First, people need constant, positive, personal interactions with other people. Second, people need to know that the bond is stable, there is mutual concern for one another, and that there will be a continuation of that attachment into the future. This means that the need to belong is not just a need for intimate attachments or a need for connections, but that the perception of the bond is just as important as the bond itself. They need to know that the other person cares about his or her well-being and loves him or her.
Baumeister and Leary argue that much of the research on group bonds can be interpreted through the lens of belongingness. They argue that plenty of evidence suggests that social bonds are formed easily. In the classic Robber's cave study, stranger boys were randomly grouped into two different groups and almost immediately, group identification and strong loyalty developed to their specific group. Initially, the two groups were asked to compete with one another, and hostility between the groups ensued. However, when the two groups were combined to form one big group and were given the opportunity to bond by working together to accomplish superordinate  goals, behaviors and emotions accommodated quickly to that new group. In an attempt to understand causes of in-group favoritism, researchers formed a group so minimal and insignificant that one would expect that no favoritism would be found, yet in-group favoritism appeared immediately. Researchers agree that banding together against a threat (the out-group) and sharing rewards are primary reasons groups form and bond so easily. Mere proximity is another powerful factor in relationship formation. Just like babies form attachments with their caregivers, people develop attachments just because they live near one another. This suggests that proximity sometimes overcomes the tendencies to bond with others who are similar to us. Positive social bonds form just as easily under fearful circumstances, such as military veterans who have undergone heavy battle together. This can be explained by either misattribution (interpreting feelings of anxious arousal as feelings of attraction for another person) or reinforcement theory (the presence of another person reduces distress and elicits positive responses). Baumeister and Leary argue that the reinforcement theory explanation provides evidence for the importance of belonging needs because these learned associations create a tendency to seek out the company of others in times of threat. The formation of social attachments with former rivals is a great indicator of the need to belong. Belonging motivations are so strong that they are able to overcome competitive feelings towards opponents.
People form such close attachments with one another that they are hesitant in breaking social bonds. Universally, people distress and protest ending social relationships across all cultures and age spans. Even temporary groups, such as training groups, struggle with the idea that the group may eventually dissolve. The group may have fulfilled their purpose, but the participants want to cling on to the relationships and social bonds that have been formed with one another. The group members make promises individually and collectively to stay in touch, plan for future reunions, and take other steps to ensure the continuity of the attachment. For example, two people may never speak for an entire year, but will continue sending holiday cards to that acquaintance or a stranger from whom they receive cards. People do not want to risk damaging a relationship or breaking an attachment because it is distressing.
People are so hesitant in breaking social bonds that in many cases, they are hesitant to dissolve even bad relationships that could be potentially destructive. For example, many women are unwilling to leave their abusive spouses or boyfriends with excuses ranging from liking for the abuse to economic self-interests that are more important than physical harm. This unwillingness to leave an abusive partner, whether mentally or physically, is just another indicator of the power of the need to belong and how reluctant individuals are to break these bonds. Breaking off an attachment causes pain that is deeply rooted in the need to belong.
People experience a range of both positive and negative emotions; the strongest emotions linked to attachment and belongingness. Empirical evidence suggests that when individuals are accepted, welcomed, or included it leads those individuals to feel positive emotions such as happiness, elation, calm, and satisfaction. However, when individuals are rejected or excluded, they feel strong negative emotions such as anxiety, jealousy, depression, and grief. In fact, the psychological pain caused by social rejection is so intense that it involves the same brain regions involved in the experience of physical pain. Both positive and negative reactions in emotion are connected to status of relationship. The existence of a social attachment changes the way one emotionally responds to the actions of a relationship partner and the emotions have the potential to intensify.
Lack of constant, positive relationships has been linked to a large range of consequences. People who lack belongingness are more prone to behavioral problems such as criminality and suicide and suffer from increasing mental and physical illness. Based on this evidence, multiple and diverse problems are caused by the lack of belongingness and attachments. It therefore seems appropriate to regard belongingness and attachments as a need rather than simply a want.
Relationships that are centrally important in the way people think are interpersonal relationships. The belongingness hypothesis suggests that people devote much of their cognitive thought process to interpersonal relationships and attachments. For example, researchers found that people store information in terms of their social bonds, such as storing more information about a marriage partner as opposed to a work acquaintance. People also sort out-group members on the basis of characteristics, traits, and duties, whereas they sort in-group members on person categories. Cognitive processing organizes information by the person they have a connection with as opposed to strangers. Researchers had a group of people take turns reading out-loud and they found that they had the greatest recall for the words they personally spoke, as well for words spoken by dating partners or close friends. There is a cognitive merging of the self with specific people that is followed by the need to belong. Flattering words that are said to a spouse can enhance the self just as positively. People always believe that nothing bad can happen to themselves, and extend that thought to their family and friends.
There is an emotional implication to belongingness in which positive affect is linked to increases in belongingness while negative affect is linked to decreases in belongingness. Positive emotions are associated with forming social attachments, such as the experience of falling in love, as long as the love is mutual. Unrequited love (love without belongingness) usually leads to disappointment whereas belongingness in love leads to joy. Occasions such as childbirth, new employment, and fraternity/sorority pledging are all associated with the formation of new social attachments surrounded by positive emotions. Forming bonds is cause for joy, especially when the bond is given a permanent status, such as a wedding. Weddings signify permanent commitment and complete the social bond by committing to the spouse’s need to belong. Positive experiences shared emotions increases attraction with others. Close personal attachments, a rich network of friends and high levels of intimacy motivation are all correlated to happiness in life.
The breaking of social bonds and threats to those bonds are primary sources of negative affect. People feel anxious, depressed, guilty or lonely when they lose important relationships. Social exclusion is the most common cause of anxiety. Anxiety is a natural consequence of being separated from others. Examples include children suffering from separation anxiety from being separated from their mothers. Adults act similarly when their loved ones leave for a period of time. Memories of past rejection and imagining social rejection all elicit negative emotions. Losses of attachments lead directly to anxiety. If people are excluded from social groups, people get anxious, yet the anxiety is removed when they experience social inclusion. Failing to feel accepted can lead to social and general depression. Depression and anxiety are significantly correlated. Social exclusion is also a major cause of jealousy, which is a common reaction when one’s relationships are threatened. Jealousy is cross-culturally universal and in all cultures, sexual jealousy is common. It was said earlier that belongingness needs can only truly be met with social contact, but social contact by itself does not shield people against loneliness. Loneliness matters more when there is a lack of intimacy as opposed to lack of contact. Another negative affect is guilt, which is caused to make the other person want to maintain the relationship more, such as paying more attention to that person.
Divorce and death are two negative events that spoil the need to belong. Divorce causes distress, anger, loneliness, and depression in almost everyone. The death of oneself and other people are the most traumatic and stressful events that people can experience. Death can cause severe depression, which is not a reaction to the loss of the loved one, but because there is a loss of the attachment with that other person. For example, a death of a spouse in which there was marriage problems can still elicit in extreme sadness at the loss of that attachment. Death is linked to anxiety and fear of loneliness. The idea of being separated from friends and family, and not the fact that they would no longer exist on this earth, is what brings about this anxiety.
The need to belong.


