What you pay attention to grows

What you pay attention to grows. If your attention is attracted to negative situations and emotions, then they will grow in your awareness”. What an insightful quote from Deepak Chopra. It fully makes sense, but it’s so hard to change our mindset in this way. Pay attention to positive situations, thoughts, emotions and your will perceive your life as more promising.

Of course, I already knew this from different readings (books, social media, personal effectiveness training, etc.) but today I have some hope that I might apply this learning into my current life.
I had a good follow-up consultation with my life coach which might be a step-change for me.
She is really great in turning my negative downward spiral of sharing my life struggles into more positive reinforcement.

I stepped out of my consultation session with the task to create my own Vision Board – an overview of my strengths and talents, that helped me to become the person I am today. I can be proud of who I have become, how I have been resilient to fight my way through all life events and to still manage my challenging day-to-day life.

Focus on the positive, focus on achievements so far but even so on future dreams.

What I also recently learned is to know my values and to stick to them. Don’t question them, don’t put yourself lower than others who mismatch with these values. You have internalized certain values and beliefs that stem from both nature and nurture. You inherited values and beliefs from your (adoption) parents, family, friends, significant others, teachers, etc. These are yours now and others that want to be in your life, better handle these values and beliefs with care.

Like a chameleon, I have mostly adapted myself to the needs and directives of my environment, of society… Even in (romantic) relations, we tend to try to please the other in order not to offend or lose them. Even if our values are not aligned. This is a hard reality for many adoptees, but equally for any person that has suffered (child) trauma.

In the past years, I learned to defend my rights and back-up my needs – especially in my job.
As an independent contractor it’s business critical to negotiate your mission and define your boundaries.

Like a lion, I’m growing and getting stronger. But there is still a long way to go.

I realize that in the past 3 years I have mainly been focussing on the consequences of adoption, trauma, primal wound, generational patterns,… I craved for understanding the what and why of what I sometimes believed was a painful life. I have a strong analytical mind and I’m a fast learner,
but I used these positive talents to data mine my past, my emotional  brain and crawl through tons of possible solutions.

With all I have read and learned in books, on social media posts, in multiple therapy treatments of all sorts, I can you tell you a lot about terrifying adoption consequences, trauma therapy, generational trauma, unmet child needs, hard to break behavioural patterns, genetic mirroring and so on.
However, I’m a terrible student in learning how to turn the tide. How to turn the negative downward spiral or vicious circle into a positive movement.

A movement towards being proud of yourself and what you have achieved so far. The beautiful person you have become even if an important piece of the puzzle is still missing (no genetic mirror, no clue about your birth family and roots).

To be continued…

Dancing on my own

In the past weeks I have been longing to write again a blog post, but I couldn’t find inspiration anymore and that typical urge that usually makes me write up my emotions.
Today is different. I’m on travel in Spain and enjoying a superb view on the seaside. I feel my urge to write has been re-activated again. In an recent adoption event, someone also told me that it has been a while since I posted on my blog – that helps too 🙂

However, while looking what to write about, I was reviewing my past posts and also some draft articles. I fully recognized myself in my write-up of exactly 1 year ago…

Although my life is starting to change in a positive direction, I think the below write-up is still worthwhile to be shared with you.


“And I’m in the corner… Why can’t you see me?” Great lyrics from Robin (although I prefer Calum Scott’s version).

It has been a while since my last Mohan Saroo’s blog post. To be honest, In the past weeks I felt like suffering from a writer’s block and of course I have been busy with the usual “raise your child and take care of your new relationship” kind of stuff.

I have been reading a lot of books again which helped me to further understand internal mental processes triggered by trauma. I have also been learning to listen and take care of my inner child (Het Innerlijke Kind – Susan Huhn) and I have gained insights in different sorts of love relationships (De drie grote liefdes in je leven – Kate Rose). Even about addictions which are quite prevalent in the world of traumatized people (“De Verslaving Voorbij” en “Verslaafd aan liefde” – Jan Geurts).

