Free Leaf

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold..."

Name:
Location: Falls Church, Virginia, United States

I have a lot more questions than answers, but I just keep asking. I constantly want to leave, but somehow manage to stay. I am both perfectly happy and completely miserable because of it. I think I am misunderstood but that could just be a huge misunderstanding, either way I guess the best way to put it is, "I ain't often right, but I've never been wrong."

8.21.2006

Is personality genetic?

One of the things I was confronted with during my time in Minnesota is this very question. Not the question as much as the comparison I have been given many times. Two things are constantly repeated when in the presence of my family, the first is that I look like my Grandpa, a comparison I like, and the second one I am not so sure about. To people who knew my dad, I not being one of them, they seem to think I am a lot like him, personality wise anyway. I didn’t really know how to take it, I mean it was said as a compliment I think and my mom did confirm it. So, how should I take it? Is it possible that even though I really don’t know my dad I am like him? And is it not so bad? Or should I be worried that I might end up like him?

The word out of the Twin Cities is that my dad was a good guy in the beginning but that he changed after his father died and since that happened shortly after I was born I never knew that man. That version of my dad was loved by my Grandpa, was a friend of my uncles and was ultimately accepted by everyone as a good man. He was described as classy, calm, level headed, intelligent and numerous other likable things. He was the yin to my mother’s yang, her being an impulsive fireball of a person, who needs someone to settle her. It was a little disturbing being told that I am the one that fills that role now, that it is my level-headedness that replaced his. And while it is a bit odd, I think I could be that guy described above, I do have those traits but it is the ones of my lifetime that concern me.

The man that is my father in my mind is none of those positive attributes, he is all negative. Cold, distant, cruel, absent, these are the words I would use to describe him. And I don’t want to be any of those; I don’t see how someone can do what he did, no matter the circumstances. People will find it easy to say it’s not possible for me to become that way, but they also said that about him. He lost his father and became something else; he gave up his family after that. Would I react the same way? It’s a scary thought that I will someday have to answer. Because we all suffer loss, we all have to deal with life’s turns and tribulations, and we all have to respond and no one knows how they will handle something until it happens.

3 Comments:

Anonymous bill said...

I doubt that a personality characteristic such as "has a good sense of humor" is genetic, but susceptibility to depression or other conditions based on brain chemistry might be. Death of a parent is traumatic, and might tip the balance for someone on the edge, but I'm not trained in the field and don't know. Perhaps you should talk with a professional if you think it's affecting your life choices.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Asian Mistress said...

I think that although you may carry the same traits, perhaps you are more aware of the consequences of your actions and affects on other people, because of the situation with your father...and therefore wouldn't be exactly like that and do what he did etc...

I think that's a hard line ("you're just like so and so") for anyone to hear who has had a parent who left/died/was abusive or anything negative like that...but I think that it's still part of who you are - and maybe you should take the good of that. I def agree you are classy, calm, etc... - even in the short time I've talked to/seen you.

As for genetics, yes and no. I'm adopted, but I think I'm a lot like each of my parents...it's all the whole nature vs. nurture question.

And I'm sorry for the novel. Good stuff!

7:03 AM  
Blogger Leaf said...

Bill - your response is one of the reasons I really like blogging, it makes me consider things I hadn't thought of. I would say that right now my life choices have been fine, my concern is simply that since I can not stop death I know I will have to deal with losing my mother one day. How I will handle that is a bit frightening after hearing some of things from my family this weekend. Maybe I will talk to someone about it, it can't hurt.

AM - very interesting stuff and it wasn't a novel. I do agree that its a tough thing to hear that you are like someone, especially somoene you dont know or have a negative opinion of. I wonder what it would be like for you if you met someone who knew your real parents and told you that they saw some of their traits in you. I bet that would be tough. On the other hand I do have a lot of my Mom in me, which could be both nature and nurture. Maybe its enough to balance it all out.

9:51 AM  

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