Drowning in Adoption

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Over the last 10+ years I’ve been predominantly consumed with adoption in more ways than I can count. Writing about adoption related topics, having adoption related conversations, making adoption related friends, creating adoptee-centric resources and spaces, reading adoption related books, recovery from relinquishment & adoption trauma, attending adoption related conferences, crying adoption related tears, grieving adoption related loss, learning to live with an adoption related broken heart, spending most of my spare time drowning in adoption related THINGS.

Covid-19 has changed my life enormously, but before it came along I was spread thin, embarking on a social, emotional, and mental breaking point. Covid-19 was what actually allowed me to take some steps back and re-evaluate my life. With this step, I’ve been able to rethink some things and make some changes in my life in all areas. 

Every time an adoptee gives something outside of themselves to the adoption community, they are giving a piece of themselves. For some of us, it takes everything in us to give that piece, let alone dish out a million full sized pieces for 10+ years. It’s not enough that we’re born adopted, and we live adopted, and we’re cleaning up the aftermath, more like a bloodbath of a life changing CHOICE others made for us by us being adopted. This leaves so many of us broken, shattered, and repair can and will take an entire lifetime. But we continue to be givers of self, which is a very selfless thing to do. 

This is one of the many reasons I have absolutely ZERO TIME for adoptees who throw other adoptees under the bus for ANY REASON! ZERO! These adoptees are literally scum of the earth to me, and they will never have a space in my world. For so many adoptees to experience HELL ON EARTH, and finally find their voices only for other adoptees to cyber bully them, or cyber mob them is the most disgusting thing I have yet to experience in “Adoptionland” over the last few years. As if adoptees haven’t gone through enough? 

But somehow, so many of us make the choice to continue to be givers of ourselves, of our wisdom, of our story, of our heart and experiences in attempts to help others. For me, the return on this has done more for me in my recovery journey because it’s helped me by helping others. The wake-up call for me has been Covid-19 setting in, and this has allowed me the space to actually evaluate what’s working for me in my life, and what’s not. 

Once again, I’m making changes and setting more boundaries. 

Adopted for Life! It’s like a rubber stamp on my forehead. I can run, but I definitely can’t img_7873hide. I’m adopted for life. This very reality is actually a piece of who I am, but it’s not all of it. It’s taken a front seat for 45 years. It’s been draining, yet enlightening all at the same time. It’s made me strong, it’s empowered me.

I’ve been writing for a long while now about my long time love of nature, and being outdoors mixed in with all the healing wilderness wellness has brought me. Let’s be honest, adoption is heavy, and it always takes something away when we pour ourselves into the adoption community. It might look like writing, reading, relationships, online interactions, offline relationships, returning emails, answering inboxes, etc.  This has caused me to reevaluate all the commitments I’ve made in the adoption community and outside of this in my personal and professional life. 

The hardest and most draining and exhausting part for me has been networking with individuals who make commitments, but they don’t keep their commitments. It creates an automatic discord, and it’s awkwardly uncomfortable. It definitely takes away from my health and happiness having to encounter these individuals. Because of this, I’m learning to eliminate them because I have no time for half steppers. Communication is key, and I’ve found its a real problem for some people but I get the message, or lack of loud and clear. 

Integrity is everything, even in the middle of a pandemic. Someone can post 100 x a day on social media, but not have enough respect to respond to their commitments? The excuses people use are endless.  I have enough kindness and courtesy to communicate with others when things have changed for me, and if I’m no longer able to keep my commitment and trust me, a lot has changed for me. I do the right thing, the professional thing and I let them know. I communicate to them things have changed for me. It’s common courtesy and respect. I owe this to people, especially when I’ve made commitments. 

It’s deep in my heart to not want to let other people down, like I have always been let down yet I constantly find myself being let down by others. I’m pretty sick of it and it’s caused me to withdraw, retreat and reevaluate my life once again. “Sometimey” people are no longer on my friends list. Sometimes they show up, are dependable and keep their word, and sometimes they don’t. Pfft… I’m done. I’m allergic to flaky, I’m no longer engaging.

These type of interactions, on top of being adopted and all that comes with it, makes me feel like I’m drowning in adoption and it causes me a great deal of unnecessary stress and anxiety. It’s really exhausting, and disappointing. I can no longer take a front seat to these interactions whether it be in my personal or professional life. Because of this, more changes have been made and will continue to be made. My presence in the adoption community isn’t going to be like it always has. I’m setting boundaries, especially with the sometimey community. If I say I’m going to do something I do it. As stated already, integrity is everything. 