Despite all these new insights in life as we live it today,  I still do feel like I’m in a roller coaster, a bumpy ride, my own life in turmoil.

I have a girl-friend who listens to me and wants to be with me in good and sad times. That’s the good news 🙂

Despite her love and support, I often still do feel like I’m in the corner – and as if nobody sees me.
And frankly, I often don’t even see myself, recognize myself sometimes. Trying to understand myself, trying to uncover my fears and my inner child needs,…

My inner child has been hurt – traumatized at very young age – creating a primal wound. And with the primal wound, a deep sense of unworthiness has been installed deep inside of me, a lower level of self-esteem burried under survival and coping mechanisms. I unfortunately only realized this in the past 1-2 years, sadly (or luckily?) triggered by my break-up two years ago.

More than two years ago, I got emotionally injured and it feels like a second primal wound has been installed since then. In the past two to three years, I relived the pain of being abandoned (again) and unsuccessfully struggled to find a way out.

How can I get out of this black scene of lowered self-esteem, broken heart, damaged inner child?Energy levels are down, life is being sucked out of me, days and weeks are passing by.

It’s not like in Owl City’s fireflies where a ten million fireflies lit up the  world while I fell asleep.  Instead, a million post-its in my kitchen reminding me on to do’s, nitty gritty obligations, things that become unimportant to me. But some of them aren’t…

And I’m in the corner… Why can’t you see me?

A typical phrase for co-dependent people, traumatized people, all kind of men and women that seek confirmation in their external environment rather than in their own inner core.

Why is it so hard to build confidence, to start believing in yourself and to no longer rely on others to love yourself?

Why is it so hard to believe that they are a billion of people in this world that would like to know you and even love you when crossing your path?

Why is it so hard to understand and accept that only one person rejecting you, does not count as proof of your perceived unworthiness?

As one wise monk told me once: “it’s all in the mind”. You create your own version of today’s world. You will eventually believe and feel what you think. Wise words which make sense to me. But I don’t feel them yet with every breath I take.

A lot is going on in my life now. A lot of my past life has vanished. I’m transitioning from one chapter to another.

When I was younger, change used to be fun. And I vividly remember, I was always looking forward to what was still to become.

Nowadays, I regret that I’m loosing touch of the past, stuck in the middle, knowing that life won’t last.

Why is it that everybody seems to be happy? They all have a (big) family, a nice home and dreams to come true.

I’m considering to move. However, the key question still remains like in that great song of The Clash “Should I stay or should I go?”. Should I stay in my home and accept the past, or move forward and build a new future that hopefully would ever last?

For now, I don’t know the answer, so I keep on dancing on my own.

De Tijger Ontwaakt

Het is weer even geleden dat ik nog iets in het Nederlands gepost heb. Deze post leent zich daar nu uitstekend toe omdat ik mijn inzichten uit het Nederlandstalige boek “De Tijger Ontwaakt” van Peter A. Levine wil delen (Originele versie: Waking the Tiger). Zoals dat ondertussen mijn gewoonte is geworden, wil ik mijn inzichten uit dit boek samenvatten en aanvullen met mijn persoonlijke visie en ervaringen.

Dit  boek sprak me aan omdat adoptie voor vele geadopteerden een trauma is. Niet alleen de scheiding van de biologische mama/familie, maar mogelijk ook de ervaring om op jonge leeftijd in een totaal verschillende streek, omgeving, cultuur, enz. terecht te komen. De kans op traumatische ervaringen is ook groter bij interlandelijk geadopteerden die in families met een verschillende taal, huidskleur en andere gebruiken opgenomen worden.

