What is a skewed norm?

I’ve had a few questions regarding the name of my blog.  If you’ve taken the time to read the ‘About’ page you have a general idea.  If not, here are the cliff notes: Ones perception of normal is greatly affected by their circumstances, location and position in life.

Because our view of what is normal or acceptable is a culmination of many experiences, it is easy to believe that abnormal behavior is normal.  In other words, we develop skewed norms.  Our view of normal is just plain wrong.  I’m not pointing fingers, we have all developed a skewed norm at one time or another.  My purpose is to simply point out the idea that what a person thinks is normal may be anything but.

Thinking back, I remember the first time I encountered my own skewed norm.  Growing up in a family where my mom made all decorating decisions, I assumed men didn’t care what you did to the inside of the house.  An orange bathroom, a burgundy bedroom or a Christmas tree decorated with mostly pink ornaments were parts of my growing up.  Dad never cared.  Being a contractor, I think he was more concerned with the bones of the home, mom could paint the skin any color and he never said a word.

So, when Steve and I had our first married discussion about paint I expected him to have no opinion.  Imagine my shock when he did!  The dazed, out of body feeling I had is still very clear 18 years later.  See to me, normal was getting to make decorating decisions on my own.  A color would be picked, Steve would acquiesce and all would be well in Holly’s world.  Thankfully, he has good taste and we have actually enjoyed redoing many houses together.

While my example was harmless and fairly easy to resolve, not all skewed norms are.  There are some that cause a life full of chaos, pain and trauma.  For children growing up in a house where their pastor father is emotionally & physically abusive it is normal to view God as vengeful and untrustworthy.  A child who is continually told they are worthless and should never question authority thinks it’s normal to let people use them.  I could go on and on.

Recognizing I can only control myself, I think the important thing is to continually look at my own skewed norms.  How do they affect my everyday interaction with other people?  What skewed norms am I passing on to my children?  Are they picking up norms from school that need to be re-framed at home?

What about you?  Where do you see a skewed norm at play in your own life or the world at large?  I’d love to hear from you.

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