Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Anger and adoption

Today Tyler Perry said something on the Oprah show that I could relate to. ~ "Anger is good, bitterness is not". He was talking about dealing with the abuse he suffered as a child and using the anger about that for a positive change. This was such a timely interview for me to watch because this also applies to us in adoption world. There are people who call us bitter and mean when all we're doing is speaking our own truth. I think they do that because they don't want to see what they're doing, what their role is in this world of adoption. It's easier to throw the blame somewhere else than look in the mirror.

Then there are people who worry about us because they worry that our anger will turn to bitterness. They're afraid that because we deal with hard issues and people who throw blame our way we'll lose our smiles and get swallowed up by the pain. I think for me it'll be the people who care about me who will help me keep my anger from becoming bitterness. It's scary to talk about this stuff. It's hard to write these things and put them out there for anyone to read but all I'm trying to do is point out the truths of the past and the truths of what's happening now.

Coming out of the adoption closet has been a relief. I can't speak for other mothers but I know that for me, painting the paintings, writing the blog posts, commenting and writing letters is something I do for me and hopefully a side benefit will be helping to change things for the better. It's hard to talk about my experiences and relive it each time I do but there's a certain freedom to it. Once it's done and out there it's very freeing. I have no idea if anything I do, paint or say is going to make any difference but it helps me to know that if I'm at least trying then the crap I went through wasn't in vain. If I thought that it was then I think it would be too easy for the anger to become bitterness and that wouldn't be good.

Just wanted to add something to this post. I was flipping through Ann Fessler's book The Girls Who Went Away and I found a paragraph that I had highlighted when I first read it. This is on page 301.

"I feel lucky. I feel lucky because I know my daughter is out there and she's fine, and healthy, and productive, and beautiful. I feel lucky that she says she loves me. I feel lucky that my children love me and understand what happened. I feel lucky that I survived cancer. And I feel lucky that I now have a voice. I didn't for so long, but you're not going to shut me up now. Keeping things inside kills you. You rot from the inside out. I did a great job of punishing myself for thirty-two years. But you just have to set yourself free, and that's what talking about it does." ~ Ruth

I was amazed when I read that.... I could've written that paragraph myself. Thank you Ruth.


  1. Thank you! I say the same thing over and over...and get accused of being bitter, living in the past - something that I don't do and am not. I just wish that my anger was understood as anger, not as something else....not made into something else!

  2. Expressing my righteous anger helped rid me of the bitterness and confusion. Best of all, it helped me stop being angry at myself for something over which I had no control.

  3. Exactly ladies, sometimes expressing this stuff is like having a good cry. Some people think that's an oxymoron but it's a release of emotion that's so healing that when it's done you can breathe better.