“Interesting how common the stereotype that woman dominate conversation. Just saw another joke: boy tells his dad he got a role as a married man of 25 years. Dad tells him keep working hard, maybe next time he’ll land a speaking role!
That has never been my experience. With my parents, yeah Mom talked a lot, not so much to Dad. He used to met with another guy for Bible study and ended up confronting Mom about "butting in constantly”. He felt his word was final. Me, I was the frog that started in cold water. Thought I’d found someone opposite, somehow instead jumped into someone with the worst traits of my parents. He was really good at talking about how different he was, I was a young, sheltered, abused 18 yr old from controlling parents. Sorry, just not being a sports guy doesn’t make you a superior male.
We’re 12 years in. He LOVES to hear himself talk. Politics is huge right now. I’ve heard the same overbeaten speeches over and over, can’t have a conversation that’s “interrupting” but if I am stringing more than a couple sentences together he gets a free pass because I “was taking too long”. I’ll then have to listen to a play by play of every conversation he has, demonstrating his superior reasoning and level of knowledge. (Please stop embarrassing me). I can’t relate an opinion, a good or negative experience, or anything really. I am constantly accused of ‘yelling’ sounding 'too confrontational’ 'asking stupid questions to piss me off’ and 'thinking I know it all’. Speaking of projection. Requests for patience and kindness are met with a list of my failures and then every every conversation for awhile after begins, 'I don’t know how to talk to you because you’re unreasonable/oversensitive but…’ 'ok we really have to watch how we say this so Mom doesn’t freak out. Honey, when are you planning on dinner? Did I say that ok?“
Now we’ve been stuck home since I lost my salaried position in March due to Covid shutdowns.
I can’t keep doing this.”
I’m sure she’s not alone in this.
If a child is emotionally/mentally abused, they will spend the rest of their life really wondering whether they were actually abused or whether they’re just blowing it out of proportion.
Emotional/Mental abuse will literally destroy a person from the inside-out and people will really have the nerve to tell them ‘it wasn’t that bad’
a phrase they would never say to someone who had suffered physical or se*ual abuse.
Yes, we need more mental health training in schools. We also need lessons so that children can identify their own abuse. Teachers need better training so they can identify the signs of abused children. We need safe spaces so children can disclose this abuse. And we need better mental health services in school so children can get the help they need.
And finally we need stronger laws and punishments for parents/guardians that emotionally abuse children. Because honestly they’re just as vile as people who hit their children.
Crazy making in relationships is a subtle dynamic that can leave you full of self doubt, wondering if you might be going crazy. Crazy making is a form of emotional abuse involving things such as mind games, intended to make you question yourself. It destabilises your confidence and slowly allows the other person to gain more control over you and the relationship.Thoughts such as “Is it just me?”, “Am I imagining things?” and “I am not sure anymore of what is wrong or right” all suggest that you might be in a crazy making relationship.
Crazy making in relationships involves calling in to question another person’s sanity, insisting on their ‘version of reality’ all the while projecting their defective inner landscape onto their target. Crazy makers are abusive individuals who try to convince their partners that they are defective in some way, in this way they make the victim more emotional, more needy or dependent.
Do you experience more self doubt than before, a sense that you used to be happier and more confident than you are now, feeling on edge when in the company of your partner, feeling as if you can’t do anything right, apologizing far more than you ever used to, constantly second guessing yourself, finding it harder to make simple decisions, or doubting your perceptions of the world around you?
All the above may be signs that you are in a crazy making relationship. Let me explain it a little more by giving you ten examples of crazy making behaviour. This article might just save your sanity…
1. When your partner convinces you that something happened when it didn’t (or vice versa)
An example of this could be a social event. You might be 100% sure that you were not made aware of an upcoming party and your partner will insist they told you. A one-off occurrence can happen to anyone but when this happens several times it is a form of crazy making.
