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Fear of abandonment is a a very common issue for adoptees, as is anger over having been abandoned by their birthmother. After all, if their own biological mother didn’t care enough to stick around and be a part of their life, why should anyone else?

Sadly, many adoptees blame themselves on some deep level that even they don’t really understand. They think that there is something wrong with them, and that’s why the woman who gave birth to them didn’t keep and raise them. Although I’ve never heard of a single case in which this was true in nearly 20 years of working with adoptees and birth families, the feeling is widespread among adoptees.

Adoptees with a fear of abandonment often find it hard to build or sustain relationships with others. For some, they find it easier to hold other people back emotionally in order to avoid involvement, than to open up and let themselves be vulnerable. abandoned

When the very first important person in your life, the woman who carried and gave birth to you, runs off and leaves you, it becomes difficult to trust other people, and to believe that they won’t run off too. Why open yourself up to a potential world of hurt when you can just hide behind that emotional wall you’ve built and keep everyone out? Your history has proven to you that you can’t depend on others to be there for you. It’s not safe to let down that wall. As surely as you do, you’ll be hurt.

Having these kinds of trust and abandonment issues can get in the way of you living your life happily.  EFT can help, though.  Click on the “What The Heck is EFT?” link and find out more about what EFT is, how it works, and what the tapping points are.  Then give the script below a try!

Tapping Script For Fear of Abandonment

Setup: Karate chop:

  • Even though I feel like I can’t trust anyone in my life to stick around and be there for me, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.
  • Even though my birthmother abandoned me and now I’m afraid that everyone else will abandon me too, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.
  • Even though I’d rather keep people at a distance from me than to let them into my life and take a chance that they might hurt me, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself, and I’m considering that it might be time to work on those feelings.

Eyebrow: It’s hard for me to let people into my life
Outside eye: I’m so scared that they’ll abandon me
Under eye: It’s easier to just keep my walls up to protect myself
Under nose: Then to let down the walls and maybe get hurt
Chin: My own birthmother abandoned me
Collar bone: And I never understood why she’d do that
Under arm: I just know that I don’t want to get hurt again
Top of head: So I keep my walls up to keep people away.

Eyebrow: I don’t feel safe when I let myself be vulnerable
Outside eye: Because I don’t feel like I can really depend on anyone else
Under eye: But maybe it’s time to start letting go of that fear
Under nose: And to letting down those walls of mine
Chin: Starting to release my fear of abandonment
Collar bone: A little at a time, in a way that feels safe for me
Under arm: Starting to tear down those walls
Top of head: One brick at a time.

Eyebrow: I have people around me who do care about me
Outside eye: And I can open up my life and my heart to them
Under eye: Releasing my fears about trusting other people
Under nose: Continuing to pull down those protective walls
Chin: Letting go of more and more of that fear of abandonment
Collar bone: Finding the courage to open myself up
Under arm: And starting to feel more connected with the people in my life
Top of head: As I let go of the last of my fear of abandonment.

Visit my website here: Seeking Serenity.

I am birthmother to a 41 year old son. Back when I was pregnant with him, mine was a shameful secret, because only “bad girls” got pregnant. I’m happy to say that the world has changed a lot in that respect. Girls who become pregnant today face a very different set of problems than I did. Many girls today even chose to keep and raise their children, an opportunity that was not imaginable 40 years ago.

Over the last 18 years I have gotten to know many birthmothers who relinquished their children in the sixties and seventies. A lot of them found the support and understanding of other birthmoms, and with time managed to reach a place of peace and acceptance with their past. For women like me, just being able to say “I’m a birthmother” and not feel shamed by that is huge.

Over the years, though, I have also come to know or know of many women who gave their children up in secret, and held cryingbmomonto that secret for their entire lives. Having run an online reunion registry for years, I have heard time after time about adoptees searching for and finding their birthmoms, who then refused to have contact because they had never told another living soul their deep, dark secret. These are the women that I refer to as being in the “birthmom closet”. They’re not happy in there, but they’re scared to death to come out.