Wat ik uit dit boek van Peter A. Levine geleerd heb:

  • Trauma’s zijn onafgewerkte stressreacties op situaties die door dieren/mensen als bedreigend worden ervaren.
  • De typische overlevingsreacties op (levens)bedreigende situaties bij dieren/mensen zijn:
    flight, fight, freeze (zoals al eeuwen lang geprogrammeerd is in ons reptielenbrein).
  • Bij dieren wordt bij een bedreigende situatie snel en intens energie opgebouwd om te kunnen vluchten (flight), vechten (fight) of bevriezen (freeze) – doen alsof je dood bent of gewoon niet kunnen reageren.  Het verdedigingsmechanisme van een Impala, een antilopesoort in Afrika,
    is een goed voorbeeld van een Freeze reactie wanneer die aangevallen wordt door een roofdier. De Impala doet alsof die al dood is, waardoor hij geen interessante prooi meer is voor zijn aanvaller. Als de aanval geweken is, komt het dier geleidelijk terug tot zijn normale bewustzijn, herstelt zijn ademhaling en loopt het dier terug weg naar zijn kudde.
  • Een trauma ontstaat wanneer de in een stresssituatie opgebouwde energie niet terug wordt ontladen, en vervolgens geblokkeerd geraakt in het lichaam. Bij dieren wordt die energie in het merendeel direct ontladen door bijvoorbeeld het van zich af te schudden, na agressie terug tot ontspanning te komen, enz.
  • De mens is het enige dier dat bepaalde stressreacties niet afmaakt en dus energie kan blokkeren in het lichaam. Peter A. Levine stelt in zijn boek dat dit komt doordat de mens nog een brein heeft naast het reptielenbrein: de Neocortex die mensen helpt om te redeneren en abstract te denken. Dit is een verschil met dieren waarbij situaties eerder zwart/wit zijn.
  • Trauma’s, de onafgewerkte stressreacties, nestelen zich in het lichaam en sturen zelfs na jaren nog de gedragingen van mensen op basis van de oorspronkelijke stresserende situaties en er opvolgende reacties. Die situaties hoeven zelfs niet levensbedreigend te zijn. Eenzelfde situatie kan voor de ene persoon een faits-divers zijn, terwijl voor een andere persoon er sterke emoties kunnen aan toegevoegd worden en als trauma in het lichaam opgeslagen worden.
  • Mensen hebben de dwangmatige neiging om traumatische gebeurtenissen te herhalen.
    Sigmund Freud noemde dit fenomeen herhalingsdwang (repetition compulsion).  De onbewuste impuls die mensen leidt tot het herhalen van situaties, feiten, gevoelens, gedachten en de pijnlijke realiteit. Je creëert onbewust een hele reeks omstandigheden, zodat dezelfde situatie waardoor je getraumatiseerd bent zich weer zal voordoen, met de onbewuste hoop dat het resultaat anders zal zijn.
  • Trauma’s kunnen doorgegeven worden generatie na generatie. Peter A. Levine haalt zelfs het voorbeeld aan in zijn boek over families die in drie generaties een gelijkaardig vliegtuigongeval overleefden (waarbij twee van de drie zelfs in hetzelfde gebergte gebeurden). Ook betreurenswaardige voorvallen van kindermisbruik, partnergeweld, aanrandingen, scheidingen kunnen zich als patronen van herhalingsdwang over generaties heen manifesteren. Dit deed me wel sterk denken aan het principe van De Fontein (het boek van Els Van Steijn waarover ik eerder een post schreef).

Hoe kan je nu volgens Peter A. Levine trauma’s aanpakken op een lichaamsgerichte manier?

Om trauma’s aan te pakken, is het belangrijk om gewaar te worden waar de pijn, symptomen, emoties in het lichaam gevoeld worden en ook wanneer (wat triggert jouw symptomen?). Hij noemt dit de “Felt Sense”. Voor velen is dit een moeilijke oefening omdat we ons rationeel brein te veel de overhand geven. Je kan best de focus op de externe omgeving verminderen en naar binnen keren. Dat kan bijvoorbeeld door meditatie, ademhalingstechnieken, enzoverder. Tot rust komen en terug jouw eigen lichaam leren voelen. In het boek worden opdrachten gegeven om tot rust te komen en de Felt Sense te leren voelen.

