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The Deviant Mind

Updated on December 16, 2012

I'm intrigued by the role of will in one’s character and choices. How does it figure in madness and deviant behavior?

Ah -but what IS madness, you may ask? It is just having a viewpoint which deviates from a generally accepted one or is it something more visceral? What sets it off? Is it predestined or possibly preventable?

Whichever it is, madness or mental imbalance exists in various forms and to various degrees; and we need to remember that it does not necessarily lead to acts of violence or disruptive behavior. It may be primarily internal confusion and torture for the one suffering with it.

Sometimes it is abundantly clear that all humans possess some elements of it, in fact. The fabric of human development may have dropped a stitch or two along the way, but it is more probably individuality with its capability to exercise individual will, which is itself essentially a deviation from whatever might be considered a "norm".

It might be said that much creativity and intellectual excellence is a product of the tenuous borderline between sane and insane, bearing slightly on the deviant side of it.

But again, there may be a propensity in the form of serious mental imbalance which is attributable to genetic inclination. But authoritative influences while a personality is taking shape and vulnerable surely are the catalysts for a new person's emerging self-image. And if circumstances are imposed on a youngster which create a desperate enough need for escape, mental adjustments in the form of deviant imbalance or behavior may result.

At the base of much human aberrant behavior is the strong element of FEAR, a response to many stimuli and situations, one being confusion over what is expected of him and what can be delivered by him. If it is perceived as being negative expectations which can be delivered, the die may be cast. More, if self-hatred develops, more intensity is added to the delivery.

Perhaps Hitler, an insignificant little man who had accomplished little to distinguish himself and had failed to command respect or favorable attention in his normal mode, (plus is known to have hated his Jewish heritage), may have found a way to successfully demand respect, get attention and try to stamp out Jewishness via an extreme brand of violent madness. Whether it reaped favorable personal recognition or respectable power obviously didn't matter to him. It may have been exactly what his deficient self-image required.

So self-image plays a part and surely early parental influences, indeed, all major infuences which follow throughout a human being's development from birth to adulthood, make a dramatic difference in how the person's individuality develops. Such influences may or may not produce positive results.

From attitudes and actions toward an infant to personal words and body language expressed to a child, the individual forms an image of the person it is. Each repitition of either positive or negative input confirms its validity until the growing individual internalizes it and habitually behaves accordingly. Of all external influences upon a human’s self-image, none is more effective in shaping a young person's future. Next to strong genetic bents, the influence and input from parents’ and others with authority contribute in profound ways during a child's formative years.

There is something essential about being at ease and in sync with whomever one sees oneself as being, the perception upon which the self-image relies, be it a positive or a negative one.

Fulfilling a consistent image is essential to a developing personality whose behaviors and attitudes are still forming. When the image is positive and productive it is essential to help strengthen it because these perceptions of the self during the development years are being established and validated for the child by the reflections perceived in others' attitudes & treatment of him.

But If the reflections are negative and afford him no respect or trust in his worthiness, It becomes essential to his sense of balance to "fit" that bleak image, and deviations from it can be so upsetting that the child must seek the balance by acting out to fit them.

Of course, that is virtually guaranteed to lead to major adjustment & behavior problems when the self-image is negative. Though self-image is all "in the mind" of the person and may have little to do with reality, its nature is to maintain a balance with reality, even to the extent of creating a reality to fit itself. so if expected by self and others to be a "bad kid", behavior will be exercised to fit that image. Maintaining that balance is so essential that if the "bad kid" is credited with being a "good kid"when the self-image is convinced otherwise, extra effort to behave badly will be made, making it seemingly so, while multiplying the problems, confusion, distortion and frustration of the "bad kid" in progreas.

How is this possible?

Self-image becomes so entrenched and is such an essential to personality that the kid who's been told and convinced that he's a "bad kid" or a "slow learner" is easily agitated if suddenly he's assured he's a good kid & capable of normal learning, and will be impelled to go out of his way to restore the balance, even if it means altering his behavior and flunking his tests. ctua Al consequences of the altered behavior, however, are real, are painful and bear bitter fruits of their own.

The reason seems to be that a different image of self than that which was instilled shakes the very foundations of self on which he's learned to rely and to build. Bad behavior may not be his nature, but it became his self-image and the only way of asserting that only SELF he can recognize as true at all, is, in fact, primarily negative. Challenging it or changing it even for the better is traumatic.

