As a tomboyish teenager, with an awful haircut and an inability to admit to my obvious homosexuality, I spent a lot of my time watching television shows like C.S.I and The Bill. The gay in me must have seen something appealing about wearing a manly cut uniform and vile-looking shoes because I decided I wanted to end up working in the Police. But as I got to college and studied Psychology as an A-Level I realised it was the Psychology side of crime that I was more interested in, as well as a hereditary thirst for blood and all things fucked up (my Auntie is Myra Hindley, no joke). Cue me choosing to study a degree in Psychology. So I waved ‘bye bye’ to sanity as I knew it.
I don’t know if it’s the amount of time you have to spend reading about Psychological processes, or the fact that most Psychological research illustrates how lame humans actually are, but I find myself analysing every little thing people say. It’s not even a conscious decision, it is now just a natural process upon which I scrutinise every word that comes out of everybody’s mouth. Knowing you are being lied to is admittedly an irritating thing but I think most individuals would probably humour the other person and let them think they are being sneaky at being able to get away with twisting information. Not me. The Freud in me (not literally IN me, that would be wrong on so many levels) seeks to point out the flaw in the other person’s argument, as well as then never believing anything that comes out of that person’s mouth. And of course this is all down to their parents. Of course they wouldn’t lie if their Mother wasn’t overbearing and made them feel on edge. And why would their Mother be overbearing? Hmmm this MUST be down to a sad childhood, filled with neglect. These are just some of the thoughts that race through my head when I am sat there listening to somebody lie to my face.
When you study a Psychology degree, you are taught to critically evaluate research. In short this means being able to point out the strengths, but most importantly the weaknesses, of studies. To many people’s annoyance, this seems to extend to everybody’s personalities also. Psychology students feel the need to sit there and analyse what makes their friend/boyfriend/family member a good person and what it is ‘they could improve on’. Oh the arrogance of Scientists. I think if somebody came up to me and genuinely had a list of ‘traits’ I needed to work on, I would punch them in the face. But it’s all completely okay because we are Scientists and therefore we know what’s best for the human population. Of course we do; this is why the abundance of research has been put to good use in a way that improves the way human’s use logic. Wrong. Humans have no logic and so creating a field of study that attempts to delve into the depths of human consciousness is pointless.
I have been able to study many areas of Psychology but my favourites lie in the areas of Forensic/Investigative Psychology and Abnormal Psychology (got a 92 in my Mental Health final year exam, wahey!) It’s all well and good studying “normal” human behaviour but I thrive on knowing what it is that can tip somebody over the edge and what they can do as a result. However, in reading about the psychology of people such as Hitler, Ted Bundy, Auntie Myra and many others, it has turned me into such a paranoid person. You’d be surprised at how many people have a mental disorder and how many people are unaware of their own mental disorder. So they carry on plodding through life until ‘BAM!”, they have to wait an extra 10 minutes than their friends at McDonalds because they made the mistake of ordering a Filet-of-Fish meal. That’s it, psychological break. And because they were unaware of their psychological vulnerability, they do all sorts of crazy. It’s hard to trust people when you spend your days studying the horrendous things people are capable of. Moral of the story: do not stand behind anybody in a McDonalds queue who orders a Filet-Of-Fish meal.
As happy as I am to have completed my degree in Psychology and be able to pursue a career within the field of human behaviour, for my own sanity if nothing else, I definitely feel like I need a break from psychoanalysing. There’s only so many meanings you can draw from the way somebody looks at you, or the way somebody walks, or the reason the gypsy in Superdrug chose that vile orange-looking foundation.
By: Laura Hindley – LauraHindley2