Feeling depressed, misanthropic and the childhood of Anders Bering Breivik

Today, for some unknown reason, I’m feeling really down.

I’ve been close to tears and (then actual tears) on a few occasions and I can’t pinpoint why.

To be clear, this has happened to me many times before and seems part of the ‘usual pattern’ of being me.  I’ve taken my antidepressants as usual, I’ve eaten and drank (poorly) as usual, so I’m not sure what the difference is today.

At work, I feel overwhelmed, angry at my own lack of comprehension.

Earlier today, I read a fascinating online article about the early childhood of Norwegian, Anders Bering Breivik, who as an adult mass-murdered in the name of his brand of right-wing, pro-European, anti-immigration extremism.

Reading the article, I learnt of the so-called “third generation” theory of psychology, that you can have a grandparent, then their child, then their child’s child put at horrible risk of dysfunction when the previous two generations also had major issues.  In this case, Breivik’s mother’s mother was disabled and psychotic and mistreated her daughter.  Her daughter fled a rotten home situation and became pregnant and largely unsupported and detached from community.   She came to resent the growing child inside her and after birth, the child was clearly neglected – given a strange and toxic brew of love and dependency, abuse and isolation, a confusing mix for any human to process.

A young Breivik’s home life with his mother came to attention of Child Welfare in Norway, but apart from a stint away in care, the authorities returned him.  The damage, it seems, was done early to a young Breivik.  Early reports of his childhood interactions paint him as largely unemotional, without seeking the interaction of others, of being joyless with toys and clean and tidy well beyond his years.

The article had many photos of the young Breivik and as a father of two myself, I found myself feeling pain for the helpless child in the photo, clearly damaged, yet so identifiably a child and surely, still incredibly innocent.  It seems so harsh that this world, this reality, permits the range of suffering that it does.  I’ve never believed in a deity let alone one that had any kind of relationship with humanity, but still, it feels so awfully raw to live in a reality where, without oversight, pain seems the norm.

It takes a village to raise a child”, as the saying goes.

I’ve definitely needed the help of many others around me to help in raising my two beautiful children.  I’ve been a poor father and poorer husband in many ways.  Some of those ‘ways’ have been witnessed by my young children.  I hope they absorb the messages of love, humor and warmth that I’ve tried to instill in them.  I wish them to be wonderful and happy adults.

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