Saturday Letter: A crazy solution on how to deal with crazy (without going crazy!)
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Have you ever dealt with a person that makes you go crazy?
And you’re not quite sure if they’re a wackadoodle or a wackjob?
And you start questioning yourself and even doubting that maybe you yourself are the crazy one.
I met this kind of person just a little while ago.
The routine is always the same.
You meet crazy. You deal with crazy. And you go crazy.
And in the middle of dealing with crazy, you are not quite sure anymore who the real crazy one is.
Is it me? Or is it the other person?
Did I remember things correctly? Did the other one say that? Am I losing my mind?
Even when you double-check the agreed things from your text messages the other one just continues arguing that it’s not true.
And all you can say is: WOW!
But there are ways to deal with crazy without going crazy.
Solution #1: RUN!
At first, I thought this person is just a wackadoodle – you know one of those nice-crazys.
And I like wackadoodles. I’m a bit of a wackadoodle myself time-to-time.
But after the constant complaining, blaming others, yelling and screaming, I think a wackadoodle is too nice of a label to use. So I’ll just leave it to that. I’m still thinking about what hit me. And in the back of my head, I’m still questioning what was said, agreed and talked about.
Have you ever met a person like that? Have you ever been in this kind of situation with someone?
If no, lucky you!
If yes, then I’ll give you the best advice I can give. It’s an advice which my mom actually gave to me (moms are the best!):
Run. Go. Now.
Don’t try to argue. Don’t try to change them. Just take that exit the first possible moment you have.
And whatever you do, don’t forget who you are.
If running away is not an option
Sometimes running away is not an option.
Sometimes the crazy person is your co-worker, friend of a friend or even a close friend or a family member.
You can’t just run away from everyone.
But you can’t also continue dealing with a person that’ll drive you crazy and will make you second-guess yourself.
So what can you do then?
What if you are the one who’s crazy?
The first thing I always do when dealing with crazy – and I think this is THE most important thing to do – is to ask yourself: “Am I the crazy one?”.
If you’re not willing to ask this question then there’s a big possibility that you’re the crazy one. And then you’re problems are way too big for me to try to help you with them. Sorry.
If you are willing to ask it, and look at things from the other person’s point of view, you already have your answer.
You’re not the crazy one.
The people who are willing to ask that question and predispose themselves to the possibility that they’re the difficult ones to deal with, are already taking a major step towards a solution.
They are willing to reflect and are open to the possibility that they are the ones who need to change to make the situation easier to everyone.
If you’re still reading, then congratulations! You passed the step #1.
A wackadoodle or a whack job? That is the question
The second thing to do after you’ve established that you’re not the crazy one and most likely the other one is, is to decide whether you think they’re a wackadoodle or a wackjob?
If the person is a wackadoodle – eccentric, ditsy and funny – there’s no need to worry.
Wackadoodles are usually goodnatured and sympathetic. They might push your buttons and make you feel equally crazy, but you can just think of them as your annoying little sister or brother and deal with them as a loving older sibling would. Be kind and understanding. You might even start enjoying they’re company if you give them a change.
If the person is a wacjob – also eccentric, but nasty and even violent – then keep your distance or at least be on the alert.
Acknowledge the danger.
And be teflon.
Don’t let anything stick. Be sure to write things down and communicate with texts and emails as much as possible. Be prepared to have everything you say to be twisted around. If you say tomorrow, they’ll say it was yesterday. If they don’t remember to do something, they’ll turn it around and say you didn’t do it or didn’t give enough information for them to do it.
It’s so annoying and you might lose your mind and start second-guessing yourself. But don’t.
There’s a fun way to deal with that.
Fight Crazy with Crazy
One thing that has helped me tremendously when dealing with plain crazy is a thing I like to call “double-twisting”.
I believe the best (and only!) way to fight crazy is with crazy. So when someone says something so twisted and crazy about you or someone else, double-twist it.
Double-twisting is mirroring back silently the crazy things someone says.
THEY SAY (and you don’t agree): “It’s so hard to deal with you when you have such a low selfesteem and you take things so personally.”
Double-twist it and pretend like they said it about themselves. Meaning that if they say something about you that just doesn’t make sense, replace the word “you” with “I or me” and then it makes sense! But do it silently in your own head.
Like the sentense abobe. Instead of them saying that you are difficult they’re saying, “It’s so hard to deal with me, because I have such a low selfesteem and I take things so personally.”.
Well, now it makes sense again!
And instead of wasting your time defending yourself to crazy accusation you can see that the person is mirroring their own insecurities and you can have the empathy towards them when you mirror it back with double-twisting.
Situations #1: Your crazy coworker didn’t give you a report that you were supposed to get this morning.
Instead of her saying she’s sorry she didn’t do it (for whatever reason) and that she’ll get right to it and prepare it asap, she goes and says, “I provided all the needed information and you didn’t do your part”.
Well that’s just crazy.
But before you start arguing with your crazy coworker do the double-twisting and change the words around. Now she’s saying, “You provided all the needed information and I just didn’t do my part.”
Yep. That’s true.
All of the sudden things make sense. The craziness turns into truth. And you can deal with it. And try to find a solution. Any solution. However crazy the solution would be.
And whatever you do . Don’t label people too fast.
Don’t label people too fast
Don’t be too hasty to lable someone as a total wackjob. It’s not nice.
The other person might be just a bit of a wackjob. And if you go around labeling people as total wackjobs, then you yourself start to seem like one.
“A bit of a wackjobs” are mild versions of the total wackjobs and they’re a bit too scary to be considered wackadoodles.
“A bit of a wackjob” is usually quite harmless.
They’re like lions that have been raised in the zoo since they were cubs.
You don’t want to get too close, but they’re also harmless when you keep your distance and stay behind the fence. You can enjoy their company and even admire them as long as you remember their nature.
And what ever you do, don’t turn your back on them.
A bit of wackjob is still a wackjob.
Like a lion in a zoo is still a lion.
To all the crazy wackadoodles and wackjobs that I’ve had the privilege to know and learn from. Myself included.
With love, Cristina
Have you ever had to deal with crazy? How did you handle it?
Share in the comments!
This post was originally one of the Saturday Letters (I’ve sent to my readers via email).
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