“Into each life some rain must fall…” Wadsworth had that right. What he didn’t warn me was that my rain would not be water, but Crazy People.
I believe that everyone has a certain number of Crazy People in their life. I seem to have a plethora of them in mine. Of course it does beg the age old question: Is it them or me? But that is a different Conversation for us to have.
This little thought of mine is not a discussion about those who suffer actual mental illness. I am a firm believer that mental illness is a serious disease and should be treated as such. This Conversation is about the people we all know who aren’t medically “crazy”…they’re just nuts.
The biggest problem with the Crazy People is how do you deal with them? If you are a rational, reasonable person, your first instinct is usually to try to be rational and reasonable with them. BIG mistake. You see, logic and reason do not apply when dealing with a CP. The rules of the rest of society bear absolutely no meaning to them. The more you try to explain or defend something to them, the more likely they are to spiral out of control.
It seems to me that most of the CP I know suffer from a persecution complex—everyone is out to get them. They are the victims in every situation and no one knows how difficult it is to be them. My response? Get over yourself. You are a) not that important and b) not in as dire a circumstance as you believe yourself to be. Now, there are those rare individuals who actually DO have someone out to get them. My sympathies are with you. As my dad always taught us—it’s not paranoia if they’re REALLY after you. But that usually applies to women walking down a dark street and the hair stands up on the back of your neck.
I’ve been pondering what it is that makes the CP think we’re all out to get them, and have had an ah-ha moment. The one thing that all the ones I know have in common is that they are incredibly lonely, unhappy people in general. I believe that perhaps their victim mentality is actually a desperate cry for attention. They must be the martyr or no one will love them. They must be the one in dire need at all times. They must be the focus of every conversation.
So how do you logically deal with someone who is completely illogical? The answer is you don’t. Simple, right? It is actually. I don’t mean that you just avoid them at all costs. That’s just not practical, especially if you’re related to them or work with them. But what you CAN do is don’t engage in their little game. When a CP throws something (verbally) at you, resist the urge to explain to them why their thinking is flawed. Simply say “OK” and move on. Unless it is a situation where there is something big at stake (other than our innate desires to be right), there is no point in trying to get them to see the light, and all you’re going to do is give yourself an ulcer and pop Prevacid and Tums like they’re candy. Who needs that? If you don’t argue, they usually have no choice but to end their rant. Say OK, have the conversation in your head about all the reasons they’re wrong—heck, write it out, or even explain it to a dear friend who will validate or correct you. But never, ever engage the CP. The only one who wins there is them.
I must add one thing though—we all have the ability to turn into the Crazy Person we dread most. Because of that, it is important to have people in your life who will warn you when you start down that road, but also that you have enough sense of self to see the pattern emerging. If other people are having a conversation that has nothing to do with you, yet you feel the urge to insert a story about YOUR life, ask yourself first—does this story help the conversation, or am I speaking just to speak? If someone is beginning to argue with you about something you or they have said or done, pause, take a moment to reflect on whether there is a chance YOU are wrong. Never hesitate to ask a friend if you’re in the wrong—a REAL friend that is…the kind who will look at you and ask “What the hell are you wearing?” even though everyone else said you look nice. It never hurts to be wrong from time to time. Most of you are human, and to err IS human. Granted, I’m flawless, but not everyone can be me. ;-)