Het trauma moet (best) niet opnieuw intens beleefd worden, maar er wordt aanbevolen om terug de situatie te overlopen en de persoon of jezelf terug controle te laten nemen tijdens die situatie. Als je in die overweldigende situatie terug de controle kan nemen, het noodwendige een andere wending kan geven, zal de opgeslagen energie zich ontladen. Je zal je vervolgens weer opgeluchter voelen.

Ik herken hier grotendeels dezelfde principes uit de  Progressive Mental Alignment (PMA) methodiek van Joop Korthuis.

Hierbij worden emotioneel traumatiserende gewaarwordingen opgeslagen als “bad clusters” in het brein. Die gewaarwordingen worden echter allemaal opgeslagen met dezelfde code. Hierdoor ga je die ervaringen niet meer kunnen herinneren, maar ze sturen nog wel jouw denken en leiden in vele gevallen tot psychosomatische klachten.  Met de PMA-methodiek worden die bad clusters opgespoord door gerichte vraagstellingen. Gewaarwordingen die ontstaan door de situatie deels opnieuw te beleven, worden deze keer met de juiste gevoelswaarde gecodeerd. De bad clusters worden nu getransformeerd tot normale clusters die wel door het brein als normale herinneringen worden herkend. Joop Korthuis duidt hier ook aan, net zoals Peter A. Levine, dat energie uiteindelijk ontladen wordt wat ons terug naar onze normale gevoelstoestand brengt.

Ik vond de methodiek, die in het boek “De Tijger Ontwaakt” uitgewerkt werd, heel herkenbaar voor mijn recente ervaringen met lichaamsgeriche therapie. Bij deze lichaamsgerichte sessies word ik steeds gevraagd om terug bij mezelf te komen, terug te leren voelen hoe het met me gaat, wat me echt diep van binnen bezig houdt.

En keer op keer betrap ik mezelf erop dat mijn energie en aandacht sterk op mijn omgeving gefocust is, dat ik mij altijd zorgen maak over anderen en hoe ik met hen om ga. De essentie is echter steeds eenvoudig: wat wil je zelf, hoe voel je je echt, wat triggert jouw gevoelens, wanneer voel je je echt gelukkig en vrij?

Wat me ook boeide in dit boek is het concept van Herhalingsdwang (Repetition Compulsion).

Het intrigeert me om te beseffen dat ik onbewust in steeds dezelfde situaties terecht kom. Wat duidt op een gedragspatroon dat door vroegere trauma’s in gang werd gezet.

Als ik mijn voorbije relaties vergelijk, zie ik merkwaardig genoeg heel sterke overeenkomsten terugkomen. Ik besef nu dat er een patroon in zit en dat ik onbewust die partners zoek of aantrek.
Zij spiegelen mijn gedrag en mijn omgeving/achtergrond, terwijl ik ook aan hen levenslessen mee geef.

Wat als ik dit patroon van herhalingsdwang nu eens holistischer bekijk en geloof dat dit van generatie op generatie kan overgedragen zijn, dan wordt het pas echt freaky…

Zou het dan kunnen dat mijn relaties mij een beeld geven van hoe mijn biologische mama met mij leefde in mijn eerste levensmaanden? Dat is een situatie die ik als kind kende, en dus zoek ik die beleving onbewust weer op?

Ik ga doelbewust niet in op de details van mijn privé-leven want dat is niet het doel van deze blog posting. Ik wil graag lezers, waaronder andere geadopteerden, helpen in te zien dat bepaalde moeilijkheden en patronen in hun leven een plausibele verklaring hebben in het verleden. En dat je daar iets aan kan doen met onder andere traumabehandeling en lichaamsgerichte therapie. 
Ik ben alvast zelf overtuigd en ga die uitdaging aan, want ik wens het patroon dat van generatie op generatie doorgegeven wordt, te doorbreken (ook wel eens de lopende rekening genoemd).

