My turning-point

London, 2006, the new beginning began.

Oh what a sordid story this is and could have been.  My motives, my wishes, my desires... all that could have transpired.  What was I thinking?  All I wanted was The Great Escape... freedom from a life that was killing me.

Leave it to God and the cosmic jokesters in the world to let my first solo- trip to London become the re-birthing story.. one that placed me among strangers who wanted to send me away.

2006 I was in a miserable state.  It had been over 5 years since I last had sex with a husband I couldn't stomach.  I was on heavy doses of antidepressants and I was taking diet pills -- doing all the things I needed to do to feel better about myself.  I was working part-time at a local store, where the other girls liked to talk about dating, drinking and sex.  I was in my mid-thirties, with four small kids, looking at my life asking:  WTF did I do to myself?

My therapist and friends at the time said I needed to do something for myself.  I was too depressed, and I needed to make significant changes.  After much discussion and reflection, I decided it was time to contact a lawyer and see where my life was going.

I told my story, and the lawyer looked at me and could not believe a woman in the 21st century was still living like it was the Victorian Ages.  We talked for well over an hour.  I left crying, but feeling better.  I was so embarrassed... so ashamed... I felt stupid because I had to be told my marriage was NOT how a marriage should be.

Divorce scared me.  I had no support; I had no family; I had no parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins to help me or my kids.  I was an orphan... an orphan with no real job (I gave up my nursing career to be a SAHM)... an orphan with four kids... an orphan with a ship-full of baggage no one else wanted.

I remember needing a "spiritual sign"... a Message from God telling me it was OK to terminate the marriage that should never have been.  I went to my books and dug out my bible.

I remember reading in one of books (2 Corinthians, I believe....) that marriage was approved by God, but it was not an order He expected everyone to follow, because according to God, it was best NOT to be married.   Basically there was something about the many sins lust can bring, so sexual beings who wanted sex were better off married than free to roam and fornicate with others.  In other words, marriage was made for those who wanted a lot of sex.  [That was my interpretation.]

Marriage was approved; but it was not an order.

In my family, marriage was an order, subject to parental approval.  The sick ironies were not lost on me especially since there were so many commandments written about "thou shall not covet; thou shall not steal, thou should honor"... but not one commandment said "thou must marry."  I remember reading something about "What God puts together, let no man put asunder (break)"...  and I know that made my whole Afamily take-on the belief that it was against God to end a marriage in divorce.  But I of course always saw God's Rules and Requests differently.  In my mind, the "thou shall not break" was a warning... like it was wrong to break the bond created between mother and her child... the one God chose for her to birth.  The warning being:  you break it, you pay.

Anyway, I saw the rule of marriage was a man-made rule, one approved (not ordained) by God, so I saw the spiritual loophole that said, "It's morally OK to divorce the asexual FDH" .

I promptly went to the bank, withdrew the $3000 lawyers retainer-fee and told FDH that night, "I'm filing for a divorce".

He was furious.  Not because I wanted an end... because he very much wanted that too... he was furious because I took "his" money out of "our" joint bank account without asking permission.  That money was to pay the mortgage, not my divorce lawyer.

So I caved, and returned 2/3 of the money, keeping $1000 for myself.  I decided I needed a trip "away", so I could think.  I decided I needed to go where FDH would never want to go.  I decided I wanted to go to the land of unwanted orphans... the land of Oliver Twist... the land of Jane Eyre.  England is where I wanted to be.

FDH was so relieved his money was returned, he helped pick out the hotel in which I would stay when I arrived at London. 

I don't think he really expected me to go.

I had never gone anywhere or done anything alone before.   I was a travel-virgin on Virgin Atlantic, and damn it, I was giddy.  I was even making plans to visit a man I wanted as a lover.

My three days in London were one big fiasco.