2. Passive-aggressive behaviour
If you need to be somewhere at a specific time, your partner may appear to be dawdling. They will deny this if you point it out, but subtly they are thwarting your plans. You might ask for something and they will pretend not to hear you. An item that you keep in a regular place might get moved from that spot with denials that they ever touched it. These are all examples of passive aggressive behaviour. It is manipulative and subtle. Crazy making people are too clever to be overt in their actions as they know that their behavior would never be accepted so they find clever ways to undermine you. Ways that aren’t as obvious or could be open to interpretation.
3. Everything is somehow your fault
Crazy making partners rarely admit to doing anything wrong. They manage to twist events around and somehow the blame ends up back on you. Crazy making partners seem to end up as the victim all the time. They may provoke you until you can’t take it any longer. When you eventually react negatively towards them, they will be the ‘hurt’ ones.
Crazy makers project their internal chaos onto others. The emotional environment around them is tense, not rational and easy-going. Instead, people in their company often feel on edge, waiting to be picked on or judged in some way. When they make you feel anger, they are giving you a taster of what they feel all the time. They may cleverly disguise it, but crazy makers often have a history of tumultuous relationships. Generally, the more passive their partner is the longer the relationship will last.
5. Non-verbal body language sends a dismissive message
Crazy makers will often make you feel as if you are doing something wrong without uttering a word. Instead, they will sigh loudly, roll their eyes (and make sure you see it) or shake their heads while you do something. This sends you a clear message that they disapprove of your actions. Instead of engaging in rational verbal communication, their subtle gestures will become something you are very in tune with. This is perfect for crazy makers as they can then carry on with their disapproving signs even when in public. On an ongoing basis, this erodes self esteem and confidence making a person even easier to manipulate.
6. Making you doubt your perceptions
Crazy makers will say provocative statements and when you react, they will immediately let you know that you are being too sensitive or that you are overreacting and that you should listen more. They will tell you that you have misunderstood them. It will always be your fault, never will they apologise for saying something that upset you – it will be your fault for not understanding them correctly. They will rarely be bothered that they have said something to upset you, instead you will be blamed for your reaction. They rarely see their part in the ‘play’. You may try harder to please them because it feels like you are the cause of all the trouble when in fact, your perceptions are valid but are completely undermined in a crazy making relationship.
7. Hypocritical behaviour
You would think that a crazy maker would be perfect in every way as they seem to have so much to say about what others do wrong. Yet, often, crazy makers are the biggest hypocrites. There is one set of rules for them and another for everyone else. Don’t anyone dare tell a white lie or withhold information yet many crazy makers do this on a regular basis.
8. It’s all about control
Crazy making in relationships is all about gaining control. Crazy making behaviour often develops in childhood. When, as a child their emotional needs are not met, children learn dysfunctional ways to cope. They take these dysfunctional strategies with them into adulthood and try to use the same manipulative techniques in their adult relationships. Their manipulation tends to work better with other individuals with low self esteem although anyone is open to succumbing to this type of relationship depending upon their mental state at the time. Crazy makers are generally insecure people.
9. Subtle brain-washing
This can also exist when crazy making in relationships develops. Again, this is done in a subtle way as crazy makers try to get you to come around to their way of thinking. You may have packed the dishwasher for many years in a way that works perfectly well for you, when suddenly, this method will be challenged. “Why have you done that?” or “Why are you doing it that way?” You begin to question your way of doing things and the process of confidence erosion and self doubt commences. This is a form of control and links in with rigid thinking. Things have to be done in a certain way and if they aren’t, you can be made to feel that you are lacking in some way.
10) Setting you up to fail
This is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You will find that the rules change according to a crazy maker’s fickle wants and wishes. As the dynamic shifts, you will try harder to please them yet nothing ever seems to be quite right. I have witnessed confident people become a shell of their former selves after being in a crazy making relationship. It can happen to the best of us.
How to Deal With a Crazy Making Relationship:
When you start to realize that it isn’t just you and that there is more going on in the relationship which makes you feel you might be crazy, it relieves the pressure. It also becomes easier to identify crazy making in relationships. Remember that no matter what someone else does or how they try to influence your mood, you still have ultimate control over how you react. Remove yourself from the situation temporarily if you need to but refuse to allow another person to manipulate your mood. This is what helps them to feel powerful. When they see that their subtle ways are causing an emotional reaction in you, they feel that they have won. It’s a sad way to go about trying to feel important and powerful but then again crazy makers don’t think the same way as a healthy normal individual.
