Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Grudges, Hatred and The Blame Game

I recently walked into a buzz-saw and am glad to have kept all my limbs. Said buzz-saw is an adopted adult male who is very close to a cherished family member. Just mentioning the idea that this person might have been hostile towards me due to the fact that I was a mother of adoption loss started a poisonous rant against his own natural parents and several direct digs at me.

He's a BSE/EMS baby and has no compassion or empathy for his natural mother or father. He used the phrase, "they hammered me out at Woodstock" and referred to their youth (13 and 15 at Woodstock???) with derision. His anger was so intense as to be palpable and I felt both offended by him and very sad for him. I think the "facts," as he has them, were told to him by his adopters and there might have been some exaggeration on their part. Adopters have a way of doing that, sometimes. They want to be the "as if born to" Mommy and Daddy so much that they might slip in a distortion or two.

This toxic resentment is turned against himself as well as his natural parents, only he doesn't see it. He's a lot smarter than he makes himself out to be, but keeps that a secret. He's a "bad boy" and that is how it is. My family member loves him so I accept him, hostility and all. We have come to a place of peace between us, but he doesn't know how much I was able to glimpse the pain inside. He thinks he has it covered up with his anger. He is rabidly stubborn about this, so it is what it is. And he does love my dear one.

My oldest son has serious anger management issues. However, he cannot bring himself to direct that anger at me, so it goes out to anyone who gets in his way. That, of course, has caused him innumerable problems. Again, there is little I can do but love him as he is, unconditionally.

There is righteous anger at injustice and then there is malicious anger. One can be harnessed and turned into creative and productive action. The other eats away at the person who feels it until they are controlled by it.

I stopped reading at a particular forum where the resentment against natural mothers, all of us, regardless of the situation, ran like a fresh, hot lava flow. I can't subject myself to that and maintain my peace of mind, but I do worry a lot about the people on that forum and their mothers. So many hold their anger to their bosom like a beloved pet, stroking the grudge, ramping up the hatred and blaming it all on the mothers. The people whose mothers rejected them at reunion transfer their blaming to all mothers, regardless of their story, reunion status or stance on adoption.

I used to blame my father for all the bad things in my life. I hated him, held a long-term grudge and thought I was justified. I had to laugh when I grew up enough to learn that the only person hurt by my hateful grudge was me. My dad was going about his (monkey) business, blissfully uncaring of my feelings. That was a big, fat "Whoa!" for me. That's also when I first learned that hatred is not the opposite of love. It is the other side of the same coin. Indifference is the opposite of love and I obviously was not indifferent to my father.

I wonder if the young man in my family's life or any of the mud-flinging adults on that forum realize that, if they flip that coin, they are going to find the ache of love, denied. I guess it is a lot easier to be pissed from the get-go. Examining the side where the love is can be a lot like exploring a painful cavity in a tooth with your tongue. It might even call for looking inside oneself and taking responsibility for one's own feelings and actions.

Until they are able to do that, I tread warily among them. Even though I disagree with the essence of their complaint (abandonment) and feel it is, more often than not, baseless in fact, I do accept and understand, better than they know, their feelings.

I just know better than to pet a rabid dog.


Robin said...

* There is an error not allowing me to moderate comments so I am trying to re-post Carlynne's.

Carlynne has left a new comment on your post "Grudges, Hatred and The Blame Game":

Very well put. I am seeing more and more of the anger you're talking about since reading more of the pages on FB and some forums. Sometimes I answer, sometimes I don't - depends on my mood and whether I can keep a civil tone at that moment. I'm finding myself avoiding some sites because it's so upseting to see and feel that anger aimed at mothers like myself. It feels like a dagger, like it's really aimed at me personally. I wish there was a way to help but unfortunately I (or we) can't do the work for them and I can't take the blame for what caused their anger.

Sandy Young said...

I agree with this post adamantly and with Carlynne's comments, as well. Oddly, I was in Chat last night at Joe Soll's, the first time in a very long time, and told him that I missed the old MSN forums, where there was civil conversations between mothers and adoptees and a place of understanding was reached. There was empathy, and a respect that is not shown in many places on the internet.

The thing that was most amazing about it is that it was largely unmoderated, but the respect was there, despite. The information and education flowed in both directions. I miss that. I think that the individualized forums are a not good thing.

With the demise of the MSN forums, like Adoptese (which even the new one is crashed and unavailable now!) and AI and AAI, there are no places where adoptees and mothers can learn from each other with no adopters present to guide the conversation in their favor.


Robin said...

You have a fonder recollection than I do, Sandy. I remember many times when things could get very nasty on those forums and in chat. Maybe Joe has been able to tone that adoptee resentment down a notch.

Just Me said...

Hi Robin...

I will admit that I am guilty of this anger at times. Being the adoptee in my situation, sometimes I am angry at the world it seems. Other times my anger is directed at my birth mother for some of the things that she has done. Other times, I'm just angry at myself for caring. I've been in and out of therapy for years trying to deal with it. I have found the best remedy so far has been meeting other mothers like you as well as other adoptees. Thank you for speaking up... it's clear that many others are not able to find their voices.

Sandy Young said...

yes, Robin, there were harsh times on them, but for the most part there was a lot of support and ideas exchanged. There was none of the involvement of adopters, so the adoptees didn't have to be mindful of their feelings, and the mothers were able to explain things to the adoptees in a way they understood.

I think with the demise of places like Adoptese, and the formation of the groups that are ONLY for adoptees or ONLY for mothers or ALL parties to adoption, there has b een a breakdown in understanding and education.

Robin said...

Well, it seems that the harsh times led to the separation of the forums, to me. That's just how I remember it. We'll agree to disagree on this one. I'm not saying that a forum for adopted people and mothers isn't a good idea...I just think it should be handled a lot more democratically than some were in the past.

Von said...

Had to stay away from forums, I couldn't take the criticism and hatred of mothers.It seems fed by the info given them by adopters backed up by a bit of Christian 'forgiveness and charity' Too hard basket, even for an adoptee.
Great post, so sad to see adoptees in denial, hurting themselves some more.

Anonymous said...

A lot of us adoptees are angry, and rightly so. BUT, adoptors also have a way of manipulating our views on our adoption when we are young. Some of us never overcome that brainwashing.

In the "real" world where no one speaks of adoption unless it is all butterflies and rainbows, many adoptees are forced to keep their pain inside where it festers. It sounds like that is what happened to this young man.

I belong to the AAAFC forum. We have first mothers there. I don't sense any hostility towards them. I consider them friends.

I've heard of these other malicious forums. I would probably lash out and get angry too. I'm 40 (almost 41) and I'm tired of my pain dismissed and being labeled "ungrateful", etc.

I suggest you give this young man the AAAFC website link. He can vent to those of us who understand. Joining that site has been so therapeutic for me and it helps focus my anger at the adoption industry. Our mothers were used just like we were by the vulture circling, baby snatching machine.

Robin said...

Thank you, Anon. And I am so sorry that you have suffered this pain. I can tell you that, had we mothers, especially those of us in that era, had known the real story, there would have been a lot fewer surrenders. I hate it that the industry has refined its methods.

I will certainly suggest that site to him. He is not really the kind to "share" and is very crude and vulgar when crossed. But we can hope. There must be something good about him or my dear one wouldn't love him.