My closest friend in the whole world is an adoptee and I’m having a hard time understanding her. I would really love some advice because I love her so much and I don’t want to lose her.
I’ve read many articles about adoptees and their issues with forming strong bonds and that when someone gets to close, they start to push them away. I am worried this is what is happening to us.
Some days, she acts like I am her best friend in the whole world...even saying that I am “her person” and other days, she acts like I’m just bothering her.
We live quite a ways away from each other and there are times when she texts all the time and others when I don’t hear from her from a week. Some days she is an open book, other times I can’t get anything out of her and she shuts up completely.
It feels to me that she is always testing me...that she is always giving me reasons to back off and leave her but I love her dearly and after 4 years, i would think she would understand that I’m not going anywhere.
Is there anything else I can do in this relationship or just take the good along with the bad? Any advice would be much appreciated
That is so nice of you that you have looked into how adoption affects adoptees. Tell her that. She will feel loved that you care about her enough to try to understand her better. Just remember to tell her this in a kind and loving way instead of an “I’m better than you, so I can fix you” type of way.
It’s true, when I start feeling close to someone, I’ve ended up pushing them away. For me, I push people away because I have never showed anyone all of me. The broken, hurt, sad part of me. I don’t think they will love me once they see all of the pain. It will scare them away. If you really want to keep this friend, just keep reminding her that you will always be there no matter what. And continue to show up for her. Make her feel safe in your friendship and that she can be her full self. Encourage her to express all of her emotions. If your friend brings up adoption, encourage her to talk about it, if you are comfortable, instead of getting weirded out. At least that is what a lot of people do when I bring up adoption. I am happy to talk about adoption with anyone, but I don’t feel like many people are comfortable talking about it. Maybe even say that you are a little uncomfortable talking about adoption, but you want to know and understand her better. Try to be okay if tears come. Allow her to cry and when she is all spent, then you can try to comfort her. But don’t use platitudes. Empathize. Try to put yourself in her shoes and think about how much pain it would be for you if were adopted. Acknowledge that pain. “I can’t imagine what it truly feels like to go through the pain you are going through, but it sounds horrible.” That is 100x better than saying, “But at least you have a good family now!” etc.
She probably is testing you. She is testing you to see if you will leave like her birth parents did. She is trying to prove to herself that she is unlovable by being unlovable. It is an unhealthy place I find myself in. That is something she has to work on for herself, but you might be able to kindly and lovingly say, “Are you pushing me away because you don’t think I will love you if I see all of the broken parts of you?”
I don’t really think it matters how long your friendship has been. It is more how you make her feel, if she feels safe sharing everything about herself with you. I still have issues knowing my family and friends love me even though many of those relationships have been more than 4 years.
Let me know how your friendship has been going since your post and I hope this helps!