Crazy makers have dysfunctional thinking patterns that more often than not begin in childhood. As a child, when parents do not lot allow free expression of healthy emotion or suppress their children in some way, it sends a message to children that they are powerless. Subtle manipulation is one way a child can still feel like they have power – whether they do this by lying, stealing or withholding information, it allows them to cope with the stressful situation. These coping skills stay with these children but unfortunately do not serve them well in adult relationships. Manipulation will never get a person as far as good open communication will. This is something many crazy makers were denied as children. The parents ruled and the children obeyed.
Crazy making in relationships comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be difficult to spot as there are many variations. If you find that you have become indecisive, doubt yourself regularly (whereas before you were quite self assured), have lost confidence or generally feel something is amiss but you cannot put your finger on it, it might be that you are in a crazy making relationship. Learning to interact as adults is key to forming a solid relationship where manipulation is not used as a form of control.
If you’re the one who fucking broke me you’re not allowed to hate me. You can’t fucking hate me for pointing out your bullshit because you refuse to believe you did anything wrong.
They created in me a sense of deficiency,
That was just a sense it was not reality!
All the gaslighting that they did to me,
For years and years I now can see clearly…
Don’t underestimate the damage of childhood emotional neglect and abuse. The absence of loving emotional/verbal guidance from a caregiver makes people susceptible to cults. Without that voice of wisdom from someone who cares about them, they can easily fall prey to the cunning manipulation of the first wolf in sheep’s clothing who professes to accept them and have a promise of positivity for their future. For those of us who have never had a caregiver understand us or even try to get to know us, we can find ourselves searching for the family we never had. A child who is emotionally neglected and abused will become an adult overwhelmed by loneliness and emptiness, and all of us have a natural longing for community. I got into religious cults from 18-21, looking for the love and belonging I never got from my family. And because my family is headed by a narcissist, it operates like a cult so I was used to the shame/fear programming, brainwashing, mind control and manipulation tactics. Luckily I was able to wake up and get out before things got too dangerous, but that wasn’t without psychological and emotional scars.
What I wish someone would have told me as a young adult:
If you’re able bodied and you have the choice between financial stress or living with toxic/abusive family, take the financial stress.
Financial anxiety is nothing compared to the damage on your self worth, mind, heart and body done by prolonged abuse. You may think something like, “oh I can choose to not let it bother me, I’m handling it just fine…” but you’re probably just disassociating or using some form of addiction to temporarily numb the pain and it will all come up to the surface later. Years will go by and in those years of more trauma, abuse and gaslighting the brain fog you’re under will become so thick it will take you a long time to be able to see clearly when you’re finally away from them. You’ll be amazed at how years have gone by but you were so held back by the people you lived with that you still feel like a vulnerable child. You’ll also have to reckon with the losses to unhealthy coping mechanisms you used, like for me it was compulsive spending. I worked full time for years making much more money than I needed, but was so unhappy I spent every last cent and have no savings whatsoever that I really could use now that I’m disabled. I also pushed my body into burnout working full time because I didn’t want to be home.
If you don’t listen to your mind and heart, your body will force you to listen. I’m talking debilitating fatigue, chronic pain, auto immune disease. Then you won’t be able to work to earn money anyway.
My day so far, from 9am when I first came downstairs, til now (~11:45am):
•One hour of being told, via guilt trip, why it’s important to drop everything and care for the family golden child above all else. (Note: ironically, aforementioned gc is still waiting to be cared for due to mom willingly putting it off in favor of reprimanding me.)
•One hour of being mom’s marriage therapist: her reading about the types of love languages, and making thinly veiled references about all the ways my dad has failed to cater to hers.
•"bible study": re-reading today’s devotional to me although I’ve already read it, because apparently, i didn’t learn the right things from it when I read before.
During all of this, I must stay in her view at all times, and show physical signs of giving her my full attention; she asks questions in order to gauge whether or not I’m actually listening.