What is normal? Normal is normal for whom or what? My normal may not be (is not) another’s normal. I know people who have lived what they believed, embraced, and experienced as normal. The shock they experienced when they realized they had not lived anything near a healthy normal. Their anger, confusion, grief, consternation, sense of betrayal, tremendous sense of doubt, questioning, and despair has been immense. Their “I thought, and I was wrong!” is nearly palpable. Their journey is one from a lie to truth. And, truth is suspect because of their having lived with what they so long believed was truth. So, what is a lie and what is truth? It is an easier question to ask than to answer. So, the journey is a difficult one. The journey starts with the acknowledgement and acceptance that what was normal is not working. As Frost cited in in his poem: they come to a fork in the road and must determine which one to take. The one chosen will make all the difference in the world for them.
Their journey to a healthier normal is fraught with difficulty. They must acknowledge the pathology and damage of what was normal and strive to discover a “new normal”. Not an easy task. Who can they trust? Everyone and everything are suspect. They arrive at my office and only know they feel misery and desperation. I have a title that supposedly qualifies me to be a helper. They take a great risk by coming to see me and by sharing their story. It is imperative that I accept them unconditionally, enter their subjective experience as much as I am able, while maintaining as much objectivity as I am able, and assist them in finding their new normal, not mine. I must not impose my normal upon them. I am not in the business of making clones, but in helping them discover who they were created to be and what they were created to do. Even that assumption is reflective of my normal. I must be careful, caring, and diligent. As it were, I must take off my psychological sandals, for I am standing on holy ground—the very life of another human being.