Primal Wound

Carri Williams
I doubt there is a person in the world of adoption who doesn’t know what this woman and her husband have done, the atrocities they committed against an innocent adoptee, taken from her Ethiopian Motherland. They have forever damaged the lives of a number of children who no doubt trusted them and who’s innocent lives they should have protected, nurtured and respected. What they did was done in the name of their god and according to their religious principles and beliefs.
RIP Hanna – you now have peace and safety from these misguided monsters. They too are victims, with plenty of time to reflect on what they have perpetrated in the name of ‘goodness’ and ‘righteousness’. Is this remorse we are viewing or self-pity? Perhaps a questioning about the rightness of how they were guided, coerced or persuaded to adopt ‘orphans’ and beat them into submission in the name of god?
It seems fairly clear that the primal wound was not a consideration for Hanna by these adopters, nor is it for many adoptees adopted by those who have other beliefs which are centred on anything but the adoptee, the damage and harm of adoption and seem obsessed with the concept of love conquering all.
You might find this article of interest, supposedly on the things adopters need to know about the primal wound.
There are no X-rays for hearts, for souls. There are only courageous people willing to step forward and speak of certain difficult truths.
Dr. Axness then goes on to analayze whether the primal wound theory presents a fundamental human truth for adopted people or is it “an invitation to wallow.” She concludes that ultimately adopted persons need to integrate the wound of separation to become fully evolved people, but not “before one has had the opportunity to wallow, to swim deeply and languorously in this place of long-craved empathy.” We’re parched cisterns needing to be filled to over-flowing and then some, and then some, and then some, and then…slowly…we can begin to integrate, to be sensitive and receptive to other ideas, other influences, other forces which have relevance in our lives.”
To expect a set of newly-introduced (and, as in the case of the primal wound, profoundly powerful and empathic) ideas to go to a place of ready integration is like me expecting my child to be fully independent before she’s had her fill of being dependent. It ironically stunts growth rather than hurrying it along. And to worry that a struggling adoptee will remain in the grip of this archetype-based idea of the primal wound, so that everything for that person will forevermore be explained by that theory, is to reveal a cynicism about the emotional and spiritual resources of the adopted person to continue the process of integration, the process of pursuing wholeness along whatever paths lead the way

What Adoptive Parents Need to Know about the Primal Wound.

Let’s get the pedantic stuff out of the way first – there is no Primal Wound Theory because the hypothesis can never be proven, it wouldn’t be ethical as an experiment, although it’s ok for the adoption industry with the support of numerous Governments, to encourage, support and allow adoption. The primal wound is not experienced by anyone other than those who become adoptees or who experience mother-loss and it happens primally, after birth, not as I read in a Submission to the Inquiry on forced adoption by the daughter of a mother-of-loss, after the birth of a baby to the mother who becomes a mother-of-loss. That may be a damaging, traumatic event, but it is not and never will be a primal wound.
Having a good wallow is not harmful and can often be helpful, because it gets us in touch with our feelings, our hurts and truths; it is prolonged wallowing that we need to avoid before it develops into depression or excessive self-absorption without resolution, something we often see in some inhabitants of adoptionland. I was once targeted by a then origins member Lizzy Brew/Howard, when I started the first Facebook group for Australian adoptees. She expressed the view that it was to be ‘Von’s mob wallowing in misery’. Nothing could have been further away from the goals of giving adoptees a safe place to discuss, speak out and escape the bullying, dismissals, ridicule and discrimination of origins members and to provide a place where we could begin to move away from being victims, towards becoming survivors. My long memory hasn’t departed, incidents such as this are part of our history of adoption, part of my personal journey as an Aussie adoptee. For many of us they just made it a more unpleasant journey, but one which gave us determination and showed us that our fight for recognition, acknowledgment and validation would have more opponents than we had perhaps at first realised. It showed us too that our allies were often in unlikely and unexpected places and for that I am grateful!

4 thoughts on “Primal Wound

  1. Thanks for writing this Von, I was hoping that you would blog about this case. I so wish that people would just for a minute take the time to stop and imagine what it is like to be us.

  2. Dear Von, thank you so much for your site. I have already been enriched by your words. What drew me in was your post re the Primal Wound. I am a late Discovery Adoptee (currently completing a Creative Writing PhD on the subject) and really appreciated your writing on this subject. I am wanting to explore (so I and society understand it more fully) the unrecognised pre-verbal trauma of the relinquished baby and I do appreciate very much you pointing out that not many do understand the ‘primal wound’. I also agree with you that to see an adoptee grappling with this primal wound does not mean one is ‘wallowing’ but embracing consciously with deep compassion, adding (albeit through stark and unconscious experimentation) to the global understanding of what kind of psychosocial and physical environment a human being needs to be whole. Indeed, I see the adoptee’s journey as one of reconnaissance into the existential world of what it means to be a human being in terms of the development of a secure self/identity and sense of belonging. Adoptees have much to teach the world about how the heart and soul works. So I was quite excited to come across you Von and your work this morning. Thank you so very much for your site and writing. I look forward to following all you share. Kindest regards!

    • Hello there and welcome! How wonderful that you are in a position to study and write and give time to these very important aspects of adoption. I’m excited to see you here, as I know other adoptees will be and look forward to your views and opinions. You have put it all so beautifully I’d like to add your comment, or part of it, to a new post over the next few days, with your permission. We are beginning to be a productive body of people with our creative endeavours popping up all over the place – twitter, Facebook, Amazon and film and magazines as well as numerous blogs. I guess you’ve discovered Amanda at The Declassifid Adoptee and our communal blog at The Lost Daughters, to give two examples of some of the work that is going on daily! Again, welcome and best regards to you too.

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