adoptive mother's hostility to son/daughter's natural mother

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adoptive mother's hostility to son/daughter's natural mother

Postby sylvie » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:54 am

Quite often in reunion situations, adoptive mothers say certain things. These are some:

    I fear I am going to lose my child
    I fear I am going to be replaced
    I fear I am no longer needed
    I fear I am going to be pushed out
    I fear I will no longer be loved
    I don't want to share my child

When I hear these things said by adoptive mothers, I think to myself 'but these things actually happened to us, the natural mothers. What you fear actually did happen to us. So why doesn't that lead to empathy and understanding instead of hostility?'

I realise now, after hearing about reunions which were warmly and genuinely welcomed by adoptive mothers, who knew how important this was to their sons/daughters and supported them through it with great love, that a.mother's reactions to it is a reflection of them as a person.
When I worked with elderly people, I came to see that they were older versions of their younger selves. The mean ones had been mean youngsters, the kind ones had similarly been kind when they were young.
I think now that how women react to their son's/daughter's reunion with the natural family says very much about the woman herself, the kind of person she is.
Last edited by sylvie on Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reunited with my beloved son after decades of separation which began when I was a young teenager and he was newly born, and finally ended a few years ago when we met again as fully-grown adults.
sylvie
 
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Re: adoptive mother's hostility to son/daughter's natural mo

Postby ladyarcher » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:21 am

Sylvie says........ heartbreakingly......... 'these things actually happened to us'..........and 'why doesn't it lead to empathy and understanding instead of hostility.......?.'

One would think that there is no answer to that question......however I can put forward, rather tentatively, a theory.........my theory is, that in most cases of adoption, the a.mother is the person who is trying to replace, or cure, her own problem........i.e. that of infertility ...

.....before I get jumped on I know there are cases where it is the man's infertility.......and there are cases where the a.parents are purely altruistic in their desire to give a home to a homeless or disabled child.......however in the past these categories will have been in the minority......

...the main reason to adopt was to 'cure' infertility.......or, perhaps to put it more strongly.......it was because some women had decided that they were not going to be said 'no' to, by nature, .......you could go so far as to say they might have been 'spoilt' children, who always had what they wanted.........if this is the case, then all those comments quoted by Sylvie are going to apply to a greater and lesser extent, but the most significant one is going to be the last one......' I don't want to share my child ' ............... the ability to 'share' is probably the bedrock of human survival as a species .......and the twin of 'sharing' is 'caring' ........non carers, are also non sharers ........if you care about other human beings, you will share with them, down to your last berry or sip of water .........if you are selfish, then you will secretly eat that last berry and take that last sip yourself.........

as Sylvie says, getting older does not appear to change a person's basic personality........so if age and experience do not change someone, then adopting certainly is not going to.........

Just my opinion........and it's too hot to fight....... 8)

LA
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Re: adoptive mother's hostility to son/daughter's natural mo

Postby sylvie » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:15 pm

Thank you for your really insightful thoughts on this Ladyarcher. I always welcome your views as you often suggest things I had not thought of.

To be honest, my son's a.mother's hostility came as an utter shock to me - it never crossed my mind that she would feel that way towards me. I thought we would both celebrate our lovely son, and share stories about him and his wonderful place in our lives (I've heard of reunions like this).

Now her attitude to me has led to great pain and anguish for our son as he wrestles with how to live with his deep love for all of us in the light of the implied and actual ultimatums and emotional demands made by his a.mum, and the guilt he feels as a result. He shouldn't have to feel this way - he has a right to us all. He is doing nothing wrong by wanting and having relationships with us all. He didn't choose this situation and the fact of his life is that he has two families who he loves.