Ik voel me niet meer alleen de leeuw Saroo, maar ook een tijger die ontwaakt…

Letter to my orphanage

Dear Sr. – name removed – ,

While I still remember vividly my visit to my orphanage and our discussion on my adoption background in December 2019, it seems ages now that I have been in Mumbai. I miss India and particularly my roots travel to Mumbai, Delhi, Agra.

I do hope all is well with you, with Sr – name removed – and your orphanage.

Meanwhile, I have continued my search for my roots and found some distant relatives who confirmed that I would come from Tamil Nadu (as you and Sr – name removed – already guessed as I didn’t look like someone from Maharashtra). A DNA test also confirmed that I would be 100% Tamil.

You can imagine that I’m very happy to have found some distant relatives who can help me discover who I really am (despite my 40+ years life with my adoption family). No one can ignore his/her roots and the primal wound of feeling disconnected with his/her birth mother and biological family…

I’m writing you hoping that you can still find more info on my adoption, besides my Deed of Surrender.

As I now know that I come from Tamil Nadu, I wonder if there is any record indicating that I have been transferred from e.g. Chennai to Mumbai (which seemed to be a common practice in the 70’s to increase likelihood of adoption in India).

I’m also in contact now with up to 7 adoptees who all have been adopted from your MoC Mumbai in the same period – amazing isn’t it?

Some of them remember having taken a train from Madras to Mumbai… (I heard that Sr. – name removed – was accompanying some kids during this travel).

I pray to God that he will reveal traces that will help me to find my birth town or at least some info leading to my historical background.

Maybe there is even a possibility that other MoCs like Chennai or Kolkata (the MoC motherhouse I understood) have traces?

Could you help facilitate that request for info?

As you can read, I’m still struggling to deal with my primal wound since 2019 – even if I have forgiven my birth mother to have surrendered me to your MoC. I thank you for your comprehension and thank you for your assistance.

I’m planning to travel again to India again this year (when Covid pandemic allows), explore Tamil Nadu, visit your orphanage again in Mumbai and get in touch again with some colleagues I know in Bangalore. Looking forward to that travel and awaiting your response in the meantime.

I pray for you and your orphanage.


What Icelandic horses told me

It has been 8 months now since I have launched my blog. And a bit more than 1 year since I hit the wall when my “Summer of 2019 Love” left me.  Where did she go, my summer love? Sadly, this time, it’s not a song from Bryan Adams or Regi… Instead, it was a hard way to learn about my primal wound.

In one of my previous posts, I remember writing “A loved one who leaves you and whom you can no longer touch, it makes you wonder… that summer love, maybe she didn’t love me that much” (extract from my post For Romantic and Poetic Souls).

I referred to my ex who left me one year ago. However, underneath this painful experience of unwanted separation, true feelings of grief were slowly revealing themselves. I started realising: these words might also be true for my birth mother – right?

  • Why did she leave me?
  • Why did she surrender me to an orphanage in Mumbai when I was a helpless 2,5 months old baby (and from what I have heard being in ill health)? I could no longer touch her as I probably did in my first 2,5 months.
  • Did she really love me?
  • Was it a hard choice?
  • Did she have to choose whom to leave behind?

I don’t know the answers and I probably might never know.

For over 40 years, I have never asked these questions, that seemed to be hidden in the deepest parts of my soul. The pain of being abandoned by my summer love, the suspected love of my life, unexpectedly opened up Pandora’s Box.

Why did I feel lonesome while still being surrounded by loved ones, significant others?
Why did I move from one relationship to another?
Why did I push away women that loved me? Did they come too close? Did they give me love that my birth mother could not give me? (even though my adoption parents gave me a lot of love).