Also by the same token, a kid who's always been assured of being a "good kid" and "a smart kid" and who has experienced respect and trust reflected in the attitudes toward him/her from others, feels confident in that self-image so that it becomes WHO he/she IS in his/her mind, which will be the image he/she will be impelled to verify by behavior. I like to think it is the true nature of most newborns and that the difference in results is due to the fluke of well-guided or misguided nurturing from then on.

All too often the negative input imposed upon a child from the authoritative "others" rests mostly on the others' own poor perceptions, agitation, or sour dispositions, rather than on the child's actual aptitudes and character, sad to say.

Bearing in mind that children are in process, if there are instances when a child is inattentive or behaves badly, it is wrong to impress those instances on him as a self-image which can affect the rest of his life.

Doesn't it say much about the clear importance of instilling and nurturing a positive sense of self from infancy and throughout the formative years of our children?

Usually no amount of contrary input from others can easily shake the self image in whichever direction it's been cultivated.

So even if it's a difficult one to maintain, bearing unpleasant consequences, as being "bad" and getting in constant trouble will be, it can produce bizarre reactions if the image is disturbed. Why?

It's as if to shout, "NO! - I'm me - it's not easy being me and I don’t like it, but if I'm not me, as you're telling me, then, who am I, what am I supposed to do? It's the only way I know to be or to act!" Try to imagine how frightening that must feel to a youngster with limited resources to explain or understand his distress, except by acting it out.

So for this person, there would be increased effort to restore and retain the "bad kid" self-image, resulting in more difficulties and yet more determined blocks against change.

If there were to be no further effective efforts to help dispel the "bad" image, it probably would just grow of its own momentum to becomes the reality for the person in order to comply with his self-image. It’s sad.

Another tragic possibility, though, is that the poor self-image can turn in on itself as self-hatred or discouragement, which will lead to despair, depression and even premature death. Possibly many teenage risks are expressions of just such desperation. Their outward show may be good looking and popular, but a deep-seated negative self-image can be lurking beneath it. Their risks may be cries for help. Sadly, the ideal time to remedy it was much sooner, all during their earlier development of self-image.

I'm very well acquainted with someone who, even fully grown and more, suffers in just such a way. It's incredibly deep-seated in spite of a lifetime of effort to resolve it and be free of it. Progress is made, only to slip back into the shadows. In his own words, progress means taking six steps forward and five back, with a net result of one step forward among the five excruciating backward steps. But it offers some hope and his will is determined to overcome it.

Fortunately the person who has a "good kid" self-image has few stumbling-blocks along the path, so that he/she continues to live up to that which is expected which further strengthens and verifies the positive self-image and its ability to function effectively. As continued reassurances of the "good" self-image that was originally instilled are received there will be ample evidence to combat negative distractions and detractors.

Also the nature of a positive self-image rests upon genuine self-assurance with diminishing dependence on others' approval.

By contrast, a negative self image continues desperately to need reassurance of being correct in believing itself bad and therefore must keep proving it and being recognized for it. There seems to be never sufficient proof to satisfy this unhealthy need.

The nature of a bad self-image rests uneasily upon insecurity and requires growing verification which only can be prompted by the evidence of more and worse ugly behavior. Meantime, the lifestyle will have produced conditions which are difficult or impossible to alter.

Of course, it can and sometimes does lead to revising of the self-image and reversal of the bad behavior. But also it can lead to such really destructive behavior that there is no escape.

Possibly even from his youth, Hitler was already progressing down that path?


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    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      ram_m - and thank YOU for reading and offering such thoughtful, informative comments to further add to it. I'm a great believer in teaching by example, as well as by instruction and other means. It always seems to boil down to the learner absorbing the teacher's example in the depths of his or her own being. Thank you for mentioning additional facts about Hitler's early home life.

    • ram_m profile image


      7 years ago from India

      A great hub for all to ponder. Yes you were right about Hitler. I had once read in a book entitled, 'The Mind of Adolph Hitler' by Walter C Langer (a Signet book) that Hitler's father Alois Hitler was a very domineering person and a virtual tyrant at home. Interestingly he was the illegetimate son of Maria Anna Schicklegruber. As you have rightly said "...negative input imposed upon a child from the authoritative "others" rests mostly on the others' own poor perceptions, agitation, or sour dispositions, rather than on the child's actual aptitudes and character..."

      This is a fact which we adults have to realize and internalize. I'm glad you have written about a topic of such importance. Thank you for this thought provoking hub.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      It is a multilevel kind of subject which bears much honest thought and demands practical application if children are to be helped in forming clear, positive self images which allow them to be productive and able to enjoy life. I am passionate about it, Billy. Too many children are crippled emotionally by being programmed to accept themselves as negative. And it is done by their parents and/or others around them out of ignorance of the major consequences.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Billy.

