A reader asks: I am an adopted child and when I got to knew about this fact, I was completely shattered.
It wasn't like my parents didn't love me or anything, but I just couldn't digest the fact. But, this was for a short-term and later on I forgot about it and moved on. One thing that kept me in the dark was that I didn't have anyone with me, no sibling no one to share my problems or things. I was always alone in my life.
Because of obesity I couldn't make much friends in my childhood. I don't have much friends maybe because I expect them to be like real brothers/sisters.
FRIENDSHIP is something which I always looked forward to, but people keep running from me not sure why. I am very depressed at the moment, reviewing my past and seeing where will I end up. I am 18-years old.
Linda Sakr (Licensed Counselling Psychologist, Dubai Community Health Centre) replies: First, it's only natural to have felt completely shattered when you first found out you were adopted as it can be shocking as well as confusing.
It is very common for you to feel rejected and abandoned by your birth parents. This is accompanied by feelings of grief and loss. There is no set time or age when these feelings surface but, sooner or later, they do.
Feelings of loss and rejection are often accompanied by a damaged sense of self-esteem. There is an understandable tendency to think that “something must be wrong with me for my parents to have give me away.” It must be understood that these feelings and thoughts are unrelated to the amount of love and support received from your adoptive parents.
Guilt accompanies loss and grief because you may feel as though you are being disloyal to the people who adopted, loved and raised you.
As for friendships, first and foremost you have to be able to nurture and love yourself before you allow others to do so. If you regard yourself as a loveable and worthy individual then chances are people will view you in that positive light.
You mentioned that “maybe I just expect them to be like real brother/sister FRIENDSHIP.” Unfortunately, expectations always lead to disappointment. Take your time getting to know others and worrying constantly about them may overwhelm them and hence drive them away. Friendships are a two-way street and are about give and take.
You mention you were obese in childhood, not sure if this is still the case? Perhaps joining your local gym or engaging in team sports may enhance your physical as well as psychological well-being as well as encourage friendships.
I would also recommend talking to a professional counsellor to help make sense of your issues.
You have no control over what happened to you in the past but you are the architect of your future. Give yourself credit for all the things you are good at, be true to yourself, think positively and surround yourself with people that appreciate you for who you are.
Disclaimer: This blog is a conversation and is not an alternative for treatment. The recommendations and suggestions offered by our panel of psychiatrists are their own and Gulf News will not take any responsibility for the advice they provide.