Have you reached the end of your rope with the crazy makers in your life? I have them in my life as well, and even with psychological training, they frequently throw me off-course. Sometimes you can't escape them. They are your ex, colleagues, friends, lovers or family members, sometime you have to co-parent with them. Perhaps you must have regular contact with them, leaving you with feelings of dread and terror, and even physical symptoms. Crazy makers drain your energy and consistently engage in controlling, destructive, manipulative and reckless behaviors, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.
They set traps for you, you can't win. They create drama, and then more drama. Their behaviors show up as excessive negativity, anger, aggression, addictions, recklessness, splitting (extremes of good/bad), envy/jealousy, grandiosity, trap-setting, gaslighting and sabotage. They may already have an actual psychiatric diagnosis such as Histrionic, Borderline, Narcissistic or Antisocial Personality Disorder, and behaviors related to trauma, abuse and substance abuse. You experience fatigue and overwhelm from being in their negative vibration and the practical aspects of cleaning up their messes. You may even wonder if you are the crazy one as they engage in projection, shaming and blaming behaviors. Essentially, they play the victim, turning things around in a nanosecond. What follows are some important things to remember:
If you're co-parenting, seek professional counseling to support you and your children.
Develop healthy boundaries. Crazy makers will continually pull you back in to their web--they charm and manipulate. Learn to notice when you are being played. The trauma bond is powerful and pulls at you again and again.
Difficult people are often leaders, so you are likely to run into them frequently and you will need skills to protect yourself.
They often play the victim. This can be confusing.
Challenging individuals usually don't change because they rarely recognize that their behaviors are problematic. They usually have to hit rock bottom before they enter treatment. They rarely acknowledge shortcomings or take constructive feedback because they are so fragile. Good therapy can help them develop healthier, more realistic self-esteem, identify with their own pain which can generalize to others and develop more socially appropriate ways of relating and coping skills.
Heal yourself, seek therapy to clear the toxicity. You aren't likely to get the closure you need from them. Stop trying to get them to see your pain. It won't happen. You may have to do this healing on your own. You may also have PTSD so find a trauma therapist who understands your symptoms. If it's trauma from a parent, heal your inner child.
They leave a trail of destruction behind them. They wreck things like companies (destruction) and relationships (infidelity and betrayal).They tend to blow things up. They also move on.
You won't win. Cut your losses and use your energy in other more important ways.
They have generally experienced a history of neglect, shame, abandonment and other painful, traumatic experiences that have led to their current life circumstances.
Recognize that you've known about this problem behavior but something kept you from acting sooner. You can learn from your instincts and protect yourself in the future.
Activate your vagus nerve. Learn more about this here. One of my favorite ways to do this is by practicing deep, diaphragmatic breathing.
Some relationships are easier to exit gracefully than others. I make the choice to work with some challenging personalities because I'm trained and can set helpful, therapeutic boundaries. In my personal life, I have a low threshold for problem personalities. When they are a family member, it is particularly difficult, even heartbreaking, to make the decision to sever ties. I've known young adults who have necessarily had to sever relationships with a toxic parentRead More