Sunday, December 13, 2009

Book Tour: 'The Primal Wound' by Nancy Verrier

Reading 'The Primal Wound' has changed my life. The first half of the book was the most profound for me because it explained my life. It explained my personal pain that has consumed me for all of my life. This book has put words to my internal struggle and given me freedom from it, by giving the validation and acknowledgement that my struggle was real, definable and shared by so many other adoptees. I know now that I am normal. That I have been through an abnormal experience, and that I am not crazy.

Here are the questions I chose to answer based on my determination for people to understand that 'The Primal Wound' is real and that by acknowledging it adoptees can be set free from extreme pain and debilitating emotions.

What signs did you see in your child or yourself, that support the concept of a primal wound derived from separation of mother and child in the process of adoption?

The hardest part was that my 'signs' were hard to identify unless one is aware of the Primal Wound'. From the outside I looked like a normal kid. I had no abusive past and I was adopted as an infant into a loving and wonderful family. I should have been fine, but I wasn't. I internalized most of my pain and the signs were unclear for awhile. Just as Nancy Verrier talks about. I always knew something was wrong in me, but no one else did. Not even the therapists I saw. From everything I told them I was just fine and just struggling with low self esteem.

The Primal Wound was my true issue. I have lived with a very deep encompassing pain in my soul that has felt like a handicap my whole life. As a tiny infant my parents noticed that I bounced my head against my pillow in order to fall asleep. They thought it to be odd, but never inquired about it. I eventually outgrew it as I got older.

The Wound surfaced the year I entered 7th grade. I cried every day that year. My grandma thought I was clinically depressed and wanted me to get on medication. All my parents could do was keep motivating me and encouraging me which they did. It was really a difficult time for my whole family. I carried a pain inside that was simply unexplainable. I was told by teachers and coaches that I had so much potential, But for some reason I could never reach it. I had stomach aches all the time. I never wanted to leave my home for too long. There were places that I would not want to stay and would call my parents to come get me especially from sleep over parties. From what I know now, I feel like my desperation to be loved, and my search for what I 'lost' consumed my life. I lived in a state of fear and it was exhausting. I rejected my mother's love and would tell her 'you don't love me'. I have had a life of drama, living in a cycle of rejection, abandonment, the desperation to be loved and the impossibility of receiving it because I was afraid to lose it.

The author asserts that adoptive families are different than biological families in part due to the primal wound. Given this, is it possible to go beyond healing the primal wound and embrace or celebrate the unique dynamic that occurs in families created through adoption? In other words, can we embrace and celebrate the differences in families created through adoption?

I believe that once the 'Primal Wound' is acknowledged and accepted so that the adoptee can get the understanding of her emotional life, the adoptive family can succeed. I know this because since reading 'The Primal Wound' I have found that my struggles had little to do with my 'adoptive' family dynamic and everything to do with my mysterious, internal, emotional world. The wound prevented me from living in the moment. I was living in the moment marked by the separation of my birth mother. That loss became me and defined me. All the love and attention from my family could not replace or 'fix' that loss because i had not dealt with it. Once I received the answers and understanding, I was set totally free. Now I am happy and excited about my life. I wrote a letter to my family to let them know that none of my craziness was meant to hurt them. That I was looking for my "self" and never wanted to cause them any pain. I needed to let them know this because I know that my actions and words over the years have hurt them. I finally feel close to them. I have been set free to receive their love and give them mine.

I can not express how grateful I am to Nancy Verrier for writing 'The Primal Wound'. I have finally found the answers to where I came from and now I am free to be me.

Prior to finding the book and becoming apart of this tour, I wrote a poem titled 'A Torn Embraced'. I have included it in this post because it is my expression of how I felt living with 'The Primal Wound' .

