Psychological health

There’s No Such Thing As Normal, We all Have Emotional Dysfunctions Says Studies

Written by Kristen Bell Adams

Come to think of it, what do you consider “normal” or “natural”? The truth is that there is actually no such thing as normal, and every human on this planet experiences some kind of dysfunction in their lifetime.

Believing in the bell curve

We have been taught to believe that a large percentage of the population is “normal”. At school, we learned about the bell-shaped curve and how most of us fell under the middle of the bell. We knew that a few of us were at the extreme ends of the curve. But do we follow the supposed rule of emotionally and behaviorally adaptive people?

Do we rarely suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction, child problems and marital dysfunction? Do most of us have relationships that are balanced and happy, free from major conflicts and loaded with fulfillment?

No natural found in clinical practice

In my more than 40 years of practicing clinical psychiatry, I have not found a normal person. This is also the case for family members of patients who do not seek treatment. This is true for friends, colleagues and family members. Each person has deviations in his personality. This gradation ranges from mild to severe. Not found large groups of ordinary people.

Homer B. Martin and I have studied several thousand people of all ages in long-term psychodynamic therapy. We’ve found that people raise their children in unbalanced ways through what we call “emotional conditioning.”

This is a form of classic conditioning that shapes people emotionally and teaches them how to manage their relationships. This leads people to respond to life’s spells imperceptibly and in highly inappropriate ways. We all make mistakes in judgments, choosing companions and friendships, and in raising our children.

RELATED: 12 Signs Someone Might Be Emotionally Unstable

Do not confuse natural with not seeking treatment

We may think that normalcy exists because of the large number of people who do not seek psychological treatment. We may assume that these people are less disturbed, emotionally or mentally disturbed than those who seek treatment. Over the decades, we have found that many patients’ family members have more psychiatric illnesses than the patients we have seen.

Two or more people can create problems in a relationship, but only one of them may seek treatment. We found my students Psychotherapy Being treated more sadly and curiously than their sick family members.

Why continue to stigma?

If we all suffer from some level of emotional distress, dysfunction, emotional or mental illness, where is the stigma? Should we continue to stigmatize each other? What does this do to us? We can only perpetuate emotional and mental stigma if we have a population comparison without such problems.

We did not find these people. We will be better off addressing the emotional difficulties we all share from the perspective of our common and often problematic humanity, and not from the perspective of our own (psychopaths) than normal we.


Holmes, A., & Patrick, L. (2018). "The Myth of Optimality in Clinical Neuroscience." Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22:3, 241-257.

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Originally Appeared In Psychology Today 

Emotional imbalances exist in everyone’s life, and there really is no such thing as a natural one. What may seem normal on the surface, may not be the actual truth, you know. The concept of a relatively normal life was and still is.

There is no such thing as normal, we all have emotional imbalances, studies say

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