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      8 years ago

      What a powerful hub and the extending discussion is fascinating. Self image is something that can be crushed through manipulation, intentional or otherwise. You touch on some very powerful studies and historical facets but I love the way you make it accessible for everyone. Thanks for sharing your insight.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thanks, Tony! - It was one of my first hubs, actually. The research was over a lifetime, though, not for the hub, which is more a summary of what I've observered and looked into further - through folks such as Abraham Maslow & Carl Rogers, to name a couple of them, & it's something to which I've given much thought over this lifetime.

      But I just sat down and wrote this, so I must take full credit for any inconsistencies in it. But it is heartfelt, at least. Thank you for your vote of confidence!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      This is such a fantstically wonderful Hub I can't believe I haven't gotten to it sooner! Your research and the way you have put it all together are just awesome! Like our friend De Greek I fell I can't say any more without sounding patronising, which I would hate to do! Just a warm and heartfelt thanks to you for writing this.

      Love and peace


    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      hm - Yes, Juelstephen. Very valid points. And certainly "time" is so relative, if. indeed, it exists in reality - whatever that may be.

      It requires being able to think simultaneously of the temporariness of it all and also the "hard" facts & firt-hand realities, if one is to be able to come to any kind of terms with the vast unknowns, which are possibly overwhelmingly oblivious to our lives here.

      It's one thing to say this is all a mist of some sort, and quite another to feel one's own pain & anquish & to know what it must be like for others who feel as much or more personal pain & anquish.

      Injustices such as slavery of other human beings certainly are major realities & of course there are risidual effects. How could there not be? What is amazing is the triumphantly GOOD spirit which emerges.

      All of the effect are surely not in the past, otherwise they wouldn't hinder progress forward. But the progress is pretty phenomenal, especially considering some of the oopposition to it. To me, the greatest victory is to retain one's humanity in spite of all who would chip away at it. At one time, "The Birdman of Alcatraz" was my personal hero. I figured if he could hold on to his true nature in his extreme circumstances, surely I could hold to mine!

      Each person has an individual, largely subjective perception & comprehension of others & what their experiences have been & are. All the more reason to reach out & try to link to our common humanity.

      You describe it well - "a vastly open entanglement of unified curtural interest, which have a purely capitalist push" - and yes - that does sort of negate a lot. In fact the description is a study in mated contraditions which characterize so much interaction between human beings. Open, entangled and unified - for starters. And it's horribly accurate!

      Well much does seem to be for sale. My observations are that people have bought into the glitz and followed am elusive carrot till the philosophies of hard work, decency and honor are all but lost to view. But it wasn't suddenly thrust upon us. We LET it happen. And the only remedy is to un-let it, provided anyone remembers what it was which was lost.

      Thanks again for sharing your insights. I knew I'd found a "juel" when I discovered you! :)

    • Juelstephen profile image


      8 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

      I have to say in the matter of the nature/nurture debate, the transparencies, which are ever so present in the societal cultures of the day, globally.

      It's funny the passage of time, or the perception of the passage of time. I say perception because it is exactly that if we give credance to the fact the slavery abolishment in the United States is still a very new enjoyment that not only still commands some long lasting residual effects, but still henders progress.

      Globally, the world is literally becoming a vastly open entanglement of unified cultural interest, which have a purely capitalistic push, which sort of negates the whole nature/nurture debate, as everything appears to be for sale.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you so much lorlie! I've been fascinated with the debate as well as the real-life evidence about it - far too frequent, in fact. I am beginning to think, too, that the self-images learned early in these times with so very much interaction and "transparency" may cause them to be deeper and either more helpful or more damaging than in more laid-back times when exposure to others was more limited and young folks had more time & opportunity to sort things out between calls to perform or respond.

      I really appreciate your visiting and commenting!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I've always been fascinated with the nature/nurture debate that continues to rage in psychology. Nellieanna, this is a most extraordinary hub in it's insight and clarity.

      Thank you so very much!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thanks, Juelstephen! I'm pleased that you keyed into it. I intend to read your "Practical Therapy" series, too. Those deviations you mention are not inherently unfriendly if they're recognized, admitted to and given mutual respect. All too often, though, those are not the conditions in which they exist - unfortunately!

      To me - the wonderful variety of talents and ideas are what make life interesting. I wouldn't want everyone to be alike! Naturally - some differeces in viewpoints simply fit each other better than others. But never should that be a reason to say to someone, "I'd like you better if you were different!" And almost always, there are areas on which people CAN agree and communicate well.

