We are most pleased to share with you this week thoughts by guest writer Daniel Harrison as he conveys his experiences in response to his Adoption through deep exploration of his inner being process. Thank you Daniel
Self-Motivation and Direction
My entire life has been motivated by my attempt to escape myself, to escape my being, to escape my soul, my essence, my life force and as a result I have lived my life backwards, I have been swimming upstream, I have been working against myself, undermining myself and who I am at every opportunity. This cannot be seen as a successful solution to the gaping wound at my very centre, the wound that was created by mother being taken from me at the very moment that I was born. I was thrust into a war with myself, a war that I saw as being essential in regards to my own survival in this world, a war that was based on the mistaken and deep-rooted belief that there was something wrong with me, something very toxic at the very heart of me that had led my mother to walk out of the hospital without me.
As a baby this was how I understood this wound, this wound shaped my entire world and world-view and of course it did, to a baby the mother is one’s entire world, she represents every planet, every star in the solar system, she is God, she is life itself. If life itself could not love who I was, my very being, all of me then how could be myself in such a world, an all-seeing world that was at war with me, with my heart, with my being, that was out to hurt, to punish me at all times. All I could do was hide from the all-seeing eye of the Universe that had rejected me at the very heart of my existence. My heart had to be hidden, my soul had to be hidden, who I was had to be hidden, I was shameful and worthy of punishment.
I collapsed into a heap within my cot and balled my fist, my first motivation and direction was to hide within this sea of shame, anger and disappointment. I had no way of understanding what had happened, but something profound had occurred that had defiled and ruptured the most sacred bond of all, the bond that was supposed to anchor my soul to this earth, the bond between mother and child. But that bond had been ruptured and as result I was thrown into the arms of infinity with now comforting finite arms for me. I was free floating on the breeze, I had just been born but I was alone, completely new, completely helpless and alone. I was connected to no one, I was not connected to her and I had not had time to develop a connection to myself as a separate entity. That was supposed to take years with her by my side.
What was I to do, my direction in life had been fundamentally interfered with at my very beginning, I had no foundation left, I had no connection to her and no connection to my soul. I was drowning in a sea of emotions, newly outside the safety of the womb and disconnected from power source, my mothers love. I was panicking, I was overwhelmed with pain, this was my first introduction to life and it shaped my view of life, life was not to be trusted, life was out to get me, life did not love me, life would punish me and put me in danger, life would always reject and abandon me, life did not want me, life was out to get me, life was about survival, life was about hiding who you were.
These feelings became my new foundation in place of her, they also allowed me to connect with myself. My connection to myself was profoundly negative and it became my lifelong motivation, to run from myself, to disconnect from myself, to create a self that never revealed who I was, to hide myself away. All these feelings can be summed up as the “Unlovable Self”, this was a self that could never be loved by the world, this was an unwanted, rejected and abandoned self, this was a not good enough self, this was a toxic self, a self that would never good enough to be loved. This was a self that had to be hidden at all costs because if it was ever revealed then I would be utterly and completely rejected again and so my motivation through life was predicated on survival, not self-survival but rather destroying the self so that I could live.
If you spend your life fighting yourself, undermining yourself, hating yourself, hiding yourself and doing away with yourself and your interests in a bid to be loved and in a bid to fit in then chances are your life is going to be very rocky, nothing is going to really work. It is also a recipe for anxiety, depression and hypervigilance and mind games and the feeling that you have been corrupted because you can never fully live or love, instead you are living on the surface, a chameleon always changing colour and always taking to heart what people think of you because everybody else is better than you, and you, you deserve nothing.
The lights went out of my baby eyes in hospital, there was no one there and that was because I had vacated the premises, my connection to this world was now based on my disconnection from myself, a self that had been covered with profound anger, sadness, sorrow and despair. I was now an unanchored mirror, a reflection of the restless ocean floating through space. I had been unplugged from what I perceived to be the source of all life, that infinite sea called my mother where for months on end I had floated within her ocean rocked and cradled by her heartbeat. All that was gone now. It disappeared the moment that I appeared in this place, this hospital, this heartbreak hotel, this place of antiseptic smells and broken dreams, this place of many voices and many baby screams because others had suffered the same fate. This was life, a dark loveless star floating through infinity where the only question on one’s lips was how to survive this and that became the motivating question that in the place of my mother’s love drove me through this live.