These women had a chance to get to know the children that they gave up and grieved over for years, but they refused to do so out of fear. Their spouse doesn’t know their secret. Their other children don’t know their secret. In some cases, even their parents don’t know their secret.

I suggest that it’s time for these scared women to finally come out of the closet. Gone are the days when they had to hang their heads in shame. Work up the courage to open that door and step out, because the world is not nearly as painful for a birthmother who learns to speak openly about her experiences.

I facilitated a number of local support groups over the years, both for birthmothers and for adoptees and birthmothers together. Those meetings were always healing. There were plenty of tears, but the tears helped to wash away the shame. For many birthmoms, myself included, it was extremely healing to talk with adoptees and find out how they felt about their birthmoms. I personally received a tremendous amount of support from adoptees, who always encouraged me to search for the son that I hadn’t felt I had a right to search for.

Look through your local newspaper, and search online for support groups in your area. From the first minute that you connect with other birthmoms, you’ll be so happy that you did. These are women who truly understand your feelings, because they lived through the same experiences that you did.

Even if you find that you don’t have any local support groups, there are many support mailing lists online, through which you can receive daily emails that are nearly as healing and helpful as attending meetings. As you make and nurture the connections to other birthmoms and to adoptees, you’ll find that the support and understanding helps to move you along on your healing journey.

If you are a birthmother still holding onto your secret, and living with the pain every day, I strongly encourage you to take the steps necessary to get out of that stifling closet that you’ve been in for so long. There really can be healing for you, but it’s up to you to take that first step, and when you’ve done that, each step after will be a bit easier.

To all birthmothers, I wish you healing and peace of mind, and never forget that you’re not alone on this journey.

Visit my website: EFT4adoption.

A truly thought provoking article by guest blogger and adoptee Jane Besmehn.

I was adopted at the age of 5 months old. That was in 1941. I was born in December of 1940. Back then many mothers went to birthing hospitals to have their babies and stayed with the baby for three months so that the baby could nurse and get a good start.

My mother didn’t positively decide to release me to an adoption agency until the last minute. It is my understanding that she agonized over the decision. I went to the adoption agency at the age of three months and then was adopted when I was five months old. By the age of five months, I had been moved three times.

I have eight kids of my own. Every one of those babies knew me at birth! There is no question in my mind that they knew me and would have been affected if I would not have kept them, even if they had been removed from me at birth.

My head understands how difficult it would have been for my birth mother to keep me. I intellectually understand the pressure she was under to give me up… away. I guess giving “up” a baby for adoption sounds better than “giving away.” I feel very strongly that she did love me and that she probably had limited options and resources and was also convinced that I would have a better life in a stable family.

My adoptive parents were good folks, educated, mature, owned their home. They weren’t my mother. They had an adopted son, he was eight years older than me, and they adopted another little girl three years after they adopted me. We were pretty much middle-class America.

I had little books of nursery rhymes. Three Little Kittens… picture for a minute a little girl, about three, sitting on the carpeted floor of a living room cutting the mittens out of the book and pasting them back with the kittens. There is another nursery rhyme called A Tisket A Tasket… I sat on the floor and cut the letters she wrote to her love out of the book and pasted them back in the green and yellow basket… no one thought it strange… just “cute.”

My second grade teacher wrote on my report card, “Jane seems to be hiding her light under a barrel.” How perceptive. No one else noticed.

One of my favorite books was Lassie Come Home and I read it probably about 20 times or more during my pre-teen and teen years. I always cried hard at the end when Lassie finally made the journey home and was reunited with her people. In fact, I’m still crying, now, as I type. I see the connection, why I read the book so many times, why I cried so hard, then, and now. I have spent my life trying to put things together that belong together. And today, I’m seeing how futile that has been, because all I ever really wanted was my mother.

Because of some archaic laws, I can’t even know her name.

