Insanity: the process of doing the same thing and expecting different results.
There are many certainties about life with an abuser. One is that they will make you doubt your sanity and perceptions. In some cases they will go so far as to diagnose you with a mental illness and seek support for their plight. And you can’t help but wonder, am I crazy?
Lundy Bancroft discusses this in his book “Why Does He Do That?: Inside the minds of angry and controlling men” as do other books on dealing with co-dependency, abuse, addiction, alcoholism and family violence.
There are several theories as to why an abuser does this, but the heart of it hinges on your reaction to his crazy-making – it deflects your attention from his issues. If he can make you doubt your sanity you’re much more likely to back down, doubt yourself and accept the blame for your relationship woes.
No one likes to be called crazy!
Even when it’s true! As you know my mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, so I’ve seen the stigma attached to mental illness firsthand. And I’ve had periods of clinical depression and hovered on the brink of suicide more than once – but that doesn’t mean I like being called crazy.
No one does.
It puts you on the defensive and makes you feel weak even to be accused of such a thing.
One of the best defences to crazy making is to fill your mind with positive affirmations. Don’t allow his words to steal your joy or shake your faith. It’s much easier said than done, it takes practice and resolve. A good support group can help you in reaffirming your sanity.
No shame if you are unbalanced.
And if it turns out that you do need a little therapy or pills to stabilize your moods – know that there is absolutely no shame in that!
There are a wide variety of natural and pharmaceutical aids to lift depression, anxiety and many other psychiatric conditions. If you feel that you might be more than just stressed out and are having trouble coping, talk to your doctor or health practitioner.
You’ll likely find that if you’ve been called crazy by an abuser that there is no actual psychiatric condition actually present in you – any issues are highly likely to be symptoms of the emotional abuse you are enduring.
Conversation Starter: I ultimately found that raising my self esteem through accomplishments and positive affirmations were most effective against tirades and accusations of insanity – it wasn’t always enough to protect my heart. If you’re a survivor do you have other techniques for dealing with issues like this.
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