Nature vs. Nurture

Being adopted, I’ve spent my whole life wondering what makes us tick. Do we get more from biological parents (nature) or do we adapt our behavior according to who’s around us (nurture)?All I know about my biological mother is that we eachlove cats, enjoy creative writing, suck at math, and are artistic.

She was 15 years old when I was born and had been hospitalized for depression the year prior. When I was inquiring after her at the age of 20, I learned that she had never married nor had children at 35. I believe that her parents were going through a divorce at the time I was born and was told that her father was an alcoholic.

My adoptive parents were in their 40’s and 50’s when I was born and by that point were financially sound and married for over 20 years. I don’t even want to think about how I might have turned out, had I been raised by a 15 year old girl working through depression in lieu of my parents who gave me everything I needed and enough of what I wanted without being spoiled. I was always quite precarious and a bit of a rebel, especially in my younger years.

While I don’t know my biological mother, I imagine we are similar. My adoptive mother will tell you that one of her favorite things about me is that I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum. I’m pretty sure I get that from my bio mom. Much like her (nature) I’m 40 years old and have never wanted to have kids. Because I’m not religious, being married has never been that important to me; however, most everyone in my adoptive family got married in their 20’s and have at least 2 kids.

Like my biological mother, I began suffering from depression in my early teens (the early 90’s) and myadoptive parents didn’t understand it. It came from the “nature” side and was something neither of them had ever experienced. It’s something I still deal with, but have learned to manage. I hope she has, too.

Like my adoptive parents, there are many things we share in common. My mom and I both love a glass of red wine (or 2) at the end of the day. I keep boxes of Kleenex in every room, despite the fact that I am seldom sick and rarely cry. I love to laugh at everything, especially myself. My dad and I often have moments when we zone out with our thoughts. We don’t really get mad often but, when either of us do, watch out! These similarities lend strongly to the nurture impact on my life.

I’ve not come to any major epiphanies or conclusions, but I am certain that a person’s development stems from both sides, nature and nurture. It would make perfect sense to me; however, that a person tends to mirror what they see growing up. And, as a therapist, I know for a fact that people are extremely affected by their relationships with their parents, but a little mystery is always nice.

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