Is Loneliness Hereditary?

I haven't talked to my father in months. Since February, I think. I feel really guilty about it, but I honestly don't have anything to say to him.

Knowing that he sits alone all day and gets drunk contributes to the guilt.
He's always been a distant and quiet person, but if you look past that he's a nice guy. I think a lot of people find him awkward or difficult to relate to. I don't remember him as having many friends, and none of his family lives here. My mother left him because he's an alcoholic, and he's been excluded from family holiday gatherings ever since. I got the hell out of the family home as soon as I was able to, and I was naive enough to think that he'd contact me more often once I'd left, but he's never even visited my apartment. Now he sits alone in the dead shell of the family home, and his only company is the pathetic drug addict of a son and a 6-pack a night.

The last time I saw him, I hated the way my mother and sister exchange glances every time he opened his mouth, as if he was the weird kid in high school. He was extremely bitter towards everyone in the family and was full of government-related conspiracy theories, and their judgement was obvious.
I think he used to have some degree of social anxiety, because when I was a child he always seemed to avoid social events. I don't think he handles emotion or interaction with others well. (He even ditched my prom before the parent-child dance, hah.) I think the alcohol might be his way of coping with it. Now he's progressed to the point where he's a lonely, bitter old man. Getting wasted every night doesn't seem to help anymore. His anger at the government is probably a reflection of his anger towards the family. It's at the point where even I find it hard to talk to him, even though I wish I could. The situation is worsened by the fact that he doesn't take the initiative to contact me, and that he has a history of forgetting the plans we've made. Eventually I just gave up.

Lonely, incapable of relating to others, eventually abandoned by your loved ones...  When I look back on my own life, I can already see how I'm being set up with a similar fate.
I'm terrified of ending up the same way as him.
22-25, M
2 Responses May 8, 2012

My own father is a very misunderstood man with no one he can really call a friend, so I understand your guilt to a certain extent. Every now and then, I give him a call despite not really having anything to talk about. Just a simple, "Hey Dad, how've you been? Anything new?" is often enough to hear the tone in his voice brighten, even if just a little.

Loneliness is not hereditary. I can tell you, however, that some character traits are, but you still shouldn't worry so much about it. <br />
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I've studied genetics for a contest this year and also read a lot of pshychology books, which doesn't really make me a specialist. Oh, well. One of the books I've read was called something like "How to deal with difficult personalities". It said there that your personality is generally made of 50% genetics and 50% environment. However, it might be a little bit more complicated than that.<br />
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You see, personality in genetics is not like the inheritance of dimples. For dimples, you either have the gene, either you don't. Personality, however, is determined a quite a lot of factors and even the genetic ones are numerous. This has been better explained for intelligence, which is a multi-determined characteristic and can be really different from parent to child. <br />
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So, basically, it's not like you're getting a hereditary disease or something. It's not that simple, believe me. Environmental factors are more dangerous, I believe. Especially if you spent a lot of time next to your father.<br />
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What you should also know is that there are people who have a condition for a few months or maybe a few years and after they get treated, they get better. There are also people who do not have a condition, but rather their personality is pathological. That case, chances of hereditary related issues are higher, but still I say that it's not only genetics. <br />
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If your father really sounds like a bitter old man, I think he should get help. It's hard to cope with everything alone, especially because your mother and sister do not actually get him. It doesn't have to be a choice for him; rather, I believe he's avoiding things because it seems really hard to cope with them. It's definitely easier not to do anything and be abandoned by everyone, than overcome one's issues. Maybe he has anxiety problems, maybe he is really depressed, I don't know. You should know better than me. And if you can, you should help him, because at this point he can't help himself anymore. <br />
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I really don't know if this makes any sense, I don't write accordind to a plan. I just hope it helps to some degree.

Hey, thanks. I appreciate the huge comment. :P
I would like to talk to him about getting help. I might give it a try, even thought I doubt that he would take it well. He's one of those people who refuse to go to a doctor unless he has a life-threatening injury, so I can't picture him being receptive to any suggestions. I really would like to help him, though, because part of the reason why I find it hard to talk to him is because it hurts me to see him that way.

You're welcome :D. I believe there are high chances he will not be very happy about it. If he's avoiding harmless social events, I bet he will be hard to convince to accept he has a problem (in front of everyone! Even though that "everyone" left him) and try fixing it. On the other hand, he might be happy to hear you don't believe he's a waste of time... The point is, whether he accepts it or not, he does need help, so I think you should still try, even with failure in mind. :)

You know, I don't talk to my grandparents very often. I quite actually avoid it. My grandmother is very sick and, just like you, it really hurts me to see her that way :P.