Life can be serious business.

The Resilient Gene.


Resiliency baffles me.  It’s something that I think about often and am incredibly intrigued by how it works and/or happens.  If resiliency is the ability to recover from or even see through hardships, then where does that very life altering ability come from?

I think the nature vs. nurture argument is relative to this idea.  Is one hard wired to bounce back more effectively or is that trait crafted by her environment.  Is it just simply fate?  I really don’t know.

I seem to be drawn to siblings when this topic comes up.  My Mom had four kids.  I am the baby and am also most definitely a “holy shit!” baby.  My brother who is closest in age to me is 10 years older.  My Mom was 15 when she had her first child.  She was 31 when I was born.  Can you even fathom that?

Even though each of us experienced childhood differently, each of our lives have common patterns and experiences.  Plus, we share DNA.  So how then, can two of us be so very different than the other two?  Why does the dysfunction remain a generational issue for half of my Mom’s kids?  Why was I and the second oldest daughter spared from an inability to see, learn, reflect and grow?  It truly befuddles me.  Where does my motivation to understand my past rather than blame it, stem from?

Support in the form of education and love from others has definitely played a role in my ability to adapt to and use the life I was given.  It’s odd to be puzzled by your own drive though.  It’s not, in any way, shaped by the idea to become better than anyone else.  I don’t think in terms like that.  The only explanation I have for not harboring the “world is not fair” mentality is because I have come to realize that I am more interested in validation than explanations.  I think that’s why I tell my Mother’s story, of course from the only perspective I can.  In hopes that it validates her.  I don’t think anyone ever did that.

There is a certain amount of toxicity that has been born out of my Mother’s bipolar brain, personality and experiences.  I can’t go near it.  I absorbed her addiction to addictions however.  I’m not even really talking about drugs when I say that.  I am the poster child for all or nothing on everything from smoking cigarettes to manically cleaning my house.  So much so that I have had to remove myself from toxic relationships despite the ties that bind.  Which makes my pondering on resiliency that much more frustrating and never ending.  It’s because of resiliency that I have to distance myself from those that lack it’s very definition.

Is being resilient a matter of having buoyant (God given?) DNA or is it life’s circumstances that allow growth instead of defeat and/or stagnation possible?

10 thoughts on “The Resilient Gene.”

  1. brilliant questioning.
    One I ponder too as my second child is far far more resilient that his older sister. I believe that the answer is both. we are all individuals. born with unique personalities. DNA can influence our personality traits but its not the be all and end all.
    same for our life experience it can mold us , change us. but sometimes personality type is hard wired from birth.

    1. I agree Twindaddy. Do you think resiliency can exist with only one or the other though? How can someone survive and thrive with no supports if not. We hear these heroic type stories all the time (although never really often enough). There are also those that have support, resources and love at their fingertips and never really break trough trauma or hardships.

      1. I don’t think there’s one formula. I think it’s a complex variety of things that contribute to it. Sometimes, people are born with ferocious determination. Other times, people derive their determination from the encouragement of others. Sometimes, it’s a matter of the circumstances being just a certain way. Sometimes it’s your perspective. Sometimes..well, sometimes.

  2. I think DNA plays a role, but also think the environment does as well. We are individuals all with unique perspectives. Sure, you share DNA with your siblings, but if you were all in one room and a car crashed through it, you would all describe it differently. I think it’s our perspective that helps determine our stance on subjects. Then when we take a stance, the response we get adds to that conclusion. I hope that makes sense. Hard to put what I’m thinking into words but a great topic. I always wonder about stuff like this too.

    1. What you said makes perfect sense. The car crash analogy was right on. Perspective wasn’t something I was even considering when I wrote this. After reading what you wrote though, I realized how we see things is a major factor. And perhaps even more so is how others react to our decision. Great stuff. Thanks for reading and responding.

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