Life Lessons: A Boy’s War


Any port in a storm.

This is not the path I wanted for my life. It is the path I choose.

For example, I don’t have any children.

I’m not going to get into semantics but just to maintain full-disclosure: I haven’t seen my daughter since she was five. She is twenty-two now (but I’ve talked about that elsewhere and I’m not going to rehash the story here).

Clearly, this was never my plan – at least not my stated plan. Apparently, the official plan was a top-secret plan my sub-conscious decided I was not cleared to see. As such, I kept it from myself. This is only one of the many problems of living fractured – the left hand literally doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Even though they are both my hands.

The official super-secret plan only recently came to light and it clearly outlines the steps necessary to sabotage my life. It clearly explains – among other things – why I have no children. In hindsight it reinforces my belief I’m clearly not as smart as I sometimes pretend to be.

Saying the timing was never right to have children is overly simplistic.

First of all, I chose relationships where children are not an option. I choose older women. I choose women with older children who like the idea of having more children but not the reality of having children with me. And, of course, I chose women who clearly don’t want children.

Just to be clear, this has nothing to do with the women. I have excellent taste in women.

Secondly, I am not time sensitive and as such only become aware of time when it becomes short.

Like now.

And of course, as a result of my personality type I’m inherently a risk taker when it comes to my career and relationships resulting in personal, financial and work dramas.

Now, this is a very blunt and clear list of the behaviors and being as wordy as I am I could wax poetically about the choices that add up to being forty-four and without the gift of children. However, I’m not going to couch any of this in poetry.

If I want children I can make other choices and address these issues. That – at least at the moment – is not what this is about.

However, as I am in a bit of reflective mood I have been spending time tending my own garden and have unearthed the main taproot of the problem. Here is the secret: on an emotional level, at the root of who I am as an emotional, feeling human being I don’t think I deserve to have children. I feel there is something fundamentally flawed with me and as such, and against my own understanding or self-interest, I make decisions that negate the possibility of having something I claim to want in my life.

In other words, I’ve been waging a covert war on my own life. Honestly, looking at it now I wouldn’t want to have children with me either and under the no prisoners terms of my little personal war there is always collateral damage and innocent victims.

This war is easy to wage if you are living a fractured life. Sabotaging relationships, abandoning friendships, isolating and being an all around arrogant prick with some selfish immature tendencies. My war has hurt some good people and I’m truly sorry.

Yep, I’m a catch.

Which is the irony of being fractured. I am not always like that. I can be generous, supportive, understanding, loving and creative. I have some wonderful qualities too. It just happens the face I often choose to show those closest to me so they don’t get any closer is not always True.

It is cover.

Among the many results of this war is I have no children.

As such, I’ve brought the parties to the table (me, myself and I) and am learning to make peace.

Not with the past or with others but with myself.

It is agonizing because I know better than anyone that I did it to myself. It is agonizing because if someone else was responsible for my pain I would pack my shit and move. I would probably loathe them. Maybe even file assault and battery charges. Change my phone number. Uncircle, unfriend and unfollow them. Block them for putting abusive, disgusting and abusive images in my stream.

I would move on with my life. Move on with my dreams. Move on with my vision.

The only problem, as I said, is I did this to myself and setting aside the metaphysical implications of leaving yourself, I am unsure what I should actually do now.

That is the irony of war – there really are no winners and when peace does come it is often an uneasy peace.

2 Comments

  1. Not having children is not the worst thing one can do with a lifetime of opportunities. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. I don’t know if I could have been a decent mother, but I never had any burning desire to try it. I was married once, long ago, for a brief time, and that was the only time I would have considered it, had it happened. It did not. For most of my adult life, I’ve only dated those men who were not interested in starting a family.

    The female perspective is a little different, because of course, we have the ability to just have babies if we want to, regardless of circumstance. For me, there is no good reason to have a child, or multiple children, without the benefit of a present and supportive partner (married or otherwise) to be the other half of the equation. If I had been a single mother, I don’t know how I would have managed, and it’s hard for me to imagine, because I am far too selfish to take care of someone (alone) who absolutely needs me. I have lots of love and nurturing to give in a relationship, but ultimately, I know that person doesn’t have to have me to survive. I’m not sure if that’s more of a disappointment, or a relief, but it definitely allows me to continue being self-centered and egoistic.

    I think, like you, that I might have been a less than stellar parent, if for no other reason than the fact that I never really *wanted* children. They say that once you have a child, everything changes, and everything you worried about becomes inconsequential, but I don’t know. I don’t believe in fate or destiny, but I’m pretty sure there’s a good reason (or ten) that I never had kids.

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  2. I’ve browsed through your blog because I have a strained relationship with my daughter. I am living with her and raised her; she just turned 18. My daughter has had emotional difficulties because of her divorced parents’ vindictive and possessive behavior. As you describe, the “whys” are not relevent in the end.

    I would describe my relationship with my daughter most often as “not bad.” I think the primary reason is that I actually did not want to have children. I didn’t realize this until very recently.

    I was very traumatized as a child and perpetuated the traumatic patterns into adulthood. I suspect that deep down I had a child because I was not aware that I had not individuated; I was needy and incomplete but had no idea that I could feel whole just by myself. This is still a problem for me in my relationships but is especially inappropriate as a parent.

    Over a decade of introspection, observation, and reading in order to help myself cope and grow have caused me to understand that the level of socialization training that a “modern” person receives (as differentiated from actual natural social contact) is largely responsible for maintaining my trauma: the goal of socialization training is to create a person (child, usually) who thinks and experiences life in social symbols.

    What is a family, for example? Why was the adoption necessary, in your case? Better for the emotional individuation of your daughter, or to enable the adults involved to parent without the cognitive dissonance of “two fathers?”

    In my case, I have been discovering that maternal love is not a strong quality in me. I am more of the temperament to respect and fight for all people than to nurture just one. However, it was inconceivable to me in my 20s that I would do anything but marry and have a child. I have accomplished two things in my situation: I have become able to love (this actually came through accepting fully that I AM a mother and always will be – rather than a person who fulfills a set of mothering behaviors, just as you are a father and always will be – a matter of biology and the tenor of your heart). The other success is that I finally accept that society does not have any idea or capacity about the real experience of being human; society does not wish to encourage individuation and will not tolerate attitudes and behaviors that free an individual from the shame and obligation that enable control… What is to be done with an ambivalent mother who is also an impassioned and whole person? Or a father who doesn’t appear to be one but blogs about it with depth and insight? Why on earth must we keep using ourselves up trying to meet these common denominators.

    Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity. ~Freud

    All people are paradoxical. No one is easily reducible, so I like characters who have contradictory impulses or shades of ambiguity. It’s fun, and it’s fun because it’s hard. ~Edward Norton

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