None of the people in my story are villains, it’s a story without the bad guys. Everyone involved including my mother, my adoptive parents and the Children’s Home Society staff had good intentions and acted in what they truly believed to be my best interest. Maybe that is the danger in believing any one can really know what is in the best interest of another; but something needed to be done. I understand that; and outwardly, I did have a good childhood.

Inside, however, it’s a different story. I was odd. I never fit in. I felt displaced and still do. I never tried to excel in anything, just settled for a very mediocre life. It was too risky to risk, and besides, a very long time ago I made a vow that no one would ever get to know me or see me, who I really am. That decision partly came out of an ongoing conflict I had for most of my childhood with my adoptive mother. Nothing I was interested in was interesting to her, or even acceptable. I was a tomboy and she adopted a girl. I wanted to learn to play the guitar, she had me take accordion lessons because we already had one and my little sister was taking lessons. I wanted a horse. Of course, I couldn’t have one. She wanted me to go to college, I wanted away from school, period…! I was so uncomfortable in any social or academic setting where I had to interact with others. I only had one or two friends at a time. I didn’t keep any of them. I chose to be alone.

I was constantly having stomach problems (which I kept completely to myself… I did not believe it was safe to do anything to rock the boat and I got in trouble when I threw up.) I remember lying very still on my back while I fell asleep at night, afraid to move because if I did it felt like I would throw up. No one knew. Not their fault. I didn’t tell anyone. I did not trust. I still don’t trust. That is the story of my life to now. It has affected me in everything that I have attempted to do, hold a job, start a business, stay in a relationship, even hold on to friendships. I always sabotage relationships, or myself, and still do. It’s safer to live that way than to trust and risk hurt. I don’t even know how to trust and all my behavior is designed to protect me from ever having to feel the full pain of separation again.

Slowly the pieces are fitting together and the way I have lived my life is making some sense to me. From that place, I will be able to make some choices about how I will spend the rest of my life. EFT will help.

I’ve been working with adoptees for nearly 20 years now, and I thought I had heard pretty much every regret there was to hear from an adoptee, but yesterday I heard one I hadn’t heard before, and it caused me to feel a profound sadness.

An adoptee contacted me about scheduling an EFT session, and on my intake form she said that one of her biggest regrets was having been born. She was feeling abandoned by her birth family, but also apparently never really felt like she was a part of her adoptive family, so she was feeling totally isolated and alone, and wished she hadn’t been born.

By the end of our conversation this adoptee realized that she wasn’t feeling strong enough to face her demons, so no session was scheduled, but I was left feeling that I needed to reach out none the less.

I dedicate the tapping script below to the adoptees who feel totally alone in the world. Please know that you’re not.

Setup:

Even though I feel like I’m completely alone in the world and don’t belong anywhere, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.

Even though I feel so alone that I wish I’d never been born, and that’s a terrible way to feel, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.

Even though I feel isolated and alone, and my birth family didn’t want me, but I don’t feel like part of my adoptive family either, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself, and I choose to consider that there are people in my life who love me and care about me.

Reminders:

Eyebrow: I feel so alone in the world
Side of eye: I don’t feel like I have a family
Under eye: My birth family didn’t want me
Under nose: But I don’t feel like a part of my adoptive family
Chin: I’m tired of feeling so alone in the world
Collar bone: I wish I’d never been born
Under arm: This is so painful for me
Top of head: And I’m tired of hurting and feeling alone.

Eyebrow: I don’t have a family
Side of eye: Or maybe I do
Under eye: I’m completely alone in the world
Under nose: Or maybe I’m not
Chin: I feel so isolated and alone
Collar bone: But maybe I need to find another way to look at that
Under arm: Maybe I have people around me
Top of head: Who genuinely care.

