An easy trap to fall into is reasoning that the dramatic shift in your behaviour, being consumed by someone, and feeling the acute turmoil of the relationship, is a measure of and response to your love for this person. But it’s not love making you feel, think and behave in these ways; it’s being triggered and destabilised by the involvement.
Love doesn’t make you crazy; that’s a disabling trope sold to us by society and through the media, including books, TV and film. Pain, fear and betrayal of the self, in fact, can turn you into someone you’re not. So can becoming consumed by trying to control or avoid something.
There’s a big difference between being crazy about someone and acting ‘crazy’ because you’re with someone.
If you’ve found yourself saying “I can’t believe that this is who I’ve become” and ‘this’ is effectively a Nightmare on Self Street, it’s time to make a swift exit from this relationship. It’s time to find your way back to being you.
It might be that you’re giving you a hard time because you think you acted ‘crazy’ in a past/current relationship. In this instance, it’s time to have an honest conversation with yourself. Sure, maybe you didn’t have your finest moments in the relationship. You might wish you could erase it by turning back time.
But isn’t it also the case that something about the relationship’s dynamics was very triggering?
Like feeling very dependent on someone as if they’re your oxygen supply. Or being previously starved of attention and affection, gaslighting, ungrieved grief, secrecy and lies. All of these, and more, can cause uncharacteristic behaviour.
Some of what we regard as ‘crazy’ is a normal response to an abnormal and ongoing traumatic or abusive situation. What if we felt as if we were going crazy, not because there was something wrong with us but because the situation we were in was patently wrong for us?
It’s not about trying to find an ‘excuse’ for how you may have acted, as if to absolve yourself. Sure, your ‘crazy’ may only have affected you. In fact, you’d be amazed how many people I hear from who slid into their darkest place alone. Of course, it may be that you said or did things that crossed a line, that had a ripple effect on loved ones because of the toxicity of the relationship.
Taking responsibility means acknowledging the truth about what was going on and why. It’s acknowledging the journey you travelled to that point. Sure, you can say that it was just you being crazy about someone or that you were crazy, but both of these lies obscure the truth and cause you far more harm.
Are you ready to stop silencing and hiding yourself in an attempt to “please” or protect yourself from others? My new book, The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (HarperCollins/Harper Horizon), is out now.