Emotional Self-Reliance, or in adoptee speak, “well, duh.”

I am speaking today at my Church about Emotional Self Reliance.

This is an adoptee subject.  Who else have we had to “emotionally rely” on our entire lives, but ourselves?

When you are adopted, it feels, and can be true, that no one really ‘gets’ you.  From a young age, you learn to depend on yourself.   To live in your own little world.  To imagine how things would be if you were not where you were now.

We CRAVE love, attention, acceptance, nurturing, and all the other warm and fuzzy feelings that we need when we are a small person, but seemingly never getting enough or having people’s efforts fall short.  This isn’t because our adopted people didn’t try, or didn’t love us, or didn’t work at it, it is because we wanted more and more and could not articulate we wanted it from our OWN people. (But, I recognize that sometimes it IS because those who adopted us didn’t try or were not kind)

I am 52.  I am a Mental Health Practitioner. I am a productive, stable person.  I have been in therapy.  I have always known I am adopted.  I just never equated my struggles with being adopted – REMOVED from my first mother, though her choice, I just never quite could put my finger on the WHY I felt like a foreigner in my own life.

BUT, in the past year, this has become the FIRST time I truly understand where these feelings come from, why I do what I do and why I feel how I feel. I AM ADOPTED. Not sure why this did not occur to me before.  Big DUH moment…. ( yea, yea…I know I am a slow learner)

SO, what am I doing about this new found revelation about my self?  I am embracing me.  I am accepting me.  I am loving me.  I am giving myself permission to be angry.   I am giving myself permission to mourn.  I am giving myself permission to cry – a lot. I am giving myself permission to hibernate or to be social.  (Mostly hibernate)

And, I am giving myself the gift of deepening my emotional self reliance. I am deepening my relationship with God and expanding my spiritual self-reliance. (I know that not all have a spiritual connection with God, or believe in a God, but for me, this relationship is important)

I ask myself –  “Does my happiness depend on others’ actions? “

Well, it used to, but not anymore.

I recognize and accept my feelings and emotions, even the yuck ones.  I am a well rounded, emotional woman – it is nice to not judge myself for feeling pissed off!

I am not comparing myself to others.   This was something I did all the time.  If I felt someone did not accept me, or like me – well – the world stopped on it’s axis and rolled around in space.  NO MORE. I don’t care if the others don’t like me. They can be miserable all on their own.  I am who I am and that is pretty great.

So, dear blog readers, what can you do today to allow your heart to be content and rely on your own emotions?  If you are an adoptee, does this resonate with you?  Does your happiness depend on other’s actions?


i like meAnd, this is all I need (for now…. later, I probably will want sushi)



3 thoughts on “Emotional Self-Reliance, or in adoptee speak, “well, duh.”

Add yours

  1. It’s good to read of others experience as I thought oh it’s just cos I had a bad experience within my adoptive family (abuse). But it seems that there are themes that even successful adoptions have.
    I feel less alone 😊 after reading this.


  2. Well I’ve had those feelings. You don’t connect, you don’t really belong and not just cause we don’t look alike…I never put my finger on it but…..this past year and a half I have found my biological families..or sibs and man we look alike, we think alike in many ways…we have the same medical issues. And then, this week I lost my Mom; my adoptive Mom and I’m lost again….more than I thought I would be…this is hard this reflective thinking.


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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW

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