Relationships can be tricky. We all have people in our lives that make us feel crazy. Whether it’s the friend from church who loves drama, your mom, dad, brother or sister or Aunt Betsy we can’t just cut all these people out of our lives.
We didn’t get to pick and choose our family yet they are the very people who bring the most drama into our lives making us feel like their negativity is holding us prisoner. Every encounter leaves you wanting to bang your head against the wall or all tense inside unable to relax.
If we can’t just walk away from the majority of these people, what can we do?
I want to share with you 5 myths about relationships from the book, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys by Mike Bechtle. These myths help to navigate these strained relationships with a little more ease.
- If I can convince someone of the facts, they’ll respond differently. When it comes to crazy people, it doesn’t matter how many facts you give them you won’t convince them of anything. Which is only going to fuel your reaction to their craziness. You’re going to go yourself crazy because you’ve given them the keys. People who attract to drama and like to cause it, can’t see the facts clearly. They don’t want to most of the time. Most of us are driven by our emotions, keep that in mind when trying to give a crazy person facts. You can’t change them.
- I’ll never be happy until this relationship is fixed. In this scenario, you’ve given your happiness to be controlled by a crazy person. Doesn’t sound like the best idea, now does it? Your happiness should not depend on other people. You can be happy despite the crazy people in your life and even your circumstances. Stop giving the crazy people the keys to your emotional state!
- If they would just get right with God, everything would be OK. This is the myth that likes to leave out grace. You can’t have healthy relationships without grace. You and the crazy person in your life are in 2 different places in your relationship with the Lord. You need to leave the door open to change but don’t expect it and shower them in grace when you want to judge.
- It takes 2 people to improve a relationship. We all know how false this is right? It only takes one person doing right to make a relationship better. Whether it’s a friend, parent, sibling or spouse we can only work on improving our end of the relationship and expect the crazy person to stay crazy. We can take control over our emotional state, over how we respond to their craziness. We can learn to lessen the impact that their craziness has on our lives. Work on you!
- If I’m patient and hang in there, they’ll eventually come around. Most people that think this way fall into 2 groups. Those with a false hope and those who enable. In the false hope group, we are often setting ourselves up for discouragement when they don’t change. We are trying to force change to happen which only makes matters worse, usually hurting yourself. In the enabler group, you are encouraging the crazy person to stay crazy by not setting up clear boundaries in the relationship. If you keep blowing up once in awhile at the crazy person in your life and then not changing your own behavior, they go on thinking they can carry on in drama-land and infecting you with it whenever they please. A great example of this is if you have someone who has an addiction in your life. You turn the other way, being patient while being torn up on the inside only to lose your cool once your frustration bubbles over. Then you both carry on as normal in the next few days. The problem is you haven’t set up clear boundaries to make it clear that you are not okay with their addiction and you aren’t going to try and change them but that you are also not going to let it make you crazy. These people need to be told, hey you’re crazy and we can’t hang out so much because you make me feel crazy when I’m around you. Maybe try a little more tact but you catch my drift.
You don’t have to be a victim of the crazy people in your life. You can set up boundaries, change your response to them and infuse the relationship with grace upon grace. Once you give up on your happiness being tied to other people’s actions, you will be set free from being driven crazy by the crazy people. Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?