“When you see crazy coming, cross the street.” Iyanla Vanzant
Some weeks there are consistent themes across my clients, similarities in the struggles or challenges they’re facing, making it very clear what I need to write about. This was one of those weeks.
Here’s just one example:
Lynn is in the process of unwinding an abusive and controlling marriage that has taken its toll on her self-esteem, her value and worth and also on the relationship she has with her family and her children. She has expressed to her husband that she does not want him sleeping in the home anymore and certainly not in her bed with her at night. She says she no longer feels emotionally safe as a result of all the verbal and emotional abuse and can no longer overlook his being in many other women’s beds just prior to coming home to hers.
Her husband, a seemingly confident and successful man, clearly is not equipped to have an emotionally healthy relationship, nor even a conversation about how their relationship stopped working a long time ago. But as a prominent politician in their town, he does not want to go through the embarrassment of a divorce, does not want to divide their assets, and certainly does not want it known that he is incredibly abusive to his wife of 20 years.
So, rather than have a grown-ass conversation about how it’s just not working and how to either change the dynamic to make it better or how to move forward in the most peaceful way possible, he wants to debate the facts:
“You keep throwing around the words verbally abusive. How have I been verbally abusive?”
He wants her to justify her feelings. He wants to debate the facts. He want to prove himself to be right and in the process show her all the ways her feelings are invalid (Without disclosing too much….I assure you, they’re not).
But if she engages in that discussion, she’s accommodating (what I affectionately call), “The Crazy.” It gets into a he-said, she-said….I’m right, you’re wrong argument that solves nothing.
It’s not solving the issues at hand…
It’s certainly not moving them forward in any productive way…
And it’s not even discussing or arguing about what the real issue is: They’ve become so disconnected that she’s ready to end their 20 year marriage (which seems worthy of a grown-ass discussion).
When we get into the details of defending our position, we’re engaging in The Crazy.
When we give specific examples and engage in debating one paragraph versus a body of work, we’re engaging in The Crazy.
When we get distracted and pulled away from who we are and where we’re headed, we’re engaging in The Crazy.
This is how patterns between the two of you stay in perpetual motion, on the merry-go-round of dysfunction. This is how you stay stuck in the questions without ever really moving into the answers.
Do you feel like you get drawn into The Crazy?
Do you feel like you’re on the same merry-go-round with your relationship over and over again?
Do you feel like you’re always defending, being made to feel like it’s your fault and that you’re wrong?
Then, stop engaging and elevate the conversation.