Eyebrow: Choosing to work on releasing the feeling of isolation
Side of eye: Letting that feeling drain right out of my body
Under eye: Choosing to recognize the people around me
Under nose: Who truly do care about me
Chin: Letting go of the feelings of loneliness and isolation
Collar bone: Letting those feelings flow
Under arm: And then letting them go
Top of head: Replacing them with an energy of peace and healing.

Back to EFT4adoption.

Over the last 20 years, many birthmoms have come out of the “birthmom closet” and talked about their pasts. Many have searched for the children that they lost to adoption, and many have reunited. These are women who have dealt with the past in one way or another and moved on.

Unfortunately, there are still many women who refuse to acknowledge what they went through, and who have kept it a secret all of their lives. For these women, the child they bore and gave up becomes THE secret.

Many of the women who worked so hard at keeping their secret have not even shared with their husband that they had a child that was relinquished. Nobody in their life knows what happened but them.

That is a huge secret to carry for such a long time, and the weight of it must be enormous. I can’t even imagine how it must feel to keep a secret like that from the entire world.

For this group of birthmothers, they live in fear of being found by the children that they gave up. They are terrified of a knock at the door or a phone call that will result in their secret being revealed.

How could you possibly explain to a husband of 25 or 30 years why you never shared the fact that you had a child before you married them? These women are scared to death that their marriages and family lives will be put on the line if their child shows up.

I worked with an adoptee who searched for her birthmother for years. She finally found her and made contact and was told that she could never have a relationship because her very existence was a deep, dark secret.

The situation was devastating to the adoptee, but it couldn’t have been easy for the birthmom either. She HAD to want to know her daughter, but didn’t dare let her into her life.

Historically, one of the biggest problems in adoption has been the secrecy. Sealed records make adoptees and birthmothers alike feel like there is something to hide, otherwise why would the records be sealed?

For so many years birthmoms were actually encouraged to keep their experience a secret. That may not be the case today, but there are still many thousands of birthmoms keeping their secrets, because they don’t know any other way to handle what happened to them.

I look forward to a time when most adoptions will be open, all parties concerned with be honest and forthright with each other, and respect will be accorded to all parties. The secrets of adoption need to be left behind.

I did a session with a birthmom today that left me with a lot on my mind. She gave up son up in what was supposed to be an open adoption, but the agency refused to commit anything about that to paper. Even though the birthmom spoke with the adoptive parents and they agreed to regular visits, pictures and ongoing contact, there was nothing to prove that they had made that commitment.

In point of fact, the adoptive parents refused this birthmom contact with her son for 18 years. Only when he was old enough to start making his own decisions did she get to see him.

This birthmom was very angry, and felt betrayed. How could she feel anything but betrayed, under the circumstances? An agreement had been made in good faith (at least on the part of the birthmom) and years down the road she was still feeling like the system had completely let her down. And it had!

I have no answers here. I’m just railing against a system that treats people the way our current system does. Nobody has a right to treat another person the way the birthmom I worked with was treated, and the way the many other birthmoms through the years have been treated.

Feeling betrayed by the system? This may help:

Setup:

  • Even though I feel angry about having been betrayed by the entire adoption system, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.
  • Even though I was lied to and misled by the adoptive parents and the adoption agency and that makes me angry, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.
  • Even though I was betrayed by a system that only cared about my child, and not about me, and that makes me really angry, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself, and I hold myself in kindness and compassion.

Reminders:

  • I’m so angry
  • And I feel betrayed
  • The agency lied to me
  • The adoptive parents lied to me
  • Nobody cared about me
  • They only cared about my baby
  • And that makes me angry
  • And feeling very betrayed
  • I’m so angry
  • But maybe I can start to let go of that
  • I feel so betrayed
  • But maybe I can work on that
  • I was lied to
  • But maybe I can put that behind me
  • I was betrayed and that hurts
  • But I need to move on
  • So much anger
  • So many feelings of betrayal
  • But I choose to start working
  • On releasing those feelings
  • Letting go of the anger
  • Letting go of the betrayal
  • Letting those feelings drain away
  • And replacing them with an energy of healing.

