Relationship Struggles

I’ve always said that I’m bad at relationships. In fact, I even started a blog post last week with “I’m bad at relationships” as the opening statement. It’s still sitting somewhere in draft form.

I’ve been mulling over that idea for the past week. It’s one of those ideas that tends to float around in the back of my mind quite often, but it’s been closer to the forefront lately.

I think my adoption has a lot to do with the way that I relate and interact with people. I was watching a show earlier this week that has a strong adoption theme interwoven into the plot, and I think it’s the most fascinating part of the story. It shows the strong desire to connect with family and loved ones, but the hesitancy to really get close and let people in.

This has been my main issue: the struggle between trusting others with the most vulnerable parts of me and trying to acknowledge that there isn’t something inherently wrong that people will somehow discover, then choosing to no longer invest any time in a friendship. It’s something I’ve discovered a lot of adoptees struggle with to some degree. I think it has to do with having the knowledge that somewhere out in the world, there is someone who didn’t want you enough to keep you.

I know there are extenuating circumstances to almost every adoption. I know that in many cases, giving a child up for adoption is the most painful and selfless thing that a mother could ever choose to do. I know that it’s probably not fair to blame attachment and trust issues on a mother who was only trying to make sure her child was given all the opportunities possible. However, knowing these things doesn’t always heal the pain. It doesn’t erase the struggle that I’ll most likely fight for most, if not all, of my life.

I can’t speak for adoptees as a whole, but I know that for me, my relationships have struggled because of my pain connected to my adoption. My adoption story isn’t really one of abuse or despair. I was put up for adoption because my mother was a selfless woman who couldn’t provide what she wanted for me as a single mom, and I think that’s an incredibly brave act. But I see girls who were younger than she was working and fighting every day to give their children every opportunity possible. I see these ladies doing everything in their power because they want to take care of their kids. I see all of this and wonder why my mom wasn’t the same.

Rationally, I know the hurt doesn’t really make sense. I know that my life would have probably been even more difficult. But being given up leaves an emotional scar on your very soul. It’s part of your identity whether you want it to be or not. And unfortunately, it seeps into other aspects of life. If a woman who spent nine months carrying you and essentially nurturing you doesn’t want to continue doing that, how can friends or even a romantic interest think that you’re worth the work and energy for a serious relationship?

So when I say I’m bad at relationships, I think I mostly mean that I’m bad at trusting relationships. No matter how wonderful my friendships are, there’s a tiny voice in the back of my head that whispers that I can’t possibly be worth it for the long haul. Instead of facing the core issue head on, I’ve always tended to just end a lot of my relationships, with friends and otherwise, before they get too close or too involved. My incorrect rationality has always been this: “if I’m not worth keeping around anyway, I might as well end it sooner to avoid as many hurt feelings.”

It’s stupid and ridiculous and probably shouldn’t even be an issue, but your past and experiences can do a lot to effect your subconscious. They don’t have to control it as long as you’re aware of them, so I suppose that’s what this post is supposed to accomplish: acknowledging the issue with the intent to be more aware of it and hopefully more willing to try and change.

Eiserner Steg, Frankfurt, Germany - September 2014
Eiserner Steg, Frankfurt, Germany – September 2014

listening to: The Kooks

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