Yes, I was now to be driven by fear of this ever happening again, it had after all nearly killed me, this heartbreak, this need to adjust to living without her at the very moment that I was born into this life, this loneliness and oh I was lonely. This disconnection that I felt at the heart of me the moment that they cut the umbilical cord and took me away from her. This anger, to some extent I blamed twin, where was he, but that made no difference, she never came back. My motivation for living in this life was now based on self-hate and nothing can equal a baby’s self-hate when it comes to a baby believing that an object has got in the way of its mother who is so essential to his or her survival and that object was myself. If this object was removed then she would come back, if it was not the abandonment and rejection would continue.
This was not a world of love, this was a world of pain and it was this pain directed in on itself that that enabled me to survive a situation that was utterly unnatural, a situation that I could not possible understand or comprehend at all. It is just not possible for an infant to understand that their mother has walked out on him or her and is not coming back. That their mother has made the decision to do so. This is equivalent of life walking out on you, of a person losing everything that ever mattered in life, of having love completely withdrawn from their life along with the love of their life and being expected to act as if nothing had happened at all, nothing. As if your life was normal, as if you could just keep on living when all the furniture has been removed from the house, when the earth, the sun and the moon has been towed away, when the stars have gone out one by one and there is no bird song, there is only darkness but you are still expected to continue as if everything is normal. When your heart and belief in love, when your trust in the world, in all relationships, in life itself, in your very own lovability has been removed leaving you stripped to the bones, alone in your cot with no acknowledgement of your pain at all. This is a pain that you are condemned to carry on your own like Atlas with the weight of the world upon your shoulders, you cannot cry, you cannot rain on their parade, they have set up a new life for you, a better life, you must remain silent and grateful at all times for what they have done to you, for your heartbreak, for your brokenness, for your shatteredness, for your numbness, for your complete loss of self. For the fractured hurt self that has taken the place of who you were like a phoenix rising from the ashes of your life.
And so, this you fluttering in the silence, this is you trying to survive in the blackness, this is you weeks later being taken by car to your new home, to your funeral parlour where your old self will be dead and buried, they are already hard at work falsifying documents. They have given you a new name, your old one has been destroyed, this is death by adoption, they have made these people your parents although they are not and they have children of their own. They are killing you, they are killing who you were, this is the second killing, they killed you in the hospital when they took her and left you for weeks on your own and they are killing you now, they are finishing you off by lying to you, by denying what happened to you, by making everything a secret. But life is energy, negative and positive and you feel what has happened and is happening and it does not feel right, you feel that the world is out to get you and you are right, they were from the very start, they were out to take your mother, they were out to find you another set of parents and they were out to lie about it and deny what they have done. They were out to deny your emotions, to tell you that you are crazy, that what you are feeling is crazy, that what you are thinking is crazy, they are out to deny all of you they are out to make you into a compliant hollow shell, stripped of yourself and you mist comply.
They have hidden everything away in their Government and lawyer’s offices, the dust has settled, you have been stripped of your bones, of your ancestral tree, of your DNA, they have like vultures picked until they have removed everything and you float through your new life like a cloud full of tear, always full of sadness, always confused about what has happened. Everything feels strange, it doesn’t feel real. And you feel wrong inside, as if you are at war with yourself, it always feels like something bad is coming your way because of who you are and you cannot escape it because how can you be someone else. But that is what you are expected to be, someone else and if you are not you will be punished like your twin is for acting out again and again and again.
You try hard, oh hard to disappear, to be no one, to be faceless, to be unnoticed in the corner of the classroom as your heart beats in fear of who you are being exposed because if you are you will be rejected and abandoned again. You do your best to push it all down, you blame yourself for how you feel. Your major motivation is not to be you at all costs, this is your direction, you must hide always, you must not let anybody see you, you must not let them see how unlovable you are. You are at war with yourself and as a result you are stuck in a spiral of negative energy, you are unable to move anywhere, you are a car crash with your wheels spinning in the air, you are always wanting your brother to stop acting out, you do not want to be seen, you do not want any attention. You want to disappear, from life, from view. From a life in which you cannot be you.