And to all you birthmoms who have been through this kind of painful experience, I wish you healing and peace on your journey.

Trust is a big issue in the lives of many people, but this is especially true for adoptees. Much of this lack of trust goes back to feelings of abandonment. In the words of Nancy Verrier, “It is difficult to face the fact that by definition every adopted child is an abandoned child, who has suffered a devastating loss. No matter that the adoptive parents call it relinquishment and the birth mother calls it surrender, the child experiences it as abandonment.”

Because this abandonment happens so early that there is not a conscious memory of it, many adoptees aren’t really even sure why they feel that way…they just know that they do. Keep in mind that although this memory may not be accessible to you, the adoptee, it is stored in your subconcious, and our subconscious has a lot to do with our normal day to day behavior.

You may not even realize that the memory is present until something happens in your life to trigger the subconcious, bringing that feeling to the forefront. Maybe as a child, your best friend deserts you to play with someone they like better. Maybe as a teen your first boyfriend tells you that he wants to break up. Any situation is which you feel that someone has abandoned you is going to trigger the feeling. Suddenly you find yourself intensely sad, or maybe intensely mad. You know this feeling….you’ve felt it before…you don’t like it. Unfortunately, there is no way to ‘turn it off’. The memory is a part of your past, whether you’re aware of it or not.

Some adoptees go through their entire lives without being able to trust the people in their lives. This is incredibly sad for all concerned. Sometimes the fear of being abandoned again is so intense that the adoptee would rather not get involved in a relationship than to take a chance on opening up to someone and then being abandoned…again.

The good news for anyone who is dealing with this issue is that EFT can help. Through EFT you can access the memory of abandonment, and you can tap your way through releasing those negative feelings. EFT can help you to get to a place in your life where you can trust others and open to relationships. Your life will be richer and fuller, and all because of a bit of tapping. Don’t take my word for it…try EFT yourself.

Adoption search is a complex topic. There are so many things that can happen during or at the end of a search that it boggles the mind.

Adoptees in search of birth families seem to have the best track record. Since they have access to non-identifying information, they have an advantage over birth family members. Their adoptive parents may also have information, even identifying information, concerning their family of origin. All of this can be extremely helpful in a search.

At the end of an adoptee’s search, the situation can go in different ways. They can find a birthmother or other birthfamily member that welcomes them with open arms. This is the happy ending that most adoptees hope for. Unfortunately, adoptees can find that their birth family (usually their birthmother) wants nothing to do with them. This is most often due to the fact that the birthmom has never confided to anyone about the child that she gave up, and years down the road, after keeping the secret for decades, they are afraid to tell the truth. This is a sad situation, but is not uncommon. Adoptees can also find at the end of their search that their birthmother is deceased. There may still be siblings who welcome them, but not all birthmoms go on to have other children, or tell the children they have about “their secret”.

A birthmother searching is more complicated. Since they are usually not entitled to non-identifying information, they often have a lot less information to use when searching. Some states have birth indexes which help in searches, but access to a birth index depends on the state in which the child was born. Birthmoms often have to bite the bullet, and pay a professional searcher to find their child. The end of a birthmom search is more up in the air than an adoptee search. Birthmothers are rejected by adoptees far more often than adoptees are rejected by birthmoms. A complicating factor for birthmoms is that once they’ve found their child, the adoptive parents may feel threatened by them, and when this happens, it usually prevents any kind of a relationship from happening, sadly.

More and more often over the last few years, I’ve seen adoptive parents helping their kids to search. These kinds of searches have the best chance of a happy ending, since the searcher has the support of their parents in their search. I’ve seen a number of wonderful reunions that came about when adoptive parents helped their children to search. When everyone is involved, and adoptive family, birthfamily and adoptee all come together as an extended family, wonderful things happen.

The most important thing for any searcher to remember is that you never know what you’ll find at the end of your search, and you need to be as prepared as possible for any eventuality.

