Adopted Teens - Primal Wound

It can be hard to separate normal teen problems from those stemming from deep seeded adoption issues. The best way to understand your adopted teen is to simply talk to them. As Sue Scheff™ knows, keeping the lines of teen and parent communications open is the best step to fixing teen troubles.

Unfortunately, most teens feel uncomfortable sharing troubled emotions with their parents, especially when the parents aren’t biologically related. The best thing adopted parents can do is stay informed of some of the issues that could affect their adopted teens. One major teenage adoption issue is the Primal Wound™ phenomenon.

The term Primal Wound™ was coined in 1993 by Nancy Verrier in her revolutionary adoption book, Primal Wound™.

Primal Wound™ refers to the feeling of duality that adopted children must overcome as they transition through their teenage years. An adopted child experiences separation from their natural caregiver, severing a link that will never truly be forgotten. Experts and psychologist agree that the developing fetus is aware of its mother in the womb, understanding their signature smell, sound, and other familiarities. This bond is forged and reinforced over nine months, and lasts throughout the child’s entire life.
It’s clear that in a way, babies understand the identity of their birth mother, even if the mother is detached from the child directly after birth. The primordial attachment is always formed when a child experiences birth and is severed when they are separated, and this Primal Wound must be confronted if an adopted teen is feeling separation problems, because it can lead to unresolved emotions of anger and distress that can catalyze dangerously in a young teenagers hormone ridden life.

The power of Primal Wound™ has been illustrated in various examples, including a story in Verrier’s book about a young girl who was separated from her real mother at birth, but was never told she was adopted. When the little girl was four she had a terrible nightmare, sending her into a screaming fit for her mother. When her adopted mother tried to calm her, the girl looked at her and proclaimed that she wanted her other mother. This little girl had no way of knowing that it was not her original birth mother, but the womb bond formed immediately after birth told her she was not connected to her birthmother, showing the Primal Wound™ in action.
It is clear that the Primal Wound™ exists and can lead to problems for adopted adolescents, but what should parents do to cope with this phenomenon and how do they help their adoptive teens deal with it? Luckily, simply knowing and understanding that the Primal Wound exists is the most important step in healing it.

Adoptive parents have the power to cleanse their child’s Primal Wound™, but they must understand that their teens have experienced a difficult loss, and must carefully validate those young feelings. Teens need to know they are understood; the feeling of isolation, the belief that no one understands, is what drives so many teenage depression or anger problems to develop. By simply listening and providing an avenue for communication and understanding, parents can help their troubled teens heal.

Sue Scheff™ advises parents never to say “Don’t feel that way,” or “What you are feeling is wrong.” Teens can’t help what they feel; they are a bundle of unresolved emotions. What a parent must do is illustrate a proper way to respond to these troublesome feelings, instead of acting destructively. Sue Scheff™ knows that the key to helping teach teenagers deal with their emotions is setting limits. Let your child be angry or express themselves, but don’t let them overstep the boundaries you set as a parent.

By understanding the Primal Wound™ phenomenon parents can help their adopted children work through life separated from their biological parents.

For more information - about adopted teens.

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