And you are right, they do not want you to be you, they want you to be that shiny mirror, to be that hollow shell, to please them at all times, to show no trace of your ancestry, of who you are, of your grief, of your loss, you are infinity, you are a black hole, a blank space upon which they can write anything and demand that you meet their need. You must comply, you must be lost at all times, you must lose yourself at all times, you must be a vacuum, you must be the good adoptee because if you are not they will see who you are and if they do they will reject and abandon you. You must learn how to be like them, how to please them, how to serve them, this is your role, this is your life and if you dare to show any hint of your ancestry then they will punish you well and good because your ancestry, what you need is bad, is bad genetics, is the bad seed.
There is nothing wrong with what they are doing to you, there is everything wrong with you, it is your reaction that is the problem, it is your unjustified emotional reaction that is the problem, you must be grateful, you must remember to blank out all your feelings, all of who you are, to get rid of you always. You wonder why you always feel queasy, feel sick to the stomach, feel worried, this has nothing to do with what has been done to you from birth, this has nothing to do with your being forced to live against your will with genetic strangers who want to get rid of the psychological burdens onto your so they can spare their daughters. No, do not look there, look instead at you, the problem is you and you has from the beginning always been the problem, who you are, what you think and feel, your essence, your youness must be exterminated but how?
Yes, being adopted has posed you the ultimate existential question of how to get rid of you which is what adoption is based on so that you can fit in and live your life happily ever after. You believe at the age of eight that you have the solution, do well at school, that way they do not focus on you, instead they focus on the result, on the grade, on the spelling test. This way you can leave yourself far behind, the elegance of this solution thrills you, at last you can come out of the corner, out of your coffin and construct a self that is based on doing well at school, a new identity, a lovable identity, one that you classmates will applaud along with your adopted family. At last you have got with the people pleasing program and you have taken to it like a duck to water with the stick being if you do not hide yourself and maker sacrifices you will not be able to deliver the goods, high grades. And so that is what you again and again and again. You know the stakes, it is life or death this is the only way that you know to enter life otherwise it is back to your coffin.
Seven years later you are reminded of the stakes when you walk out of your adopted parent’s house with just a green backpack borrowed from you State Ward brother on your back and a large Chinese alarm clock, I was ahead of my time, tucked inside. I had started not to deliver the goods anymore, my brother was back and they wanted to pull me out of school, now I knew that this was a matter of life or death, if my adopted father pulled me out then I would have to way live in this life. I was off to the railway station, to the city, with one aim in mind, I needed a place to stay where I could continue my odyssey towards high grades. This had to keep happening until they opened the records, once they did that I would find my mother and show her how successful I had been, then she would realise that she had made a mistake giving me up and would love me. This would free me from my unlovable adoption must like the frog kissed by the Prince and at last the self that I had been forced to abandon because it was unlovable would be rendered lovable. Or so I thought.
Oh, life can be so fickle and cruel and the best laid plans can be turned to custard within an instant as I discovered at the moment of my birth when they took my mother. And now having found her at the age of twenty I was to discover that there was to be no fairy tale ending, instead it just opened thirty years of rejection and abandonment until at the age of fifty I had to say no more for the sake of my sanity and walk away. She was unwilling to accept multiple DNA tests that clearly showed who my father was. It was the end of a dream, all these years in my life I had fruitlessly pursued a path of trying to have her love me in the way that I wanted only to find that there was no way back home, adoption was for life, my relationships with others and with myself had been irretrievably shattered as if I had been shot out of a cannon into infinity at the moment of my birth and there could be no coming back from this lonely out of space place no matter how I tried. I would always be that boy in the corner of the classroom, my families would always be composed of splinters and fragments and my life would never go nuclear. No, I was a nuclear free zone.