In order to be accepted within a group, individuals may convey or conceal certain parts of their personalities to those whom they are trying to impress. This is known as self-preservation Self-presentation, or impression management, attempts to control images of the self in front of audiences. It is a conscious and unconscious goal-directed action done to influence audiences to perceive the actor as someone who belongs. Certain aspects of one’s personality may not be seen as desirable or essential to the group, so people will try to convey what they interpret as valuable to the group. For example, in a business setting, people may not show their humorous side but they will try to show their professional side in an attempt to impress those present.

Group membership

Individuals join groups with which they have commonalities, whether it is sense of humor, style in clothing, socioeconomic status, or career goals. In general, individuals seek out those who are most similar to them. People like to feel that they can relate to someone and those who are similar to them give them that feeling. People also like those that they think they can understand and who they think can understand them.

Social connections

The desire to form and maintain social bonds is among the most powerful human motives. If an individual’s sense of social connectedness is threatened, their ability to self-regulate suffers. Social relationships are important for human functioning and well-being therefore, research on how social relationships affect people’s personal interests and motivated behavior has been a focus of numerous studies. Walton, Cohen, and Spencer for example, believed that a mere sense of social connectedness (even with people who were unfamiliar) can cause one to internalize the goals and motivations of others. By doing so, this shapes people’s motivated behavior suggesting achievement motivation and one’s self-identity are highly sensitive to minor cues of social connection. Mere belonging is defined as an entryway to a social relationship which is represented by a small cue of social connection to an individual or group. Social belonging is a sense of relatedness which is connected to a positive, lasting, and significant interpersonal relationships. While mere belonging is a minimal or even chance social connection, social belonging factors are characterized as social feedback, validation, and shared experiences. Sharing common goals and interests with others strengthens positive social bonds and may enhance feelings of self-worth.
In another study, Walton and Cohen examined stigmatization and its link to belonging uncertainty. Their belonging uncertainty idea suggests that in academic and professional settings, members of socially stigmatized groups are more uncertain of the quality of their social bonds. Therefore, they feel more sensitive to issues of social belonging. They believe in domains of achievement, belonging uncertainty can have large effects on the motivation of those challenging with a threatened social identity.


