Normalizing – Normalizing is a tactic used to desensitize an individual to abusive, coercive or inappropriate behaviors. In essence, normalizing is the manipulation of another human being to get them to agree to, or accept something that is in conflict with the law, social norms or their own basic code of behavior.
Aggressors often work to make their victims feel less sensitive to, or more accepting of. offensive behavior by minimizing, down playing or mocking any negative reaction to inappropriate acts. In turn, victims often normalize bad behavior (the other person’s and their own) by buying into the aggressor’s logic and lowering their own standards. They learn to accept as normal what they once believed to be unacceptable, wrong, or dangerous. Normalizing is achieved when the victim no longer questions a behavior as inappropriate and starts to accept the perpetrator’s assertions that a questionable behavior is, in fact, normal and “healthy.”
Examples of Normalizing:
- A cheating spouse who convinces their partner that affairs are harmless to the marriage.
- Someone who enlists the help of a friend to destroy their own property in order to collect the insurance.
- A pedophile grooming a child for sexual activity: “It’s not wrong if we love each other.”
- The slacker boyfriend who sells pot out of your house: “This shouldn’t even be illegal… who is it hurting?”
What Normalizing Sounds Like:
- “Stop being so judgmental.”
- “Your friends never had any problems with it.”
- “What a stick in the mud. You need to lighten up!”
- “Why can’t you just let it go?”
- “Just relax… if you don’t like it, you don’t ever have to do it again.”
- “Don’t you trust me?”
- “This is God’s plan for you …”