Meditation on Father’s Day from an incest survivor

I wrote several poems today after a meditation walk I do to clear my head. Here are two of them:

 Father’s day
Sobs shake me in the silence
of the labyrinth
the creak of wood floor
He’s not dead yet.
But neither am I.


Blessed be

all of us
strong and struggling

The single lesbian who
wheels a chair

The self critical

The daughter
of a psychopath
on Father’s day

The alone.
the connected.

This is one of those father’s days when I’m feeling emotional. It isn’t always like this. I’ve been dating a new woman and am perhaps a bit more open hearted, or maybe it’s the Buddhist style meditation I’ve been doing. You connect with whatever feeling you are having, without getting too involved in what it is about, and then feel empathy and connection with all the other beings who are having that same emotion right now and try and send them (and yourself) support. An antidote to shame and isolation is connection, and knowing that we are not unique or alone. I get caught up in thinking I’m unique, but of course I’m not. There are unfortunately lots of people with a psychopath parent and a complicit other parent, and how I feel about all that, however it is, is completely normal. Even if I had a completely unique life circumstance, the feelings I have about it are not unique. Sadness, shame, anger, hopelessness, the feeling of not being understood, of being judged, or oppressed, or even isolated by having a unique tragedy, are all feelings that human beings have, and have often, around the world in this minute.

Even as survivors, we are not alone. There are a lot of us, today, grieving, raging, ignoring or being numb in response to father’s day. There are survivors who are going through the motions, and spending time with their abusers this day and pretending to honour them, because they do not yet have the strength, validation and support to do otherwise, or because their abuser still has economic or social power over them. And we are together in this too.

To my survivor sisters and brothers: We are together in this. You are  understood. You are respected. We will outlive them all, and may we dance upon their graves, for we are alive and we have survived.

Sociopathy is inherited – choosing not to have children

This weeks post is a result of re-reading some an old comment I made on a website about childbirthing when you are a survivor. I’ve never birthed or raised a child, and don’t plan to. When I was younger, I had a  strong aversion to the tearing that always happens during childbirth. I had some good ideas why this might be so, but of course didn’t have proof till I saw the scar tissue from the tearing I’d experienced during repeated vaginal rapes starting as a very young child.

The doula, a survivor herself, whose blog it was, responded to my comment by saying in part that women can give birth even with scar tissue, which of course was never the point.

It got me thinking about all the reasons I’ve chosen not to birth a child. You would think being a lesbian might be one of them, but it isn’treally. I know lots of same sex couples with children. We may have an awesome birth control method, but we can fairly easily get pregnant if we want to. Even the country  and place I live in are liberal enough that my child wouldn’t experience much in the way of serious discrimination, no more than any other kid in a multicultural society does.

Then of course, there are the environmental reasons. By choosing not to have a child, I’m making the single largest environmental conservation action that I could make. Even with an extremely conserving and eco-friendly lifestyle, human beings just do way more harm than good to the planet, and there need to be less of us if the planet is going to continue to support life in the long run.

And there are the temperament reasons. I have trouble enough sleeping without the expected sleeplessness of early parenthood, and I am extremely unhappy and foggy without sleep. The thought of enduring this for years is almost inconceivable (no pun intended). I’m also a bit of a space cadet, what with all the PTSD, and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for a little being I might accidentally injure with my forgetfulness. I have recurring nightmares where I make some mistake that injures my baby.

But really the most compelling reason for not having children is that sociopathy is apparently mostly genetic. My father is a sociopath, and I can’t take the chance that I might birth and raise one. Screening for sperm donors doesn’t usually include screening for sociopathy either, so my kid could get a double genetic load with the wrong donor. Not an acceptable risk to me. If there was an in vitro blood test for sociopathic tendencies, and I learned my baby had them, I would abort. I’d feel bad about it, and I’d pray about it, but I’d do it. The risk of harm from just one sociopath over his or her lifetime is just too great.

For those of you who, like me, have a first order relative who is or was a sociopath/psychopath/has antisocial personality disorder, I respectfully suggest that you consider never passing this gene on.

If you are at risk for passing sociopathy on to your children and have already had or plan to have children, or if you raise a child who is at risk, here are some resources to spot and help overcome sociopathic tendencies in your children.