Crazy-making behavior is one of the most frustrating things in a relationship, especially when it’s coming from your partner, a best friend, a child, or a parent. Crazy-making behavior can be difficult to identify because there are so many different types that can manifest in different settings. If you type crazy-making behavior into a search engine, you will find that it is one of the most common relationship problems.
What are some examples of crazy-making behavior?
Crazy-making behavior is exactly as it sounds, the bizarre games they play that defy logic and make you doubt your sanity and rationality. Some examples of these behaviors are an unwillingness to communicate, gossiping, backbiting, name-calling, and passive-aggressive tendencies (e.g., withholding affection). If someone is straining your relationship by making you feel like a fool, this erodes your trust in their statements and actions. Then you start to feel a loss of trust in yourself.
What is trust in a relationship about, and what does this have to do with “crazy-making behavior”?
In a relationship, trust is important. Trust is the belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, and effective. It is a fundamental and necessary foundation of every relationship, and what we refer to as “crazy-making behavior” is actually a way that someone might feel hurt by the lack of trust.
People in healthy relationships, who grow up in families where love abounds and a strong sense of self-esteem is instilled from an early age, are not familiar with what it feels like to NOT trust in a relationship. It’s hard for them to know the absence of something they take for granted. Trust = secure, healthy relationships with other people.
Examples of Trust in relationships
So let’s think of examples of trust versus non-trust in a close, personal relationship such as with a partner or family member. This would have to do with routine behavior, emotional stability, relying on people to always support us in specific ways, and not having to worry that someone is going to fly off the handle or be unpredictable. Not having to worry equals high trust.
We might be able to trust that Mom is always going to bring home a paycheck to keep food on the table. We might trust that Dad will always have dinner served on time, or that the kids will always get picked up from after-school activities. In a romantic relationship, we might trust that our partner will always come home around 10 pm after a night out with friends unless he calls and says otherwise.
But with difficult people who engage in crazy-making behavior, trust is lessened due to the unpredictable nature of what they do and say. Problematic and selfish individuals seem to act on a whim, lacking conscience about the fact that others rely on them to do certain things. The father who is difficult might say he’s going to spend time practicing with his child before the next game, only to forget or be too busy to fulfill the commitment. When the child says “Hey what about us playing ball together?” the father acts as though he never said rather than admit his mistake.
Crazy-making behavior in relationships is when one partner makes their significant other feel like they are going crazy in their own head. It can be hard to call out the person on the other end. Once you do, it is the first step in trying to help the relationship change for the better or end the vicious cycle. To stay in such a dysfunctional dynamic is to self-sabotage your own well-being, plain and simple.