I Want You To Want Me

I look at those who could care less about others’ approval with much envy. How do you not care if you’re wanted or accepted? I want to be that person. Needing and wanting to be wanted is a problem deeply hardwired in me. I’m fairly certain it’s very common in adoptees.

I make it a point to reflect back on each day and say to myself, “Self, today was a good day,” or “Self, I thought I could make it through the day without letting something upset me, but I didn’t.” I’ve found the common denominator in my bad days are when I hear or read something which triggers the feeling of being unwanted or not accepted. I declare it makes me snap into shut down, push everyone away from me mode. That’s also an adoptee move. There’s comfort in just knowing I’m not alone in feeling this way, and being able to tie it back to the trauma of being relinquished for adoption. But it still happens.

I take on the problems of those I’m around and closest to as my own. I somehow tie their woes and sorrows into my existing in their life. Thus, making it incredibly difficult to enjoy people. I can hear the most benign statement from someone and immediately convince myself I am to blame. This is about the time I distance myself, or suggest we “take a break” from one another. That solution seems way easier than fixing myself from a lifetime of consistently behaving this way.

I do want to change this pattern. I want to feel wanted and know that if I’m not it’s their loss, not mine. I’m getting there. Admitting that it’s a problem for me, and knowing there’s a reason is better than not. Baby steps.

Published by Leigh Bailey

I'm a 44 year old adoptee who's experienced reunion as well as secondary rejection. I was relinquished at birth by my mother, and adopted at three days old. I was adopted by a nice family and given a loving home. But there were issues. Adoption was rarely discussed in my home. I felt I was to only be grateful, and not wish for my biological family. I struggled with confidence and feared rejection and abandonment in relationships. I've experienced reunion with my biological father who DID NOT know I existed. I've reached out to my birth mother who refuses to acknowledge me. I've discovered the healing power of verbalizing feelings which I've held inside all these years. I believe those who adopt need to understand the importance of being educated on the psyche of an adoptee. They need to fully understand the trauma associated with being given away no matter what age it occurs. It is imperative that adopted parents talk openly about this with adoptees. To acknowledge the trauma and address the grief that accompanies the trauma of losing your family helps to unlock your authenticity. Adoptees have an identity aside of their adopted family. It needs to be nourished and accepted. I'm very lucky to have a supportive husband who cheers me on as I journey. In addition, I have two amazing daughters who love and support me and have learned that life isn't always wrapped up in a pretty little package.

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