FDH did the currency exchange for me, so he traded US dollars for euros, not pounds... not a huge problem except I was travelling on Good Friday, and coming back the Monday after Easter Sunday.  Not many places I went to accepted euros, so I felt very stupid and hungry.  I refused to walk the streets carying a map (God forbid I should look like an American Tourist in the UK....) so I got lost and walked around a very large London for 8 hours not knowing where the hell I was, or how to get back to the hotel.  The lover I planned to meet wanted nothing to do with me, so I could not have felt any lower than I did when I was walking alone with no money, no company and no sense of home.  That was just my first 12 hours of a 3 day holiday. 

I had no idea what to do with myself, so I assumed a role. I pretended to be a writer, and I took scraps of paper with me to the hotel bar and buried myself behind my thoughts and pints of beer I could charge to my room.  [I was so proud I came up with that brilliant plan!]

I sat and wrote and wrote and sat and drank and drank and drank.  The bartenders and manager of the wait-staff liked me because I made small jokes, smiled, and told my pathetic story, hoping there was soup that could be served to me, even though it was well past 10 pm.

The next day it was more of the same.  I was trying to look and feel brave, but I really felt so alone, pathetic and STUPID.  I tried to will myself to eat in a pub, but I was just too self-conscious.  How could I walk-in, sit, eat and remain alone?  Other people can do that.  Not me.  I hurried back to the hotel like it was my home and I gathered more scraps of paper and a pen and took a corner seat in the elegant bar where all seemed safe and right again.  The bartenders seemed happy to see me, so I told more of my stupid stories, and felt such deep affection and appreciation when they told me they could get some soup for me.  My rum and cokes were no longer in a single glass--- there were being served just like I liked them -- one glass rum, one glass coke. 

All was comfy and quiet in my little corner.  Then an odd thing happened.  The night manager came up to me.  She was the walking definition of a burly handsome woman.  I was worried about the soup and the rum... (was that going to get me in trouble?)... instead, she asked me what I was writing about, (I had all my papers in front of me) and I told her I was starting a book about abused adoptees.  [What else was I going to write about?]

She sat down and we talked for hours.  She too was an abused adoptee and could not believe someone else in this world had such similar stories to tell.

When it was time to return to the states, I tried everything in my power to miss my plane.

London had become my birthplace and the hotel had become my home.  Complete strangers were kinder to me than any member of that family chosen for me.  How could I leave?

I sobbed and sobbed because all my efforts to be left behind got thwarted by a hotel staff that was determined to do its job (and send me onto my next travels).

I got on the plane and drank and drank and cried.  Many hours later, as I flew over Newfoundland Canada, I remember thinking:  the only reason why I could not stay (and find work as a nurse and find a place to live in London) was because of my kids.

I realized, no child should have to wonder why mommy did not come back.  No child should have to wonder, "what's wrong, why doesn't mommy love me?"

No child of mine was going to be just like me.  I had a responsibility, and I had to honor it.

I'm still legally married (we agreed to the non-divorce divorce until I can afford to pay half the kids bills and live on my own).  I'm still a retard when it comes to traveling and being alone.  However, that trip gave me the turn-around I needed.  I left the states a child who had children; I came back a woman... a mom... who realized she has so much work to do for herself and her kids. 

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the woman and the mom...

You really did it!  You accomplished something: finding the "me."  Your trip was very exciting to me because you were able to just be yourself, all broken parts pulled together and saying to the world, "here I am, deal with it."  You were accepted as a human being who was not the stereo/type the world had always heard about, and you found people who were a lot like you.  It must have been pleasing to find your story among strangers and know you are not alone...  there is something about sharing sorrow and loss with those who understand your words instead of looking at you with those dear-headlight eyes. 
I'm going to ask stupid questions:  What was the best thing you found out about the world; about yourself; and about where you are going?  JUST DOING IT, when FDH thought you couldn't or wouldn't was a huge step forward.  And in three years, what have you accomplished that allows you to see the next step?  What did this do for your fears?  Are they less?  Is there freedom in sight?

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Confirmation

It must have been pleasing to find your story among strangers and know you are not alone...  there is something about sharing sorrow and loss with those who understand your words instead of looking at you with those dear-headlight eyes.