Group membership can involve conformity. Conformity is the act of changing one’s actions, attitudes, and behaviors to match the norms of others. Norms are unsaid rules that are shared by a group. The tendency to conform results from direct and indirect social pressures occurring in whole societies and in small groups. There are two types of conformity motivations known as informational social influence and normative social influence. Information social influence is the desire to obtain and form accurate information about reality. Information social influence occurs in certain situations, such as in a crisis. This information can be sought out by other people in the group or experts. If someone is in a situation where they do not know the right way to behave, they will look at the cues of others to correct their own behavior. These people conform because the group interpretation is more accurate than your own. Normative social influence is the desire to obtain social approval from others. Normative social influence occurs when one conforms to be accepted by members of a group, since the need to belong is in our human desire. When people do not conform, they are less liked by the group and may even be considered deviant. Normative influence usually leads to public compliance, which is fulfilling a request or doing something that one may not necessarily believe in, but that the group believes in.
According to Baumeister and Leary, group conformity can be seen as a way to improve one's chances of being accepted by a social group; thus is serves belongingness needs. People often conform to gain the approval of others, build rewarding relationships, and enhance their own self-esteem. Individuals are more likely to conform to groups who describe out-group members with stereotype traits, even though don’t publicly express their agreement. People desire to gain approval so they conform to others. However, within informational social inclusion, those primed with motivation to make accurate decisions or held accountable, would resist conformity. The beliefs held by others and how we react to those beliefs is often reliant on our view of the amount of agreement for those beliefs. Researchers are interested in exploring informational and normative motivational influences to conform on majorities and minorities. Objective consensus theory suggests that majority influence of a group is informational, while conversion therapy views it as normative. Normative influences may be the underlying motivations behind certain types of conformity; however, researchers believe that after time, informational influences such as confidence in the accuracy of one’s intergroup norms is positively correlated with distinguished level of compromise.
Outside the conscious mind, a type of conformity is behavioral mimicry, otherwise known as the chameleon effect. Behavioral mimicry is when individuals mimic behaviors such as facial expressions, postures, and mannerisms between other individuals. Researchers found that individuals subconsciously conformed to the mannerisms of their partners and friends and liked these partners more who mirrored them. This is important in regard to rapport building and forming new social relationships-we mirror the behaviors we are supposed to, to get to where we want to belong in the group. People are motivated to conform in order to gain social approval, as well as enhance and protect their own self-esteems. However, people who wish to combat conformity and fight that need to belong with the majority group can do so by focusing on their own self-worth or by straying from the attitudes and norms of others. This can establish a sense of uniqueness within an individual. Yet, most individuals keep positive assessments of themselves and still conform to valued groups.