The flip side is, I have a small group of adoptees and non adopted friends who I know I can always count on, who I’ve built relationships with that keep their word, that have always shown up. They know who they are. I’ve had more phone conversations in the last 2 months with others, who are making an effort to communicate and keep in touch, and it’s been WONDERFUL to hear so many of the voices of those I know I can depend on, who reciprocate a relationship and friendship. The numbers are far and few between, but smaller is better. 

img_7896I’ve already made many changes regarding social media, elimination of people, places and things that no longer feed my spirit. I’m on a roll. For the rest of my days, I’m no longer chasing people down, I’m not blowing anyone’s inbox up, I’m not responding to texts or emails like I always have. I’m treating people how they treat me, and I’m saving my energy for myself, my kids, my close friends (adopted or not) and for those who are kind enough to reciprocate a relationship and keep their commitments. 

Those are the people I want in my life. No more drowning in adoption for me. I’m moving on, removing myself from toxic spaces, and I’m centering my life on the things that fill me up. Adoption has stole so much, and I refuse to allow it to steal anymore. 

No more energy being wasted on people, places or things that are draining in anyway. That doesn’t mean I still don’t have something to give to the adoption community. It just means that I’m not making any more commitments or dealing with the sometimeys. I’ve been drowning in adoption for a long time. Those days are over. I’m the only one that can make changes in my life and I’m determined to live my best life moving forward. 

What does that look like for me? Talking on the phone to my close friends, spending time with my kids, investing in my emotional, mental and physical health. It’s as many nature adventures as possible, chasing waterfalls which is my spiritual altar call. Surrounding myself with those who have no agenda, who understand the true meaning of friendship, and integrity. Investing in relationships with people I trust who understand that there isn’t just one way, but we’re all trying to find our ways and even when it doesn’t look the same, we all reserve space for others who look, act and believe nothing like us. Those are the people I want to have over for dinner. 

That’s where you will find me.

Living my best life.

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 Social Media Distancing – The Time Clock is Ticking

fe98b18a-8e0e-42f1-b675-2eda5ebd4e90Allow me a few minutes while I share my new guidelines for social media distancing. I am making some major changes in my personal and professional life, I hope to have more time to write about different topics of being an adoptee in recovery, and nature, wilderness wellness and more. My time is the most valuable thing I have on this planet and there are certain things I will no longer waste it on.

As so many mixed emotions, situations, and feelings have risen for most individuals due to this Covid-19 virus sweeping through our world, it has literally changed everything for me personally and professionally. Some of it has been painful, and some has been enlightening. Some has been a mixture of both. Most of us have been able to find a silver lining, if not many of them.

Spending the last few months glued to the television, seeking any and all guidance from the mainstream media, our government and traditional news outlets, I’ve made the personal choice to discontinue tuning into this for my own mental health and well-being, not to mention I’ve found most of it to be propaganda based on lies.  I have also found this to ring true for certain social media platforms. I have found it to be a toxic addition to my life, and I am making the choice to opt out of certain platforms.

I have seen people fall out on social media at the flip of a switch because narratives are presented with certain articles, views or ideas and someone wants to make it “I’m right and you’re wrong.”  I have found this line of thinking to be toxic, as well as the friendships that are based on the foundation that in order to be my friend, you have to believe like me, act like me and talk like me. Sounds like religious circles, right?  To be true to myself, these are not the type of people or relationships I want in my life, even on my social media.  Because of this, I’m implementing my own social media distancing guidelines. The older I get, the more things change. I want a small, true, and genuine circle of friends. More friends is not better, it is actually worse.

One thing the Coronavirus has done is allow people to show their true colors, especially on social media platforms because many love to get big and bold behind the computer screen. Reality is, if they talked that trash in real life, they would likely get punched straight in the face. I personally partake in a particular type of social media etiquette and carry myself a certain way when in the presence of so many other people because I feel its the kind thing to do. When I see something posted by someone else that I do not agree with on social media, I politely pass that post by. If I notice someone I know on social media sharing posts that I feel are toxic to my mental health and well-being, or it’s something I don’t agree with,  I kindly snooze them for 30 days, or unfollow them all together or simply ignore it. I am not on social media to pop on everyone’s timeline and create discord on their posts and pages and that is never what I have been on social media for. Social media used to be fun, but at this present time in our current affairs, I have found it to be anything but fun. It’s draining, triggering and exhausting.

