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.
Monday, June 19, 2017
The Use of Self-Justification in Adoption
The SELF-JUSTIFICATION In Adoption
Self-justification describes how, when a person encounters cognitive dissonance, or a situation in which a person's behavior is inconsistent with their beliefs, that person tends to justify the behavior and deny any negative feedback associated with the behavior.
The need to justify our actions and decisions, especially the ones inconsistent with our beliefs, comes from the unpleasant feeling called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a state of tension that occurs whenever a person holds two inconsistent cognitions. For example, "smoking will shorten the life which I wish to live for as long as possible" and yet "I smoke three packs a day".
Dissonance is bothersome in any circumstance but it is especially painful when an important element of self-concept is threatened. For instance, if the smoker considered himself a healthy person, this would cause a greater deal of dissonance than if he considered himself an unhealthy person because the dissonant action is in direct conflict with an image of himself. In this case, people who tried to stop smoking but failed start to think that smoking is not harmful as much as they thought.
Dissonance can result from an action dissonant with either a negative or positive concept. For example, Aronson showed that students who failed numerous times at a task showed evidence of dissonance when they later succeeded at the same task. Some even went to the extent of incorrectly changing answers in order to present a consistent image.
Steele argues that the main cause of dissonance is not necessarily the difference between actions and beliefs, but the resulting degradation of self-image. By not behaving in line with his beliefs, this may threaten his integrity. One method of reducing dissonance would then be to reaffirm his ‘goodness’. Researchers have shown that this reaffirmation is actually better at reducing dissonant feelings if it is in an unrelated area than a related one. For example, if a smoker is experiencing dissonance because he knows that smoking is bad for his health, he could reduce his dissonance by reminding himself that he is an environmentally friendly person and does a lot of good in reducing his carbon footprint. However, a reminder that he is a healthy person who exercises regularly is actually more likely to increase feelings of dissonance. In support of this idea, research shows that in low-threat situations, people with high self-esteem are less likely to engage in self-justification strategies than those with low self-esteem. It is possible that people with high self-esteem have more accessible positive thoughts about themselves that can successfully reduce dissonance. However, in high threat situations, these positive thoughts are not enough, and high self-esteem people do engage in self-justification strategies.
There are two self-justification strategies: internal self-justification (IS) and external self-justification (ES).
Internal self-justification refers to a change in the way people perceive their actions. It may be an attitude change, trivialization of the negative consequences or denial of the negative consequences. Internal self-justification helps make the negative outcomes more tolerable and is usually elicited by hedonistic dissonance. For example, the smoker may tell himself that smoking is not really that bad for his health.
In Adoption: The adoptive mother tells herself "the birth mother ABANDONED this infant" to avoid feeling GUILTY about taking the biological mother's child away.
External self-justification refers to the use of external excuses to justify one's actions. The excuses can be a displacement of personal responsibility, lack of self-control or social pressures. External self-justification aims to diminish one's responsibility for a behavior and is usually elicited by moral dissonance. For example, the smoker might say that he only smokes socially and because other people expect him to.
In Adoption: The adoptive mother tells all others, often, that "the child's mother abandoned him on the street", instead of the truth that the infant was forcibly taken away against the mother's protests. Where society believes the adoptive mother is "more entitled" than a poor, single mother that TEMPORARILY lacks financial resources in the present. Due to the social belief that financial resources provide superior adoptive parenting, The society bestows the "entitlement belief" on the adoptive mother, if you believe money is more important than human bonding. Although the biological mother is maternally bonded to her offspring forever making her superior.
If people have too much external justification for their actions, cognitive dissonance will not occur, and thus, attitude change is unlikely to occur. On the other hand, when people cannot find external justification for their behavior, they must attempt to find internal justification – they reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes or behaviors.
The theory of insufficient justification has many applications in education and child rearing. A study by Aronson & Carlsmith illustrates the results of external rewards in the classroom. They told a classroom full of preschoolers not to play with an attractive toy, threatening half with a mild punishment and half with a severe punishment if they did play with it, and then left the room. None of the children played with the toy. When the researchers came back, they asked the children to rate the attractiveness of the toy. Those who had been threatened with severe punishment still rated it as very attractive; these children had large external justification for not playing with the toy, and so their attitudes had not changed. However, those who had only been threatened with a mild punishment rated the toy as significantly less attractive; without much external justification for not playing with the toy, they had to create internal justifications to reduce their dissonance. (The story of the fox and the grapes)
This study can be very useful to parents who use punishment to help teach their children good values. The milder the punishment used, the more children will have to develop internal justification for behaving well. Similarly, if educators want children to internalize their lessons and develop a love of learning, they must help the children find internal justifications for their schoolwork, and minimize externals rewards.
Related, "the hypocrisy induction" – a form of strong internal justification for changing attitudes and behaviors - has been used in recent decades to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The hypocrisy induction is the arousal of dissonance by having individuals make statements that do not align with their own beliefs, and then drawing attention to the inconsistencies between what they advocated and their own behaviors, with the overall goal of leading individuals to more responsible behaviors.
In 1991, Aronson and colleagues asked two groups of college students to compose a speech describing the dangers of HIV/AIDS and advocating the use of condoms during every sexual encounter. One group just composed the arguments; the other also recorded their arguments in front of a video camera that they were told was going to be seen by an auditorium of high school students. Additionally, half the students in each group were made mindful of their own failings to use condoms. The researchers found that the students who had made the video and thought about their own behaviors – they had the highest level of internal justification and thus the highest dissonance condition – were far more likely to buy condoms afterwards than the students in any other group. Those who only performed a single action, like composing the written arguments, were much more easily able to attribute what they were doing to external justification (i.e.- I’m doing this because the researcher told me to.) Furthermore, they found these results to be steady even several months after the study concluded.