the destiny neurosis
fate and family
Elmer Bischoff, River Dam, 1970
I’m always interested in other people’s parents. After all, our parents are the first lesson we learn. I believe strongly in the destiny neurosis, that we’re destined to recreate our childhood traumas again and again until we become fully conscious of them. I know many people who’ve reenacted their parents’ marriage with a level of accuracy that disturbs me—I read once that in any particular dimension we’re doomed to either 1) become just like our parents or 2) rebel and become the opposite. In my experience this tends to be true.
I told B that he reminded me of my dad when I met him. My dad is obsessively athletic and very internal. He has a lot of anxious thoughts but will not share any of them with you. He’s externally calm and affable and likes to tease other people. I think that he experiences some degree of self-loathing, but I can’t get a good enough of a look inside to tell for sure. I feel so comfortable with B—our relationship has always been characterized by extreme naturalness—and I believe this is why. When someone reminds you of your family, they bypass all of your defenses. This is not always a good thing. I saw this line today: “When you are not fed love on a silver spoon you learn to lick it off knives.”