[Written in 2004.]
People procreate in an attempt to have their children rescue them from their own unresolved pain. They may couch their desire to procreate in concepts like biological drive, societal and familial expectation, and love for mothering, and these may all be partially true, but underneath these surface motives people who have not resolved all of their childhood traumas have children because they really just want to be loved. And this is not fair to the child, because no child asks to be born, and no child has the capacity to rescue his parents. Only deep healing – through the resolution of one’s own childhood traumas – can rescue people from their own buried horrors.
The journey to healing, however, is so painful and so laden with horror and sorrow that few dare even take the first step. To make matters worse, people emboldened to heal must face the limits and cruelties of their own parents, and parents never support children, even grown children, who go this route. Instead they reject them, hate them, and want them to become unconscious drones once again.
Thus many avoid the whole healing process and instead have children as a compromise. They block their rage at their parents for failing them and transform it into hope for rescue from their offspring – all the while acting out this rage in subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways on their very offspring. This is why parents so deeply love it when their own children have children. The instant they become grandparents they become immune from blame, because their children are now equally as culpable. The guilty have no emotional leg to stand on when it comes to blaming others for the same crimes, and unconsciously parents know this.
Also, when people become parents it becomes far harder for them to feel their legitimate rage at their own traumatizing parents, because simple logic tells them that what comes around sooner or later goes around. You can’t confront your parents without giving your children a green light to be able someday to confront you for the very same things, even if you dress up your replicated perpetrations in different garb. Thus so many unconscious people put all their hopes into raising children who themselves will someday become parents and carry on the tradition of deception. This largely explains why parents often become disturbed when their own children turn out to be gay. Gay children have a great opportunity to break out of the system and break some of the intergenerational cycles of trauma – even if so few gay people actually put their potential to this great use.
But none of this is the fault of the child. The child is born (or at least created) pure, and has a full right to be loved and to have nothing expected of him in return. He owes his parents nothing for having raised him, though as he unconsciously absorbs his parents’ deeper purposes for his creation he quickly loses his naïveté about his inherent rights. He may not be born knowing how to love, but if he’s to survive in the world he learns quickly.
I read this essay, and I watched the video interviews with Fredrick Timm, and it made me cry because I felt like Timm was so wanting to be good and so angry at the same time, and I couldn’t help but feel his hurt. I think watching this vdeos can be a good way to get into touch with hurt.
But deep down I feel like there is potential beyond that hurt. He’s always talking about the bigger picture of what he sees as the inevitable ecological destruction of humanity, and the inevitable cycle of parents hurting children, and that makes him very angry, and reasonably so. But there is also a question beyond that: So what? In a billion years, all earth will be fried by the sun and become totally uninhabitable. Humanity may go extinct at some point, just as virtually all past species have eventually gone extinct. Whether that is by our own self imposed extinction or some other source–does that ultimately matter? What matters is that given the little life we are given, we use it our best to try our outmost to love, and that is *in itself* what makes life meaningful.
Fredrick refers to himself as being enlightened, a “truth speaker” someone whom others will come to after the impending ecological destruction, but I am skeptical of someone’s level of self-awareness who speaks of having enlightenment. A person just is what they are, limitations and shortcomings and all, as I know from myself. Even if one is privileged enough to be someone who thinks about the bigger picture, the credit for being that person is is not theirs to take, same for him.
It is a gift that I am able to feel whatever love I am able to feel. This gratitude is the place beyond the rage that Timm was expressing. It’s the place where I can only feel grateful for all that I have the privilege to experience.
All experience is ultimately some form of love: twisted, distorted love, but underlying it, the material that it’s made of is love.
I do think that it is a privilege to bring new life into the world. Having children is the greatest opportunity to love. I think that Fredrick and Daniel are missing this.
That’s just my two cents.
As someone who have chosen the no children path, I resonate strongly with this essay. However I’d like to address the statement that “children are all born pure”. Anyone with a tiny oz of sensitivity will note that babies are not born a blank slate, 100% pure little dove, or a 100% bundle of original sin. Children come ‘biased’, packed with ‘unique innate character’ of their own. It doesn’t matter what one chooses to label that uniqueness, genetic lottery inheritance or soul or spirit or whatever. The parent’s job is to not stifle and in fact preserve that special thing. Unfortunately, they ALL do damage to their own child. It is inevitable, as reality is, with the exception of countries with strong-armed one or two child policies, this imperfect world is designed in a way that the less mature and hence more needy human beings will tend to have the most babies. The stronger and saner ones who survive, can choose to nudge along the ones on the verge of crossing the threshold of breaking away. That’s the best I think I can contribute anyway. Thanks for this site, you’re doing a great job of nudging many souls forward. One at a time. Reading your Break Away book on kindle now btw. Good luck in your latest projects.