My name is Margaret Watson.
Surviving Secrets relates to the late revelation of my adoption at age 40. This occurred in midlife when my identity was well formed. The revelation of this news created enormous trauma and a sense of betrayal and abandonment which took some years to integrate. Two and a half years of searching for my birth family resulted in a miraculous reunion. All of my comments regarding adoption relate to my situation only. I am aware that there are many adoptees who have varying opinions on adoption, based on their own experiences of adoption and upbringing by their adoptive family. All adoptees are specialists of their own lived experiences. I do not consider I can comment on another’s experience or situation unless requested.
I do, however, have strong views on the secrecy and withholding of information concerning an adoptees heritage, family of origin and family medical history. In numerous situations, adoptive families constructed fantasy/untrue stories within the family concerning an adopted person’s true history.
Six years after my birth family reunion, I experienced the traumatic loss of my partner Robert, who took his own life. For over 30 years he had kept secret his diagnosis of bipolar disorder and did not seek medical treatment for it. Eventually the disorder won out and due to stresses in his life, took his own life , seeing that as his solution .
These two major life events led me to enquire and research the effects and impact of abandonment resulting from the separation from my birth mother and the impact of traumatic loss of a loved one. Recent advances in brain chemistry research and the physiological impacts of abandonment provide insight and understanding which can assist people heal and integrate losses. Understanding the impact of adoption, any abandonment and loss, can enable people to move forward in their life.
Surviving Secrets are my experiences of integrating adoption, abandonment, separation and trauma – all contributors to my written memoir of the same title. I hope my experiences, observations and teachings I have learned in my personal journey of therapy, healing and formal study will contribute positively to those reading this site.
It took me several years to trawl through and integrate my experiences and feelings of abandonment, loss and trauma. Staying with the often painful feelings and integrating them on a somatic, cellular memory level ( in the body memory) and intellectual levels , has provided a fulfilled sense of completion, being grounded and assertive in myself. This has enabled me to view, behave and see the world in a healed and holistic way.
I offer this site and my experiences to you. Others have and will continue to tread the thorny paths of abandonment, loss and trauma. You are not alone. My experiences have taught me that healing is possible and I trust this site will encourage your exploration and healing for yourself. Hold onto hope for your future – you can change and heal your life.
I am also trauma trained and informed with various skill sets learned through trauma training and mental health training. I work as a Counsellor, Advanced Practitioner in a trauma informed post adoption service. The work is focussed on supporting clients searching and wishing to reunite with biological family members from whom they have been separated due to adoption. Clients who experience life challenges, may have already had a reunion or have not been able to locate or reunite with relatives or have been rejected, attend for counselling and support. The main features of such presentations by clients are feelings of intense abandonment, rejection, depression, anxiety, grief, loss , sadness, anger and much more.
My professional background and roles over 40 years have been in the social welfare field in the following areas: community development; disability services; Local Government services; social justice and human rights services; legal and medical Tribunals; post adoption counselling and support.
My qualifications are as follows:
My philosophy is that each person is responsible for their own personal development and healing. My aim as a therapist is to facilitate and assist those willing and wishing to heal to find self-love, worthiness, confidence, peace and integration within themselves.
“ The basic work of psychotherapists is to become full human beings and to inspire full human beingness in others“