Ever talk with your male friends about their latest relationships and hear them end in exasperation, saying, “She’s crazy. Women are all crazy”?
Ever chat with a girlfriend about your latest date/boyfriend/husband and find yourself summing it up with “What is he thinking? He’s just insane!.”
Well, here is the honest to goodness truth: He’s right, and you’re right; we are all crazy.
According to an article by Tim Leberecht published last week in Psychology Today, when we resist discomfort we deny ourselves “the chance to shake ourselves out of our predictable perspectives and allow ourselves to make astute observations we could not possibly have made before.”
What could possibly be more uncomfortable than looking in the mirror and saying to yourself, “That’s right, I am crazy”?
I am not talking about diagnostics here; I am not saying that all of us need to be in a psychiatrist’s office getting prescriptions for meds.
But if any of us takes a good, clear look at ourselves and our circumstances, we’ll certainly find at least one tiny cuckoo bird hanging out in every single one of our carefully decorated nests.
As a divorce mediator, I hear a lot of stories — crazy stories. Literally, Dr. Phil types of stories. One of the most common experiences I have when first talking to a new client is their sheepish look as they share the biggest crisis in their marriage. It always starts, “I know this is going to sound crazy, but …”
None of it sounds crazy to me anymore because all of it is so crazy. Crazy life circumstances are just plain normal.
This does NOT mean I am advocating for allowing dysfunctional relationships and behaviors to continue.
This does NOT mean you should allow yourself to be emotionally, verbally or physically abused.
This does NOT mean you or a partner battling mental illness should avoid treatment or go without seeking support.
What it does mean is that we can all stand to take a look at ourselves and those people with whom we choose to have relationships, and ask ourselves whether or not our particular brands of crazy are a match.
Your quirks are a part of you and they always will be. I can guarantee that your man has plenty of his own. You don’t have to accept his and he doesn’t have to accept yours. If that is how it is going to be, consider moving on.
I have yet to see a couple going through a divorce whose marriage was formed with a baseline of acceptance and adoration of these crazy quirks. In most cases, each person knew exactly in what ways the other persons’ craziness manifested before they entered the marriage. They just figured it would change.
That is so wrong. The key to a strong marriage, romance or relationship of any kind is finding someone who finds your crazy tendencies to be adorable and exciting, and whose own crazy tendencies make you laugh and smile.
In order to develop your own “studied craziness,” try this five-step approach:
1. Accept your crazy.
Once you can allow yourself the freedom of knowing that you are a crazy chick — and so are your girlfriends, your daughters and your moms — you can finally stop beating yourself up for it.
If more of us women start to recognize this about ourselves, we can stop judging ourselves and each other so harshly.
2. Embrace your crazy.
The truth is, women’s unique brand of crazy is quite magical. As long it doesn’t cross the line into pathology, feminine craziness is actually quite attractive to most men, because it is part of what makes women so different from themselves and a mystery to be uncovered.
So, know and admit that you are crazy, and also be prepared to check your behavior and apologize if you take it too far.
3. Monitor your crazy.
Yes, I am telling you to let your freak flag fly, but not so wildly that you get haphazardly swept into the wind. You do not get to use your crazy as an excuse to behave badly. You do not get to use your crazy as a way to avoid responsibility. No one else gets to do that to you either.
4. Harness your crazy.
Where in your life is your crazy serving you, and where in your life is it holding you back? I am proposing that we develop a “studied craziness.”
Be aware of your triggers and be aware of any tendencies you have to take it too far; this way, you can make a concerted effort not to let your emotional shifts take yourself or those you care about to a place that will be damaging in any way.
5. Share your crazy … with care.
One of the greatest things about finding peace with your own particular brand of crazy is that you can gain much better insight into your compatibility with others.
Your best friend is crazy, but her craziness and yours likely match up and complement each other’s. If you have a friend whose level or expression of crazy brings you to a place where you find yourself dreading spending time together, you don’t have to judge her as any more crazy than you are. Just understand that you are not a match and move on.