Saturday, November 19, 2011

On Being Donor Conceived

Maybe I should start a new blog on being donor conceived. I might after I know for sure. In that regard, it's frustration after frustration.

The relative who might know something didn't know anything. Not even ever seeing my (")father(") (?) lately makes it hard to collect a DNA sample. And today I thought I was on the verge of a discovery, one way or another, when I found hard proof of blood types for my entire family - only to be told by the Internet that in the case of my parents (A+ and B+) a donor of any blood type would produce plausible offspring. And I'm plausible. As would any donor's child have been. Back to square one.

Here is an interesting article on being fathered by an anonymous donor, all of which I relate to:

"Some evidence indicates some donor-conceived offspring are not necessarily surprised by the revelation that “Dad” was not their biological father. Some could sense a family secret, while others reported feelings of “not fit[ting] in” with their families. The author David Plotz, who was contacted by many donor offspring, writes that those who learn the truth about their DI origins “are rarely surprised; they always felt something wasn’t right.”

Moreover, many donor-conceived people who eventually learned the truth were angry at having been lied to for years about such a fundamental matter of their being. The reason why many DI offspring “felt something wasn’t right” is because many fathers, try as they might, cannot follow the doctor’s orders to “forget about it themselves.” Husbands often find it extremely difficult to treat donor-conceived children as if they were their own biological children, and such repression is likely to place a strain on family relationships. As Plotz writes:

While good studies on DI families don’t seem to exist, anecdotes about them suggest that there is frequently a gap between fathers and their putative children. [Fathers] are drained by having to pretend that children are theirs when they aren’t; it takes a good actor and an extraordinary man to overlook the fact that his wife has picked another man to father his child. It’s no wonder that the paternal bond can be hard to maintain. When a couple adopts a child, both parents share a genetic distance from the kid. But in DI families, the relationships tend to be asymmetric: the genetically connected mothers are close to their kids; the unconnected fathers are distanced."

Put a narcissist in the mix. Good actors, sure. Extraordinary in the sense implied here? No, quite the opposite, really. See why it matters to me? It would explain so much of our family dynamic and paint it in even darker colors. I started this journey still pretty much wearing my rosy-colored glasses (he loved me, but in a narcissistic way; he was proud of my achievements and just wanted to own and control me; he felt abandoned by me; he was a great dad, although he did it all to be worshiped). This is where I am now: he resented me for existing and being me but had to fake it and even overfake it.

To some out there, genes don't matter. For those who chose donor conception and then lied about it, they clearly matter. Why not opt for adoption and tell everyone? Even if it didn't matter to me (and it does, I'm not going to apologize for that: I look in the mirror and see my mother and someone else, NOT my father, and I wonder who it might be and what he's like and what he likes and what his ethnicity is and whether he shares some of the talents I share with neither parent) it matters that it mattered to them.

Sorry. That's just the way I feel.

Edit: So I did apologize. For my feelings. Just realized that. ACoN to the core ;)

It just occurred to me

My father returned into the country in October after being away for 6 months. We had lunch with him and his girlfriend on October 20. Then, on October 21, his girlfriend had some business in our neighborhood and he spent 4 hours in our home waiting for her.

There was a family celebration hosted by my in-laws where we met, and also one organized by my aunt, where we ran into each other.

Other than that, we haven't seen him. At all. Which is bizarre for my culture. And which I only now even noticed because normally I am just happy and grateful not to hear from him or see him.

We really only see him when his girlfriend attends her classes and he waits for her at our place because he's a jealous abuser.

What's fascinating for me is that he actually uses the words "coming to see you" for those occasions, implying affection for us as the reason for his visits, and he actually seems to expect us to buy it. And we actually don't explicitly call him on it. But it's such obvious BS that it seems insulting to us to even say it.

You don't see your "beloved daughter and granddaughters" for 6 months. Then you see them twice in two days, because that's convenient. Then you don't express any desire to see them again for a month. But, as soon as your girlfriend starts her classes again, you'll be wishing to see us three times a week at times inconvenient for us. What gives?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How I really feel

BAM! I had an unexpected revelation of my real feelings for my father yesterday.

I went to a family celebration at my aunt's. He was invited there for lunch, and my chosen family for dinner. I hadn't expected to see him there.

Which is why, when I entered my aunt's house and saw him sitting there, I almost fainted. My heart started racing, I had trouble breathing, and darkness enveloped me. Spontaneously, I frowned in horror and asked him: "What are you doing here?"

After I'd had time to compose myself, I acted like I always do around him: polite, civil, smiling. My feelings were under control too, like they always are when I know in advance I'll be meeting him.

This isn't new, either. I was reminded yesterday of a very similar event form when I was seven or eight and my father unexpectedly showed up on my school trip, when I thought I'd be free of him for two weeks.

Back then, I also gasped for air. The sun seemed to go black. I felt sudden and intense fear. And all I could utter was also, word for word: "What are you doing here?"

What amazes me is how I've been able all my life to suffocate my feelings and put them under control in order to survive and get on with my life despite his continuing presence. I braced myself and controlled my emotions and reactions.

But there are very negative real feelings under there that only truly surface in their natural intensity when I'm relaxed, not expecting to run into him. And then I do.

Last night, I felt stalked. In reality, I don't even think he actually stalked me - apparently, he came to dinner because he actually had a funeral to attend earlier in the day. But I felt stalked. Like there was no safe place for me that he couldn't invade.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Public Pride and Secret Shame

I was his public pride. My existence was proof of his fertility, my achievements were proof of his natural talents, and his public protestations of fatherly devotion were proof of his love for his offspring.

On the other hand, my very existence was a daily reminder for him of his secret shame, his infertility. I must have been like a slap in the face, just by being me, so different from him and his family of origin.

(I've just spent an hour going through his old photos - incidentally, I'm the one keeping them, he's not really interested in anything involving his narcissistic family of origin, all dead now - photos of him as a baby, toddler, young man, of his sister, father, mother, grandparents, great-uncles and others. I look nothing like any of them. As do my children, who noticeably take after myself, my mother's family, and my husband and his ancestors.)

He must have had a deep ambiguity towards me from the very start and I must have internalized it. On the one hand, he overdid the "devoted father" thing. He probably felt it was necessary to keep others from suspecting anything - but most people I know just found it weird and over the top. On the other hand, I've always felt a dark undercurrent of danger emanating from him, telling me not only "you should be as I want you to be" but also "you shouldn't be."

I can't begin to imagine what raising a donor-conceived child does to a narcissist. And to that child. There's a whole chapter on cloning as the most suitable reproduction of mini-mes that narcissistic parents so desire in Clone being: exploring the psychological and social dimensions by Stephen E. Levick. My father was the golden child because he looked more like his mother and was the more "handsome" of the two, according to her. My aunt was scapegoated for looking like her father and thus not being as beautiful as her mother.

Then, on the other hand, if it is indeed true (and I'm almost positive it is), then I sort of feel for him. And somehow feel that, given the situation, he did relatively well. He could have been much worse.

Why did they never tell me? My mother was once going to tell me something "when I turn 18" but then claimed she didn't remember what it was when I asked her about it on my 18th birthday.

Did he want to protect me from knowing I'm not his, poor me? Or protect himself from people knowing about his infertility? Or a mixture of all that?