Fortunately/unfortunately, I already knew the story of abuse after  adoption was not new.  For many years, I had made cyber-contact with other adult adoptees who have endured far worse than me.  This was before social networks (like MySpace) hit the computer screen -- this was before blogs became popular -- this was before websites for adult adoptees became a search option.   My discoveries took place at adoption.com, where the abused adoptee was attacked for voicing anything that smelled remotely like it was anti-adoption or angry towards an industry that cares more about money than it does about long-term child safety.  My discoveries took place at a website that promoted RAD as a diagnosis many adoptees had. 

Before my trip to London, I had met many survivors of child abuse -- after all, I was a RN.  Before my trip to London, I had met many male adoptees who were very much brave soldiers trying to hide the fact they were, indeed, the walking wounded. [Oddly enough, before my trip to London, I had never met (in-person) a female abused adoptee.  I had met many females who were sexually abused... but experience now tells me adopted and non-adopted victims of abuse are different, for a variety of reasons.] My trip to London was significant because that's when I learned more about  the history of "unwanted people"... I learned more about the history of child placement... I learned more about the religious and political powers that can, did,and do make a person's life absolutely miserable.   For instance, before I left, I promised myself I would visit a castle. Not just a castle... a castle where torture was known to take place.  I wanted to see what others saw as being "scary, horrible, and horrific".  The natural choice for me, therefore, was The Tower of London. In all the pamphlets I read, it kept mentioning "the Bloody Tower".  How could I not want to go?  The problem was, I was terrified.  Making plans for a day's event was someone else's job.  My job was to agree... so how in the world was I going to go alone from a hotel, to a castle, and make it back, in one piece?  There was subway travel involved.  There were tickets that had to be purchased.  There were arrangements that had to be made, and I was the only one who could make them.  I almost didn't go.  When I got back, and went to my favorite bar that sold the most expensive drinks I ever had, I was so damn proud of myself.  I did it.  I did it alone.  I did it even though I was terrified and I had a good time.  I was a big girl, and boy did I want to celebrate!  [Looking back, those bartenders must have thought I was completely nuts!]  On a side note, next time I go to London I want to visit Newgate.  I imagine the old prison conditions there were not like those found at The Bloody Tower!

What was the best thing you found out about the world; about yourself; and about where you are going?

In order to answer this, I have to address the unasked questions.  The worst thing I discovered, about my world and my role in it , is just how isolated and dependent I had become because all my life almost every decision was made for me.  I had no sense of real freedom or independence.  All I had was fear.  So the best thing I learned, for myself was this:  I could do it, alone, if I had to.  Now, as an adoptee who was relinquished by an unmarried mother, this sort of soul-searching stuff goes deep.  I cried a lot during that trip.  I cried, A LOT!

And in three years, what have you accomplished that allows you to see the next step?  What did this do for your fears?  Are they less?  Is there freedom in sight?

A year after that trip I met another adoptee.  He and I shared our stories, and we did something crazy.  We created something together.  The end of my birth-month, October, PPL will be four years old.  I see many next steps.  Many of those steps I need to do all by myself; many of those steps I cannot do alone.  Time will tell where this all leads... but there is no doubt in my mind, I found the path where I want and need to be.  [I found it, and it found me.]

someone who knows.....

You met another adoptee... What I'm wondering is this:  Is the best step, to find someone who understands your own pain, in order to develop a good relationship?

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Steps towards a goal

Is the best step, to find someone who understands your own pain, in order to develop a good relationship?

ALL of my closest-relationships are based upon a foundation of "loss".  That loss could be the loss of a parent, the loss of love, the loss of innocence, the loss of health, the loss of a dream... loss, oddly enough, has been my gain.  Truth be told, some of the most difficult relationships I have been in are those with fellow adoptees.  [We're a strange breed with all sorts of odd control-issues!]

My point is.... finding a common-ground, even if it's profound loss and sadness, is an experience that can be shared and appreciated by "the right people".

A good relationship, is rooted in good communication.  The question is:  how open...how patient are you willing to be with another person before it's time to say, "Nope... I gotta go!"?

Relationships.... ALL relationships require careful, deliberate, baby-steps.

friends...

