I just finished reading Verrier's "The Primal Wound" for the THIRD time. The first two times, I just assumed I hadn't read it thoroughly enough. Though, with the third reading, I have finally formed an opinion.
Im a 23-year-old domestic adoptee. I have heard people rave, simply rave, about this book as the ғBible for adoptees. I must admit though that I found little to nothing to relate to in this book.
I have felt very little of the extreme feelings described in the book, and I had trouble believing that I subconsciously remember the devastating moment that I was removed from my birthmotherԒs arms. While I admit that the adoption has deeply affected me, I dont agree with the majority of what the author wrote, nor do I think she is particularly qualified to categorize and represent the adoptee population, as she is not an adoptee, but an adoptive parent. I respect her credentials, and her opinion, but I just didnҒt like the book, and I didnt see my adoptee self ( the group she is attempting to represent) within any of her descriptions and analyses.
Have any of you read it? What did you think? IҒm curious because I seem to be in the minority.
I am not adopted but I have a daughter who is. I often lurk on this forum and have learned so much from all of you.
I have not read Primal Wound, but it's on my list. So I only know the basics of the theory. It seems quite a few of you feel the impact of your adoption, and I think this should be respected whatever the cause. And many of you don't feel that impact, and that's cool too.
In the coming years we will have all kinds of opportunity to study this in a way we did not have when the book was originally published. Back then, we only knew about babies born to mothers who raised them and babies placed for adoption. These days, we have
children genetically related to mom #1, raised by mom #1(traditional, non-adopted)
children genetically related to, gested and birthed by mom #1, raised by mom #2 (traditional adoption)
children gestated and birthed by mom #1, genetically related to and raised by mom #2 (gestational carrier/surrogate)
Children genetically related to mom #1; gestated, birthed, and raised by mom #2 (embryo adoption)
And every combination thereof.
I think it will be interesting to see if children born to gestational carriers tend to feel the same impact from adoption, even though they are genetically related to their parents (yet they are separated from their "birthmoms" early on). What about children adopted as embryos who are birthed by their amoms? This will really be the test to see if the Primal Wound theory stands up. Again, not to say that the wound isn't there. Clearly it is, but I'm saying studying these non-traditional birth situations might give more insight into the causes of it.
I think about that a lot
It makes me dizzy lol
And I hope someone smarter than me is studying it all right now!
I am not sure if it still doesn't just come down to
Will one be injured by genetic bewilderment?
unremembered trauma of separation (before consious memory is in play) ?
- in any of the cases presented.
While I wonder if all are injured by those two things, or feel the injury in different levels at different times during life -
It's a given to me that we will be "changed" by those two things in ways, even if it's just our thought processes that change. good and bad.
When necessary, if things are done along the way to ease the bewilderment, and the trauma at separation that has been reportedly experienced by many -
wouldn't that typically be better than suggesting it's only a possibility, not a 100% proven theory?
shadow riderer
It's a book about what may or may not occur when loss is not acknowledged or grieved...IMO.
whew, thank you shadow!!
I have read this book with an open mind and my final say on adoption is this:
I do not think adoption is so easily justified as people make it out to be: Giving up the true mother-son bond, which really CANNOT be replaced by an adoptive mother, as substantiated by her research (and my experience), is a bigger evil than giving the child a supportive/loving family and promising future. I believe adoption is only justifiable if, through say addiction/abuse/neglect, the biological parents/mother are unable to LOVE their child. If the biological mother is healthy and loves her child, but is too poor to support it, I don't think adoption is justified. Our society has come to place economic success ahead of family and love. Nothing can replace the mother-child bond; and it is from that bond that one grows into the best person they can be.
All people are different. In my case, I've known my a'mom 20 years and b'mom for 5 months and I am way closer to my b'mom emotionally and felt like a complete person once I reunited with my biologicals. So the book obviously hit home with me pretty well.
I'm so glad you resurrected this threat Ramned!
I am in the process of reading the book myself. I must admit I haven't gotten very far. I've read some of the criticism and some of the support. I'm excited to read it. Flipping through it, I came across a section about fear of abandonment and how with adoptees this should be treated as a RATIONAL fear, since, that's kind of what happened to us. I've always thought my fear of abandonment was something that was WRONG with me. It is something I think I have overcome for the most part, but it is a relief to know that it is totally normal.
I am very curious about this book and people's reactions to it, because I am a 36 year old grad student (adoptee). I am married, but we are not ready to have kids yet, and I am beginning to accept the fact that I may be too old to have a biological child when we are ready to have one (plus there are some medical issues on my husbands side). So, we will probably adopt.