I was used to being separated from someone that I loved or maybe loved me. So, it’s normal to evolve back into that state of being left alone. That’s what I have known since my first months on this planet, right? Therapists refer to this programmed behaviour as “Repetition Compulsion” –
a psychological phenomenon in which a person repeats an event or its circumstances over and over again. This includes re-enacting the event or putting oneself in situations where the event is likely to happen again (Wikipedia definition). Which means for any adoptee including myself: “being abandoned”.

While I recognised this psychological phenomenon, I still didn’t understand the Primal Wound as a root-cause. I started to read about and explore consequences of the Primal Wound.
While I was looking for steps to accept and deal with my Primal Wound, I learned about Family Constellations as a potential therapy (familie-opstellingen in Dutch).

I had a first experience with a sort of (family) constellation in the AFC seminar in The Netherlands (as described in my previous post The Adopted Man). I was impressed observing how adult men reacted during role play to traumatic experiences in their life as adoptee. In that session, I wasn’t ready to face my own fears and primal wound, so I didn’t bring in my personal case yet.

However, a couple of weeks later, I had the opportunity to participate in a unique seminar on organisation constellations. While it was a seminar for companies and professionals, the facilitators sensed that I had a personal question to bring up. As an exception to this professional setting, they asked me if I was ready for a family constellation regarding my personal matter…

Next to my unique personal case, the organisation constellation seminar was already unique in itself. It was purposefully organised in meadows with Icelandic horses. Horses are highly sensitive animals that feel energy/tension in and between humans. It was very odd to observe how they were gathering in the corners of the meadow far from us while we were setting up our role play.
Only when the participants felt good in the final set-up of the role play and energy levels felt rebalanced, the horses spontaneously mingled with the participants in the meadow.
Crazy to believe, crazy to live this experience.

As soon as I shared my personal case with the group, the facilitators invited me to step into the meadow in which the Icelandic horses were gathering again in one of its corners. I was asked to invite another participant to play the role of my birth mother… Right away I felt emotions coming up, but still managed to master them for the benefits of the role play to come. I asked an older lady to act as my birth mother. It felt good to ask her for this role.

Without going into detail about the next steps in my family constellation, I can only share that I truly got overwhelmed… The lady that played the role of my birth mother became very emotional – it felt to me as if it was my real birth mother speaking to me showing her regrets that she left me years ago. Showing her admiration for the beautiful person I have become. She was referring to my authentic self or my vulnerability I was showing at that very moment.

Once I felt good in that family constellation, it was amazing to see how the Icelandic horses came to me and started walking into that constellation as if they were part of it (even an Icelandic foal spontaneously joined me – probably representing my own daughter :-). I loved it. Both the emotional experience and the pure beauty of horses sensing that the energy fields have been rebalanced again. Wow, what a wonder of nature.

I realise that this experience was not intended to be the end of my journey, but rather the beginning of a continued search for my birth mother and relatives. A clear sign of life that my roots might get unveiled soon…

Maybe I will meet my birth mother, maybe I will meet family from my biological lineage.
Who knows. Only life can tell.

Thanks for having read this long write-up. Thanks for showing your interest and compassion.
Stay tuned. For sure there is more to come.


Met een oerwond doorheen het oerwoud

Wat een leuke en leerrijke ervaring ! Wat heeft me dat weer energie gegeven !
Een mooie bevestiging van het pijnlijke maar veelbelovende traject dat ik al afgelegd heb.
En vooral een aanmoediging om mijn pad verder te volgen. Zeker nu ik besef dat ik er ook anderen mee kan helpen 🙂

Tijdens de adoptieweek van Fiac begin november gaf ik via digitale weg mijn persoonlijke getuigenis over de oerwond (Primal Wound) – en wat dat met mij gedaan heeft. Maar voornamelijk ook wat ik er uit geleerd heb en hoe ik mijn leven verder wil aanpakken.