Her actions are also deeply and viscerally painful for me too, as I am forced back into the invisibility corner by the oppressive nature of her demands on our very vulnerable and hurting son. I hope that one day he can find the strength to allow himself the right to say what he would like (whatever that is) rather than having to live beneath the overwhelming demands of his amum. As far as I'm concerned, that isn't love.
Reunited with my beloved son after decades of separation which began when I was a young teenager and he was newly born, and finally ended a few years ago when we met again as fully-grown adults.
sylvie
 
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Re: adoptive mother's hostility to son/daughter's natural mo

Postby ladyarcher » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:38 pm

Perhaps, and hopefully, there are more reunions where the a. and b. mothers can share the in joy of having 'their' child ........ there was one, in fact, on Longlost Families a couple of weeks ago....... and perhaps, for the most part we only hear of the 'bad' ones, because people with 'good' ones do not need to read or post on forums.......although it is a pity that they do not, for it would at least give a different view, although probably it would not change the attitudes of a.mothers who cannot share........

For myself......and I apologise to those who have read this before ......... my a.mother came in the category of 'not being said 'no' to, by nature' .......I am sure that she was v.unhappy about her inability to conceive.............and I do not in any way mean to infer that there is no pain attached to this, of course there is.......however in her case she was a much indulged younger child of old parents in their forties when she was born, and with a much older sister, and as such had never been said 'no' to, and she was perhaps one who might have gained some benefit from learning a little more about self-knowledge and personal insight.......in many ways she was not a 'bad' mother........I was never ill treated in any way, and I had a comfortable and well provided for childhood.......albeit as an only child, which having come, at aged two, from being with two older half sisters and an older half brother, and briefly having my baby full sister, I was, looking back, lonely......possibly 'lonely' is the wrong word as I grew up from aged four with my best friend, and she still is after 65 years ....... but perhaps 'mystified' is a better term as of course I had no idea where these other children had gone......one minute there, the next, never seen again ........or at least not until I reconnected with them in my early 40s.......

Going back to my a.mother ........ she was so pleased with 'being a mother', that she never let an opportunity pass to inform any acquaintance of her status as someone who had 'given a home to an unwanted child'......note, I was not 'unwanted'........she also constantly referred to me as 'her success story'......this meant, of course, that everyone knew I was an 'adopted child'......... now that may seem insignificant these days, but believe me in polite Surrey society in the 1950s, and at a posh private girls' school, it was deeply significant.......I find it difficult to understand why my a.mother did not realise this, I can only put it down to her enormous sense of self worth, misplaced as it was........'Bastard' was........ in those days....... not a term of endearment ....... Mother brought me up to feel that 'Mother' was the centre of the universe, and all things 'good'........so of course for many years this was my belief......however as I grew older, and saw how other peoples' mothers were, her pedestal rocked a fair bit,.........it cracked when she made a spirited attempt to take my boys from me on my divorce, .............and then crumbled completely when I discovered that she had all the time known that I had a full sister, and that she could have had both of us..............I cannot revere someone who deliberately separates close siblings like that................even my b.father's poor wronged wife had offered to adopt both of us together..............but the authorities at the time would not allow us to go to Canada...........hmph.......I wonder if one could feel a law suit coming on.......... :?: ..........deprivation of living with one's b.father and full sister..........

.Seriously though...........I think that the reason she didn't choose to have both of us, was to do with being in total control........one child has no 'partner' to run to in trouble, or to side with against parental authority.......two or more children, siblings, form their own 'gang', in a sense........Mother wanted to be 'all things' to one child, and she could not have done this if there were two of us......

I kept my a.mother and my b.mother strictly apart.......my a.mother with her sanctimonious and 'enquiring' solid middle classed-ness would have terrified my birth mother.......she would have enquired into every deepest part of my birth mother's life and feelings......all under the 'banner' of 'helping' her....and 'taking an interest' ....... in a heavy footed 'do gooding' sort of way ......... and would have been amazed if I had told her not to.......however I did invite my b.mother to meet my lovely second mother in law, who was in her own way as timid as my b.mother........they got on like a house on fire.......as I knew they would.......sadly they did not get to see each other often because of the distance away that my mother in law lived, and neither of them made a great age.......

