Sometimes, I like to watch Law & Order: SVU. I probably shouldn’t because it’s triggering as hell but I like to watch them nail those guilty dirtbags to the wall. Anyways, today’s episode was about DNA and whether or not the genes of a perpetrator can be passed on to their children.
I remember a bit about how DNA works from my university biology days and know there is no gene like that, but I’d be lying if the thought has never crossed my mind.
How much of a parent is passed on to their children? We know our hair colour, eye colour and facial features are all a result of inherited genes. But what other parental traits are contained in our DNA? Do we inherit aspects of their personality? What about our grandparents? How do you tie your life story together? What makes us who we are? Genetics, life experiences, friends? How much of each of those things impacts us and shapes our very being?
If you look at my family on my father’s side there are 10 cousins. Of those there are 7 boys. Of the 7, 3 of them are child molesters, one likes to beat the crap out of his wife and one is adopted so he doesn’t share any DNA. If I don’t count my adopted cousin, that’s 67%, or more than half that have perpetrated some sort of violence towards females. And I don’t know about you guys but that feels like a lot for one family. Then if you add in my father the odds go up drastically for my immediate family where ALL the males were abusive.
Those stats don’t sit well with me whatsoever. They never have. And I have often caught myself wondering if any of that is part of me as well. I did receive 50% of my DNA from my father after all.
I often write about how it feels like the shame is woven into my DNA, as though I was born with a ‘shame gene’. Was my brother born with a ‘predator gene’ he inherited from my father? And did my cousins inherit it from my grandfather? If not, how does one family have all of this ugliness?
Perhaps it’s intergenerational trauma? And if so, what in the bloody hell happened to my father that turned him into such a monster?