Apparently too much time in the house has others who are out to argue or prove someone else is wrong and they are right. Let me be perfectly honest, in my opinion social media all alone has created an illusion that all these people are our friends, and all these people like us, support us and “love” us. This might be true to an extent because I have many people on social media I like, support and LOVE. I think we all do, however the other side of this is a lot of people are connected to us in some form or fashion that are just people taking up space. Their opinions really do not matter to me, and if I am being completely honest, most of them are likely no one I would ever hang out with off social media in real life. Who are these people and why are they on my social media? I sometimes ask myself this question daily. I do social media cleanses often, unfriending people who I don’t really know but I realize we all have different outlooks on social media. I respect what others use it for and understand we might have totally different views on this.

I think I have been clear on how I feel about internet interactions, due to the creation of Adoptees Connect, Inc. and this resource having the soul purpose of building relationships with adoptees in our communities in real life. In person friendships and meetings are so much more genuine to me than anything that can be built online, and these are the connections I want in my life. I also apply this to my real life, not just Adoptees Connect, Inc. I do have a small circle of close friends from the adoption community, who I consider my ride or dies. I am not talking about them. They know who they are.

The new normal of others being stuck at home due to the Covid-19 virus has really done a number on people, understandably so. It’s done a number on me too, and I’m 100% certain my life will never be the same.  Some people are out of work, some are trying to find food for their kids, some are at a complete loss on how they can pay their rent this month. I get it and I have great sympathy for each person and each family.

I have experienced my own setbacks due to this virus, although I do not care to share them publicly, I am consciously aware that we are all at different spaces and places in life. I am aware many people are on high alert, and much of what they share comes out in what they post on social media. I know when to allow others grace and turn the cheek and when to keep it moving.

As for social distancing, some people are doing the things they are doing to survive, and what that looks like to them, looks like defiance to someone else. I am set on never casting judgement on people for doing what they need to do to survive. Many people are dealing with mental health issues, and others are extremely lonely. The internet is good at making people feel as if they are connected and because of this, social media has been a wonderful tool for many. Isn’t that what so many of us desire, is that ultimate need to feel connected?

Normally I do not post politically motivated topics, or topics to be overly sensitive for many reasons. Over the last few months, I have shared a few posts that could be looked at as controversial, and I do not regret sharing them at all. However, the open mindedness I would hope most people would have was almost non-existent. Instead of reading the topics, and learn something they wanted to be right, and express that I was wrong for sharing them. These are not the type of people I want in my life, and this is not the type of activity I want to be wasting my time on. We are only allowed a certain amount of time granted to each of us in every single day we have here on earth, and the time clock is ticking.

I am taking responsibility of allowing social media to fill a space in my life that really could be filled with other things that are productive to living a happy and healthy life, even with the Covid-19 virus in full effects. In recovery we can make excuses all day long but ultimately, we must take accountability for our own lives and make changes when things do not suite our needs. Just like the church, religion, and so many other areas of life, it is easy to fall into a trap of co-dependency regarding social media and how much time we spend on there.

I have struggled with the entire concept of so much good coming from social media, at the expense of my unbelievably valuable time. With my time I want to be educating myself and learning new things. I want to be outside in the sunshine reading books I have had on my bookshelf for 25+ years because motherhood dominated my life for so long, I had intentions to read them but never could. I’ve read two whole books in the last week from beginning to end. That hasn’t happened in over 25 years. Now, my kids are older, I want to spend time with them which is my biggest priority. I am free to explore the world and different areas of my state. (Before and after Covid-19, obviously) I have hammocks, and camping gear and a car filled with gas. I want to be adventuring in my area and state and forget all about Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as much as humanly possible.

My mental health is always better when I am outside, connected to the earth in full sync and harmony with nature. Being glued to computers, cell phones, tablets and all electronics are just things I do not want to be doing anymore. If I do, I want my time spent in these areas to be as productive as possible. I believe all the social media platforms that are around and being created are truly just distractions from us all living the true life we were meant to live.

It’s so easy to get sucked into the enticing aspects of the fun and convenience that social f18beb15-8b90-4cc1-9674-4fd5be3d3ebdmedia brings, but I woke up one day and realized if I don’t make some changes I will be a slave to social media forever. I have addictive personality, so monitoring my time on social media does not work for me. I have tried it all, just like I did with alcohol for the 27 years of drinking. If I do not make changes, time I that could be spent feeding my spirit to be as happy and healthy as possible will have slipped by me, poof…  Gone, like a vapor. No one knows how much time we have on earth, and I am living each day like it is my last, even in quarantine.

