Genetics or Environment?

This last week, the last week of the month, my son returned to jail on a probation violation.  I am unaware of the details, but know this time there is a psych evaluation and an appearance before a judge involved.  Being unsure when he will be released, we made a trip north to pack a few of the sentimental items in his apartment so they would not be lost if he isn’t released soon.

His place reminded me of his father’s apartment when we first met: lots of stuff scattered, disorganized and unkept.  Both are tremendously creative, artistic, intelligent.  Both have a natural affinity in the kitchen, with minimal attention to the clean up afterward.  Thankfully, there was no old food going bad as it was a very warm day.  I am doing laundry to ensure his clothing is clean when he needs it.

After spending a bit of time this weekend with some documents from my past, references to events at the end of my first marriage brought home how similar my son’s choices are to those made by his father.  Plea deals to avoid further jail time, hygiene cited as a big reason for the need to ‘get out’, total denial of wrong doing on any level maintained even after the deal is done… it is always the fault of someone else, always beyond their control and they are a victim too.  But my son doesn’t know the details of his father’s past!  How come he is repeating choices he doesn’t know about?

They are both sons of divorced parents that lived with their mother after the divorce – but I do believe that is where the similarity in environment ends.  Genetics seems to hold the key to the parallels between father and son.  Hopefully research will catch-up with family experience and a better understanding, more medical and social support included, will become available to assist families with mentally ill members that have great things to offer society, if they could function within the bounds of that society.

5 thoughts on “Genetics or Environment?

  1. Genetics. I am sure there is an organic cause. Science will catch up with it someday. In the mean time, mental illness tears lives apart. So sorry Susan. Kim

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  2. so hard to ‘click on like’ when it is about a tragedy…my brother was and still is very similar to your son, although he is now 53, they share a lot of what you’ve described…its heartbreaking

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