Friday, 28 December 2012


In the old Greek myth of Oedipus, the main character is told that his destiny is to kill his father and marry his mother. He does everything possible to escape his destiny, but eventually that is exactly what happens. And he doesn't even know.

In Freudian psychology, the myth has been used as a symbol of boys wanting to couple with their own mother, of young boys' jealousy of their fathers, and of the general tendency - for people of both genders - to fall in love with somebody reminding them of their own parent (usually the parent of the opposite gender).

To me, the myth is about the inability to avoid destiny. My thoughts on the Freudian interpretation are more complicated and deserve their own blogpost. In short, I think Freud is not exactly wrong, neither is he spot on.

I would like to think that there is no such thing as destiny. I would like to think that the way I present myself and the way I live my life is a product of coincidences and free will in combination. But I am afraid it is not. Well 'destiny' is some supersticious nonsense. But my genes and my upbringing (and a lot of things that happened after that) laid out a path for me, and I am surprised every time I discover I am walking on that path. You could call the path 'destiny'.

During my childhood, every time we (the family) or my parents were going somewhere, my mother always was a bit late. The last thing she had to do before leaving the house, was to pee. When we went on holiday, my brother, my father and I sat in the taxi waiting, while my mother went to the bathroom, got her coat, and left the house. I remember wondering (probably out loud) why she couldn't pee while we were still in the house? Destiny: Nowadays, when everybody are ready to leave, I discover I need to pee. It is like they have to take their coats on for me to find out.

If I told my mother about a choice I made for me and later on for my children, she would often say: 'Why is that?', in a challenging and demanding tone of voice. If she and I had an argument, she would simply state: 'You are wrong', and she never felt the need to explain why I was wrong. It was sort of God-given, that she was right. Destiny: Before I can think of it, I exclaim: 'You are wrong' or, more mildly: 'I am right', in arguments. When it comes to nutrition, I am right per definition, in that same God-given kind of way. When people close to me make choices I can't relate to, my mouth utter the infamous: 'Why is that?' before I know it.

On my Danish blog I wrote about my mother's tendency to sing if somebody said a line from a song in a conversation. I was always very annoyed because it was an interruption and it was like she put herself first: her need to demonstrate the ability to remember songs was superior to everybody elses need to pursue a conversation. Destiny: I have actually caught myself doing exactly the same thing.

Disgression: It is probably an Aspie trait to be able to remember lyrics. My mother and my youngest son are very good. And even not-very-musical me, I just recalled from a camp in primary school where I was walking with my teacher and my best friend in the wood and I for no apparent reason sang 'When I'm sixtyfour' - the entire song. And it was probably out of tune, too. My teacher said, slightly condescending: 'How nice to remember lyrics so well'.

End of disregression. There are several other examples, my point is that my destiny is to become like my mother. And I am fighting it, I despise most of what she represents, and still the more I think about it the faster I become like her. Truly Oedipal.

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