Why Are We Frequently Asked to Normalize Toxicity
It is like asking a pathological vegetarian to eat fish.
What is normal for society is not normal for an individual. What is toxic for an individual is not toxic for society. Most of the time, society obsesses over issues of high-grade personal choices. Much of our subjective choices are the offshoots of society’s wisdom. What we eat, how we dress, what we dislike, and why we do what we do! At the same time, our existential choices and dislikes are largely normalized.
Toxic web of normalized relationships!
My daughter has an aversion to certain kinds of food. Mostly non-vegetarian food. Chicken, lamb, fish, egg. Especially when it secretes a particular odor, she only finds it repulsive. People around her eat, lick and relish the aftertaste. Her rejection is visceral. She pukes into her plate at a restaurant when she is good-naturedly forced to eat Tandoori chicken. No one but I can sense the hint of vague faint smell enumerating from that finely marinated and grilled chicken.
‘She can’t reject the staple food!” well-wishers around us chide.
Her abstract and personal rejection of it is offensive to people around us.
Offensive like that of eating worms!
We are frequently asked to normalize emotions of disgust, anger, or despair. Like, ignore it altogether. Out of agony, she asks me, if that is even possible to shut down any kind of emotions. People around say that she is overly sensitive to regular things and gives too much thought to it, even if no harm is meant. She is often suggested that everyone experiences disgust and repulsion from normal-looking things, and one should digress from such emotions.
The pinching discomfort of normalizing stuff often results in a toxic roller coaster ride. Especially if we are forcing our kids to normalize toxic behaviors. The childhood drama ensues in the adulthood decisions, like that in the folklore of The Pea and the Princess. The ‘Princess could sense the pea below eight mattresses because she was delicate and fragile and flimsy. No! Because she was tired and unwilling and suspicious. In the back of her mind, she knew that she was being the apparatus of the experiment. Something as wee as pea, can’t ascertain a royal ancestry.
Often, we join the naysayer's cult, in a compassionate tone and suggest normalizing disgust, anger, or even the inner voice’s suspicion to make life simple. Following the same line, I asked my daughter to normalize things, she found toxic. Because what she finds toxic, doesn’t come as toxic to others. However, she has clarity as to why her body and system offensively reject things. She listens to her inner voice. Repulsion to toxicity comes from within, like insights. Like my daughter’s visceral disgust for Tandoori Chicken or any meat-based food for that matter. Her body is unwelcoming of it.
Disgust or any other repulsive emotions are, I believe evolutionary. We loathe what our brain and body perceive as a veiled threat. At its root, disgust is a biological response. A fundamental indicator is that something isn’t quite right. My daughter is an empath, and her overlapping emotions result in an unintelligible scene for others. Hence a suggestion to normalize, what her body perceives as disgust is TOXIC. She even tells me, that it is not okay to shush the inner voice. The small sentence from her comes as an epiphany. Never! I reciprocate. It is not a wise thing to shut the inner voice.
Again, she isn’t vegetarian by choice, but by disgust. She is an adult with evolutionary ideas and finds it ruthless to silently sweep them under the rug. Especially when she is asked to either normalize or take it light-heartedly. Like insulting humor. Aversion for food or for humans comes within, deep within. It’s not a question of random choice but of a strong connection. We don’t like things because we have strong connections of experiences to draw our conclusions.
It is said that a mother should put some sense for being more acceptable and open. Society appreciates women being docile and inarticulate. Women around me don’t believe in giving umbrage to society and men. They say a men’s wrath is next to God. I doubt! If God approves of fabricated versions of his wrath. If men and Gods were appointed only to shower wrath and normalize, how is the other-better-half population in the world going to endure it? It is a tough call to always keep the lids of their wrath jar closed. It takes myriads incarnations to do so. So, it’s better to not normalize toxicity and have our perspectives on it.
Now when my daughter says that “I don’t like that food.” I respect her choice. I try not to put my perspective into her set of dislikes. As I know that dislikes don’t stem from stork but strong reasons!