A Torn Embrace

We come from a place not so safe

Our roots wounded by a torn embrace

Insecure is our place

Searching for acceptance is

now our race…

Desperate to find you we

search for your face

Believing when found it could

all be replaced

Our roots wounded by a torn embrace

I need to be fixed

I feel out of place

Our roots wounded by a torn embrace

Where will I find you

How long will it take

Our roots wounded by a torn embrace

I need to feel whole, secure,

and safe

Nothing makes sense

I feel torn and in space

Our roots wounded by a torn embrace

Fear has captured the peace

of my birth

Holding hostage my right to

peace on earth

I want it back

What you took

When you walked away and

Left Me on a hook

I’m getting down

I’m finding my way

I will not be forever

Destroyed by that day

I’m going back to let me

Replay the moment my heart

felt stolen away

I close my eyes and go deep

Inside to look at the empty

Pain getting harder to hide

Could it be...I’m OK?

Even after you left me that


In fact, it is my heart

It is my choice

I don’t think I’ll allow you to

be my voice

I’m speaking out Here’s what I

have to say

You didn’t leave with my heart

that day

I am priceless

Complete by design

Given to the world with you

in mind

My destiny is forever mine.

© Paula Darkins 2009

To Continue on this tour, please visit the main list at The Open Adoption Examiner.

There are a lot of great questions on this book tour. Please continue on the tour!


  1. Your poem is haunting and raw and ultimately victorious. Wowza.

    I'm glad you found the key to unlock your struggles and clear the way to being free.

    And that you shared your unique viewpoint with the rest of us on this tour.


  2. I'm so glad I didn't read your post before writing mine. I'm quite a bit older than you are and memory doesn't serve me as well, but when I read your post it was as if you were describing my youth. Thank you for writing it and for being an adoptee voice. You are a great writer! And the poem was amazing.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us!

  4. Wow...that poem was epic. Probably not the right word choice, but it was dead on. I am an adoptee and I am really looking forward to reading some more of your blog :)

    Lisa =)

  5. Great poem. You have talent! Adoptions have a generational effect. My mom was an adoptee in the early 30's and she let that "wound" destroy her life. Thank God there is the internet and so many wonderful people to help and to share that pain. I was adopted by my grandparents at 8 (finalized when I was 11). However, her "primal wound" has never healed even though she died at 33, 45 years ago.

  6. I too could have written your answer to question one. In fact it describes my childhood and early adulthood to a T. I am not adopted. I was raised by a very loving family with NO reason to feel like I felt and obviously it had nothing to do with being adopted.

    With respect to what you are saying here, I think that we all like to know that we are not alone in our feelings. Having answers does make a difference and I am glad that you feel healed, because ultimately that is what is important. But was it the true answer? What if you were me? What if you could describe all of the above and not have being adopted as your answer? Just curious.

  7. Joy,
    Thank you for your comment. I want to be clear that it wasn't the adoption it was the relinquishment and the disruption of the normal developmental cycle that was the answer. It was the part that happened prior to being adopted that caused my struggle. It was just that no one considered the relinquishment to be of any consequence, so when I was adopted and I turned out to have the issues I did, it seemed unreasonable and unidentifiable. It's like having a female issue that no male doctor 'gets' but it turns out that now there is an acceptable diagnosis for it. Same thing here. It's addressing, understanding and diagnosing the experience prior to the adoption to insure that the adoptive parents have the tools to help their children grow into healthy people. Nancy Verrier explaines that the interruption to the normal development of an infant that happens due to relinquishment also happens for other reasons. If a child is born sick and has to be placed in the incubator, if the mother is emotionally unavailable to her child, if that normal interaction is disrupted for any reason I think the same conditions would result. Perhaps you have had something of this nature occur in your past. It might be worth reading "The Primal Wound' and then moving on from there. I would say its worth the effort to explore the reason you have lived with the same struggle. We all deserve to be healed :)

  8. I read The Primal Wound for the first time in 1999, after my adopted father's death (

    I feel the same gratefulness as you - thankful that I was able to read Nancy Verrier's book and feel validation for why my soul can feel so pained.

    Thank you for sharing your soul with us.

  9. Same, thanks to all of you for speaking out..what else can we do but make ourselves known to each other and the stop playing 'the adoption game'
    Sad for those who say they 'feel adopted'.How do they know? Do they mean they've suffered trauma, feel isolated, alone, been abandoned emotionally, are disconnected from family? All painful and wounding but at least they know their biological relatives and can have their birth information.They know who they are even if they're not happy with it.
    Drop by sometime and good luck, keep speaking out.