Crazy Makers! They’ll make you crazy!

shutterstock_118716532A friend and I planned to meet at 4:30. At 4:50, she called to ask if we were still meeting. Sitting in the restaurant waiting for her, I wondered how I had come to believe we had plans, but she didn’t. Checking my text messages, I saw that we had agreed on a restaurant and time. I felt a bit queasy. She claimed I was one of her best friends, and yet this happened sometimes. My mind scurried back and forth like a squirrel in the road. “My best friend” sat at one curb. On the other was, “I don’t feel a desire to show up as planned and it isn’t a big enough deal for me to remember it, much less look forward to it. When she did finally remember, she claimed she was busy and simply forgot things. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

This is crazy making behavior. It’s a set of contradictory messages. The words say, “We have a great friendship,” and the behavior says, “You are forgettable.”

Crazy making runs the gamut from occasional forgetfulness and irresponsibility to severely abusive behavior. It can be obvious, but sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint what the contradiction is. A sure sign that you are experiencing crazy making is a sense of confusion and a sinking feeling. Crazy messages are incongruent. Often, one of the messages is not explicit, as in the ad for an attorney who  says, “We care about you!” as he shakes his head back and forth in a clear but unspoken denial.  The husband who declares undying love in a greeting card, makes his wife crazy when he walks away in the middle of the story she is telling.

When you feel that sinking feeling, look for the double message. It will usually not be hard to find if you remain awake. The contradictory half of the message is usually something the other person does not want to confront. We all do this from time to time, but some of us are less willing and able than others to confront the contradiction, and maybe we do not know there is a contradiction to confront.

The crazy making message may mean, “I really want to see you, but I am totally out of control and cannot keep track of my appointments.” On the other hand, it can mean, I say “I love you,” so you will make me a priority, but I am not really that into you.

When a relative is red in the face, huffs and puffs, and growls, “I’m not angry!” It could mean he’s angry at something which has nothing to do with you, or it could mean there is hostility below the surface that he wants to express without taking responsibility for it.

I am often called on to apply my intuition when clients experience such behavior, especially from a romantic interest.  However, it doesn’t take intuition to understand it. The client is reacting to the feeling that someting is suspicious in the relationship, and is likely sweeping the negative message under the carpet. She calls me, hoping I will tell her everything is okay.  But, we end up confronting the inconsistency that tells me everything is not okay.

The secret agenda of the crazy maker may not be anything sinister or dramatic. It is likely to be some feeling he is not comfortable expressing. It could be a sign of bad communicatiom or it could be sign of a bad relationship. Whatever the reason, frequent crazy-making from someone you interact with can make you, well, crazy.

Someone who wants to avoid negative feelings will be contradictory frequently, but may own up when confronted.  But if they are elusive, vague, minimize your concern, or explode at your “accusations,” they are unwilling to confront the issue honestly.  Stand back and take a long un-confused look before you go any further.

Don’t let the confusion be an excuse for giving the benefit of the doubt when it is not deserved. Shake the dust from your feet.  Move on to more honest relationships. Then when you consult me, we’ll be laughing about all the opportunities I see ahead of you for love and prosperity!

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