Stress is a huge problem for many people in work, at home and life in general. I can tell you one thing, stress will eat you from the inside out and take a toll on your mind, your body and spirit. I have let the stress from Adoptees Connect, Inc. and social media platforms dominate way too much of my time. Due to the nature of social media becoming a toxic playground, I have made the choice to take a break from most of the platforms I have normally been continually active in for many years. I have had a love/hate relationship with social media and technology for many years. This comes from wanting to be healthy and happy, and becoming happy and healthy you notice more, especially toxic things and toxic people. It is no wonder I am at a breaking point because it’s been in the works for years!

I care more about my personal friendships with people that I do about being right and others being wrong to even care to participate in these platforms and conversations. I have learned that when leaving social media platforms, 99.9% of the people do not even notice you are gone, because relationships have become so generic due to the illusion social media gives off which is really a sad thing. I am not falling into this illusion anymore.

What I desire in my life are true genuine connections with people in real life. Of course, I still want to keep the relationships with people that aren’t close in my city, but I feel we are close enough that we can and will still keep in touch despite my farewell to many social media platforms. Those are the connections and relationships I have built in the last 10 years at a distance that are scattered all over the world. Most of those people have my phone number, and email and we can stay in touch. They know who they are, so I do not have to share names.

The people who I want around me in my real life, are the people who don’t always have to be right, and those who allow the possibility of others experiences, strengths and wisdom to be people we can all learn something from one another. The “I’m right, your wrong” mentality is a dangerous space to be in, and that is not where I am at.

Social media in my life has become a thief of time, and I write all the time about how time is the most valuable thing I have left to give, and the most valuable thing anyone can give. So why continue to give so much time to something that really is not bringing me the fulfillment it once was but in return it is stealing my time?

106f31ed-3f27-4e3c-bf09-050cad01eca0I have clearly outgrown it.  I have a whole list of things I want to tend too in my personal life that have all of a sudden become more important than feeding into the social media illusion I’ve been addicted too for many years now. I have developed this co-dependence that I wish to discontinue, and that is where I am at in this present place of my life. First, I discontinued Twitter, then Instagram and now my public Facebook page. I’ve kept my Facebook “like” pages for now, but I don’t plan on spending much time on them and I had to keep my commitment in keeping my Adoptees Connect, Inc. group alive, as well as the AC Facebook page. Keeping these pages alive are for my fellow adoptees, not for me.

I have taken care of people my whole life, and it has been my career for 15 years. Now it is time to take care of myself. My hope is to write more on my website, as well as read and be outside. I want to build on my small circle of close friends by intentional connections, by reaching out to them and spending time with them when the world opens back up again. Until then, I want to talk on the phone and make plans to see one another. The superficial illusion of social media is no longer controlling me.

Another thing I am working on is my addiction to SUGAR. How is it SUGAR has been harder for me to beat than alcohol? I have figured it out, but I will share in future articles I write. In recovery we learn people trade addictions for addictions. I have found this to be true regarding my toxic and unhealthy love for sugar. This is another reason why eliminating stress is KEY because stress can trigger all kinds of addictive behaviors and patterns. While valuable time on social media is out, I am putting myself first so I can be the happiest and healthiest version of me. Be on the lookout for more articles, more writing, and more genuine connectivity from me! Although I am off my personal Facebook page, you can contact me by my public page by clicking here. You can also find me on LinkedIn. Please introduce yourself. I do not add strangers to my LinkedIn.

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading! I would love to know what boundaries you are setting for yourself during the Covid-19 pandemic? What have you found that is not working for you? What is working? Are you taking care of yourself? If so, how? If not, why not?

I hope you make the choice to put yourself and your happiness first. By all means necessary, do what you need to do to eliminate as much stress as possible from your life. Your health and happiness depends on it. XO – P.K.

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Adoptee in Recovery – When Forged Forgiveness Becomes Fatal 

1f6ae293-fe8e-4e1f-903b-0e9d69324cafTo my friends, David Bohl and GRH –   Thank you for giving me the courage to write about this! 

