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Aethelflaed's avatar

What are you counting as "fine" when you say "blank happened, and I turned out just fine" (details)

Asked by Aethelflaed (13752points) July 2nd, 2011

Sometimes I hear people say things like “I was goth as a teenager, and I turned out just fine” or “My parents spanked me, and I turned out just fine”. Which leads me to question (especially when I don’t know the person well), what exactly it is that they think is fine. For instance, does turning out fine involve being free of non-hereditary mental disorders? What if they struggled with a heroine addiction for years, or went to prison? What if they got really depressed for years, and finally attempted suicide? What about got expelled from secondary school? What if they did one of those things, but now have a great life with a great job, family, friends, stable finances, etc? If a person says “I smoked pot, and I turned out fine”, do you disagree that they turned out fine if they also spent a couple years self-mutilating? How awesome does a person’s life have to be, and have to always have been, for them to have “turned out fine”?

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7 Answers

downtide's avatar

For me it would include all of the above. No mental disorders in adulthood, no criminal history, no drug use, no self-mutilation. It would also have to include having held down reasonably decent employment (or at least the capacity to do so, even if the economic situation doesn’t permit it), and having sufficient normal social relationships with others.

I don’t think I would count things like expulsion from school or things that a person did as a teenager. It’s absolutely possible to have a totally misspent youth and still “turn out fine” as an adult.

Lightlyseared's avatar

No permanant scars.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It seems like the majority of these comments are in response to a person using their past experience as an excuse for their own current behavior or as a stereotype for others that have experienced it. For example, if someone were to say, “I was spanked as a child, and it is why I am a physically abusive person”, then it becomes an excuse. If another were to say, “All children who were spanked as a child have the potential to turn into physical abusers”, then it is a stereotype. The speaker may get a response of, “I was spanked, and I turned out just fine.”

Many people bear the scars, be it physical or emotional, of what has happened in their past. If they use these experiences as an excuse for their actions in adult life, then it really isn’t a scar, is it? It is still an open wound, and it possibly festers. On the other hand, a scar is a past experience that has healed. To me, it represents a life experience that one has been able to overcome, but the memories are still there.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Whatever makes sense relative to the statement.

Since I recently said here on Fluther that I was spanked as a child and I turned out just fine, I’ll use that as my example. I was spanked as a child and I grew up to be mild-tempered, polite, gentle and kind. I don’t have flashbacks, I don’t resent my parents, and I feel like there was a healthy balance of discipline and love in my childhood. I don’t cower in fear when someone makes a sudden movement and I don’t see red or fly off the handle when my kids do something wrong.

Does that mean that I’ve never struggled with mental illness or gotten in trouble at school? No way. My life has been far from perfect. I have struggled immensely through many periods… but I attribute those times to the genuinely fucked up and traumatic things that have happened in my lifetime. Not to the occasions where I got slapped for doing something stupid.
To me, if someone says “I experienced such and such and turned out fine,” then fine is completely relative to the statement being made. Who is so perfect to have never gotten into trouble or struggled with depression or had some kind of rough or bumpy patch in their life? If we used that standard… then virtually no one is “fine.”

augustlan's avatar

Generally, I’m not a fan of this saying. Because, here’s the deal: I was sexually abused for 13 years, had a mother who let it happen, did dangerous things in my teens, was depressed and suicidal for much of my life, and am finally in a place where I could honestly say “Look what I went through, and I turned out fine.” In the end, I really am fine. Whoop-de-doo. Still sucks that it happened, you know? And lots of other people who’ve gone through similar things are not fine, and may never be.

This is applicable even to much milder things, like spankings. What seems minor to one person can be major to another. I don’t think we should judge whether a behavior is good/just/acceptable just on how we ourselves turned out after experiencing it.

woodcutter's avatar

I am a product of a broken home and I probably turned out fine.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@augustlan See, this is how I feel. Like if it was my kid, I don’t want them to turn out fine in the end and only at the very end, I want them to be fine the whole way through. So then bad things happening wouldn’t be so ok, because there’d be all this time where something happened and they didn’t turn out fine.

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