Saturday, 19 May 2012

Identity Colonization

The indigenous peoples of the world are disempowered by the invasions of the past by other nations. Then to add to their plight they have been told to assimilate into western societies. Some of these have been more successful than others. The implications of this assimilation are a power shift, often with a loss of their lands,family, heritage, history, culture, language and themselves. Displaced people, given new identities, may become so damaged that survival is all they can hope for and for some that is an expectation too high. 

There are similarities between this scenario and that of Adoptees.These sons and daughters have been taken, often against the wishes of their mothers. A deal has been done between agencies and adopters, moving them to cultures new and their true identity colonized.

Adoptees around the world have an, often termed, 'false identity' relating to that given through the adoption process not being able to access information and know who they really are. This has been further complicated in the case of the peoples of the American "First Nations". Some were adopted out to white society not knowing or have evidence of their origins. Some are therefore stuck in the middle identifying with neither society.

For those of us who know our full history, whether we have had a positive upbringing or not, have an advantage over people who have not had that right. Our background often throws up issues for us later in life however a recent Australian survey of adoptees records that almost 90% of those adoptees questioned, had experienced depression, anxiety or both, at some point in their lives.

Where we come from adds shape to our understanding of who we are.

Adopted people had to be assimilated into a new family culture or social grouping or where their original culture was changed for a different one complete with new name and revised history.
The effect of this type of colonization has produced many who are depressed, anxious and feel in a state of despair and disempowerment.

The common thought is that adoption creates grief through unresolved loss. This is undoubtedly true in part, but there are other aspects that are as problematic as well however the loss is not just about the loss of their original Mother, if that is not traumatic enough, but also the loss of their original identity which has been removed and erased from their material, documented and emotional history.

Therapy is required by many but not easily accessed. We are able to offer this but, it does not appear that some of the larger counselling organisations really get the issues.Asking the right questions of providers is important so that you get the help you need.

Giving Your Life Direction

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