As I continue on my recovery and healing journey, so many things are coming to the light about different areas I’ve navigated over the years. One of those areas is the topic of forgiveness. This is going to be lengthy, so get a cup of coffee and be prepared. 

The world says “If you let go, by forgiving others you don’t have to hold onto resentment and anger” It’s said that forgiveness is necessary for personal growth. I can see this might be true in some circumstances and for minor hurts, but my thoughts shared here are relating to forgiveness towards traumatic events and situations because of someone else’s harmful actions. 

What is considered traumatic? That’s for each person to decide. What’s traumatic to me, might not be traumatic to you. My role in sharing this information is to shine a light about a topic that’s significantly complex, with many layers from the perspective of an adult adoptee in recovery. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about what forgiveness is, or isn’t and this is usually in alignment with the experiences that person has gained over their lifetime. 

I’ve heard about forgiveness over the years, but I was never in a position to apply it to my life, nor did I see a need for it when I was young. It wasn’t a topic of conversation but I also wasn’t on a healing journey as a child either. In 2012 I started my healing journey and things changed. This sparked a significant experience with forgiveness as I got involved with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and I started working the 12 Steps. Not long after I learned of Celebrate Recovery, and forgiveness was talked about even more but it was in a religious setting because Celebrate Recovery is a ministry. 

Although I have an appreciation for both of these programs and the concept of forgiveness, I’m now an outsider looking in because I no longer attend either of these programs and I’ve been reflecting on my experiences with both. 

Let me back things up to give you a little history. 

When I was 15 years old, I was lost, alone, broken, rage filled and I had no hope in life. Not only was I experiencing abuse in my adoptive home, but my fantasy of my birth mother coming back to get me was shattered, and reality was beginning to set in. 

SHE WAS NEVER COMING BACK. 

SHE was constantly on my mind, but where was she? Who was she? I acted out in every way possible and began using substances daily at 12 years old.  My struggles were 100% adoption related, but adoption was never talked about and never mentioned so I turned to substances, because I didn’t want to feel. I didn’t know how to feel. Most days I wanted to die, but somehow I found myself committed to drug and alcohol rehab in a locked facility at 15 years old. 

I will never forget being locked in an all white room, and a nurse came in and handed me the big book. I had no clue what the big book was, but for those who don’t know it’s the story of Bill W. who’s the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he shares how to recover from alcoholism. It’s focused on the 12 Steps and 8 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

I asked myself, “did I hit rock bottom at 15 years old?” I hadn’t even begun to live my life yet. I had barely made it out of Jr. High, and I found myself locked in rehab, with a big book in my hand. I will never forget reading the first few pages, and the first few chapters. So let me get this straight, finding GOD was the cure all to this recovery thing? The only way I was going to graduate this drug and alcohol treatment program, and get out was finding GOD? And working these 12 steps. Today, I ask myself, ‘what were my other options?”  

I had none. 

So this huge gigantic responsibility was placed on me, TO FIGURE IT OUT. The entire treatment program and my recovery depended on it because the effectiveness of the entire AA program will depend on this decision to “turn my will and my life over to God, as I understood Him.”  

Let’s break that down a little more, “AS I UNDERSTOOD HIM.” I had no clue what this even meant, but I was either going with the punches, working these 12 steps or never graduate this program. Let me be honest. I didn’t care about any of it, because I just wanted to go drink and use again. I had no choice in this and I was forced to play along. I asked a few of the inmates (it was like jail so that’s what I will call them) what god they turned their wills and life over to in hopes to gain a better understanding. They expressed the God that created the earth, the bible was the word, and that was the only way this thing was going to work. 

I remember having experiences with that same God when I was growing up. My adoptive mom had us read devotionals, we went to church, performed in church plays, and she made us say prayers before meals. 

But now, my entire life depended on turning my will and my life over to God as I understood him. What did this even mean? To be honest, I didn’t understand him but I did what I had to do to get out. I finally worked all the 12 steps, and after about 8 weeks I graduated the program. During my time in this locked treatment facility, I never once worked on or talked about any of my root adoptee related issues, like relinquishment trauma, grief, loss, abandonment, the primal wound, etc. I got out, went and got high and drunk again as soon as I was free. 

I did NOT want to feel adoption, and at all costs and I didn’t.