My friends are either online or by phone; some I've known for over 40 years.  I find it so much easier to stay friends with those I'm not forced to go have coffee with or play cards with....
I realized that everyone of my friends are survivors of some kind of trauma: sexual abuse, divorce, etc.  and each one has been able to help me because they never judge me.  We share and listen; we talk and discuss.  The ones who are from my church are not close since they are all the happy, happy, happy bunch who feel sorry for me.  UGH!  I hate that...
Even my therapist is so cool and understanding.  She's more into my going forward than like some who want to constantly stir the past and label me as something.
Was the woman you met at the bar adopted AND abused?  Was it sexual?  Did you find her able to talk about it easily?  When people do connect with similar traumas it seems the pain just flows out in words.  I'm always afraid some man would turn out to be another DM since I was so stupid and blind for so long.
And yes, he knows there will never be an "us."  Last night he finally confessed to more, and made himself realize just what he was...  even though they change, the damage they've done can not be forgotten.  He's finally getting it.
One thing I realize is that the bond I had with him was a trauma-bond, and that's scary.  Have any of you had a trauma bond with an abuser?

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Trauma-Bonds

HUGE words: Trauma-Bonds.

Think about it.

Loss finds loss... misery finds misery... reason and excuse finds reason and excuse.  [I look back and see how I used to mistake SO MANY trauma-bonds as being something I would call "Love".]

There are those who want the trauma-drama to remain... and there are those who want to move beyond the trauma, and become "survivors".

Think about the term "survivor", for a moment.  For the one still wallowing, drowning, and suffering, doesn't "survivor" sound like/reflect the image of a person who left and moved on to a new life... a life that does not include death?  It's scary (jealous-provoking shit)!

Yes.  I have had many trauma-bonds.  Many led to death.  [Cancer, suicide, "full recovery", refusal to "change"].  Many of those bonds left me alone, one way or another.

Trauma, I see as a nurse... it's a temporary state, not a permanent way of being.  It is what happened... it's not what defines a person.  It's an unfortunate happening.  Something that may, perhaps, be reversed.... or at the very least, improved, somehow.  [Relief.  The trauma patient seeks relief.]

Sad stuff, when you really allow yourself to go deep, and think about it.

VERY sad.

My quick-response --  If you find yourself in a relationship in which the other person wants to suck you down back into the trauma-state, recognize it as a plea for help, and a wish to get better.  Do NOT see it as the basis of a long-term relationship.  [That's my own 2-cent opinion.]  Healthy long-term relationships require far more than just the "shared" traumatic experience.

Remember:  The drowning man can not save another drowning man. [BOTH will drown.]  Save yourself before you consider saving another.

long-term relationships

Healthy long-term relationships require far more than just the "shared" traumatic experience.

I totally agree with that one. It's really neat to have some similar experience, it eliminates a lot of explaining. That's why I would never be able to maintain a relationship with someone who came from a really wholesome family. There simply is too little common ground, but for a long-term relationship to sustain it shouldn't be about trauma, hardship, suffering; it only works if you really love the personality of the one you are in a relationship with and that personality probably is there more in spite of the trauma than due to the trauma.

Trauma drama

<giggle>

You crack me up with your little captions!

You know what's funny about the "Good-bye drama, hello I don't give a shit"?  It describes detachment, if you really think about it.  It follows that, "You know what?  I don't need this crap.... I'm outta here" mentality.

While I still do that A LOT to people, (just walk away... because I'm done) I also see value in working things out with someone I know I really (honestly) like.  It's weird knowing there are people I actually like.  [For decades I've been known for hating everyone.] 

 

list of who I hated...

I hated:  Those who were happy.  Those who were unhappy (never as bad as my pain/losses).  People who had so much and thought they didn't.  Those who didn't understand me.  Those who said they understood me.  People who could hurt me (triggers) without even trying.  People who tried to hurt me.  Married people who complained about their husband (I have none).  People who were happy, happy, happy! 
People I tolerated:  Everyone else...  The ones who were in a true world of pain and had lost a lot; those were the ones I could relate to and therefore accept.

