Friday, October 2, 2015

My secret fear

Do you listen to Storycorps? I don’t always—partly because I’m usually not near my desk when it plays (I listen online) and also the stories are emotionally draining.

I did hear today’s story (which was emotionally draining) and this story more than most just smacked me in the gut.

You should go listen to it now.

And here’s why it smacked me so hard. Angela says that she was afraid of what her blood line held—to the point that she’d told a trauma specialist that she would get sterilized before passing down whatever madness might lie in her genes.

You see, she named my secret fear. My father can best be described as a predator. It’s easy to play armchair psychiatrist and label him a sociopath or amoral; based on his actions throughout his life, those labels may be accurate. He cut a wide swath of destruction everywhere he went—think of him as a category 3 or higher hurricane. No, he never killed anyone but you don’t have to commit murder to leave someone crippled. Damage comes in many forms.

I had already had my two children by the time I fully realized how evil he was (I’m not sure evil is the right word but I can’t think of another that works better). So the worry for me was twofold—did his madness lie in me? Would I commit the same kinds of damage he did on my own children? And worse, had I passed this along in my bloodline?

I have two brothers who have the same father as I do. I don’t know if they share my concerns, if they watch themselves and their children, if they think, as I used to, that someone like me who has half her bloodline from such horribleness shouldn’t even be here.

I don’t think there’s a happy ending here. I’ll always be watchful in myself, I’ll always have that fear for my children, and their children. Someone like my father isn’t made, I think they’re born that way. I hope the way he was was a fluke, an aberration and not something genetic. I hope that with all my heart.