Is it possible to overcome rejection?

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Hi all,

I rarely post, but am an avid reader of these boards.

Just after other people's thoughts really, am I being childish and inconsiderate about others.

Very long story so I will try to condense it down so you don't get bored. I was adopted at birth and have had a fantastic upbringing and are extremely close to my parents. From a young age I was told I was adopted and that was that. In my thirties I decided I wanted to know more and tracked down my birth mother, after a bumpy start a relationship started to form, and as she still lived local to me we met up and saw each other on a regular basis.

Now four years on I still go through different emotions, being happy then resentful, angry etc. I haven't seen birth mother for a number of months now so it got me thinking was she trying to back off and cool down the contact. I have sent her an email last week about how I felt, that I thought there was a problem as we hadn't seen each other for a while, which I was disappointed with. The response I got back has thrown me somewhat it went briefly something like, I work hard, I'm busy, I took risks by you contacting me and having contact with me, I have gone through lots of emotions, etc.

Now this is where I'm struggling - surely it's my feelings, the hurt, rejection I have felt all my life surpasses her feelings, as far as I am concerned she gave up her right about feelings the day she give me up? I know there is two sides to every story but I would be grateful for advice from others who may have experienced the same in their lives.

Thank you xx
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  • Nicki
    Nicki Posts: 8,166 Forumite
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    This sounds to me like two damaged people both trying to work through a painful background and forge a relationship.

    My own experience is that my birth mother has refused all contact and also refused to reveal the name of my father. When she was contacted via an intermediary she initially pretended she hadn't got the letter and when a second one was sent, she phoned the intermediary to tell her to tell me to get lost. That's out and out rejection!

    There are post adoption services which offer counselling to adoptees. Would it be worth trying to access some support to work through your feelings? Or to join one of the specialist adoption forums perhaps?

    I don't underestimate how hurt you feel, having experienced this myself but it does sound like your birth mother is also struggling and that she has at least attempted to build a relationship with you. All families have their issues not just ones affected by adoption so even if you hadn't been adopted you might still not have been close in adulthood.
  • Person_one
    Person_one Posts: 28,884 Forumite
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    Its a situation that isn't easy for either of you.

    Its hard for you to deal with the feelings of rejection, with wondering about your origins, with the dilemma of whether to make contact or not, with balancing your feelings about being adopted with your love for your parents who have brought you up.

    It won't have been easy for her to have given up a baby for adoption either, whatever the circumstances, to move on and make a new life after such a difficult time, to wonder whether or not you would want to see her as an adult and whether that would be something she would be able to cope with. She may also be juggling her existing relationships and family with this new connection with you.

    Have you had any counselling as part of the process of contacting your birth mother? If not it could be very useful in helping you to work through all the fraught and often confusing emotions it brings to the surface. I don't think there is much chance of a happy, healthy relationship with your birth mother while you believe that she lost the right to have feelings about your adoption by giving you up. If you want to have that it would probably be a good idea to talk to somebody who can help you sort it all out.
  • PasturesNew
    PasturesNew Posts: 70,698 Forumite
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    It's complex. From her side she's probably spent all your lifetime thinking of you, remembering the date, wondering ... and it wasn't "her choice" that out of the blue you were in touch.

    You had all the choices about finding her and making that contact, so your brain was already "in the right mode". You might've spent years planning for "the day" whereas she never thought it'd happen and had no way to find you.

    There are a million reasons why she's not been in touch. But you shouldn't read anything into what you analyse other people's feelings/actions to be.

    She's probably feeling really bad and sad and unworthy - and that makes people withdraw.

    You both have 'issues' and it'll take time.... but you need to stop assuming that her actions mean X or Y.

    Yes, it's "all about you" (especially if you watch the likes of JK), but you have to accept that she's a human being too, and so it is "a lot about her".

    Nobody's right/wrong, you're just different - and that makes it super hard.

    Remotely we can't tell you what's right/wrong or what to do because we've not been there, we've not been inside both your heads for X years... but if we were we'd be telling you that you need to understand that you turned her world upside down and maybe she's still adjusting to all her many "missed moments" and inner thoughts of "how things could've been".

    Your email put her on the spot a bit, which is probably why she reacted so defensively.

    I hope you work through this difficult time... be patient. Good luck.
  • mrsskinto
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    Thank you for your replies, they are very much appreciated.

    My situation was slightly different than the norm, I suppose, as she knew of my parents and I have since been told by birth mother she knew where I was all my life, where I lived, when I had my daughter etc.

    I just find it difficult at the moment as four years ago she was thrilled I had finally got in touch, was so happy for me to be a part of her and her now family's life. I slowly introduced her to my family, I only have one child who is now an adult with mild special needs so I also took a risk.

    I did have counselling. In the beginning, I never could of imagined the emotions I experienced but felt I had overcome it, maybe I still need more time and help to understand that's it's not just all about me and how I feel. Of course I understand it was a traumatic time for both of us, I think it's the feeling of being rejected again which is concerning and hurting me. X
  • Person_one
    Person_one Posts: 28,884 Forumite
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    mrsskinto wrote: »
    Thank you for your replies, they are very much appreciated.

    My situation was slightly different than the norm, I suppose, as she knew of my parents and I have since been told by birth mother she knew where I was all my life, where I lived, when I had my daughter etc.

