The Stepford Effect

intothelight

Moderator
One of those evenings where it rained a lot and going through the channels, I came across the remake of the Stepford Wives. The experiment to create the utopian wife/marriage/society according to the "norms" that were being challenged when the movie was first made. Got me thinking about what "norms" are we faced with and which ones should we challenge.

I've heard PTSD described as a "normal response to an abnormal situation", so with that being said lets stop beating ourselves up for responding to our trauma. Unfortunately, everyone will experience trauma to a degree in their life, especially the longer they live. Trauma changes you and that is just a neutral statement. Yes, there are symptoms of PTSD that cause great disruption to daily living and relationships, and those are the things that people work on to eliminate or minimize symptoms, to make their lives better. Then there is the other side.

It took me a while to realize that I was my own worst enemy in setting standards and judging myself against this elusive thought of normal. Sure a lot was carrying forward the comments and beliefs that were instilled by abusive people in my past, but they are gone and screw what they thought. Obviously they were more screwed up than I will ever be. What if, I just threw away "normal" and just embraced who I am in the here and now, warts and all?

Not to say it isn't really important to work on things that impact you and relationships, but at some point, not everything needs to be "worked on" when were holding ourselves to unrealistic standards. I was finding myself in a self improvement hell that was never ending as at some point I have to be OK with me, who I am, how I live and just let go and start enjoying life.

Thoughts?
 

Lionheart

Sponsor
I've only had a few hours sleep and my mind is a little foggy, so please forgive if I am misunderstanding your post.

I used to want to be "normal" until I discovered what normal was and then I wanted to run from it. Seems the chaos of the world is "normal"; the hate, the wars, poverty, inequality, etc. and at the very least, normal is just the average of any given set of statistics and I don't think of myself as average. As a matter of fact, I am not crazy about labels in general.

Anyways I push myself too hard sometimes and I hold myself up to unrealistic standards that I don't even hold other people to. I think radical self-acceptance is a need I have because too often I compare myself 'down' rather than 'up'. I struggle to embrace myself as I am at any given moment mainly because I was belittled, body-shamed, and compared down by abuse perps. I was taught that I was undesirable, unwanted, and unlovable.....those are the things that I wish to be rid of or to 'normalize' if you will.

I also have several chronic illnesses and I am disabled with PTSD. So, every day I think to myself that I am not productive enough because that is what I was taught was the measure of my worth. I like what you said @intothelight, about letting go and to start enjoying life. That is a goal to work towards, ...that is a "normal" that I can embrace.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
I agree. Other than something I am dealing with now that is traumatic or not dealing with, depending on the day, I'm just me doing what I do.

Being me. And others do not have to like me, approve, agree, and I certainly do not need permission to be who I am.

I've worked long and hard to gather the tools needed to have a more stable life. Normal? God, I hope not. That sounds B O R I N G! I never aspired to be NORMAL. Takes away spontaneity, creativity, and just the joy of life.

I like this thread. And I agree. Not everything has to be worked on until we just become recovering cyborgs.
 

Changing4Best

MyPTSD Pro
I have a speech impairment, along with all my other ailments. This has caused a lot of misunderstandings, to say the least. This week's speech problem came up when I was trying to explain something my boss had told me to do, and ended up becoming my being accused of lying. Now the person won't even give me the time of day. I couldn't care less, except she is an important person in my client's life.

The speech impairment comes and goes, so I never know when it will pop up. When I am having trouble explaining something, it makes things ten times worse!

All I know is that it changes my normal self into an un-normal self when I am already not normal.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
Not to say it isn't really important to work on things that impact you and relationships, but at some point, not everything needs to be "worked on" when were holding ourselves to unrealistic standards. I was finding myself in a self improvement hell that was never ending as at some point I have to be OK with me, who I am, how I live and just let go and start enjoying life.

Thoughts?

This is what therapy became for me. There was a point where I started to get physically ill. Too. Much. Fixing. It’s happened in a number of ways where some good useful tool in my life became a version of not just chasing perfect but always being focused on the flaws, the struggle, the pain, the always too much and never enough about myself and my life. I was always someone’s imperfect project to fix. That became the biggest barrier to the life I wanted to live: Never just letting things be. I never let myself be enough.

What I have been learning in a long space from therapy lately?

I’m still a glorious mess. It turns out that is one of the few normal things about the human condition. My best days are not when I’m symptom free or mess free but when I’m with people who are quirky and flawed too, with boundaries, and that is just that.

I don’t want to fix myself anymore. I still try, I always will, but what I want more is just to be and enjoy some of the good. To love and be loved in the glorious and heartbreaking mess that is this life.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I've only had a few hours sleep and my mind is a little foggy, so please forgive if I am misunderstanding your post.

I used to want to be "normal" until I discovered what normal was and then I wanted to run from it. Seems the chaos of the world is "normal"; the hate, the wars, poverty, inequality, etc. and at the very least, normal is just the average of any given set of statistics and I don't think of myself as average. As a matter of fact, I am not crazy about labels in general.

Anyways I push myself too hard sometimes and I hold myself up to unrealistic standards that I don't even hold other people to. I think radical self-acceptance is a need I have because too often I compare myself 'down' rather than 'up'. I struggle to embrace myself as I am at any given moment mainly because I was belittled, body-shamed, and compared down by abuse perps. I was taught that I was undesirable, unwanted, and unlovable.....those are the things that I wish to be rid of or to 'normalize' if you will.

I also have several chronic illnesses and I am disabled with PTSD. So, every day I think to myself that I am not productive enough because that is what I was taught was the measure of my worth. I like what you said @intothelight, about letting go and to start enjoying life. That is a goal to work towards, ...that is a "normal" that I can embrace.

I think contentment might not be a norm in society....but I'd like it to be mine.
 
I feel conflicted about this.

My adult brain thinks that "normal" is overrated.

During childhood trauma, my kid brain CRAVED normality.

Growing up in a situation that was abnormal in a toxic way, "normal people" and "normal families" seemed like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I yearned for and craved to be part of a normal family.

As we all know, kid-brain is a powerful force, often not accessible by things like logic.

I wonder if others craved normality as children too and that's why they feel ambivalent about it or reject it as adults?
 
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