Contacting A Birth Parent

QUESTION

I need to know whether I should attempt to contact my birth father, age 54, and half brothers. I am 37 years old. We have never met but they all know about me. The last time my birth father had contact with me was when I was 2 years old. I recently located one of my half brothers and he and his family live near my home.

My maternal grandmother raised me, from birth. My birth mother spoke with my birth father occasionally during my life. Her last contact with him was in the year 2000. He resides close to me. I have done research and know their addresses.

I would just like to see if I look like them or if we have any common interests. I am gay and I believe that both brothers are heterosexual.

I am very stable, professionally successful and self-reliant. I am fearful of rejection. I have always felt a sense of rejection deep inside my soul although I was always loved and had a good childhood.

ANSWER

JILL:
That is a lot of people to try and connect with and will at best be draining. You need to lay a strong emotionally foundation. So first let’s take care of you.
1. Where your father is concerned your feelings of rejection are understandable, as is your fear of possible further rejection from your father if you meet him. The best place to start is just being in the truth of those two feelings. Give yourself permission to feel them. Then breathe a deep cleansing breath as you take them in.
2. Take time to be proud of the “stable and professionally successful and self reliant person that you are today”. That will be the inner reserve that you will need to draw on.
3. Accept the fact that your desire to meet your father & half brothers is not an act of disloyalty to those who gave you a loving childhood.

One or all of these initial steps may take the support of good friends and if you have a partner share your thoughts with him. Consider support groups or a counselor, the important thing is that you don’t make any move to contact your father until you are feeling as whole and strong as possible.

4. When you feel ready to proceed (and there is no rush) you need to honestly review why you want to meet them. What are your expectations? I respect that you wrote “I would just like to see if I look like them or if we have any common interests.” On an intellectual level those words are true and genuine but meeting them is going to arouse emotions and you need to know how to deal with them. Is there a desire to reunite and stay connected on a regular basis? You need to be honest with yourself so that you can cope and so that the loving people who are in your life now know how they can best support you.

Only after this mental inventory will you be able to decide if you should contact them. If you choose to proceed, you might consider phoning first to see if they want to meet. Appearing on someone’s door step can be a shock to the person answering the door and their reaction might not be the best one. A phone call might be a better way to ease into a conversation. If you can only contact them in person be prepared for their reaction and don’t push. Have a card with your contact information on it and hand it to them with a “Get in touch with me if you want to.”

I wish you luck on this journey and hope that your father and half brothers want to get to know the person that you are.

VICKI:
Jill answered your question perfectly, I would like to talk about the deep sense of rejection that you feel within.

It is normal for a child to question the reasons their parent(s) are not in their life. Most children blame themselves deep down and assume that there is something wrong with them. They then internalize a mental list of all they feel is wrong with them. As an adult you know that you’re not responsible for their actions and given the age of your father I can only assume that they were too young and not responsible enough to look after a child.

The fear you have of rejection is that mental list from childhood that consciously or unconsciously still plays in your mind. To overcome this you must become aware of when you think these thoughts and when you have one you must replace it with a positive and true statement. Remember that these thoughts were your childhood thoughts, which were founded on childhood insecurities. They are not your truth and they do not serve you in adulthood.

My heart is with you as you make this important decision..

Gossip After Office Romance Gone Wrong

QUESTION

I work in a law office and made the mistake of sleeping with one of the junior partners. I quickly broke it off when one of the secretaries told me that I wasn’t his first office fling. Problem is one of the female junior partners is telling everyone that I slept with this guy and is giving the impression that we are still together. What should I do, I am only a paralegal, which kinda makes her my boss? Do I wait for it to blow over or do I confront her?

ANSWER

JILL:
You should talk to her but there is a right way of going about this. The office may not give you the privacy that you need. Invite (don’t confront) her for coffee, if she is reluctant ask her to meet at the office in a room where you can close the door.

Frame your words carefully and be clear in your mind as to the outcome that you desire from this meeting.
Make the words your own, but there are some guidelines

“I have made a mistake, but it is over. (Insert her name here) it has come to my attention that you have been talking about my actions. I would appreciate it if you would stop.”
Don’t be defensive or explain yourself.
Use her name it puts you on an equal footing
Don’t accuse her of gossiping it will make her defensive and you will find it hard to reach a conclusion from that view point
Bring it to a polite end. This is not high school you are both professional women, who want to get ahead and be respected.

If she argues or blusters, say again ‘It’s over what you are saying to people is untrue.” If you are concerned that she will continue to gossip tell her that you will go to the Human Resources Department. You will have the upper hand in that you have tried to quietly deal with the situation yourself.

VICKI:
Yes you should talk to this woman which is much different than confronting someone, especially in an office situation.

You must always be careful whom you tell personal things at work as office gossip abounds. From the secretary to the female junior partner – how many people did you talk to this about? If only one then you need to talk to that original one person as that is how it all got started. Or possibly the junior partner you slept with started the talking in that case talk to him about his indiscretion.

One more thing, you are not “only a paralegal”, you are a vital part of that office and should be treated with respect at all times. If you were not vital your position in the office would not exist. Every position in every company is needed. How long would your office be able to operate if no one cleaned it? Not long I promise. Everyone contributes and deserves to be respected.