Normaal ging mijn getuigenis live door, maar wegens Covid19 maatregelen heeft Fiac haar adoptieweek kundig omgeturnd naar een unieke digitale ervaring. Mijn adoptiegetuigenis is hierdoor gelukkig ook beschikbaar als opname. Gewoon even klikken op onderstaand scherm om de opname te starten (duurtijd: 60′ – wel met enkele momentjes waarbij de verbinding even wegviel).

Als je vragen hebt, kan je me gerust een e-mail sturen: contact@mohansaroo.life

Goodbye to the world I used to know

Today, I said goodbye to one of my best friends…
Maybe it’s only temporary until we meet again,
but it felt like a painful separation, as it suddenly slipped out of my hands.

Don’t be too concerned. I’m talking about my beloved car 😉
It’s sadly a matter of exaggerated materialism,
although it does feel like I lost the war.

It’s of course not about the car, but about the unexpectedness of the news.
I had great times with that car – and hence,
again a lot of memories that I have to let loose.

I think I passed halfway my life now.
While the first half was about building up,
the latter half wants me to deal with losses somehow.

Regretfully, we also live in a different world today.
We all have to wear masks and limit meeting others.
When will we go back to the normal state, which we hope for every day.

I can’t give my daughter the childhood I had – everything has changed since then.
But she’s doing fine, although I struggle to accept to belief.
It’s a new world in which we will have to learn to let go now and then.

What does it take to let go?
What if I no longer had my car, my house, my past… ?
What would it change about who I really am – even if that’s still what I don’t know?

It feels like peeling the onion.
That’s probably what I’m afraid of – to discover what will surface.
Will I still feel comfortable? Will people still be around or leave me in my forgotten dungeon?

More than ever, it becomes important to get to know yourself.
Peel the onion, follow your tears and find your authentic self.
Try to be less dependent on others, and on materialistic stuff.
You only need to love yourself, that should be fairly enough.

Love Yourself

We tend to hold on to our past.
Hoping that it would ever last.
Because the past, that is what defines you, right?
And our future is uncertain, sometimes black, sometimes bright.

Painful moments when you look back,
when your memories and past seem to fall between the cracks.
It all starts to fade away.
Too late, I wish I could relive it all for a day.

While I was once proud of what I had achieved,
I can only look back to some scarce moments to make me feel relieved.
There should be more in life than an unknown future and a forgotten past.
It took me some time to realize while my life was heading to nowhere too fast.

Don’t let the past define you.
Don’t let the future scare you.
Be yourself, love yourself.
Love will always be there,
readily available off-the-shelf.

Persoonlijke getuigenis FIAC 3/11

Ik voel me nerveus… maar ik ben ook wel heel benieuwd.

Tot nu toe heb ik mijn primal wound en adoptie-ervaringen kunnen delen via mijn blog. Het deed me plezier om zoveel positieve reacties te krijgen op mijn blog en posts. Vele anderen herkennen zich in mijn verhalen, ervaringen en emotionele wereld. Dat geeft me energie en ik ben enorm blij dat ik anderen op hun pad kan helpen (direct of indirect – dat doet er niet toe).

De volgende stap wacht op me… Ik ga mijn verhaal live brengen in een persoonlijke getuigenis tijdens de adoptieweek van FIAC. Hopelijk wordt het heel interactief en komen er prangende boeiende vragen die ons allen weer een beetje verder helpen.

Benieuwd? Welkom he !

Dinsdag 3 november bij FIAC in Geel (16 -17u30)

Klik op de link voor het volledige programma: FIAC Adoptieweek 2020

The Adopted Man

In my previous blog post, I described my insights from the book “De Fontein” (The Fountain) from Els Van Steijn.  I was amazed to read about the power of downward spiraling energy and influence through family lineage. Even more, I was struck by learning what might happen when you no longer find yourself in the right position in that “fountain” of family lineage.  People that no longer benefit from that natural downward energy channelling, often struggle with stubborn – unexplainable – unfavourable patterns in their life. Once you get back in your position in your fountain, you would feel the energy again from your parents, older brothers, older sisters, etc. Unpleasant patterns would disappear and make one’s life again more bearable.