      We can appreciate and respect the differences and learn from them, too! It's enriching for all if it's embraced!

      There's much to say about expectations, as well. I'm touching on that reality within my Magnolia story/series, which is set in and after WWII, when the expectations of the generation who went off to the war and those who were born to them following it had so little common ground and the reasons were virtually unrecognized - as divisive factors often are. Having noticed it helps me understand a lot more about then and the procession of events since then.

      I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your hubs!!

    • Juelstephen profile image


      8 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

      This is an excellent article and extremely insiteful. It is partially this line of thinking, which brought to the inclination to write "Practical Therapy" in my own hubs. Our own humanistic deviations tend to be our own worse enimies, especially in the areas of dealing with other people, and more importantly, excepting other peoples views on the world. That no two peoples experiences are exactly the same, even if the case that they were brought up under the same roof, with the same parentage. Expectations are different. Feelings are different.

      Very well written, Nellieanna.

      Very well done, indeed!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Yes - you're so right, Maita. Many adults have no clue. When I hear a mom or dad yelling at a kid who's misbehaving in a public place, it seems apparent that in private the kid's been well conditioned to expect to misbehave - and to expect to be yelled at. Kid is immune to the yelling; parents are immmune to understanding the kid. Really sad.

      And - there are other ways a young'un can be conditioned to regard himself/herself as "less-than" in some way. The message of all examples seems to be that the kid begins to accept that they deserve no better than they're conditioned to endure.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      8 years ago from US

      amazing thoughts, research and thought provoking ideas Mam, self image of children is very importnant specialy positive ones, but some adults dont undertand this. I rated this up Mam, Maita

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      After running right over to your site and "meeting" you as soon as I found your comment here, I'm blown away with your approval of my hub! Thank you, drbj!

      My name often causes a variety of pronunciagions, but it's pronounced just as it looks - nellie-anna, with a slight accent on the "ann" syllable. (You peeked into another hub, I see! :-)

      But, yes, Granny Annie is straightforward & easier. It started when my first grandchild who is now almost 36 was little and I was still known as Ann. She has four younger sisters and two teenagers of her own, all who call me Granny Annie or GA.. I wish they all had been given benefit of this insight along the way.

      Sadly, there are cases - as I'm sure you keenly know - when diametrically opposed veiwpoints of the two parents, fortified by other family members for the opposite view, create serious barriers to being able to successfully impart it by one minority parent. But hopefully more young parents will realize and apply it, though many statistics are not overly encouraging.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Nellieanna - what a lovely name but I can understand why your grandchildren call you, "Granny Annie." Much easier to say.

      This is a thoughtful, well-written and insightful hub. If only new parents could somehow be blessed with this insight as they go about raising their children.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Yes, it's the present one can manage. As for the information about Hitler and art school, I'm sure I saw it on PBS last year but can't find it now in the PBS archives. However, the following link is a site that touches on the same story and includes several videos of art historians:

      The site also advises Hitler's contempt for Jews can't solely be blamed on rejection from the Vienna Academy, but from all I've read, it certainly was critical in changing the course of his life. It's also believed that the small size or total absence of human figures in the drawings he submitted to the Academy admissions panel indicate he was mildly autistic, which would account for his disproportionate anger at minor slights, his obsession with subjects that caught his attention, and his lack of empathy for other humans.

      Considering that he came very close to attaining his dream of conquering all of Europe, it's hard to imagine him as a homeless drifter living on the streets of Berlin for several years before enlisting in the German army. Or that during those years, he had a number of Jewish friends.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      The story of your early years brings sadness to me, but your strength and courage to triumph in spite of it is a beacon example for others. What a terrible situation for you while it was in progress, though! My ex-m-i-l was also an only girl with 7 brothers. I didn't know that much about her early years except that she was expected to wait on the brothers and do very hard work. Later she was to become a hellion to her husband. The poor guy couldn't make a move without her anger, contempt and emotional abuse heaped upon him. The result of that was that my ex, after growing up in that environment, chose to emulate her, the "winner" and make sure he would never be in the position his Dad was in. I was in no way a threat to him or in competition with him. Had an old fashioned intention to be a good wife & mother but he carried out his agenda. I'd met him when he was a cadet, no family connection to know about. Anyway - it's the present one can manage - learn from experience but stay positive.