When our belongingness needs are not met, Wilkowski and colleagues (2009) suggest that self-regulation is used to fulfill one’s need to belong. Self-regulation is defined as the process of regulating oneself, or changing one’s behavior, to manage short-term desires according to the self regulation theory. Self-regulation can occur in many different ways. One of these ways uses other individual’s gaze(s) as a reference to understand how attention should be divided. This effect is especially seen within individuals that have low levels of self-esteem. Interpersonal acceptance is not met in individuals with low self-esteem, which prompts them to self-regulate by looking to others for guidance with regards to where to focus attention. Belongingness contributes to this level of self-esteem. Baumeister, Dewall, Ciarocco, and Twenge (2005) found that when people are socially excluded from a group, self-regulation is less likely to be than those who have a heightened sense of belonging. For example, participants were told that the other people in the study did not want to work with them and as a consequence they would have to complete a task on their own. Later, those participants were offered a plate of cookies. The participants that were told that nobody in the group wanted to work with them took more cookies than those who were not told given this information, which provides evidence that a lack of belongingness inhibits people’s ability to self-regulate. Self-regulation includes impulse control and allows one to manage short-term impulses and have a heightened sense of belongingness within an ingroup. An ingroup is a social group in which a person psychologically defines themselves as being a member of that specific group. By being a part of this group, one has a better ability to self-regulate.
g is rooted in evolutionary history. Human beings are social animals. Humans have matured over a long period of time in dyadic and group contexts. Humans evolved in small groups which depended on having close connections in order to fulfill survival and reproductive needs. Unlike other species, humans receive most of what they need from their social group rather than directly from his or her natural environment, suggesting that the human strategy for survival depends on belonging. This explains why a large body of evidence suggests that people are happier and healthier when they experience social belonging. In contrast, lacking belonging and being excluded is perceived as painful and has a variety of negative effects including, shame anger and depression. Because belongingness is a central component of human functioning, social exclusion has been found to influence many behavioral, cognitive and emotional outcomes. Given the negative consequences of social exclusion and social rejection, people developed traits that function to prevent rejection and encourage acceptance.
The need to belong is among the most fundamental of all personality processes. Given the negative consequences of social rejection people developed traits that function to encourage acceptance and to prevent rejection. But if the need to belong evolved to provide people with a means of meeting their basic needs for survival and reproduction based on evolutionary experiences, thwarting the need to belong should affect a variety of outcomes. Because it strikes at the core of human functioning, people respond very strongly to social exclusion.
Both interpersonal rejection and acceptance are psychologically powerful events. Feeling disliked, excluded, unappreciated, or devalued can stir up negative emotions in an individual. Some of these negative emotions include a lower self-esteem, aggressive actions and antisocial. However, believing you are liked, included, appreciated, or valued elicits feelings of higher self-esteem and confidence boosts. A different number of events can lead individuals to feel accepted versus rejected. We can simply see the power of interpersonal acceptance and rejection when accepted vs. ostracized by a group, adored vs. abandoned by a romantic partner, or elected vs. defeated in an election.
However, in all examples, people’s feelings begin from perceived relational evaluation. Perceived relational evaluation is the degree to which you perceive others value having a relationship with you. You will feel more accepted if another person or group regards your relationship with them as real and just as important to them as it is to you. But if they regard that relationship as unimportant, you will feel rejected and respond negatively.
In a series of experiments, Buckley, Winkel, and Leary found that the effects of rejection are more potent than the effects of acceptance because negative feelings can cause more feelings of hurt and pain, which in turn can lead to aggression and negative behaviors. They also found people's reactions to extreme and moderate rejection were similar, suggesting that once one has been rejected by an individual or group, the severity of the rejection is less important.

Procedural justice

Procedural justice, in terms of belongingness, according to van Prooijen and colleagues (2004), is the process by which people judge their level of belongingness in terms of their ability to contribute to a group. Members of a highly inclusive group show a higher level of procedural justice, meaning that individuals that experience high levels of inclusion respond in a more extreme manner to decisions allocated by members of their ingroup than those that are handed down from members of an outgroup. In other words, a person is more likely to believe and support fairness decisions made by members of an ingroup in which they feel like they are a part of, compared to an ingroup in which they do not feel as strongly connected. De Cremer and Blader (2006) found that when people feel a heightened sense of belongingness, they process information about procedural justice in a more careful and systematic way. This means that when people feel like they belong, they are more likely to examine procedural justice issues in a more thorough manner than if they do not feel like they belong.


Fairness principles are applied when belongingness needs are met. Van Prooojen and colleagues (2004) found that fairness maintains an individual’s sense of inclusion in social groups. Fairness can be used as an inclusion maintenance tool. Relationships are highly valued within groups, so members of those groups will seek out fairness cues in order to understand these relationships. De Cremer and colleagues (2013) suggest that individuals with a high need to belong care more about procedural fairness information and therefore pay closer attention to incoming information. Furthermore, Cornelis, Van Hiel, De Cremer and Mayer (2013) propose that leaders of a group are likely to be more fair when they are aware that the followers of the group have a high need to belong versus a low need to belong. This means that when a leader is aware that the members of their group are motivated to fit in and adhere to group values, the leader will be more fair. Leaders will also be more fair in congruence with the amount of empathy the leader feels for the followers. Empathetic leaders are more likely to pay attention to each follower’s differences and will consider their follower’s belongingness needs when making decisions. In addition, Cornelis, Van Hiel, & De Cremer (2012) discovered that leaders will be more fair in granting their followers voice when the leader is aware that the follower has a high need to belong. This occurs because of the attraction a leader feels to the follower and to the group. Leaders that are attracted to their followers and to the group will be motivated by the follower’s need to belong to allow them a greater voice in the group.