The book also refers to the practice of “family constellations” (familie-opstellingen). These therapeutic exercises would help to understand and feel what is really blocking you in life. Once you face your fears, disbalances, frustrations, etc., you will feel relieved. You will feel ready to handle issues in a different way. I was becoming very keen to experience such a kind of family constellation practice. Hoping that I could reveal and break nasty patterns in my life.

As a clear sign of life, a Facebook ad popped up – promoting a seminar for adopted men in The Netherlands. The organiser De Adoptiecoach launched a try-out of a seminar for adopted men to share and learn from their challenges in life.

I enrolled myself quite fast but was nervous as this event was only set-up for men. No mixed audience, but a men only gathering. In the past year, I have become more comfortable to share my emotions and expression of my authentic self predominantly with women.

The event in the Woudschoten hotel in Zeist (The Netherlands) became a nice memory for the participating adopted men. I deliberately wrote “participating” as this word underlines the fact that we took our responsibility and decision to start changing our life. The common theme of the participants is that they struggled with challenges in life (for some professional, others relational or family matters etc.) following trauma’s in their adoption history. But, we all decided to participate to this seminar and for sure in other life changing actions to come.

The seminar offered an interesting mix of theoretical considerations, outdoor actions and exercises similar to family constellations. I gained interesting insights in this seminar and got a lot of confirmation of “I’m clearly not the only one suffering from the primal wound and related life challenges”. It feels good to recognise that the primal wound is a common theme amongst adopted men. It’s not just a theory…

I also finally understood why it took me over 40 years to wake up and start feeling my primal wound, start seeing my fears and patterns in life. Most of the other adopted men amongst the participants also started digging deeper only  in their forties.

Below graph shows why for some people it can take longer than others to face challenges in life related to their primal wound, adoption history, … (note: I created this graph based on my interpretation of a Dutch version shown during the seminar).

My personal interpretation: adoptees start with some degree of background stress dependent on the severity of their historical trauma’s. While they tend to develop effective coping mechanisms to deal with changing environments and life challenges, some life incidents can push the stress level to the critical boundary of their maximum load level. It’s important to become aware, understand and accept stress impacts in order to lower the stress level below the danger zone.

In my first 40 years I was enjoying life and taking on all challenges as if it was almost a natural gift… My coping mechanisms helped me a lot. I was born to become a chameleon – which is typical for many adoptees.

I learned several languages, practiced multiple hobbies, travelled a lot for my job and found my way in life – mostly on my own (no surprise for an adoptee…).

However, several life incidents (my adoption mum passing away, divorces…) slowly started pushing up the stress bar until the moment I could no longer handle it. I collapsed end of 2019 at the age of 45… Do note that the graph shows that adoptees, regardless their agility to cope with changing environments and circumstances, already start with a backpack of background stress following historical trauma(s). I never realised that until last year.

In the afternoon session, having enjoyed enriching discussions and moments of recognising similarities, the facilitators Hilbrand and Sandor took the boys out to play 🙂 We all could revive our manhood again while fighting each other with swords and fight gear. Loved it. Especially my boy’s dream to become a fearless ninja was about to become true 🙂

Following this amusing break, the afternoon session brought us very intensive and emotional moments. Volunteers could share their life challenges and fears in the group based on which participants engaged in a sort of role play (“substitution” as known in systemic therapy).

This was the first time in my life that I experienced such expression of emotions, energetic dynamics and even witness other men cry. It’s a good thing that men can share emotions and show their tears as opposed to what society teaches us “boys don’t cry”…

Impressed by the sense of trust and vulnerability in this group of adopted men (although we didn’t know each other at the start of that seminar), I was really wanting to bring forward my personal case. But I didn’t. I wasn’t ready yet. I felt that I still had some fears to cope with – which I couldn’t face yet.

Let’s hope that I’m ready to reveal more in my next post…

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