Here's my concern though. Because I was adopted I have always wanted to have a natural child, mostly to experience what that is like, because it is something my own mother never had. She has told me that when she was younger she missed not having a natural child, but as she got older, she didn't so much. (Maybe that was just for my benefit. *shrug*). I have also talked to a close friend of mine who has kids (one is in college, the other high school). She told me that that immediate mother-child bonding thing doesn't happen for all women. That yeah, once the child comes its great (unless I guess there's postpartum depression), but that not all women experience that connection while the baby is still in the womb. She says that most women don't talk about that though because they'd be afraid people would think there was something wrong with them. That kind of gave me a little comfort, because (and I'm sorry if this sounds selfish) I don't want to feel that I have missed out on anything. And maybe because I AM adopted I would have a special experience - I don't know. I have never been pregnant and I assume everyone's experience is different.
However, I DO feel that, whether or not I consciously remember it, being separated from my birth mother has caused some minor psychological issues for me in my life. So, I think there MUST be something to that magical, glowy bond between mother and child. I don't know. I'd be interested in hearing what people's opinions are on this, because, like I said, I am a little worried that I may be missing out on something, or depriving my future child of something.
(Sorry this is so long). I would like to comment on what Ramned said about the ethics of adoption. I would like to disagree. I love who I am today (mostly) and I know that I would be a VERY different person had my birth mom not given me up for adoption. I may have loved myself anyway, but there are things about who I am that are a direct result of my being adopted. One of them is my fear of abandonment, which I guess I could have done without, but there are other things that I would count a positive (I won't go into detail at the moment).
I am sorry Ramned that you are not as close with your amom as you are with your bmom. I think this was similar for my abrother as well. But I think that everyone's experience is different. From what I understand my bmom gave me up because she was young and unmarried and it wasn't as accepted then as it is now. Simple as that. But if she hadn't done that, then I wouldn't be who I am today, so I am ultimately glad she did what she did, despite some of the negative affects it has had on me. I just don't think anyone can predict what would be better for the child - the negative affects of adoption, or the negative affects of a bad home life - you know? People just cannot predict the future. So, I think that as long as everyone involved is doing what they believe is best for the child, then some things just need to be forgiven.
I DO appreciate some of the changes that are occurring with adoption, because not having access to information about one's past can be very difficult, and I would also say unfair. So, whether or not an adoption is "open" I do believe that original records and current medical information needs to be more readily available to adoptees.
So, thanks for listening to my two cents, if you made it this far! (I can be very long-winded. I'm sorry).
I started this thread two years ago...and honestly? I've changed my opinion a bit. My adoptive mother, who is a psychiatrist, read the book ( I left it at her house by accident, I now live in Italy).
And she agreed with it. She thought it was a very valid anaylisis. Which I guess made me think twice about it. If my adoptive mother can accept it... (and its not something she WANTED to accept, I'm sure)...why can't I ?
The last two years have been pivotal in my adoption experience. I've gotten closer with my biological mother ( after ten years of reunion), I've seen things and felt things that I hadn't experienced before.
I think that the loss of my natural mother has had a strong and intense effect on me. Not exactly in the way that the book describes...but that fear of abandonement? I've got it. Big time. Do I think its totally adoption related? No. But do I think it has a BIG part in it? Yup.
Your Mom's assessment is interesting Amanda. Very cool that she read it, and shared it with you.
It's funny to see this thread resurface. I read PW 2 years after my stroke and it was one of the first books I could read and put down and then not have to start over due to short term memory loss from the stroke.
I just started re-reading it as I only have a vague concept of the 'how' or 'style' of how it came across. It will be interesting to see if my take ends up the same or more like Amanda felt when she first read it. Perhaps it has more to do with 'where we are' in the journey when we read it than the style. I don't know.
Amanda - are you going to re-read it?
I read the book and this time marked where it applied to me. Overall, at least for me, I would say about 10-20% of what she does say I can relate to. Which is actually a good amount. The rest, for the most part, I think is a bit over-dramatized and generalized, but that is effective in her goal to get people to understand adoption isn't all fairy-tale happiness.
In particular...points that hit with me:
-Bmom vs Bdad/Amom/Adad: Emotional and closer to bmom, I wanted to find bdad only because of intellectual curiosity. I have always been closer to my adad than my amom, so I was suprised I am closer to bmom than bdad. In fact, I am closer to her than my amom AND adad. I think her thesis that the mother-son bond is profound is right. I think that the first mother cannot be replaced by anyone. I believe that trading the mother son bond for billions of dollars and economic prosperity for the child is a bad trade.