      Amazing inside info about Hitler! Have never heard that. WOW. It certainly does explain the pathological bsessions. I'm glad to have the information. Thanks!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      A child's sense of self-worth is embedded from birth. I happened to be the first child born to a woman whose siblings' first-born were boys. Strike one for me. My mother wasn't particularly pretty and therefore was instantly jealous of her "cute" daughter. She would fly into a rage if my father, from an openly affectionate family, paid the slightest bit of attention to me. The result being, to keep some semblance of peace, he didn't unless we were visiting his side of the family, where my mother didn't dare express her displeasure. I was understandably envious of my cousins on my dad's side, who had NO idea my brother and I weren't being raised like them, in a loving, nurturing environment.

      I was beaten nearly every day of my life by my mother until the age of 12, at which time my father found out what she was doing while he was at work and ordered her to stop "or else" (he'd take me and my brother and leave). I didn't beat or mistreat my own children, and to my knowledge, they don't beat or mistreat theirs, so the cycle of violence and abuse *can* be broken.

      That said, I cannot feel sorry for those who blame a "bad" childhood for acts of violence later in life. No matter how they are played out, such acts are a choice. A perpetrator *chooses* to ensnare a victim or victims, he/she *chooses* to obtain a gun or explosives with which to torture and/or kill them.

      It's my understanding that in his youth, Hitler was a budding artist who was rejected by a prestigious art school which happened to be owned and run by a Jew. He never forgot the sting of the rejection, and this is thought to be the reason he singled out Jews for extermination. Had the school been run by someone of a different faith, he would've set out to exterminate that religion's followers instead.

      Further credence to the theory that having his artistic career thwarted as the reason for his later madness is evidenced by the fact that he ordered art treasures in the countries his armies invaded be treated with extreme care and delivered to him. He was quite proud of his "private collection" and those invited to view it knew better than to mention that the paintings and other objects de art in "his" collection were actually stolen from their rightful owners.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Stop that! Maybe you don't reognize it. Trust me, map-reading is not the standard. There are many kinds of minds. There are right-hemisphere oriented brains & left-hemisphere oriented. And brilliant examples of each one. I'm just an everyday person. Frankly, it took me over half my life to realize I wasn't some sort of dunce. Anyway - we'd have lots of things to discuss and both of us would learn.

    • lisadpreston profile image


      8 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      That was so very, very charitable for you to say that I have a remarkable brain. Do You know that I cannot even read a map???? I am not kidding, I cannot find my way around the block. But I just love you to death. You have an amazing spirit and you are so intelligent. I would feel pretty stupid discussing anything with someone as bright as you are but I would love too. I could learn so much.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thanks, Lisa - I appreciate your reading the hub. For certain, the mind is a complicated subject - because it is a complicated organ. It fascinates me. So many facets, so many possibilities.

      Would love to discourse with you any time! You have a remarkable brain!

    • lisadpreston profile image


      8 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Written with much intelligence and wisdom. The mind is a complicated subject. I agree with most of what you wrote. I'm not an organized religious person however I do believe in a connection to the mind and the soul. Another indepth discourse. Too lengthy for the comment box. I did enjoy reading this and it gave me a lot to think about. As if I needed more to think about in this crazy brain!!!!!!!!!!!!So thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Smile.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Susan - after I'd replied to another comment on this hub and then saw your URL recommendation, I had to wait for the previous one to clear before responding, in which time I was distracted by sleep. This morning's errands have finally paused and I'll definitely look at the ASAP. Thank you in advance for sharing it that and for dropping by mine. Will look forward to readig your comments on the guestbook!. :)

    • susanlang profile image


      8 years ago

      By the way, I did click on your personal website link and signed your guest book, left you some comments. My husband Mark was also a US Navy man. I welcome any feed back.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Timothy, how kind of you to visit here and read, consider and respond to my thoughts on this very vital subject with its many tentacles & involvements. Surely no one thrives without the support of his/her family with its individual members and components, especially when very young. And yes, it's not always and forever the same. It is held together by spiritual thread but it is effective through its real actions and deeds.

      Yes, the necessity for a strong personal foundation is almost a "given", isn't it? Such a foundation includes such things as decency, honor, kindness, courage and many other treasured values and principles which are the strong building materials for building a life in its many aspects. The principles have their roots in one's heritage, but where they grow and flower is in each life itself. As Shakespeare had his character Hamlet say when considering his options and finding all of them difficult, "Ah, there's the rub!" Well, perhaps a strong work ethic and a dollop of grit for mortar must be included among the foundation materials!

