I think this is how my mom felt, especially when she discovered she was pregnant with me as a junior in high school and all the plans her mother made for her life would never be.
I’m certain that my maternal, adoptive, grandmother wanted to believe that my mom, because she was not causing any trouble, was well-adjusted. Knowing how I was, I can imagine my mom was “relatively” well-behaved at home, was subtle in her wildness, and kept most of her unapproved behavior a secret from her adoptive parents.
Adjustment often means shutting down – creating a “false self”. It staggers my imagination to understand now that both of my parents, adoptees, lived false identities – that they knew for most of their lives, were not the ones they had been born with.
Many adoptees believe that the child they “become” has to be “better” or they will be abandoned again. They become people pleasers who constantly seek approval.
As children they may be very cooperative, polite, charming, and generally “good”. Yet, it is now known that locked inside of them is pain and fear. They can never truly bond with anyone because they are not being their true and authentic selves.
They are afraid of showing negative feelings – anger, hostility, disappointment or sorrow. The false self they create is a coping mechanism.
Though they may create a “good” self false persona, many adoptees perceive themselves as less than ideal, defective or bad. They have a pronounced lack of self-esteem.