Another point she made was with the reunion: regression. That the adoptee goes back to feeling like a baby and the bmom goes back to feeling like a young mother. I think that, as well as genetic sexual attraction, have some substance to them.
I believe that the acting out / compliant actually does exhibit itself with the reunion. For me, I fit the acting out with my amom. However I have noticed with bmom I have been more compliant. At first, for the first month or two of meeting her, I had this urge to ignore her texts and leave her hanging. Let her feel how I guess I felt deep down. However I fought that urge. I have then, as the author puts it, tried to be "the perfect birth child." Fitting her description of the compliant adoptee. Trying to please my bmom. Make her realize what she gave up. I love my bmom, but I do believe the author has very substantial idea in the acting out / compliant adoptee. I think deep down adoptees do feel abandoned...not intellectually...subconsciously.
She talks about adoptees and: rejection, control, loyalty, mistrust, and other manifestations. For the most part, I could not relate to it. I think she overdramatized and really stretched the truth at times. However there was stuff I could relate to (sometimes a stretch)...But I could relate with feelings that my life has been manipulated (control), loyalty as perhaps why I am emotionallly shallow with amom, mistrust in my a'rents (I always thought growing up, my a'mom adopted me for religious reasons although I now know this isn't true).
With regards to getting a job as a teenager, she hit home there, I wasn't lazy. I worked whenever I could, usually for my parents and friends for free, but when it came to going into the corporate world for a job, I struggled. I could not simply interview, get denied, and then go on. I would pick ONE company and work for months if I had to, to get the job. I would not take no as an answer. I think a fear of rejection is something I have, but is this really from being adopted? I think that is debatable.
To note, the two things that makes me different from I'd say the majority of adoptees she describes is A) I wasn't relinquished until I was about 9 months old and B) I was relinquished to an adoptive family who had a biological child already. And C) my a'dad is my b'mom's uncle.
Two reasons this is a good book:
1) Learn about those things you may have had growing up that you couldn't put your finger on.
2) It SLAMS the misconception that adoption is a pure good. I think my b and a parents overlooked the fact that giving up my bmom is a PRICE for not just bmom but for me too.
3) Give a'rents who are going to adopt, let them know their kid may be "different." Her thesis that adoption is EXPERIENCED by the child is important.
Read it. Half of what she says probably won't apply to you and make you say "that's b.s." I did. But if you are honest with your evaluation you'll have some nods.
Slightly -OT, I've been meaning to get around to reading this book. Until then, i relie on Dickons and the other adoptees to advise me :D
Most of this thread relates to children adopted at or near the time of birth.
Do you think it relates to school age children adopted through foster care?
What about kinship adoptions?
Children raised in OAs?
wcurry - you could read the book and take what makes sense and ignore the rest. I'm re-reading it and still do not understand why some feel it is so horrible as I do not hear her saying everything in it happens to all or that everyone is impacted the same or that everyone will suffer for the rest of their lives every single day of that life...
I do think there will be common feelings felt from any type of adoption and it delves into the why's an adoptee may feel that way and it's interesting. I see much of the same information in Brodzinsky's book Being Adopted the lifelong search for self...
My opinion it is the title of the book that makes people read it with a prejudicial attitude...and then of course they are going to read it with a negative slant versus and educational slant...
I always read something that if I get one thing out of it then that's good....
Rammed - whether your mom should read it depends on how she views life in general and only you can make that determination. My mom would read it and find many aha moments and other parts that don't apply she wouldn't worry about - others would condemn it solely based on the title.
I started this thread two years ago...and honestly? I've changed my opinion a bit. My adoptive mother, who is a psychiatrist, read the book ( I left it at her house by accident, I now live in Italy).
And she agreed with it. She thought it was a very valid anaylisis. Which I guess made me think twice about it. If my adoptive mother can accept it... (and its not something she WANTED to accept, I'm sure)...why can't I?
Amanda, this doesn't surprise me at all. Your Mom is a very wise woman---I've always enjoyed reading the stuff you write about your parents. Several friends of mine in real life who are psychotherapists have read "The Primal Wound" and agree with the basic it's not surprising to me that your Mom also agrees with it.