      Perhaps being of a different era which really was less hectic and when acquiring a strong foundation could be virtually assumed, tends me to take it for granted after it's borne up against all the challenges I've helped create for it, so that now, focusing on and checking out how well and whether those foundation values are working & bearing fruits in my own life as well as in others who aspire to or claim them genuinely concerns me. Walking the walk, not just talking the talk, as that saying goes.

      So thanks for pointing out the necessity and value of foundation, which I choose to discuss as foundation for character rather than to emphasize any of many specific religious interpretations. I deeply respect others’ religious beliefs & convictions, including those of non-belief, especially if the practitioners’ lives are in harmony with and exemplify the principles of their religious convictions. I simply prefer to not introduce them here.

      So thank you for your interest in my hub and for dropping by. It’s clear that you have good instincts.


    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      De Greek, admired friend, your comments are valuable to this author who, you probably know, writes from both heart & conviction. On the subject of a behavior outcome which IS largely in the hands of conscientious parents who may need to be reminded, my conviction becomes almost a passion which may produce a state having both considerable conviction & considerable passion, but it is never intended to suppress thoughtful disagreement in the form of either constructive criticism where found needed or precise clarification where found lacking. Yours have encouraged and improved my efforts several times already.

      Your astute observation about a fine-line difference in the terms "madness" & "deviant behavior" or a hybrid mating of terms is duly noted and appreciated. The terms do fit those situations you assign them to quite well.

      You're so right that genetic determination equals inevitability, sadly. Perhaps at some future time, through research & technological advances, genetics may become a treatable pre-condition which will be enabled and allowed to be repaired before birth confirms it to become a person's lifetime fate from that moment on, no matter how conscientious the parents are. Possibly even that dire life sentence can be medically/genetically reversed. We should never underestimate the risks when tampering with genetics and that dangers extend beyond the lab & operating room to powers unleashed in the hands of unscrupulous managers of such technology and its fruits. Treading lightly and carefully is a wise pace along such a path.

      Instances of parental child abuse & torture as you describe are perhaps the most unconscionable causes of future madness becoming the victims' sad fate. By the time the crimes are detected, such deep damage to the child victims has already been wrought that any suitable punishment of the abusers not only cannot pay for the crimes, but cannot help the real victims & cannot reverse their damage.

      But using those abusers to actively & constructively research their personal & family history could provide hope that potential future victims of such mad parents & other authority figures would be spared and allowed to grow up normally. It would be a major help to be able to fully trace the backward development to the very root conditions which produced such monsters as child abusers and to find the means to interrupt the progression of those kinds of conditions so they produce few if any further barbaric generations for homo sapiens' future.

      As for present-time offenders, they shouldn't have the slightest opportunity or freedom to ever endanger another child nor have another child entrusted to their care or under their influence by either legal or illegal means.

      Even so, their value as negative examples with complete histories could provide clues to the evolvement of their kind so as to suppress those kinds of progression before it can even begin in the future, while holding existing people who take responsibility for being parents or mentors accountable. If aspiring parents or mentors can't or won't accept & abide by those terms, the privilege of parenting should be justifiably denied.

      Criminal-mind family chains must be studied, revised and disrupted at all stages and levels involving children as victims.

      Thanks again, DG. :)

    • susanlang profile image


      8 years ago

      Your welcome and if you get some time stop by my page and read this

    • Timothy Donnelly profile image

      Timothy Donnelly 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Nellieanna, Interesting Hub with many good points. I would like to suggest that yes, a good FOUNDATION is most necessary, which is basically established during the Formative years.

      Quality time is good in what it is - i.e.: time being RESERVED for the children, and family. If the child or adult sees any negative connotations of reserving such a time, they best have already impressed the idea and belief, via example, of personal prayer. If not, then now is the time to start! A knowledge that anyone can pray to a loving God at any time (and indeed ought to do it all the time) enables the singled out, depressed - or happy person - to communicate their honest gratitude and hopes without fear of rebuke, to a personal higher power. This has a great effect on building one’s own awareness of conscience and thought process, and when done together between parent and child, demonstrates a loving acceptance in and kinship with a loving all powerful Creator and His Heavenly Family.

      FAMILY is the key word, even if the child is an orphan, they still have a Heavenly Family. An instilled faith of this wonderful, yet hard to prove reality can establish in the developing and challenged person (or the just happy and thoughtful person who wishes to express their gratitude) a bulwark of safety, retrenchment, and meditation that can only have positive results. Gentle, loving guidance is what must be exemplified, so that a FALSE, overbearing inculcation (or brainwashing) is not the errant experience. I reiterate, if not done during the formative years, this secure foundation can be established henceforth, along with an exemplification of a patient witness to its truth and effectiveness.

