Everything has to do with adoption and at the same time, nothing has to do with adoption. It’s one of those weird concepts where you know that part of who you are is made up of what the adopters tried to make you, and the other part is your nature.
I believe it is everything and nothing.
I’ve met many adoptees but most of them have been online. And as much as I would like to blame some of their behavior on adoption, I have to be real with myself and with them that it may not actually be just adoption that made you into an asshole.
I was working closely with one adoptee who was great in the beginning. So nice, so sweet, so funny. And then something just changed. I started backing away a bit because I felt something was not quite right. Some things this person said, the way they acted, the way they talked so badly about other people were red flags for me and I have to admit, I should have just said “hey, why are you so critical of other people” but instead, I just backed away without any explanation.
I was being an asshole and this had nothing to do with me being adopted, it had everything to do with who I was being at the time. I was afraid that if I had said something, this person would not like me anymore and turns out, by me not saying something, they still didn’t like me. So in reality it was a lose-lose situation and I had no control over their reaction to how I reacted to the situation.
One day they and another adoptee decided to get on the phone and tell me how bad of a person I had been. I, after being annoyed, sad, and just angry, blurted out how amazing it was that this person was trying to push me out when they had been so mean and negative about the person who was currently siding with them. Then I hung up the phone. It was time to close the doors to that relationship for a while. I am not sure if that relationship can be repaired. I just can’t deal with this type of behavior as a mom, as a person, as an adoptee. It was not right for them to do what they did.
But for so long I looked at that behavior and said “it’s because this person is an adoptee.” But the truth is, this person was choosing to be an asshole and by me not saying “hey, this is wrong”, I fell in the same camp. The Asshole Camp.
If you go to the Asshole Camp, you will undoubtedly turn into one. We can be horrible people. We bring people into the fold just to spit them out if they do not conform. It’s a cult, this camp. And whomever tries to escape or speak their truth, they are forever shunned. But the Asshole Camp does not just apply to adoptees, it applies to anyone, and everyone.
This is why it is not an adoptee thing. Nurture can contribute to final decision-making and choices to become an asshole, but at the end of the day, we have to take the plank out of our own eyes before we judge someone else. At the end of the day we are the movers and shakers and can influence others, and this is not adoption related.
One day there was an adoptee who wanted to be in the group in order to see if the group was recommendable on one of their reach-out venues. I think for one, this is a horrible way to go about it. It is so rude to use someone else’s pride and joy and be the sole decider of who else gets to be a part of it. Things would have gone down better if this person had just said “hey, can you tell me a bit about your group, I’d love to recommend it and give people a chance to be part of the bigger conversation.” But no, this person didn’t do it this way.
There is a lot of back story to this that I won’t get into but the way things went down really bothered me. I had to write out how I feel and how hurt I was.
So they entered, looked it over then said that they can’t comply with the rules and regulations, or something to that effect. Which tells me they actually didn’t read the rules and regulations because as an adoptee, they are not under the same expectations. Then they promptly left. It really hurt because I don’t know what I had done to make them feel uncomfortable.
What followed was very assholish back and forth PMing from both me and the person. We were angry at each other and we didn’t even know why. I basically told this person that my group is not an experiment and people don’t just come in and leave so they can go and decide whether it is good enough to recommend. Who are they to say what group is or is not recommendable. Can’t they recommend all and give people options?
This is what bothered me. The need to be the top dog when it came to recommending groups. I think it is rude, and very assholish. The mere fact that they are the ones who determine what is good and what is bad left a bad taste in my stomach.
For the longest time I passed this off as an adoptee thing. “It’s because they are adopted that they reacted that way.” But the truth is, NO….it actually had very little to do with adoption and more to do with just who this person allowed themselves to be in that moment.
Their behavior was assholish, supreme, and condescending, but is that who this person is over all? I don’t think so. I would hope not. This person is prominent in the adoption world and I wanted to be a part of their prominence; so letting them in would helpfully open more doors as well.
It kinda sucks when someone judges your group without even taking time to see what it really is about. And the amount of time and work and effort and love I put into this group was not done for outsiders to come in and “check it out.”
Could I have handled that particular situation better? Of course! Of course I could have handled it better. My feelings got hurt and my assholeness came out right away. I was defensive, and I attacked “how dare you silently judge this group without really knowing me as a person or what I stand for.”
I have a right to feel the way I did. Just like they have a right to react the way they did, but it is not adoption related, it has to do more with how we chose to react in the moment. Nurture will always contribute to how we as adoptees choose to react but it is not the sole focus, when it comes to us adoptees being assholes.
I have had several people ask me about what happened that day and I have stayed pretty silent except for a few inquiries where I felt comfortable sharing how I felt. It is a blessing to have adoptees you can love and trust for everything and anything. I am blessed to have several of those.
But I’m breaking my silence because it has been killing me inside. As an adoptee who struggles so much with being me, and understanding what it means to be me, I need to also learn to be comfortable with who I am becoming.
There are days that I am a total asshole, not because of being adopted, but because I have chosen that path. I can’t blame everything on my adoption-the sucky adoption I had.
But I can understand how the way I was raised can cause me to react. What I need to do, and the rest of us adoptees need to do is, sit back and reflect on what we want to be 1, 3, 5, and even 10 days from now. We need to keep it simple and short-lengthed because we have been affected so much by our upbringing. Short term plans, at least for me, helps me grow.
Because the way we choose to react towards other people who are in similar situations can really change a relationship. Adoptees should not hurt other adoptees and if they do, they need to apologize.
Apologies can change the course of a relationship for the better.
I apologize now and forever to any adoptees I have hurt. I apologize for my assholeness, and the way I chose to handle certain situations.
I should have told the first adoptee that I was not comfortable with them demeaning and talking bad about other adoptees in our circle, even if that meant losing our friendship. I should have said something and instead I allowed it to fester and then become something that I never meant it to become.
As for the second adoptee in this blog whose goal is to help others by giving them a voice, I apologize for not understanding your initial intent. I should have put my foot down sooner and expressed how I felt but instead I allowed the benefit of the doubt to take over and that lead to a nasty PM war with hurt feelings from both sides.
I’m sorry to those I have hurt as an adoptee, but I’m mostly sorry to those I have hurt as a person.
It is 2018, a new year to reflect on our past and make better decisions. Even though we adoptees can be complete assholes, we have a chance to turn things around. It takes wanting to do this, in order for it to be fruitful.
I hope this piece does not cause me to lose any friends, instead, keep the lovely ones I have and gain some more. But if it does cause you to stop being my friend, I wish the very best for you.
At some point we have to stop blaming our adoption for how we treat others. Yes, our adoption plays a role in how we see the world but so does religion or lack there of. So does, our race, our economic status, our education level, whether we have 1 parent or two, whether we have no parents, whether we have two moms or two dads, whether we were raised by other family members, or raised by complete strangers. The way we see the world has a lot to do with who we have become, but we have a choice whether to be assholes or not.
Unfortunately many of us choose to be assholes anyway but we can learn from this and become better people!