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The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child Paperback – March 14, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 253 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Verrier holds a master's degree in clinical psychology and is in private practice in Lafayette, CA.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Gateway Press (March 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963648004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963648006
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have read many books on adoption. This is my favorite. Upfront, smart, insightful work. I admire this book for not being afraid of the criticism it may receive for being too acurate, too honest, too exposing of our society's slow pulling up of it's socks with regards to acknowledging adoption as a period of trauma for the infant and not simply a time of celebration for infertile couples wanting children.
It felt as though Verrier took the hand of my young adopted self and walked me through my entire life. My copy is severely highlighted with "yes", "yes" written at least once in each margin. If that weren't enough, Verrier then guides us through the search and reunion process, which was the area I had been looking for help with. It seemed as though she had witnessed the intricacies of my own reunion process...for there it was spelled out on the page. The book also provides some great insight into the delicacies of the triad relationships (adoptee/birth parents/adoptive parents) during the reunion process, suggesting ways to move toward solid relationships. Finally, Verrier offers the adoptee real usable tools for mourning his/her deep loss so that he/she can slowly remove adoption related roadblocks in his/her adult life.
To the non-adopted eye, the book may seem repetitive in places, but this book was built for the adoptee. The repetition is reassuring and appropriate.
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Format: Paperback
As an adoptee, I could not have written this book better myself. It is an extremely insightful book which opened up a world of understanding to myself and also to my loved ones. It helped me understand why I am the way that I am, why I do some of the things that I do, why I struggle with love in my life, and why I have this subconscious fear of abandonment and trust.
This book is a definite "must read" for all parents of adopted children. I know that as a parent you will resist believing in the Primal Wound but you must for the benefit of your children. You will learn to understand your adopted children and will be able to help them throughout their lives - sometimes even in the smallest way, i.e. the simple reassurance that you WILL return home after work.
I met my birth family at 30 years old. Then I read this book a few years later. This book made a difference in my life. It will make a difference in your life, too. Enjoy!
Thank you Nancy Newton Verrier!!
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By A Customer on April 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am an adoptee, who as an adult has searched for and found my birth family. I am also an adoptive father, my son being a teenage adoptee. I found this book to be the most insightful book on adoption that I have ever read. This book, like fine art, speaks to the essence of our being. It speaks to the adoptee primarily, but also to the adoptive parent and birth parent. The truths found in this book are basic and undeniable on the primal level. However, triad members often do attempt to deny them on an intellectual (conscience) level all the time. This denial sets up the basic tension or unspoken problems of adoption. The answer is in speaking about them and adressing them head on. Difficult at best. Nancy Verrier's premise of the primal wound may be difficult for the triad members to accept, but for the adoptee it hits home. I am not completely convinced of the "primal wound" concept, but I am convinced that the problems and struggles that Nancy describes are real. The thoughts and feelings of adoptees are accurately described by Nancy. All adoptees know in their "heart of hearts" that these feelings and thoughts are real. How each adoptee deals with this reality is unique to each individual. Critics may call this book pop psychology, however, the Nancy has accurately described the problems that adoptees experience, this is reality not pop psychology. The symptoms and problems are real and must be acknowledged and dealt with if adoptees are to heal. I would recommend this book to all adoptees. The courageous will use this information to improve their lives and those of their fellow triad members. I wish all who read this book the best as they search for truth in their own adoption issues. Thank you Nancy for your insightful and beatiful work of courage and love.
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Format: Paperback
The book can be very enlightening and varrifies many feelings/issues an adoptee may have. I like how the author (who does not have a PhD)focuses on the psychological/biological effects of adoption and how it impacts the adoptees thought process.

There is a lot that I took away from this book - and a lot that I didn't. I would urge any reader, as with any self-help book, to read this with an objective and critical mind. Verrier makes a great deal of heavy generalizations, not just about adoptees, but about all involved in adoption. It seems she (prehaps unavoidably) brought in her own biases from her personal experience. I do not like how she lumps all adoptees into one group. Yes, being adopted will have a huge affect on an adopted person as it is the most major event of their life, but it is not going to affect each adoptee the same. It is important to remember that many of the problems she discusses can happen to non-adoptees as well. Also, I find that she makes generalizations about the adoptive parents - it seems they can't win. We all have problems in life, and adoptees have their own baggage to deal with, but that doesn't mean that an adoptee can't be well-adjusted and happy as an child and adult.

I am adopted, have an excellent relationship with my adopted family. I have had/have my issues and problems to work through as a result of being adopted, but I can't attribute all my problems to being given up at birth. I am quite level headed and well-adjusted, just as much as my non-adopted friends and more so than some. I have gained a fair bit of knowledge and insight from Verrier's findings. I took from the book what applied to me and left the rest behind.

A good read for those involved in the adoption process, again, just be a critical reader and reflect on your own situation when reading it.
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