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Basic Assumptions - What is Normal?

Discussion in 'General' started by madjon, Mar 25, 2007.

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  1. madjon

    madjon Active Member

    been thinking on assumptions of ''normal'' and what it means to people, so its a bit long,and has some poop examples in, but it is a thought, maybe others have a few thoughts on this, what is ''normal'' experience of life.

    one problem i had when dealing with psychologists/iatrists and counsellors was, they would start with basic assumptions, basic accepted units of what human experience is, they would then try to fit you into an experiential case where you have deviated from the ''norm'' of expected experiences and basic ideas.
    two different approaches here im going to try to use an example im a bit pants at examples but hopefully the point will be illustrated
    the ''normal'' person, life does not have any strong events in it, it does not have any traumatic events in it, you live life always expecting the best outcome of tomorrow always being sunny and moving forward all the time, not being too concerned about the world around except in how it may relate to you. and only dealing with the good things of life. you are a happy full well rounded person who has no great difficulty in life

    ''other person''
    life kicks you in the teeth when you are down, life is full of bad things, tomorrow holds new pains, sunny moments are rare and you look for cover for the approaching hail when they do come along, you feel negative about yourself and others, you wait to see what the catch or trick is in every situation, you have pain inside, life is overcast.you can see the bad things in life happening around you.

    the presumption is to move you from one state to the other, by pointing out the differences and working through the things that have occured to this ''normal'' person to take them to a negative state.
    this presumption works on all people being in the ''normal'' state to begin with, and does not allow for those who have not been in a ''normal'' state or have the same basic precepts of what ''normal'' is.

    it means that the relation between a patient and psych can have some blocks in the way, how you deal with these blocks is by finding someone who you can work with, and can build a mutual understanding of what the basic ideas are, before getting to the complicated stuff.

    an example from me, i have been very peed off lately, and have felt quite honestly like going and hurting someone, the presumption being it is an anomaly in a ''normal'' person based around fantasy that your experiental and ability based ideas would be treating this as something that is basically undoable, that you are a sound moral person who could not hurt someone else as you are unable to. whereas i am a trained person with the knowledge resources, abilities and able to do so without any great moral dilemma,

    so meeting the two up could be a problem, what basis are you working from?
    the ''normative'' or the relative?

    experiential normalisation is a big thing when it comes to inter relating ideas,
    my ideas of acceptability match closely with societies, but my ability to act does not match up with the accepted norm of society that is where a problem in relation between psych and patient can occur, for some their ''norm'' has been very different from the ''norm'' of society, and the basic precepts about life and how you interact with others sometimes have to be addressed, for me it is sad that someone i know dies, but i wish em well and carry on, for the ''norm'' this is a big event with the entailing problems, it is a experiential normalisation for me that, i dont feel this great sadness, i feel sad about what happens but i carry on, this does not mean i am abnormal, i just have a different starting position than the ''norm'' person.

    one thing i find useful is to understand the very basics of what i am trying to do, how i relate to the world and others and how the ''normal'' person sees what is around them, i take in a lot more information about the world, and maybe i have become more aware of the dangers the pitfalls and the traps, but just because i have a difference of the basic concepts then it does not mean i am not ''normal'' only that i am starting from a different place.

    trauma and bad things can affect you differently from different stages in life, so as a kid growing up i had bad things in my life, i learnt to deal with them, they became ''normal'' as a young adult i had very bad things in my life, these became part of my psyche, so when i say something in a conversation i may very well be starting from a viewpoint very different to that of a ''normal'' psychiatrist, doesnt mean either of us are wrong, just that we have different associations of the basic precepts of ''normal'' and what life is like, i am fully aware of bad things and know they happen and are unfortunately common and everyday in their occuring across the population, the psychiatrist starts from the viewpoint that it is an unusual and not common occurence for bad things to happen, so there are two views both valid in their own way, just starting from two different viewpoints, 1, ship happens now deal with it, 2, it doesnt happen very often and is out of the ordinary. bad example but i hope its given some thought? how do you see ''normal'' ? what is your ''normal'' how do you relate to the idea of ''normal''?
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  3. Portabella

    Portabella Well-Known Member

    I don't think it is "normal" to be normal. I think everyone is different, however you have commonality with some and with others total indifference. However, I think that most people consider the baseline of "normal" to be what a "reasonable" person would do/or act like under the same circumstances. Its done off a predetermined baseline that a person that considers themselves normal has conjoured up.

    However, I totally agree that there are large variations on what people consider normal. I think that is why we all end up at this forum in reality, it is a sanctuary where we feel normal as we heal.

    I don't know if this is making any sense. So, I will be quiet now...
  4. madjon

    madjon Active Member

    shared experiences form a normality is one way of putting it,
    ok a thought, the ''norm'' here is we have been hurt in various ways and try to move forward and understand ourselves and the way we deal with the world, that is normal here,
    in the ''outside'' world normal could be viewed as bad things and trauma being unusual, so we are ''normal'' here and outside of the average baseline of ''normal'' elsewhere?
    a shared ''normality'' is ''normal'' and here it is healing from bad things, so bad things having happened may be considered in a way ''normal'' here.

    ok, good point

    thought i would add that i think too much about everything!
  5. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    I've heard that normal is A)A city in Illinois, B)the setting on a dryer and C)relative. I tend to go with B.

    What's normal for me is what I know. If what I know changes, I have to change and adjust for myself to find normal again. It's what I'm doing with dealing with my PTSD-reforming my normal to include this change that came about in my life.

    That said-normal is relative because what's normal for one person is completely whacked for another. I listen to the people I work with talk about their home lives and family relationships...some of these people (for my view of normal) are pretty whacked. But their normal works for them. Everyone has different wants and needs and build their worlds around them to make their normal.

    Personally I think normality is highly overrated and pretty much unatainable since we all have our own definitions of normal.

    But that's just my opinion.
  6. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

    ditto. maybe we should change it to "usual" and "unusual"?
  7. waynes

    waynes Member


    Normal is at best a goal post designation, with the goal posts one hell of a long way apart.
    I see where you are coming from... Some peoples conception of the world is warm and fuzzy, while some are aways expecting the bad.....
    My opinion, is that those who see bad things as unussual are not paying attention. The way of this world is not warm and fuzzy.
    On the other hand, wonderful things do happen on the same regular basis as the bad. We as the race of humanity can make good things happen as well as bad things.
    Marline is right... Normal is a town in Il. :rofl:

  8. madjon

    madjon Active Member

    yes normal is totally a town in illinois, but does the average psychologist/iatrist know that.
    they seem to have been some of the strangest people i have met, and they unfortunately set the standard for what is normal depending on what they think is normal,
    met one once and he asked what i had seen on the tv, mentioned an episode of the simpsons, he decided as he hadnt seen it it couldnt exist and the tv was talking to me as i mentioned these yellow people with three fingers who did things. was narrowly saved from big horse pills and a section by corroboration from a nurse who has seen the simpsons, even something as relatively normal as an episode of the simpsons on tv, can in some cases be outside what is normal experience for a psych! so knowing where normal is for you and where it is for others can be a useful tool at times.
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