      Thank you for bringing this thoughtful Hub forward - the subject matter is certainly one that touches all of our lives.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      I have the impression that if I comment on the quality of this piece and how intelligent you obviously are, it will sound at least patronising. I never cease to be surprised at your obvious and unusually high intelligence.

      This is a university lecture by a university professor. As a result, I shall not risk making a horse’s ass of myself by disputing any part of it.

      Only to observe the following:

      It appears that there are children who are born with problems such as schizophrenia and there are children who are mentally tortured into mental illness. There are many examples of the inevitability of genetics, even on this site. Mothers sharing their thoughts regarding their children’s evolvement into an inevitable state, provide convincing evidence that this became apparent at an early age.

      It would appear that “madness” might be genetic but “deviant behaviour” a matter of training. At times it could possibly be a combination of the two.

      A classic example is the current investigation of animals who were allowed into the Catholic Church in Ireland and Germany and which animals abused their position to absolutely destroy innocent lives.

      Such a hugely interesting subject with Nellie laying the seed for an endless discussion on the subject.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Susan! You sound like someone who does have first-hand experience with and possibly a profound effect on the lives of children, possibly especially those who bear the scars of unstructured upbringing or even worse. In any case - I appreciate your reading and commenting on my thoughts.

      I freely admit that I'm possibly too passionate about the roles of parents with all the opportunities and the heavy responsibilities those roles bestow on them. And I am fully aware of the challenges and difficulties involved.

      It only makes me wonder all the more why & how such mementous positions in the lives of others can be minimized, compartmentalized and sometimes even ridiculed as aspiring to be a worthy goal & career, especially for mothers, or how any kind of material goodies can justify choosing another career above it in order to provide more material goodies to their children.

      I almost hesitate to (and frankly - rarely do) express such a passionate stand on it, knowing how accepted it has become to do just that. Of course in situations when having another job means the difference between eating or not, that doesn't fit into the same category, though many times that may be the result of earlier misjudgments about choosing the other parent for them, which may harken back to the previous parenting style and its consequences.

      But it's about "having to" have two incomes to provide a lifestyle which is not necessary, in the word's pure meaning, and surely not at the price of probable damage to the children. Yet the sad fact is that it's become the norm rather than the exception, while the idea of one parent supporting a family in which the other is the core around which the family revolves and upon which it depends 24/7 is somehow cast as absurd old-fashioned nonsense, unworthy of even an audition.

      Quality time! The new norm. The special few hours each week - or even each day - ruled by schedule for "family time" is the glorified ideal. One must wonder what becomes of a youngsters questions about life or tears over hurts that happen any time of any day? Do they jot them down to bring up at the next scheduled Quality Time? Or do they turn to the internet or their peers for answers and comfort?

      Meantime, the stay-at-home mom is pictured as a klutz with such limitations that no amount of her time and attention could possibly compare with or equal that Quality special few hours which the dynamic mom who can take care of a corporation and a family with equal dexterity and efficiency, provides her brood.

      Sorry - the proof is in the puddings and there are just too many spoiled puddings on the window-sills to keep peddling that scenario! I think.

      Thanks for that lovely compliment about my light. I am passionate about maintaining my one little light in whatever degree of darkness I am in. It's the source of my animos, probably and surely is the small still guide which has lit my own way through my own darknesses. It's certainly the flintstone of my own courage which I wouldn't dare abandon while life is in me. Thank you!

    • susanlang profile image


      8 years ago

      Nellie, I just read your story. You hit the high points and spoke truth. The human condition (the mind), is extreamly complex. None of us will ever master our own mind to the level perfect, sadly. As you say, we as adults have the power to shape the mind of and future actions of our children. That being said, what I see in many outcomes with children leaves me with a feeling of powerless to change many who have been harmed. Your insight is respected and detailed to a great degree. I hope many read this hub and pass along the information you provided. Thank you, and may your light never go out!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you Merlin and FP for your kind approval! I appreciate being appreciated.

      It is a deep subject, though my experience of the madness of Hitler was from seeing the RKO News "short subjects" attached to the movies I saw in a small town in Texas when I was a young kid when they began to cover the devastation done to eastern Europe, France, England, and then when my own kinsmen were involved in the fighting. My brother-in-law was in Libya, Morocco and Italy during that time when that mad thirst for power and conquest had extended into North Africa.

