I am a male who has been together with his wife for nearly 8 years now. She was adopted after a few months of birth and has never known anything about her heritage. For many years I have struggled with her, in regard to her feelings of rejection, how she views me as either good or bad( but never shades of gray), how she is so defensive about her feelings, and overall how her perceptions of herself are very distorted.
I've put so much energy in terms of helping her and helping her help herself. She acknowledges that she doesn't value herself at all and that she has trouble with her identity till this very day. Mind you, she is 30 years old and has these difficulties.
My hopes are to essentially help others who are experiencing such issues with their adopted spouse or child. I've had my heart broken so many times not realizing that she just doesn't understand the basic concept of loyalty since no one in her family was loyal to her at birth. This is true also for bonding, since the bond between her and her mother were never established at birth.
However, I do not write this to label or critique anyone in these shoes. Instead I come her to offer advice. My intentions are not to promote or sell anything here. However last year I picked up a book that just floored me in regard to her experiences. It has helped me understand her as a human being, who is for the most part wounded. As that implies, this book is excellent in explaining how adoptees are wounded human beings and that their actions are the result of the subconscious need to protect themselves.
So without promoting anything, I would encourage you to go visit your bookstore or online and search for a book in regard to wounds that adult adoptees face, which was published in 1993 . It will help you understand what is really at work when your adopted spouse has issues with loss, control ( being in), abandonment, trust, identity, expressing their true emotions, rejection, and self-esteem. It all makes since to me now and I am happy I read this book. It really stopped me from filling for divorce altogether, so that says a lot.
I don't believe that labeling adoptees is ever a good thing. All it will do is push them away. There are many types of diagnoses that people use that I was interested in earlier. However every problem and diagnoses has a source, and this book provides the source of those issues. RAD, Histrionic, so on and so forth. I've researched them all and have come to the conclusion that its better to deal with the source than to focus on the symptoms, know what I mean?
Can you reach a histrionic by telling them they have the disorder? Can you tell an addict of anything about their denial? Or can you just help them directly with why the addiction has come about? This is why I have realized that I can no longer reach my wife by telling her she has a problem. Instead I have to reach her by ALREADY knowing whats the problem and directly dealing with it without labeling her.
For example, she went through a phase of identity distortion and although all she does is read harry potter books and watch TV 24/7, she felt as if she wasn't good enough to be friends with women who held normal lives with normal biological parents. So instead she felt they were too good for her and that she would only befriend human beings with serious personality flaws. Her last 3 best friends were alcoholics, drug users, or borderline criminals. Why? well her rationale is that I must be flawed since my mom gave me up, so I might as well befriend people with serious personality flaws to make myself feel more secure. So what was this solution? Help her with understanding that she is not flawed, everyone has problems, and that flaws only remain flaws when that person fails to accept them as a problem.
So long story short, if you are experiencing any of these difficulties don't give up just yet. Instead try to understand the subconscious actions of that human being first. Help them personally accept those difficulties and then explain the solution based upon your own experiences with having known yourself, your bio-parents, and heritage.