Are Adoptive and Foster Moms Supposed to Bite the Bullet with Kid Anger?

Can Angry Adoptees Not Learn to Think of Others?

As an adopted person, I wish my mom would have let me know the truth about hurting her with my anger instead of  just biting the bullet and swallowing hard until the next rage.

How are we kids to learn what anger costs those who love us?

In some ways, just ignoring the anger spree without telling how it affects our moms could foster addictive behavior…addiction to anger.

If we can quiet others by blowing up, why not go for it? It keeps us in control, right?

Could biting the bullet when faced with anger be a religious ploy? A turn-the-other-cheek thing?

I don’t know the answers.

This is new understanding that has arrived in my adoptee brain lately. Let me know your thoughts?

Many moms of adopted children can’t figure out what they’ve done wrong, what makes their children reject them, even though they have literally poured their very souls into their children.

This anger may manifest in shouting matches, temper tantrums, refusing to let you hold her hand when walking through the parking lot, or refusing to go for a walk with you on Mother’s Day.

It’s downright hard for a mom not to take this rejection personally, but it is absolutely necessary that you don’t—both for the welfare of your child and your own sanity.

If you understand the core reason why your child is rejecting you, it will be easier for you to detach from an emotional response and help your child comprehend the source of her anger and deal effectively with it.

Misplaced Anger
Anger is a scab over a wound, a secondary emotion. In other words, it happens in response to another occurrence, which is pain.

No doubt, your child has the anger problem, which manifests in rejection toward you as a mom, but what is the great hurt? You haven’t hurt her! You’ve done everything humanly possible to demonstrate your great love for her.

In reality, the anger is misplaced. Your daughter is not angry at you; instead, she is furious at her birth mother for leaving her behind. No matter how loving the birth mother and the adoption plan, the absence of the birth mother translated to your child as pure abandonment. That is the deep hurt beneath the scab.

Because your child doesn’t understand this dynamic, she lashes out at you, with misplaced anger. The birth mother isn’t around, so you receive the brunt of her anger.

You may be at the end of your rope, feeling crushed beyond belief by her multiple rejections. Truth be known, your child may wonder what is wrong with her—what is the cause of this overblown anger toward you?

How to Help

Understanding adoptee loss is the key to helping yourself and your child overcome this common adoption hurdle. Many parents read Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, make notes in the margins, and then give it to the teen to read. This has opened many conversations.

If you can help her understand the source of her anger, then she can begin to manage it through grieving her loss (professional help may be needed here) and going forward toward healthier relationships, with you and others.

 

 

 

4 comments

  • Thank you for sharing your wisdom about adoptee anger and helping me to reflect on how I am responding to my child. I need your wisdom and perspective as I navigate all of what you are describing! I really appreciate you opening the door of your heart and life experience to help those of us who have been on the receiving end of the anger and pain that often accompanies adoptees so we can grow in compassion and love when faced with their pain and loss.

  • I think the first two paragraphs in the text do not match the rest of the text? Because as you say, it is vital for a caregiver to not take it personally. I would say that this is in some sense “taking the bullet”? We should absorb anger, let it flow right pass us and find love from other places in our life to send love right back. And we can verbalize what lashing out do to others, and try to talk about talking about the emotions. But biting hard is most often the only thing that our own reptilian brains can muster in the line of fire. It is the epic question, how do we keep our sanity and compassion when attacked, how do we go about in a practical way to turn the other cheek 20 times a day and still be energized, hopefull and compassionate. And NOT guilttrip the kid with our own emotions. I do not think it is the same as being silenced. Taking abuse and setting boundaries, all the time with a soft voice and a kindred spirit. #lifegoals

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