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Adopted Brother - I can't cope with his bitterness

(5 Posts)
shebird Mon 10-Oct-11 15:07:30

I found out a few years ago that I had an older brother who was adopted. It was a huge shock to everyone in the family but we understood the circumstances and the times my mum was living in and why she felt she had no choice. Mostly I felt terribly sad for my mum and what she must have been through then and since then dealing with this. I agreed to meet with and have contact with my adoptive brother out of compassion for him and my mum.
Initially all went ok but all he wanted to do was talk about how he was adopted without having a choice and how bitter he was. Then his bitterness turned to anger and he would send texts or phone at all hours saying how much he hated my (our) mum and was generally being very nasty about the family. I tried to be understanding but eventually I couldn't take anymore as I was pregnant and he was stressing me out so much I became ill so I cut off contact with him.
He has recently contacted my DSis (she had no contact with him before) and she is curious to get to know him. My concern is that he will be as horrible to her as he was to me but I understand she might need to give it a go and find out for herself.
I just can't understand why if he wanted contact with us that he would then be so horrible that it makes it impossible to have a relationship with him. I am hoping that perhaps some of out there can help me understand ? I honestly have tried but there's only so much one can take.

Also he has been having counciling about his issues but so far I can't see this has worked.

hester Mon 10-Oct-11 17:28:55

Oh shebird, that sounds very sad. I don't have any relevant experience - I am the adoptive mother of a very young child - but I know that many adopted people feel intense anger and loss about their experiences. There are online forums for adult adopters who are very bitter about the whole adoption system. As an adoptive mother (they call us 'adoptoraptors' sad) it is hard to read but also important to understand, I think.

I accept that you don't understand but I feel that you COULD understand if you uncoupled your exploration from accepting that he has a right to abuse you. He doesn't. None of this is your fault. And allowing him to go round and round in circles, finding no way to move forward, isn't helping anyone.

If I were you I would buy a book called 'The Primal Wound'. Read it. Then write to your brother telling him how very sad you are that he was so hurt by the loss of his birth family. Tell him he is your brother and always will be, that you are not prepared to accept being the brunt of his anger, but when he is ready to move forward constructively you will be there.

And suggest to your sister that she do the same.

shebird Mon 10-Oct-11 18:13:22

Thanks Hester its good to get another perspective and yes it must be hard to read as an 'adoptoraptor'!?

I have to say that I did say something along those lines but it made little difference. This is when I decided I couldn't go on having contact as like you said it just goes round in circles and never got anywhere. I feel sad as I wanted a better outcome but he really has made it impossible. I will have a look at that book though and recommend that my sister reads it too.

loflo Wed 12-Oct-11 21:15:27

Hi Shebird - I would echo Hesters idea of reading the primal wound. Its a very well written book.

I adopted a child who was removed from his birth parents because of their actions so maybe different to your brothers circumstances. But birth parents now have other children who have remained in their care and its one of the things that causes me sleepless nights. DS was not to blame for the choices and decisions that were made about him but every day he lives with the consequences. And at some point he will know that his siblings got to have the life that he would/could/should have had if it wasn't for the actions of others. So please please try and understand his anger (although it does sound misdirected). Not sure whether Norcap might also be able to help you all move forward.

I hope you can find a way to have a relationship.

gillybean2 Sun 16-Oct-11 14:22:18

I am an adoptee and one of my major concerns on being contacted by my birth mother was that the hurt and anger I feel about it would spill out at her and drive her away. I didn't want that to happen but I knew it was a strong possibility.

I have read the primal wound. Get it for yourself and your brother and pass it on to your dsis and your mother. It helped me understand a lot of why I am and act the way I do and made me realise the way I feel and act is not unusual and is the way may other adoptees also feel and react.

I would also suggest you, your sister and brother contact Norcap between you and pay for an intermediatory to help you all with contact and working through your/his issues if you are wanting to have any kind of future relationship with each other.

It cost me £150, but my NORCAP intermediatory has been fantastic in helping me on my journey. It has allowed me to express my hurt, frustration and anger without it being directed at my birth mother. It has also allowed her to discuss her feelings, shame, sadness, guilt etc without either of us feeling like we have to hold back from each other. I can also ask the questions I want to (who was my father, what lead to this decision etc) via my intermediatory, without putting her on the spot or it interfering with us getting to know each other. She has kept these feelings buried for a long time after all and is having to work through a lot of issues herself.

Contact has ground to a halt for us. Not because we are angry, but I think it's more us both dealing with our feelings and being ready to move on. More than anything I am scared of being rejected again and putting myself forward into a situation where that could easily happen isn't easy.

Your brother has probably had a lot an anger and hurt within him for years, but, if he's anything like me, was completely unable to express it to his adopted family for fear of being rejected again. Now he can express that anger to some degree it is probably beyond what he even realised and being as you and he had no choice in these decisions, maybe he feels safer in expressing it to you on some level.

However he can't lay all that on you and expect you to be able to deal with it. IMO he needs proper help and to talk with people who know about this kind of thing.
So I too suggest NORCAP for him as an option for dealing with his feelings and working through them. Otherwise he can go to his doctor for councelling, however if he does not get a counceller experienced in adoption they may not understand - as I found when I was a child sent for councelling which seriously backfired and left me unable to talk or trust anyone since.

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