A Variety of Inhibitions


“…relatively few people have the resources to resist authority. A variety of inhibitions against disobeying authority come into play and successfully keep the person in his place.”  (Stanley Milgram, 1974. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. New York: Harper & Row, p. 6).

I’ve been thinking about this quote quite a bit this week and how these inhibitions came into play in my “decision” to relinquish my daughter for adoption 20+ years ago. How might they explain why I did what I did as a young single mom in the heart of Utah Mormondom, behind the “Zion Curtain”, in 1992/1993?  What resources was I lacking to resist the incredible and near constant pressure placed on me to do the “right thing”? How did my religion, my culture, and my family act as agents to keep me in my place, to assert authority to ensure I conformed to societal expectations of relinquishing my daughter for adoption?

I have many question but few answers at this point. Intuitively, I know exploring my own “variet[ies] of inhibitions against disobeying authority” is necessarily part of the process of unpacking this sack of stones called adoption.  I just wonder if I have the courage to stare down this dragon.

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3 thoughts on “A Variety of Inhibitions

    • You are far too generous, Von. And to be honest, it is because of finding adoptees like yourself that I have been able to learn how to be fierce with my own truth. I draw strength for the reservoirs of resilience my adoptee friends seem to have in spades.

  1. Not too generous Melynda, just recognising truth when I see it. We adoptees have had to be survivors. I so admire those adoptees and mothers like you who can grow away from being victims and who keep trying, learning and growing.

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