The whole Nature/Nurture debate goes on in many realms. After reading the comments on my previous post, I have been thinking about this: Why do some people grow up to be abusive, and some do not? Why do some people endure impossible situations, but come out whole eventually, knowing the value of people and never becoming abusive?
No one knows what happens to make someone cross the line between normal parenting mishap, and actual abuse. I do wonder how many events were carefully planned, calculated, and carried out by my parents to keep us under control, always doubting, fearing, and never loving.
We always look for answers to explain psychopathic behavior, and often I have been asked if my dad was abused as a child. As if that would explain his monstrous behavior. I do know my dad’s dad was alcoholic and unemployed after an injury, but my grandpa died before I was born. My dad’s mother was loud, angry, opinionated, crass, rude, but I don’t know if she was abusive. She worked in a hospital, tending to wounds, so I can’t imagine her as selfish as my dad. My dad’s brothers and sisters are all odd and loud, but as far as I know, they were all decent parents and spouses. My dad was in the air force, but worked as a radio tech, not on the front lines of combat. I don’t think he had PTSD. He seemed to have no conscience, sometimes I think no soul.
Can a child be born without a soul? With no ability to learn right from wrong? Unable to feel guilt or remorse? Or did something happen to make him that way? Was he born the same innocent, precious child as the rest of us, and something terrible happened to mutate his genes and render him incapable of normal emotions? And then, when that happens, is it then inevitable that this person will make hurting others his daily goal? I just don’t understand.
To explain the level of psychosis in my dad I will share a conversation my brother told me he had with him shortly after I told everyone what dad had been doing to me all my life. My brother could not believe it at first, he was still under my dad’s power, still trying to be the good son – no – the best son. He was raised to think of my dad as God, all powerful, perfect. So when he found out his perfect dad was a pedophile, a sexual deviant, that he abused his little girl, it was devastating. My brother confronted my dad, asking if it was true. My dad did not care enough to deny it. In fact, my brother said my dad laughed a bit, and said “Yes of course I touched your sister. I’d have sex with my own sister if given the chance. The world has put these ridiculous rules on who we can or can’t look at, when truthfully every man lusts for every girl and without society in the way, we would all be able to put taboos aside and act on our desires freely.”
Of course this is not the story he told the police, or child services, or whoever else came to question him. They got the charming man, the man who didn’t understand why his ex-wife and daughter could stoop so low and drag his name in the mud. He painted a picture of a money-hungry ex out for revenge that got her daughter to make false claims. Everyone believes charming man, he is so persuasive.
So, he knows what society considers right/wrong, but he does not agree. How does this happen? To most of us, these things are very clearly defined, no question about it. To most of us, it is revolting, horrifying to think of getting sexually aroused and even worse to think of acting on those feelings with a family member, and even worse yet to think of an infant or toddler. So was this man (if you can call him a man) born like this, or created somehow?
I don’t know the answer. All I can say is, being abused does not make you an abusive monster. It may increase the chances, but I think that ability had to be inside to begin with.
- Stopping the cycle of Child abuse by Talking about it (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)
- There are some things that I am coming to realize about my mother…. (victimnomore.wordpress.com)
- A Parent Can be a Child’s Worst Nightmare (socyberty.com)
- Direct Abusers (acoarecovery.wordpress.com)