Life is tough. I think more then most of us are willing to admit, we are very much products of our environment. Those of us who had the misfortune of having a parent who was a fucked up mess, have it a bit tougher then others.
I think what happens is that the things and behaviors that we see in our environment, we absorb them without knowing the depths of their darkness. We learn from our parent that you can have a certain amount of power over another, whether it be based on your looks, your personality, your temper, your physical strength or their own inadequacies.
We grow up watching an authority figure exploit the weakness of others, and watch the complicit behavior of bystanders who don’t care or don’t know how to be involved.
Most of all, we learn that one person can have horrific, damaging effect on another. Or that our parent can treat another as if they are totally separate from the effects of our parent’s actions, where their needs and wants come second to those of the parent. Where that other person is little more then an object, to be put on a shelf and paraded about or used when it suits your parent’s need.
Even more disturbingly, we learn you can get away with it all.
As the children of these parents, we come into our adulthood knowing in the back of our minds that the path our parent took is one which is always open to us. One which we know, and we can follow, perhaps more easily so then we could if we tried to do the right thing. Sometimes we take the opposite approach, just to prove we are not them.
Most of the time, we wind up in the middle. Feeling the pull of that bad behavior, knowing what is right, and taking the safe road of not acting on our impulses. Because we don’t want to be like our parent. We are not able to deny the call of the negative behavior and we do not try to hide from ourselves the knowledge that if we wanted to, we know could get away with it.
It is a responsibility when you are an adult and have grown up knowing there are no true boundaries on your behavior , other then what you can get away with. When the example you have been set is an atrocious one, but you still feel its pull.
I guess it is our darkness inside. A darkness that varies in depth and color based on what your parent was like. Maybe it was the knowledge of the ease with which they cheated on their spouses. Maybe you got their explosive temper. Maybe it was their narcissism. But above all, it is the knowledge that without watching yourself and what you do, you might end up just like them. And sometimes finding yourself making choices and saying things that they would have said and would have done. And making the decision to try not to do that again. And again, and again, because the temptation is always there and the pull is always towards the comfort of that darkness.