And now:  Now I search for those who are making it amid the pain and losses.  I still find it very uncomfortable to be around the kissie, huggy, hand holding marrieds who gush!  YIKES!  Gag me...  I cry less; haven't cried for several months.

What hate I have to let go of:  the things I can never change or have back.  The bitterness has subsided into sadness; but my new friend/FH (familiar human) says I'm still bitter.  hmm...  so bitterness needs to go, too.  Anger is something that comes and goes without warning.

I've walked away from many, many people and situations in my lifetime; so why do I find this last "walk away" almost a crawl away?  The one person I ever in my life made a commitment to is the one who betrayed me daily for 30 years or more.  But I've made a huge step away from him.  And its because I listen to what is said on this forum.  I may get angry, but I go away and lick my deep wounds and think.  This is what I've learned to do.  Before, I'd have walked away.    I actually care about the people here at this forum.  This is a place of honesty that HURTS LIKE HELL, but is so helpful in growing as a human being.  I hope you all know that... isn't that why this forum was started?  I just don't believe this forum is all about adoption; it's about healing and growing and making it.
Thanks,
Teddy

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Thank you

 I actually care about the people here at this forum.  This is a place of honesty that HURTS LIKE HELL, but is so helpful in growing as a human being.  I hope you all know that... isn't that why this forum was started?  I just don't believe this forum is all about adoption; it's about healing and growing and making it.

You words are very deeply appreciated.  <stupid tears again!>

PPL was started because Niels and I strongly did and still believe there are many people who have been hurt by the adoption industry and those people still struggle with the pain that hurt has caused.  There are wounds that go beyond the loss of a birth certificate or the abandonemnet of a parent.  There are wounds that go dark and deep when you discover those wounds were caused by corruption and money-making schemes. There is recovery that needs to take place because damage was done in-secret.  The forum was created so voices not encouraged to speak on adoption forums had a new place to go... a place that backed many of our opinions with articles that prove, "it's not just you."

PPL is not just about adoption... it's about people helping/encouraging people so they find the right path and do the right thing so a better life-experience can be found.   [It's amazing how deep "abdandonment", "negelect" and "abuse" really goes, isn't it?]  PPL is about making tough situations more personal so others can understand why some things for some people are NOT easy.

If one person benefits, I can die a happy pup.  <hug>

Going back to the progress you are making, I'd like you to read about the many stages of grief and mourning... hoping you understand just how complicated the grieving-process can get when you are dealing with many losses at one time.  In other words, don't get discouraged when you feel the mourning/recovery process is going "too slow"... you have to remind yourself (give permission) "there is MUCH to grieve.. (and many areas to grow)."  Lots of times, the baby-steps will become one long crawl... but I like to think progress is progress, no matter how bloody slow.

recovery...

  • Breathe
  • Reach out to someone I like
  • Breathe (this steps gets repeated, often)
  • Don't get too angry
  • Breathe
  • Slowly let the cancer out
  • Grieve (don't forget to breathe)
  • Learn to stand
  • Limit self-punishment
  • Learn to walk
  • Accept feeling good (lots of deep breathing)
  • Live

I needed to read the above to see how far I've come.  I do see myself as having jumped around in the top few, but have now settled into the LEARNING TO STAND portion.  You know what?  It feels good to recognize those first steps and remember going through them.  When I WAS going through them I was not aware of it; only on this side of LETTING THE CANCER OUT can I finally look beyond the pain and see progress.  And yes, to BREATHE...  it's something I was physically doing without; I was holding my breath literally, and a therapist noticed it.  By breathing shallow I was trying to skim over the top of recovery without going deep down to the infection where I could scrape it out and heal from the inside out.  Isn't that what has to be done medically to heal a wound?  And now I remember the infection that I scraped out; KNOWING I really did it.  And it hurt.  Sometimes to ACCEPT FEELING GOOD, we have to forget the the pain.  Don't they say a mother forgets the bad pain of childbirth when she sees her child?

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Pound Pup Legacy