Behavior/social problems

Belongingness, also referred to as connectedness, has been established as a strong risk/protective factor for depressive symptoms. There is growing evidence that the interpersonal factor of belongingness is strongly associated with depressive symptoms. The impression of low relational value is consciously experienced as reduced self-esteem. Reduced self-esteem is a fundamental element of depressive symptoms. According to these views, belongingness perceptions have a direct effect upon depressive symptoms due to innate neurological mechanisms. A number of studies have confirmed a strong link between belongingness and depressive symptoms using the Sense of Belonging Instrument-Psychological measurement. This measurement scale contains 14 items which invoke the social world. An example being, “I don’t feel that there is any place where I really fit in this world.” The SOBI-P is intended to measure a general sense of belonging.
Group membership has been found to have both negative and positive associations with behavior problems. Gender differences have been consistently observed in terms of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. Girls reported more internalizing behaviors such as depression, and boys reporting more externalizing problems. However, by providing a sense of security and peer acceptance, group membership may reduce the tendency to develop internalizing problems such as depression or anxiety. A lack of group membership is associated with behavior problems and puts adolescents at a greater risk for both externalizing and internalizing problems. However, the need to belong may sometimes result in individuals conforming to delinquent peer groups and engaging in morally questionable activities, such as lying or cheating.
People who are depressed often fail to satisfy their need for belonging in relationships and therefore, report fewer intimate relationships. Those who are depressed appear to induce negative affect in other individuals, which consequently elicits rejection and the loss of socially rewarding opportunities. Depressed people are less likely to feel a sense of belonging and are more likely to pay attention to negative social interactions. Research has found that depressive symptoms may sensitize people to everyday experiences of both social rejection and social acceptance.


Numerous studies have indicated that low belonging, acquired ability to self-injure, and burdensomeness are associated with suicidal behaviors. A recent theoretical development: interpersonal theory of suicidal behavior, offers an explanation for the association between parental displacement and suicidal behavior. Thomas Joiner, who recently proposed an interpersonal theory of suicide, suggests that two elements must be present in order for suicidal behavior to occur. The first element is the desire for suicide and the second is the acquired capability for suicide. In turn, the desire for suicide, is broken into two components: thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness. Together these two components create a motivational force for suicidal behavior. Specifically speaking of adolescent suicidal behavior, the theory proposes that suicidal behavior is a result of individuals having a desire for death and the acquired ability to self-inflict injuries. Increased acquired ability refers to a lack of pain response during self-injury which has been found to be linked to the number of suicide attempts in a lifetime.
Displacement from parents includes events such as abandonment of the adolescent, divorce, or death of a parent. Parental relationships are a representation of belonging for adolescents because parents may be particularly important for providing the stable and caring relationships that are a fundamental component of belonging. Relationships between parents and adolescents that are positive have been found to be a protective factor that reduces the risk of suicidal behavior in adolescents. Connectedness with parents such as closeness between parent and child and the perceived caring of parents, has been associated with lower levels of past suicide attempts and ideation. Another protective factor found against adolescent suicide attempts was higher levels of parental involvement.
According to Baumeister and Leary, belongingness theory proposes that the desire for death is caused by failed interpersonal processes. Similar to Joiner, one is a thwarted sense of belonging due to an unmet need to belong and the other process being a sense that one is a burden on others. They argue that all individuals have a fundamental need to belong. This need to belong is only met if an individual has frequent, positive interactions with others and feels cared about by significant others. The concept of low belonging suggested by interpersonal theory of suicidal behavior is most relevant to parental displacement and adolescent suicidal behavior because it is likely that parental displacement would affect perceived belonging of adolescents. It was found that adolescents who averaged at about the age of 16, who experienced both low levels of belonging and displacement had the highest risk for suicide. Parental displacement would disrupt the parent-adolescent relationship and consequently would diminish both the frequency and quality of interactions between the two, reducing the adolescent’s sense of belonging.
A study conducted on suicide notes, examined the frequency in themes of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness in samples of suicide notes. The study of suicide notes has been a useful method for examining the motivations of suicides. It is important to note that this research is limited due to the small proportion of completed suicides that actually leave notes. This specific study explored the extent to which the content in the suicide notes reflected thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness. They also examined the extent to which these two themes were found in the same note. What this study found was that interpersonal theory of suicide which proposes suicidal behavior is caused by perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness combined with acquired capability, was not significantly reflective in the suicide notes. Therefore, there was no strong support for the relevance of perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness as motivations of suicide. They did however, find that the suicide notes of women more frequently contained the theme of perceived burdensomeness and suicide notes of younger people more frequently contained thwarted belongingness.