What made you question just how normal your childhood was?


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My partner asked me to stop watching Dance Mom's in his house because it's so toxic it puts him in a bad mood. I was like 🧐 what do you mean? This is perfectly normal behaviour no?

We did also have a truancy officer knock on our door, one year I was absent from school like 80 days. I thought my teacher just had a stick up her ass as a kid, now I guess she was probably the only person to notice there was something amiss!

Doesn't have to be childhood related, what are your versions of realising something wasn't as normal as you had believed?


I knew having an ulcer at 4 or 5 wasn't 'normal', but I didn't know kids were supposed to have someone home or not know how to 'do' things. Kind of blamed myself for that.

I didn't know how to ask for help, even to the present day is hard.

I didn't know it was ok to cry as a child, 'normal' for most kids to do so that is, even a lot.

I can't remember most of my childhood- I like that is not 'normal'.

Good thread btw!
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When I was 15 or so I committed a small misdemeanor to keep from getting in trouble with my dad, but my adult brother reacted pretty strongly when he found out. It confused me because nobody had ever really taught me that the law was something that should generally be followed, even when the consequences are relatively minor. We got into a shouting match in the livingroom and when I turned to look at my mother, I saw a sad look on her face that made me realize that she regretted the way we had been raised.


It was a common thread in my education… how ‘every child’ thinks their childhood is normal. So it wasn’t something that could be used against us. Not that I knew that at the time. But it was as predicitble as getting locker assignments. Sometime, within the first 2 weeks of school, in certain schools, there would be the “normal” discussion.

It very much made anyone approaching us asking if we wanted a normal life as RIDICULOUS as someone asking if we wanted to be a smurf.

Which… I realize… is prolly not the purpose of this thread. But it’s also my reality. As I lived a life, as a kid, that was recognized as “not normal”. So part of our school year was set aside to “deal with” those preconceptions. And the ways those imaginary “normals” could be used to hurt us, our parents, & our countries.

Because “normal” is pure fiction. What people imagine other people have.


I saw how other parents treated there kids so normal was not the same for them as it was for me. Didn't think it was bad just this is my normal.
Normal is waking up in the middle of the night and seeing a flashlight though your window and knowing it's time for the game.
My dad would chase use around with a knife in the back yard or around the house and who ever gets caught first gets a small cut. To this day I think it was one of the only times I ever had fun. Laughed with my dad and was not scared. So it was a fun game and not one person can tell me any different. Was it a messed up game sure but it was "normal" for us.
I look at my life as abusive normal yes it was not normal to most people. I could never imagine my life as anything but what it was abuse became normal. I never imagine what it would be like to have parents that cared since it didn't happen.

My life was normal even if it was abusive because it was typical and expected in my house. Others would not find it normal because of the way they lived.
Just like in other countries they see something normal which another country would not. A family sitting at a table would not look normal to me and I would be concerned if I saw that as a kid. Other would be concerned for the opposite reason. Not sure how I can say this but it was just abuse normalized I guess. Trying to get my point across and not sure I can with out making it seem like I'm saying abuse is ok.


I think I always knew. But not for the reasons I should’ve known. I grew up in a community where it was rare to have divorced parents and rare to have both parents working. It was always being thrown in my face. Adults saying why can’t your mom pick you up from school, why is she always late for carpool, no I can’t play at your house after school etc.

Did I know most kids were not beaten, I was pretty sure. Did I know adults shouldn’t touch kids in those places, pretty sure I did. So I’m pretty sure I always knew but something’s I chose not to see.


This is an interesting one, for me I suppose it has layers. The first layer being that my parents are Deaf, I knew from pretty young that it wasn’t normal to be playing interpreter for them. I knew this because the lovely grown ups in shops and stuff kept telling me how clever I was to help mum and dad.

The next layer being that I knew the rules in the house weren’t normal from maybe around the same age. I went to friend’s houses and they could sit on the sofa. And get a drink, or go to the bathroom whenever they wanted without consequences. I wondered if that was normal or if my house was normal. But mine was the odd one out I realised. But I couldn’t articulate it back then.

Then when I got to finally go live with my Nan, I realised none of it was normal. As I could do most of the things my friends could. And I wasn’t being beaten anymore. I knew by then being beaten wasn’t normal because when Nan found out the grown ups did some stuff and said some stuff and I went to live with her and grandad. But it was complicated because my grandad was mentally abusive anyway. And what was normal there was also not normal compared to my friends.

And then finally, as a teen, we were studying some poems in English class and after seeing my notes on one particular one, which I now can say was majorly triggering but I didn’t have the terminology back then; my teacher kept me back after class. I remember him asking if I was hit by mother and I laughed at him and said “and the rest”. He knew exactly what I meant, and I knew he’d figure it out when I said it because of the poem. I knew by then it wasn’t normal but I laughed it off because I think I was still trying to deny it was abnormal even though I knew it was probably not right. In my head it was somewhere in the middle; it was a grey area. The look on his face told me for certain that no, my childhood had definitely not been normal. Normal for me was not normal.

Same teacher, a little while later we were talking about what we wanted to maybe do as a career. At the time I wanted to go into the military. He questioned it saying you know, I could die and didn’t that scare me. I just shrugged and said “you could die driving home tonight. There’s loads of ways to die and once it happens I wouldn’t know anyway so it’s irrelevant. Up to that point it’s a cool job”. He had a proper WTF look on his face to that one and after class again told me that it was not normal to be so blasé about dying. I didn’t get what the fuss was about I’d been close enough often enough that death didn’t scare me. Evidently that’s not normal at 15.