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.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Emotionally Numb and Emotionally Detatched Adoptees

Emotionally Numb and Emotionally Detatched Adoptees
Adopted children traumatized at birth, continually traumatized
by insensitive adoptive mothers become lost to ourselves, lost to others and emotionally dead inside. I feel nothing or I feel everything to the point of overwhelming emotional feelings that cripple my ability to function. There is no in-between emotional feelings for adoptees. No medium tolerable emotional response or feeling, as it is always extreme. Too little or too much emotional feelings or emotional stimulation reduces me to rubble and homeostasis can't be achieved. If I allow my tears to form, the ocean may pour out of my eyes if I am not on constant alert to this overwhelming feeling that will take my mind hostage and I may loose my grip on reality, so I stay watchful for any signs that may provoke an emotional over-reaction. I don't ever want to feel at the mercy of others ever again, where they are in control and I am not. I have lost it about a dozen times in my life and I hated myself for allowing myself to feel like a hostage to my over the top emotions. I'd rather be numb and in control as no body could ever understand what hell the adopted child lives, and they don't want to know anyhow. As knowing the adopted child's intimate horrific personal experiences would challenge a person's set norms and principles that make them comfortable in their world.    
 What is the relationship between emotional numbness and extreme emotional sensitivity?
As human beings, when we face danger, there are three responses: fight, flight and freeze. When faced with extreme situation such as childhood abuse, trauma or grief, it is natural for our body and psyche to go into ‘numbing mode’ as part of a freezing response. However, sometimes such protective reflex remains for much longer after the actual danger has passed and becomes a way of life. This is when a person becomes emotionally detached, and experiences life in a ‘dissociated’, or ‘depersonalised’ way.
At first glance, it may seem counterintuitive to think that emotional numbness can be a result of emotional intensity and sensitivity. Yet emotional numbing is often not a conscious choice; you may not even be aware of the pattern building up until it has become your ‘normal’ way of functioning. You may have developed emotional detachment as a protective shield because you have learned from an early experience that revealing the true extent of your intense adoptee feelings would lead to rejection, abandonment, or shame as adopted children. It maybe from your authority figures or society pressure that you have learned in order to survive it is better to hide your intensity and sensitivity. Although the pattern started off as a way of protecting you from others, it can eventually morph into you hiding from yourself or denying your own needs altogether. This is especially likely when someone has experienced repeated wounding, emotional deprivation, or neglect as adoptee's live it.
Emotional detachment is experienced differently by different people: Adoptees may feel a lingering sense of doom, boredom and emptiness; Adoptees may feel that you are not able to show or feel any emotions, to respond to events with joy or sadness as others would, or to connect with others in a deep and meaningful way. Many adoptees feel that they are holding back, watching life goes by without being ‘in it’. Although the pains of life seemed to have been dampened, you also do not feel the full extent of positive emotions such as love, joy or any connections to others.
The emotional numbing is a protective shield that seems effective at first - we feel that the pain has temporarily gone way, that you can ‘get on with life’, perhaps you even feel empowered and confident. You may feel that you can function normally - get up in the morning, get dressed, exist in the world… Although things are fine on the ‘productivity front’, Adoptees feel overcome by a wave of sadness or loneliness and despair.
The problem with over-using the emotional shield is that when the emotions are not digested, they remain suppressed and accumulate in your system: You may feel particularly sensitive or irritable, especially when the tension, anxiety and frustration reach the extreme effect on the adopted child. Then certain triggers, benign and minor situations, catch the adoptee off guard and cause you to ‘blow up’. Suddenly, you are being knocked back into the reality of having to feel real feelings. Yet because you have been ‘cut off’ from when these feelings build up, these outbursts can seem like they have no connection to the present. 
When the adoptee is cut off from parts of yourself, you act to maintain the adopted child role that is not congruent with your true self. Since the underlying needs of adopted child's comfort and safety are not met, we resort to self-soothing by eating, gambling drinking, drugs, spending, and engaging in impulsive behaviors without knowing why and some adoptees block out the cause and effect memories of what originally occurred.
Adoptees refuse to remember much of their adopted childhood, and feel confused when they look at old pictures of themselves. At the extreme of adoptee numbing, remaining cut off can lead to serious consequences of mental health. Over reactions to others can't be taken back, and the path of destruction from the emotional numb adoptee is full of broken relationships and decisions we regret.
Psychologists such as Dr. Jeffrey Young call this as a ‘detached protector’ mode, and sums up its presentation as the following: 
"Signs and symptoms of the detached protector mode include depersonalisation, emptiness, boredom, substance abuse, over-consumption, self-mutilation, psychosomatic complaints, “blankness,” may adopt a cynical, aloof or pessimistic stance to avoid investing in people or activities.’’
According to Dr. Young, most people with BPD spend majority of their time, including during therapy, in the ‘detached protector mode’. This is not surprising because as the therapy process stirs feelings up, your subconscious mind receive the signal of ‘threat’, and feel the need to put up this protective shield even more. Therapy produces hard emotional work, not the immediate feeling of good, as the reprocessing of ignored feelings takes years to recover in processing numb emotions that we refused to experience.  
In fact, it is entirely natural for you to want to hold onto this protective shield in the beginning, especially before a level of trust is built between you and your therapist. However, it is important that your therapist is aware of this pattern and is able to have an open and non-judgmental conversation with you. Given that therapy is an invitation for your ‘true self’ to be seen, your progress may remain stagnated if you remain ‘shielded’ for the whole time you are in therapy. 
Many people who operates in a shielded mode has a fear of being ‘dropped in the deep end’, they fear the uncertainty of not knowing what it would be like to start feeling things; they are worried that they will go into a depressed/crisis state, or that they will be hurt by others again. In this case, a skilled therapist would work with you to build the emotional skills and resilience up, so that you feel safe enough to tap your toe into the feeling field. Your therapist might work with you on strategies such as learning to label emotions, learning to self-regulate and self-care, experimenting with feelings in ‘small doses’, and expressing them in a safe context. Once you feel that you have some degree of capacity, the ‘thawing’ process often naturally follow. At that point, you would have re-opened the door to experience life’s joy, abundance and aliveness - things that a hidden part of you have long been yearning for, not before the pain and agony that we refused to acknowledge in adopted childhood.