If you are currently searching, and are feeling stressed, why not try a little EFT to rid yourself of the stress?

Setup Statement:
Even though I am really scared about what I may find at the end of my search, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Reminder Phrases:
This fear, what will I find?, this fear, searching is scary, I choose to transform this fear, into an energy of healing, I choose to release negative feelings, and embrace positive feelings.

Back to No More Adoption Pain

Anger — we all feel it, but not many people find it acceptable. When we were children, most of us were encouraged not to show our anger, and we carried that habit over into adulthood. We get angry about all kinds of things, but we’ve learned over time how to “stuff those feelings down”. Maybe we smoke a cigarette, maybe we have a drink, or maybe we go around the block until we’ve walked it off, but we seldom let others see or know that we’re angry.

There is lots of anger in the adoption triad. We’ve got angry adoptees, angry birthmothers and angry adoptive parents. To each of us, our anger feel justified, and it may be.

Adoptees are often angry because they feel that they’ve been abandoned. In their minds, their birthmother saw them as an inconvenience, and it was far easier to let somebody else raise their child than to raise it themselves. Very seldom is this actually true, but lots of adoptees feel this way.

Other adoptees are angry that they have been, as they see it, victimized by the adoption community. The decision about where and how they would live their lives was made by others, and even as adults they’re not allowed to know about their families of origin. This is an anger that I feel is well justified, and I’d like to think that at some point the system will be reformed so that adult adoptees can always find out where they came from. Everyone deserves that right.

Birthmothers have their share of anger. Many are angry at their families and “the system” for forcing them to relinquish children that they didn’t want to give up. That anger is intensified by the fact that birthmoms are not expected to or encouraged to express grief over the loss of their child, but are instead told to “forget it and move on”.

Birthmothers have virtually no rights when it comes to getting non-identifying information so that they can find their children. That makes it mighty hard for a birthmom to search and find. This is still another reason (again, justified) for anger on the part of birthmoms.

Adoptive parents feel that they have plenty to be angry about, too. Many get angry at their children if they decide to search for their birthfamily. They feel betrayed, theatened, or just plain jealous, and therefore they are angry. Some are also angry at birth family members who have found their children. These parents harbor the feeling that once relinquishment papers are signed, a birth parent has given up any right to ever know the child.

So much anger, for so many reasons… Anger is usually an uncomfortable thing to deal with, and we end up with guilt on top of that anger. EFT is the most effective method that I’ve ever found for dealing with anger. Once you zero in on an incident that made you angry, and tap through 2 or 3 rounds, the anger is often totally gone, and you are left with a feeling of peace and calmness that is far more pleasant than anger.

Why not give EFT a try for your anger? Five minutes of tapping might just give you the relief that you’ve been hoping for.

Back to No More Adoption Pain

The quick answer to this question in most cases is NO!

Abandonment is a fairly common issue for adoptees. Even though the logical part of their brain may recognize that they weren’t actually abandoned, that baby who lost his/her mother so very early feels abandoned anyway.

Many birthmothers, particularly those of more mature adoptees, really didn’t have options as far as keeping their child. Family and societal pressures forced them to relinquish their child, even though for many of them it was one of the most traumatic events of their life.

Mothers of younger adoptees may have had options, but may have also realized that a child raising a child is not a good idea, and you can’t offer that child the best life if you can’t even take care of yourself.

It’s important for adoptees to realize that the vast majority of birthmoms carry emotional scars for a lifetime after losing a child to adoption. You don’t carry a child in your womb for 9 months, and then just put it out of your mind. Birthmothers never forget the children that they lose.

This is not to say that there aren’t some women who willingly give up children and don’t look back, but for most birthmothers, they carry their child in their heart for a lifetime, whether or not they ever carried that child in their arms.

For adoptees with abandonment issues, please know that EFT can give you tremendous relief from any pain and anger that you may be feeling, and can lead you to a place of peace in your heart.

Back to No More Adoption Pain