Dear Dr. Phil,
I'm torn to pieces. My biological mother, who is white, gave me up for adoption 34 years ago. Eight years ago, I tracked her down and tried to get back into her life. She doesn't want to have anything to do with me, and I think it's because I'm black. This devastates me. I'm reading your book, The Ultimate Weight Solution, and you suggested bringing closure to emotional pain. I recently decided to give her one last call. Again, she does not want to meet me. She says she was raped when I was conceived, although the adoption agency told me differently. Regardless, I am black and she would prefer if I never spoke to her again.
I'm not looking for a lifelong relationship with her, I simply want acknowledgment, medical history, and to see what she looks like.
Dr. Phil, I can't let go and bring closure to this issue. Can you please, please, please help me reclaim myself physically, emotionally and spiritually?
Stacy, feeling unwanted in Nebraska
Stacy says she has no information about her father. "Just what the adoption agency had given me. And during the discussions with my biological mother, she told me it was all a lie," says Stacy.
"And when you were talking to her, things were going along fine ... and then you mentioned that you were black," clarifies Dr. Phil.
Dr. Phil tells Stacy she has a lot of options to find closure on this issue. "First off, if you think the only thing that can make it right for you is to go meet her, you can go meet her. You can just ring the doorbell and say, you know, 'Here I am.' But you don't necessarily have to do that."
Dr. Phil explains that she can offer to meet her biological mother in another community, or somewhere neutral, where she won't be recognized. "If she says no ... and you want to respect that, then you're left with
"But how come I feel that sometimes it's just not enough?" asks Stacy.
"Well, part of that is because we have been socialized with a sense of entitlement," says Dr. Phil. "The truth is, you just don't always get what you want ... You don't control your mother. The only person you control is you ... The hardest step you may have to take is saying, 'I have to accept the fact that I do not control her and I cannot make her want what I want.'"
Stacy says that she accepted it years ago, but she's lying to herself. "It just eats me up," she says, getting emotional.
"I tried that one time," says Stacy.
"Then try it again," says Dr. Phil. "And you know how long you do that? You do it until. You do it until you get what you want and get what you need. And if there's a point at which you say, 'I am finally at a point where I can accept the fact that I do not control her, so I have to move my position.' It's like grieving a loss. When someone dies, you go through a certain amount of grief work. The first thing is shock, and then you go into denial, and then you go into anger, and you finally go into acceptance. And if she's at that point where she's going to be dead to you, then you are faced with grieving a loss."
Dr. Phil reiterates: "What I'm saying is simply talk to her until she will meet you on neutral ground. And if she won't do that, then you have to move your position. Say 'I'm going to move into her community' or 'I'm going to put this together without her and do it for myself' ... Find the strength to initiate getting her to meet you, and focus on what you do have in your life instead of what you don't."