Question: How has growing up not feeling connected to yourself impacted your life?

I saw this question this morning on an Instagram account that I follow called Codependencycurious. I am a recovering alcoholic and codependent so I follow a lot of those types of accounts. So, even though this question really speaks to those of us who have experienced abuse – whether it was physical or emotional abuse and/or neglect, at the hands of our parents or partners, the question spoke to me in terms of being adopted.

My story, if you stay with me long enough, will reveal a convoluted path. Whenever anyone asked me how old I was when I found out or knew that I was adopted, I always said that I was 7 years old. I don’t know why I always said 7 because I don’t remember any particular conversation about it but I just go with it. My adoptive parents, Ron and Gilda, did not adopt any other children so I grew up as an only child. It was lonely, yes, but I also didn’t have to fight any siblings for anything. I did always wish I had an older brother or sister though.

One thing I do remember about my adoption is that it was basically a closed book. I feel like if I had asked my mom any questions, I was shut down. My dad was not around enough for me to really talk to him about it either. When he was home, he was not present mentally. Because I couldn’t really ever get any answers about my biological parents (Patty and Edward), I had no real sense of identity. I knew where I was born but that’s really the long and short of it. I grew up thinking I was German, Irish and Italian and later in life I found that was not the case. It was not until I did an Ancestry DNA kit that I found out my real ethnicities.

So, not knowing who I am, and I say this in the present tense because I am still in the process of self-discovery, is just something that I sort of accept as my reality. It’s taken me quite a lot of self examination to identify several traits that I think are a result of a combination of both being adopted and being in a number of emotionally controlling and abusive relationships.

I have a very poor self-image. I am insecure, in my relationships and abilities. I feel like I am always doing something wrong or questioning my decisions. I am a people pleaser and care taker – to the exclusion of my own needs. And speaking of needs, wants, likes and dislikes, I am afraid of expressing them because I fear rejection. The list is ever evolving.

I think that self-discovery and self-improvement are very powerful things you can for yourself and starting this blog is something that can help me, I think. And if it helps even one other person, well, that’s just a big fat bonus!

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