As well as b.mothers feeling guilt, a.mothers, as you say Sylvie, are extraordinarily good at making adoptees feel guilty.......us adoptees are there to make our a.mothers h...a...p...p...y that is our prime directive, we absorb this, not with our 'mother's milk'.......but from the air around our 'new' mothers........we can't help it, we constantly hear as we are growing up, people say to our a.parents...... 'you must be so happy'......'you must be so proud of your new son/daughter'......'you are wonderful to take on a child when you don't know how they will turn out'....and they also say to us 'you must be so happy, you are so lucky to have such good parents'...so, as adoptees we do our best to 'be happy', and 'feel lucky', and to 'make our a.parents proud', and to 'turn out well....' some adoptees, of course, rebel, .......or are good for ages, and then rebel...........I come into that last category by the way......and some are deeply scarred and unhappy for many years when they are made to feel that they 'have not come up to scratch'.....and have not done well 'after all we have done for you....' I slid into that category too, for a while, but happily was firmly dug out of it by my second husband.......

As you say, Sylvie, loading a child with that sort of guilt is not love, but I think that perhaps in this case one can specify 'adoptees' as we are perhaps particularly vulnerable in the guilt and expectations stakes........

LA
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Re: adoptive mother's hostility to son/daughter's natural mo

Postby sylvie » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:26 pm

Your account of your life always moves me greatly, Ladyarcher, as does the heart I hear in you now.

I wondered, while I was reading your post, have you written any of this down, apart from on this forum?
Also, were you one of five, who then went on to have five children yourself?

I felt very sad reading about how you went from a world of five tiny folk to a world essentially of one.


I wonder if one could feel a law suit coming on


Such thoughts have entered my mind when I reflect that, despite being under 18 and having no parent or legal representative with me, I was allowed to sign the adoption papers. At that age, I was regarded as too young to sign most legal papers, but apparently not those.



PS Your second husband sounds like a bit of a gem.
Reunited with my beloved son after decades of separation which began when I was a young teenager and he was newly born, and finally ended a few years ago when we met again as fully-grown adults.
sylvie
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:39 pm

Re: adoptive mother's hostility to son/daughter's natural mo

Postby ladyarcher » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:46 pm

I used to write on the adoption threads that were on GenesR......but have not renewed my membership for several years now.....I also used to put a bit on the Sagazone forums, but sadly Sagazone has shut down due to Trolls we were told..........and I haven't written things down other than on here, I do feel very comfortable with this board, I like the way we can continue conversations on different angles of the subjects, whereas on Facebook there is not the division of threads.......
.
I have tinkered with 'real' writing, from time to time, and had a few bits in print many years ago......none were anything to do with adoption though...also had some encouragement from the BBC for an idea, but did not follow it up yet, due to lack of time.....I have also actually completed a novel for children, but of course not sent it anywhere.......there would be two, or three more in the same series, and they are barely started...........a very good friend is being very encouraging about some outlines I have for a longer work re my adoption, which will be largely based on fact, yet with a twist, that will put it firmly in fiction.......don't know if I will every send it to a publisher......or possibly attempt to have it dramatised......it would fit with the 70th anniversary of the end of the war......I think that one's writing is rather like one's children........you are terrified to let them loose in the world because they may get hurt.......the same with writing, if it is criticised then your 'baby' has been disliked........

Going back to your question......I was one of five, and then an 'only', but my b.mother then went on to have three more children years later....sadly one of whom died young in an accident.........so, in a sense I am one of eight on that side........and my b.father went back to his wife and they had three boys and a girl all of whom are younger than I, they also had twins who died at a few days old so on that side I am one of seven.......

With my own......the two boys now in their forties are from my first marriage, and the two girls and one boy are from my second marriage.......and yes, my second husband is a gem,............. actually a diamond, .........who has brought up my two older boys without a penny from my ex, as well as our three.......so five in all.....a lot of noise and laughs when they are all here together, along with their 'other halves' and the grandchildren......

LA
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