      But it was when the news stories began to show what was happening in the concentration camps back in Germany & neighboring conquered states, that, even as a kid, I was sickened and appalled.

      Was Hitler mad, Merlin? Who could doubt it? And were those who fell into goose-step to follow him mad? Here we need to think long and hard and try to consider how it must have been for them. They were mostly ordinary people of various means in a country which had thrived and also survived under both good and bad leaders. They hadn't dreamt the dreams this new leader proposed nor had they experience with anything of its kind. They allowed their own judgment & consciences to be sucked in so as to be virtually paralyzed with fear as well as with hope for a better world and a thoughtless hunger to share in the power and to be on the "winning side". If it was madness, it was probably not with unique motivations. Those who went on to carry out the atrocities had so seared their consciences and lost their respect for human life and rights surely had to have gone mad, too.

      But are they very much different from all those who blindly follow the leaders to the point of a sort of numbed passion enough to become Crusaders and to ride into peaceful countries to attempt to annihilate them for their beliefs? In principle if not in deeds, are their mindsets not akin even to the James Jones followers who docilely drank poison to kill themselves and their own children in order to comply with the leader and his dogma? One could go on and on and it would begin to get a bit too close to home, perhaps.

      But a lesson to be learned for everyone surely is to be aware and to teach the children to be aware and beware of zealots and those engaged in the emotional game of any kind of religious, political or patriotic one-upmanship. They all bear the same red flags, if we pay attention.

      And if we don't maintain our own ideals through our individual awareness and alertness, in order to preserve our standards of what is right so that we don't buy into any "ends justify means" lines, then certainly we need to learn to examine both ends and means being fed to us before we bite the bait, swallow it and pay the price!

      FP, I must admit that I'm old-fashioned. I cannot believe anyone else is as good a parent to children as their own, with one of both of them always there for and with them. How else can parents be aware of and in maximum control of what they're discovering about themselves and the world around them? It is especially vital when the children are very young - but also all up into their years of emerging, when their values & beliefs begin to be demonstrated & applied in their choices.

      The fulltime parents who have been with them & have guided them throughout the preceeding years should know them well enough to be able to recognize any serious problems. Hopefully those years will have helped protect against any taking root or will have nipped them in the bud, but if any seeds of distorted serious image problems did arise and survive, eventually their poisonous sprouts should become observable to attentive parents before it's too late to prune them.

      So should parents be perfect? NO! Can good parents make mistakes? YES! Are parents to blame if problems exist and they failed to notice, heed the signals, or to care? I'm not in charge, so I'd have to leave that question up to the parents own consciences & best judgment to determine. Certainly it's never too late to try to repair damage. But between parents and their children it's not a win/lose matter. It's more like either a win/win or a lose/lose one if children grow into adulthood with unresolved problems of the magnitude this discussion touches on and certainly not to be taken lightly.

      Yes, parenting is a scary responsibility which probably deserves much more preparation for the job than it gets. People must get more training and accreditation to qualify for running a barber shop than most young people get for embarking on a life-changing full-lifetime job of becoming a parent.

      Those fortunate enough to have experienced good parents have some advantages but even they may have on rose-colored glasses or even blinders when they become parents themselves. I know I did!

      Training should start with how to pick a mate to have the childen with! And that may harken back to encouraging the kids to have positive self-images, too. Many young people get into poor choices from positions of self-doubt or despair. Those are poor reasons to embark on such a serious venture with anyone. The consequences can be grim and difficult to repair. People will get hurt. It must be taken seriously BEFORE any damage is begun, ideally before a life choice is made.

      A large part of good parenting involves being a one of the parents who are there willingly sharing the same goals & pursuing them together. It seldom happens that way by pure luck or accident. And it's probably better that there be only one good parent present than that there be two in conflict, especially regarding the children's best interests.

      Anyway - that's my story and I'm sticking to it, as they say!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      8 years ago

      Nellieanna, your wisdom and experience shines through in all your hubs. :)

      I think parents and other adults with influence in a child's life have such a scary responsibility...not only the physical present, but the mental future and well being of that child are dependent on the example they are setting.

      Having said that - what is deviant? It's so relative, isn't it? What we consider deviant could be the norm for someone else.

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 

      8 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      You never cease to amaze me with the sheer depth of your thoughts and your writing encourages everyone who reads it to think deep and meaningful thoughts as well.

      You ask was Hitler Mad? Undoubtedly, Did he start Mad and get worse or was he just a paranoid little man who became drunk with power that led to madness?

      But what does that say about the millions who followed him and did his bidding, were they all mad ?


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