 Of course, if the tools were present and I had help, I’m sure I would have been able to process but that’s not how things worked for me. I had no tools, no one opening up conversations about my adoptee reality,  it was a taboo topic. The less we talked about it, the better for everyone else. I felt truly alone in the world, but it wasn’t a happy alone. It was a deep, dark sad alone. I spent the next 27 years drinking alcohol, and using as many drugs as I could get my hands on as a way to numb my reality.  So many times in my life, I just wanted to die because my adoptee pain has been that great. Reality, I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore and I had no tools to work on my issues. In my mind, the only way to get rid of it is to go to sleep and never wake up again. Two times as a teenager I was unseccessful at trying to commit suicide, taking a hand full of pills each time, only waking up later regretful that the pills didn’t work. My adoptive parents never knew, and they still don’t. I just wanted out.  The next 27 years was a roller coaster of a ride. 

As 2012 hit, so did my next attempt at recovery and the 12 steps once again smacked me straight in my face. Here we go again. What other options were presented to me or available? 

None.

Even after seeing dozens of therapists all the way back to being 5 years old into my adult life.

NONE. 

The only way to get healing is turning my life and will over to God, and making sure I forgive all those who have harmed me, even if they aren’t sorry, and even if I hadn’t even worked on the issues at all. I also had to forgive God, and forgive myself, which was the hardest part.  As I set out on my recovery journey, I learned the rules to forgiveness in the religious realm are, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14

I remember my time heavily in the church, surrounding myself with Christian’s and church people the advice and information I was getting was solely from them and I also researched forgiveness. As they shared, and the bible shared, I knew that forgiveness was such an important part of healing, and the 12 steps so I worked on figuring out the true meaning of forgiveness and what it meant to me. I knew it was something for me, not the other person. The more I learned, I applied this to my life, but I also shared it with others on many occasions, especially during the 4 years I served in leadership for the women’s chemical dependency group in Celebrate Recovery. I remember internally struggling with the fact that I had forgiven someone like I was told to do by the 12 steps, but I still had major issues with the situation or the person I had forgiven. This only made me feel more defective than I already felt. It made me feel worse, because I must not be doing something right. It was like a dark cloud hanging over my head, combined with my heart torn into shreds. It was a horrible life for many of my years on earth. 

I learned that in order for us to be forgiven by God, we had to forgive others who had harmed us. It’s said this “deal” could potentially send us to hell, and it would always keep us in bondage if we didn’t make the choice to forgive others, God and ourselves. I learned that once we make the choice to forgive others for them harming us and when we forgive ourselves, we then had to consciously decide to never bring it up again, and never discuss it or tell others about it, otherwise it wasn’t true forgiveness. Even when we thought about it again, we weren’t to speak about it, at all. 

In my mind, this is more like coerced and mandatory forgiveness, (forged) but not true from the heart and it’s also ABUSIVE.  Writing this today, I’ve come to the realization of how I personally feel this can be extremely damaging and even fatal for some people. I know in the AA Big Book, it says to find “God as I understood Him” and the forgiveness rules are possibly a little different than in the religious settings. But both of these ideas of forgiveness ignited the fact that I had to forgive others in order to make it out alive and complete these 12 steps. And what about there truly being no other choice towards healing, aside from working these 12 steps? 

Why wasn’t I given anymore options? 

Let me make this clear, I wholeheartedly believe that the 12 steps in AA and Celebrate Recovery have worked wonders and saved the lives of many individuals, and for that I’m very thankful. However, this topic is a critical thing, and it’s important it’s shared, especially with Adoptees in general, but specifically my fellow Adoptees in Recovery. 

I’m not addressing forgiveness for minor or petty offenses. I’m not talking about when someone TRULY makes a mistake, and they are sorry they did something and us forgiving them and giving second chances.  I’m not talking about those that don’t intentionally hurt us. We can easily say, “That person didn’t know what they were doing” but many times forgiveness is extended to people who knew what they were doing. Improper forgiveness can keep us in bondage, and it can set the forgiver up to be victimized again, and again, and again with the offender never being truly sorry or remorseful. This is ABUSIVE. THIS IS BONDAGE. 

Do you ever feel like forgiveness defends the abusers? I do. Do you ever feel like forgiveness feels like giving our abusers a free pass? I do. When someone has root issues that are trauma based, the whole idea of forgiveness can be very damaging, and oftentimes deadly. I can share this, because this is how forgiveness has impacted me, when it’s been presented in a way it has throughout my lifetime. Forced upon me by scriptures backing it up, and through programs I had to complete to LIVE, it’s clearly had me backed in a corner with nowhere to turn. It manipulated me to the core of my being. 

