Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mixed Messages

I’ve heard people talk about something called ‘unconditional love’ but I seriously doubt that exists. I know that there are always conditions put on love. If my husband or I were to have an affair, that would be a condition and it would most likely end the marriage.  Perhaps unconditional love is something that a parent has for a child, but it’s something I’ve never experienced and therefore I doubt it exits. During my childhood I received mixed messages from my adoptive mother. Often she would tell me that “I don't like you, it doesn't mean I don't love you, but I cannot stand you.” I don’t understand why a parent, even an adoptive parent would tell a child this repeatedly, but she did.  I’ll never understand why she would say that to me, but she did at least once a week for years.  At the same time she would chastise me for not ‘having a closer relationship’ with her, like it was my fault. How could I seriously want to have a ‘closer relationship’ with someone who openly disliked me so much, and openly abused and neglected me.  


Looking back I know understand, my adoptive mother is very much passive-aggressive. Those with a narcissistic personality will often display the character trait, my adoptive mother was just very blatant about it. Telling me she loved me but could not stand me in the same breath. I still cannot understand why she did this, and all it did do was make me want to stay away from her as much as possible.
It's a hard reality

They love the dogs more

When I was in my early 20’s, two of my girlfriends made an observation when we were out one night. I guess it was a bit like an intervention, because they were concerned. I’ll never forget what they said to me. We were at Glencoe beach which overlooks Lake Michigan, on warm summer night. I had attended the same high school with Kristen and Jenny, and they were my two closest friends at this time. I had known Kristen longer, we both worked at the public library together for several years. As we sat there high up on the scenic  overlook on benches, they both tentatively started speaking. They had both observed my adoptive parents treatment of me for several years now, and had come to the conclusion that they didn’t care for me, let alone ‘love’ me. Simply put, Kristen said “You realize they love their dogs more than they love you. You get this, right?” It was an honest observation of my situation, and it was truthful. It’s a hard reality, you try to survive as best as you can with the situation you’ve been dealt, but hearing someone else tell you what you feel but never speak is hard.

I can recall telling my adoptive parents what my two close friends had said, I had hoped that my adoptive parents would maybe realize that they didn’t treat me very well and that others observed this. Maybe I hoped for some sort of introspection on their part, or maybe an apology. The actual response I received was this, without even looking up from the television my adoptive mother said half distracted “no we don’t” and that was it. Nothing more.  Your adult daughter, obviously upset tells you that her best friends have observed that her ‘parents’ love their dogs more than they do her, and your adoptive parents response is a half distracted “no we don’t”, and nothing more. Not even a second thought as to how they treated me that would prompt others to make that observation.

Now years later, I can say honestly that yes, my adoptive parents liked and loved their dogs more than they ever did me. They took better care of them, they received regular medical care, and resources that I was never given.

Reality is hard, and never giving.
Adoption is like an arranged marriage, there are no guarantees that strangers will get along... even if one of them is an infant. Shared genetic connections give a shared commonality within a family, adoption eradicates this. 

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