Doing Fine

Doing Fine
by Take Root Member Sam M.


I was fine. Or, so I thought. I didn’t need to dwell on my past, in fact, I’ve used it to propel me forward. Or, so I thought. Rehashing sad stories would just be a waste of time at best, or at worst, create an excuse for everything not right in my life. Or, so I thought.

I’m not sure what led me to that first-ever meeting of adults who had been parentally abducted as children at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in March of 2002. Perhaps it was a combination of curiosity; a promise to an involved friend; the free trip to D.C.; the chance to help others, most notably my own brother, but certainly not to resolve any issues for myself. Or so I thought.

I was the one from that first meeting who told this newly forming group not to count on me for much. I wouldn’t have the time or interest. Or so I thought. Since leaving that first meeting I have been more actively involved via e-mail, Internet research, TV interviews, conferences and just talking with others, than I am for any other outside-of-work activity in my life.

Turns out I had been suppressing thoughts and feelings about my childhood abduction (“kidnapping,” we called it then). Turns out that talking about it as much as I have has made me feel better about myself, lighter inside. And, hearing the stories of others who have gone through the experience has made me more aware than ever of the many, many possible effects from parental abduction. Some of the other stories made me actually feel fortunate that my situation wasn’t so bad. Learning from professionals about the ramifications has opened my eyes and heart as well.

But the best news is that none of it has negatively affected me. I still don’t dwell on my past, nor use it as an excuse for anything in my life. Though some of it was painful to realize at first, I am motivated by the others who have gone through their own experiences and have come out to help themselves and others. Not by avoiding it, but by confronting it.

My biggest “ah ha” from talking about my hidden secret to so many though, has really had little to do with me or parental abduction. By sharing my deep, dark story, I’ve come to learn that nearly everyone, almost to a person, has responded by opening up to me to share the tragedy of their life. Anorexia, alcoholism, lost parents, rape or sexual abuse, the list goes on and on. So many of us have not had any where near a perfect life or childhood. It’s just that we all think we are the only ones with a sad secret. Opening up to others has brought me closer to people – family and strangers -than I’ve ever been capable of being. Finding out we are not alone, and being encourage by the fortitude of others, has been my biggest blessing. I wonder what this world would be like if we all were freed from our self imposed vows of silence and could openly discuss our inner fears without fear of judgment?

Take Root has created a safe environment for adults who were parentally abducted to encourage introspection and learning.


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