Until Now…

I realize that there are more resources today than there were when I was 15 years old, and even when I started my recovery journey in 2012. Today I’m thinking for myself, and I’m not being backed into a corner with no options.  I realize that I possibly didn’t have all the tools for recovery in my recovery tool box and there are more possibilities today than there was before. The more I learn about forgiveness, and all the different dynamics of it, the more I’m informed if it works for me or if it doesn’t work for me. 

I resent the fact that from the biblical concept of forgiveness and the world’s standards, I’ve felt 100% manipulated and duped into forgiving others, God and myself. What I wonder is, if I’m supposed to forgive all those who hurt me, myself and God and if I don’t God won’t forgive me, but he sends so many people to hell, so where is his forgiveness for others? Isn’t this quite the double standard and mental mind manipulation?  It’s lead me to question God all together, and rethink my entire approach on what I believe and what I don’t believe. I’m going to save that for another article, but it’s coming. 

I don’t know about you, but the idea that a person that has been victimized has a responsibility placed on them to forgive their perpetrator/s is pretty disgusting and a topic I’ve found to be very disheartening. Anyone who is pushing forgiveness onto others is doing it for their own gain, and their own agenda, not yours. A lot of the wounds people care are inner child wounds, and being forced or coerced to forgive others is extremely toxic and damaging!

For me, where I am today, what if I personally don’t believe in forgiveness based on my experience with it, but I believe in holding people accountable for their shitty actions? What if I make the choice if I want to allow them in my life or not without being manipulated into forgiving them? What if MY WAY isn’t the WORLDS WAY but who gives a shit, because it’s what works for me? Would you believe me if I told you that I’m at peace with things, but I haven’t forgiven anyone by the world’s standards? That doesn’t mean I still don’t have traumatic memories, or have trauma work to do.  What if I take forgiveness and everything about it and toss it in the trash? Shouldn’t we want to consciously and organically in our hearts want to give people second chances, be better people or come to peace with things on our own time without an entire belief system manipulating us into doing so? This manipulation with forgiveness has actually hindered me, kept me in bondage, and held me back from true authentic and organic healing. This is life or death for many of us. 

 Forced and Forged Forgiveness can add layers of shame onto victims, for not “getting over something” or for “sharing their trauma.” Once you forgive someone, you’re supposed to get over it, and move on with your life. What if you don’t get over it or move on? “Here you are talking about it again” … Shame comes in after we’ve said to forgive someone,  when you are simply having natural and very legitimate feelings associated with a very real situation for you. This isn’t helping people, only hurting them worse. I’ve had people09be5a42-2952-4e14-810c-0c40893545c9 silence me with scriptures, when I share very real feelings with them. “You’ve already forgiven yourself for that, the devil is only bringing it up again because he wants you to live in condemnation.”  Talk about BONDAGE and MENTAL MIND F&^KS. It’s becoming apparent to me that this belief system can cause great amounts of harm, and even become fatal to some. (I plan on writing about that later) 

Let’s touch on the our society’s “positive culture” that surrounds our lives today. Positive vibes, clearing any and all negative energies from our sacred spaces, and much of the time we’re denying our own feelings, stuffing them down and bypassing processing them just to fit into the mold of the world and the preaching of positive vibes. You see motivational speakers kicking into high drive, and spiritual circles silencing you with scriptures all to keep the positive vibes going.  Have you learned what Spiritual Bypassing is? I suggest you research it, and it’s a real thing. Also research Religious Trauma Syndrome. Your life will never be the same. 

As adoptees, it’s so important we understand that anger, and feelings of grief, loss and sadness are perfectly legitimate feelings, and they come in waves for many of us. Are you leaving room for these feelings within your friends and family and within your circle? If not, please reconsider because it’s life and death. I don’t have time to preach positivity when adoptees are dying! Once we are in a position to process these feelings, in natural ways we then start healing. When positive culture is shoved down our throats, like it is in churches, spiritual settings, and in society as a whole it leaves no room for us to share our pain. Just like forged forgiveness, this can be fatal. We really need to rethink our approach, and stop forcing this culture on everyone. We have to do better. 

Anger can be a very positive thing when used the right way. Anger can be used to fuel change, create visions, and put action behind them. We have to stop silencing people when they share it, and stop trying to dish out feel good juice, and learn to sit with people in their pain. I’m not talking about ANGER that abuses and hurts other people which is HUGE as well. This is when anger is toxic to others and it isn’t productive. We can each set our own boundaries if this type of anger influences our lives, or the lives of others. But before we get to the other side of healing starting, we have to process the anger FIRST. 

