For a more peaceful life, contain the crazy-makers
Do you remember going through the awkward transition when you realized not everyone in your life was good for you? My first "ah ha" moment was in middle school when I caught a good "friend" spreading a rumor about me. I was devastated and spent ages trying to find an explanation for why this person was being so mean-spirited. High School was better as I finally figured out who was trust-worthy and kind.
However, things fell apart when I left for college and navigated new relational waters. In fact, the most stark example came one year where I was routinely blindsided by a friend. I would deal with this girl's drama and the shrapnel she left in my life again and again. We were friends, and I thought access to my life was the same as loyalty.
Finally, my mom staged a verbal intervention. After listening to me rant on yet another phone call she asked, "When are you going to realize "____" isn't a good friend to you and walk away from her craziness?"
Excuse me? Whom am I speaking with?
My mom ALWAYS believes the best in people, and I was shocked (shocked!) she would be so bold.
However, her verbal slap upside the head was exactly what I needed to hear to finally see how this particular girlfriend was toxic. My so-called friend was a "crazy-maker" who lived only for her own self-interests regardless of her impact on others.
Unfortunately, these kind of people aren't limited to the realm of schoolmates; they are everywhere. They are in the cube next to you or in the corner office. They join the PTA and Homeowner Association. They go to your church and work out in your gym. They are up to no good and will spin you around if you let them.
Julia Cameron coined the "crazy-maker" term in her book, The Artist's Way. In her description she puts together a helpful list of traits to identify the crazy-makers in your life. They do things like:
Want special treatment
Discount your reality
Spend your time and money
Act as blamers
Hate order & schedule
Deny they are crazymakers
Who do you think of when you read this list? Does a specific person come to mind?
How well have you established boundaries with them?
Boundaries, like any good fence, offer a clear line for where "yes" ends and "no" begins. They are essential for healthy relationships.
Of course, boundaries almost always make crazy-makers crazy, and, unless they are willing to live within the established lines, they usually drift away...and that's o.k.