Nancy Verrier does a good job citing her sources in the bibliography. I've read most of research in the peer-reviewed medical journals that Verrier refers to, and I have to say that the science is pretty sound. She didn't just come up with this theory out of thin air. It's based on cumulative research within the fields of neonatology, prenatal physiology, and perinatal biology. The referenced material found in Verrier's bibliography is definitely worth the time to read.
Amanda, it's been such a pleasure watching you grow from afar over the past couple years. I think a lot of us change our minds as we evolve and mature. How can we not when life's experiences affect us so deeply? :loveyou:
This is an insightful and intense book for an adoptee wanting to understand him or herself. Also good for those that love an adoptee to help you understand some of the "issues" that arise for some adoptees.
If either the adoptee or the adoptive parent are in denial or don't want to deal with the issues then this book will cause anger.
Geneological bewilderment is something I have always known about and just didn't have a name for. No matter how many books you read you can nevr understand what it is like to be adopted.
It is like being deaf. A hearing peson can't cover their ears and imagine. It is a whole lifetime of experiences you can't comprehend.
I agree with Dickons on all counts, but especially the title. The first time I heard people talking about "The Primal Wound", i immediately became defensive. That's crazy. "I'm perfectly fine, and I certainly do not have any problems or issues with being adopted.", was my notto and montra. (O.K. those that know me around here...feel free to laugh out loud)
When I finally got around to reading the book, thanks to some help from some members here, well, I cried through the introduction and first chapter. Still don't know why, but I did. (O.K. I know why now, but I didn't then..not really.) Yum, crow pie is sooo yummy...not. I fought every horrid bite of crow I took, but eat it I did, time and time again.
Ditto to what Raven said Amanda. As they say, "We've come a long way baby!"
Hello. I just stumbled upon this thread, even though I see that it is an old one.
I haven't read the book yet, but I am intrigued and want to get it. However, I've read a lot about it on the internet and I've also read some of Nancy Verrier's articles on the internet.
I agree with the posts where people say that you can't generalize and that not everyone is going to have the same experiences.
I was adopted but I didn't know it until I was 30, then my amom decided to "'fess up".
Growing up I always felt very very very sad, a very deep sadness that never went away, I felt as if my mother were dead even though, obviously, she wasn't, since she was right there. I didn't know why I felt that way, there was no reason for me to feel that way. I thought maybe I was psychic and I was predicting my mother's imminent death and that deep down inside me I had decided to grieve for her before she died, so it wouldn't hurt so much when what I thought was a "premonition" finally happened.
I also had a lot a fear of abandonment. Once again, since I didn't know I was adopted, it just made no sense to me. My mother said I couldn't sleep at night as a baby because I used to stay awake all night long and just look at her. I didn't close my eyes, I just lay there and looked at her all night long and only fell asleep maybe at dawn because I couldn't help it!
And lots of other little things like that, that made no sense. For example, once when I was very small I got lost and I couldn't find my mother. I had a real panic attack and a hysterical fit. Of course, we understand that most kids would get a bit scared if they got lost, but from what I've observed of other children, if they get lost, they get a bit scared, but they also seem to have this conviction that sooner or later their mother will find them (which is usually exactly what happens). However, I really went crazy. I was convinced that I had lost my mother forever and I would never see her again.
However, I don't think that these "issues", or that issues that adoptees are supposed to have, were or are major influences in my life. I think that, the way I was raised (by my afamily) and the experiences I had growing up, had a LOT more and profounder effect on me than being adopted.
When I found out I was adopted, I was in therapy to try to learn to be less shy, since I was very shy (NOT a result of being adopted, I don't think, but rather because of the way I was raised), and the therapist decided that I HAD to have major issues and that I HAD to look for my bmother. As part of therapy, he made me look for my bmom, whom I didn't find in the end because I was born in a Third World country (I was adopted by a North American family).
He told me I was supposed to have lots of issues like feeling mad at my bmom, wanting to know about my roots, etc. Quite frankly, I never felt any of those issues that he talked about. I'm not interested in knowing about my bmom. I was born in a very poor country and I don't believe I would've received a great upbringing there. I don't think my bmother would've had the education or the economic resources to raise me right. And I don't think I'm in denial either because I feel this way. Like many have said on this forum, if feeling good means being in denial, then I'll take being in denial lol!
So I think, really, being abandoned by your bmom, of course that would give you issues. But I don't think ALL adoptees are going to have ALL the issues. I DO think it is so important that people like Nancy Verrier are daring to address the issues that we COULD have, however, as I'm sure we all have SOME, which non-adoptees wouldn't have.