If you step out of the box filled with influences from your lifetime, please know It is entirely possible for someone to get to a place of acceptance, and peace about a situation and forgiveness has never been extended. Please know forgiveness culture can be very damaging when it’s forged and forced in anyway.   

What if I have been on a healing journey, and I’ve decided on my own that my goal is to come to peace with things in my life, and for me that process happens by accepting things are the way they are and there is nothing I can do to change them? What if forged forgiveness does more harm than good? What if expecting others to FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HARMED US actually retraumatised us and damages us more than the actual offense itself? What if we’re placing an unrealistic and damaging burden on those who we expect to forgive who are perpetrators and those who hurt us and it only adds to our pain and trauma? 

“Forgiveness is for you, and no one else and it should never be forced on anyone” – Says the world.

Yes, this is true yet the world is set up as the opposite, especially in religious circles. The 12 steps are focused around forgiveness, and for me I was giving FREE PASSES TO PEOPLE WHO ABUSED AND TRAUMATIZED ME. Is anyone manipulating me into “coming to a place of peace?” No, no they aren’t. It’s something I do on my time, through healing (whatever that looks like to me), and trauma therapy, and TONS OF TRAUMA work. Not because GOD AND THE SCRIPTURES SAY SO. 

For me, forged forgiveness (a huge burden and responsibility) to forgive those who have traumatized and hurt me, was actually BONDAGE. Not the other way around. Forged Forgiveness feels like gaslighting to me, and that’s only adding trauma on top of trauma. It’s up to each of us to decide on our own, without any influences if we want to forgive someone or not. It should be from our hearts, not because of manipulation or to complete a program. If forgiveness has worked for you, that’s wonderful but we must understand what works for some doesn’t always work for everyone. Have you spent as much time sitting with someone, listening to them in their grief and pain like you have encouraged them to forgive their perpetrator/s? 

Today, I’ve decided I’m withdrawing my forgiveness claims, and reevaluating each and every situation on my own terms, in my own time. Right now, I have a clean slate and I have forgiven no one. From this day forward, as situations arise and thoughts come to my mind, I will process them organically either alone or with someone I trust and I will REMOVE any forged and forced idea of forgiveness from my mind. This is freedom to me. 

 If the idea of forgiveness comes naturally, then I will apply it to that situation. If it doesn’t, and I can come to a place of peace, then wonderful. Maybe I’m not at a place of peace yet about certain things, which means I still have trauma work to do. Maybe I will never get to that place, because trauma impacts us all in different ways. It can change our brain wiring, it can change our memory and our mobility. Trauma can change everything and not all trauma just goes away.  Sometimes acceptance that the trauma and it’s symptoms are here to stay is what’s needed to be able to cope. 

No two stories are the same, and we all need and want different things in life. This article is long, and it’s filled with a lot of thoughts. I’m sharing because this is a HUGE topic, and recently having someone tell me “MAYBE YOU SHOULD FORGIVE THEM” even after I shared many traumatic situations with that person, really rubbed me the wrong way. It made me reevaluate forgiveness all together, and made me really think how abusive it can be. It also made me realize how forged forgiveness has impacted my life, and how I’m the only one who can change things for my future. 

After reading ALL THIS, I’m not here to tell you forgiveness isn’t productive and it’s not for you. I’m here to share my truth, as my experiences back it up. I’m here to share there is a damaging side to forgiveness and I hope each person reading is given more tools than what I was given. I hope for each of you, forgiveness is a CHOICE that you choose.

I’m glad I got to share this, and I feel even more free than when I started typing it. I’m thankful I’m at a place of freedom where I can recognize the abuse behind certain areas that are portrayed to be positive things. The healthier we get, the more BS we can recognize. I hope to continue to share what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t worked for me. My hope is, it helps someone out there, specifically my fellow adoptees. Please understand, if you can’t bring it in your life to FORGIVE others, for ANY REASON please don’t allow others to place that BURDEN on you. You don’t deserve it, and it’s not yours to carry. You don’t owe anyone, I MEAN IT!

No matter who it is. 

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Love, love. P.K.

P.S. I know some might mean well, but if you feel the need to send me scriptures about forgiveness, please spare yourself the time. I’m not interested.