    I just find it difficult at the moment as four years ago she was thrilled I had finally got in touch, was so happy for me to be a part of her and her now family's life. I slowly introduced her to my family, I only have one child who is now an adult with mild special needs so I also took a risk.

    I did have counselling. In the beginning, I never could of imagined the emotions I experienced but felt I had overcome it, maybe I still need more time and help to understand that's it's not just all about me and how I feel. Of course I understand it was a traumatic time for both of us, I think it's the feeling of being rejected again which is concerning and hurting me. X

    I think that is completely absolutely normal and understandable and something a lot of adopted people will relate to.

    If you felt that the counselling helped you before, maybe worth getting in touch with the same person again?
  • Nicki
    Nicki Posts: 8,166 Forumite
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    The hurt you are feeling is all about you though and you are more than entitled to feel it. All I was trying to say was that she is also entitled to her own feelings about this situation. Your first post didn't suggest she had said that she didn't want to see you again, just that she had let you know that the reunion had been difficult for her too. Has she said she wants no more contact?

    I don't know whether you do get over being rejected twice by your mother. I'm certainly not there yet, but my circumstances were quite different to yours and mine is also quite raw and fresh (this only having happened this summer). I do allow myself to feel angry with her at times and also to feel sad and bereaved at times too. And in between times I tell myself she doesn't deserve me and I wouldn't want to know anyone who thought so little of my wellbeing as she does. But no, I can't say I am yet over the rejection!
  • mrsskinto
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    Nicki - no, she hasn't said she doesn't want anymore contact. The tone of the email and the contents of it just surprised me. It does help to receive advice off others, even strangers, as I don't really have anybody to speak to about it.

    Nicki, I'm truly sorry for what you yourself have also experienced and didn't get even the opportunity to have questions answered.

    Thanks for other replies.
  • Mupette
    Mupette Posts: 4,599 Forumite
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    mrsskinto wrote: »
    Nicki - no, she hasn't said she doesn't want anymore contact. The tone of the email and the contents of it just surprised me. It does help to receive advice off others, even strangers, as I don't really have anybody to speak to about it.

    Nicki, I'm truly sorry for what you yourself have also experienced and didn't get even the opportunity to have questions answered.

    Thanks for other replies.


    The written word is difficult to gage, how can you gage tone?

    You were the one abandoned (or so you feel) there is a lot about you.

    Do you know why she had to give you up, did you ask, did want to know? did you care?

    Sorry lots of questions rather than one question per post.
    as far as I am concerned she gave up her right about feelings the day she give me up? I know there is two sides to every story
    you know there are two sides but perhaps you feel your the important one here and her side doesn't count?

    We have only your side, we know nothing about your birth mother and why she had you adopted. Perhaps if she told you you can tell us.
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  • -taff
    -taff Posts: 14,577 Forumite
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    mrsskinto wrote: »
    Now this is where I'm struggling - surely it's my feelings, the hurt, rejection I have felt all my life surpasses her feelings, as far as I am concerned she gave up her right about feelings the day she give me up?
    Thank you xx

    She may feel you're trying to blackmail her, because your feelings are more important than hers, the what you want is more important than what she wants, and she's not prepared to be blackmailed by you.

    You can't control someone elses behaviour, only your own. It sounds [I may be wrong] that you want a realtionship with her similar to the one you have with your adopted mother. It may happen, it may not, and you can't force it to.

    As above, try counselling again.
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  • Jojo_the_Tightfisted
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    [QUOTE=mrsskinto;71515108
    Now this is where I'm struggling - surely it's my feelings, the hurt, rejection I have felt all my life surpasses her feelings, as far as I am concerned she gave up her right about feelings the day she give me up? I know there is two sides to every story but I would be grateful for advice from others who may have experienced the same in their lives.

    Thank you xx[/QUOTE]

    Why would you say that? Everybody has a right to have feelings, including a woman who has, for whatever reason, carried a baby to term rather than opting for termination, given birth and then put it forward for adoption. Have you asked why, if she knew of your location, she wasn't in regular contact? Was she told to stay away? Did she make the decision that she thought it would be better for you? Was she ever told she could have contact? Was she too ashamed/heartbroken/traumatised/tried to block the memories by pretending it never happened? Have you asked about the circumstances of your conception, the pregnancy, the birth, the decision to adopt?

    I'm not suggesting you do, as it could be absolutely awful to hear the truth, or to have her try to avoid telling you for whatever reason - my point is, you cannot know exactly what happened and that means there could be any number of reasons why she has also been finding it difficult; including the possibility that there were terrible things happening in her life that made it impossible for her to keep you or to keep in touch. And, as you cannot know these things, whilst your feelings about rejection are just as valid, your dismissal of her feelings is unfair, albeit understandable.



    She was delighted, in your own words, that you did get in touch. That doesn't sound like somebody who didn't care for you or rejected you out of hand, or is doing it now. That sounds like somebody who made a massive decision and is now trying to deal with her own feelings about the entire situation whilst still remaining in contact with you.


    I'd echo other posters and suggest you seek further counselling. And it would be a kind thing to do to mention the possibility to her as well. That could help both of you in the long run, whatever happens.

    What I would say, however, is that you're focusing on rejection. But you, unlike most people, who just happen to be born to particular people, were specially chosen. Your [adoptive] parents Chose YOU. Not any other baby. Not any other child. They chose YOU.

    To be consciously chosen sounds to be a very special thing to me.
    I could dream to wide extremes, I could do or die: I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch the world go by.
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