On my road to Damascus I desperately tried to belong, I contorted myself, I denied myself, I drove myself away from who I was, I found myself in my early twenties back in my country, at the University only to find that a great hunger had been awakened in me, I needed love, to be loved for who I was and I needed to prove that I could be loved for who I was, not just for my University grades. And so I found her, a woman like my mother who abandoned and rejected me again and again and again and like a fish on a hook I stayed because I had opened my heart to her and she was the first person that I had ever opened my heart to, my mother had been too damaged to accept my heart. This woman set out to question everything that I said, the value of my heart and everything that I believed in, my fragile confidence in my lovability collapsed under the weight of the assault, I started to doubt everything that I wrote at the University, was it good enough? I panicked, writing became for the first time in my life difficult, at the same time I was spend hours with her, trying to please her ever changing whims, trying to make her love me so that I could undo the stigma of my mother not loving me in the way that she should have. I was on my own, with no family support at all, in the end I collapsed and felt that I had lost everything and I had, I had lost my only way of finding m my way in life and I had lost confidence in my ability to listen to my intuition and in my lovability. I was now too afraid to ever love again and I just wanted to die, I saw myself as an unlovable failure who did not deserve love and I had given up on love and ever loving again.
This was the beginning of the road of ashes, of the road to healing, I had asked for mind, body and soul unity and healing before I met this woman, I had no idea of the cost, that I would have to lose everything if I wished to be reborn again. If I truly wished to overcome the wound that had become the foundation that I had built my life upon, a life that was based upon self-rejection and self-abandonment, and empty life that was in turn locked in by the ideology of a heartless system whose closed adoption policy had refused to recognise my pain and had cost me from the beginning everything.
This denial made my road to recovery especially difficult, there were counselling resources available for me, there was no internet and as result no groups for adopted people. The University Counsellor blamed me for how I felt, no one wanted to listen and indeed few if any people knew anything about the suffering of adopted people. I was on my own, on a sacred journey back to my heart and soul, I often think to myself if I had known the cost of this journey I would never have embarked on it but embark I did. Over the years I stripped away the layers, I wanted to understand the motivation that lay behind my ignoring my intuition and as a result losing everything in that disastrous relationship. I did not realise that this question would take years to answer and would become the doorway through which I would reach a deep understanding of how being adopted had shaped my every footstep in this life from birth onward.
For many years I have been motivated by a deep anger and self-blame of myself for the situation that I have found myself in, one of dealing with my adoption day after day and year after year. But I had no choice after losing all my coping mechanisms and on top of that adoption has been deliberately set up in a manner that creates self-blame and self-destruction, it shifts responsibility for its actions onto the shoulders of the adopted person with disastrous consequences that lead to a person completely losing contact with their pure essence. You are put into an anti-life and lie that is based upon a war against yourself, your emotions, your identity and living off this self-denial and blame becomes the core at the heart of your life. No wonder one ends up feeling depressed, in despair and anxious, you are at war with yourself for God’s sake and that is how the whole system has been set up through its denial of my lived reality. I have been forced to live the fantasy life of Closed Adoption theory, a theory that is not based on my lived reality, instead it is based on an active denial of my lived reality that is in turn mirrored through wider society.
And so, like Atlas, right from the very beginning my motivation in this life had to revolve around how to deal with this burden that had been placed on my shoulders, this emotional wound at my very centre, and how to deal with it on my own given the absence of my mother who had been deliberately and completely removed from life through a series of State sponsored actions and lies. I had no chance, this was my foundation, this was what I had been left with as a foundation to build on and that is exactly what I did. I was motivated by the desire to survive a tragedy of mammoth proportions and this tragedy in turn informed the direction of my life.
For many years I was motivated by wanting to get rid of myself and with it this tragedy but at the end of the day short of killing yourself you cannot get rid of the reality of how you feel inside, it will keep running your life and it will keep coming back to bite you. For years I have lived my life backwards, in a duel with the monstrous pain that lay inside me then it switched to an inner journey, to trying as best as I can to come to terms with this pain. This has been a long journey and whether I like it or not it is a life long journey that will always motivate my every footstep. I am a person who has been adopted, this has had a profound impact upon my life emotionally, physically and spiritually, I will never have a nuclear family and I will never regain many of the relationships that I lost. I can, however, regain a relationship with myself that is motivated by love in the place of self-blame and hurt, I can regain my soul, this is the one thing that I can control in my life and this is the direction in which I am heading.