Acceptance, Challenging Beliefs, Forgiveness, Friendships, Relationships, Teaching & Learning

My Batshit Crazy Series

So what makes Batshit Crazy different from normal crazy or just plain old hurt?

By my definition, Batshit Crazy happens when there is an acute mixture of hurt, confusion and fear. It happens when we are no longer able to decipher any reason or logic from a situation; and when we cease to care about who or what around us this affects.

When we are totally overwhelmed by; and fearful of; the pain of our emotions and we’ll stop at nothing to make the pain go away. To an outsider it appears as erratic, unpredictable, and illogical behaviour and as though no lines are too sacred to cross.

I feel it is important to remember that in its essence this is a very human experience, we’ve all done and said things that we weren’t proud of. How far we took it and how we went about it may have looked different from total Batshit Crazy, but we’ve all felt intense pain and wished for it to stop.

While it is very easy to see the Batshit Crazy person as an ‘other’ I wish to propose this question,

“Is it possible to have a Batshit Crazy person in our lives without us having contributed in our own Batshit Crazy way?”

My answer to that question is no, but I’d love to hear what you think either in the comments below or through the LOVING BUSINESS Facebook Page.

It is my belief that you can’t play tennis on your own. Unknowingly we hit the ball back over the net ever time we too are left hurt and confused by their behaviour. Every time we defensively interpret their behaviour as Batshit Crazy rather than as a sad call for help, we become players on their stage.

Don’t get me wrong I have no judgement here. It is incredibly hard not to react to Batshit Crazy behaviour; I know I’ve done my share of lashing out in response and I will probably continue to do so in the future. It is really hard not to react defensively to behaviour that by design pushes our buttons.

Looking beyond what is right in front of us is the biggest challenge of any relationship, nay, of life. Imagine the lives we could inspire if we were successful at loving people for who we knew them to be deep down? Imagine if we did that no matter how cruel and unpredictable their behaviours were? Imagine what our world would look like if we managed to pull that one off?

At times we can interpret Batshit Crazy behaviour as funny and fascinating, there are whole websites dedicated to posting crazy text messages that people have sent. But it can also be violent, heartbreaking and relentless. The underlining issues are the same; they are not coping.

That woman on the train that we saw all over the news; the one who vomited out the racist tirade is a perfect example of Batshit Crazy. Imagine how difficult it would have been in that moment to have offered her compassion, understanding and love?

I honestly don’t think I would have. And not because I don’t think she deserves it or because I don’t believe in the power of a loving approach; but because I don’t think that the thought would have even occurred to me. I would imagine that instinctively all of my concern would have been directed towards her victim.

It has been my intention in writing this series to do just that; to put the thought into my head so in those high stress, high conflict scenario’s there is a small chance that I could step back and ask myself the question,

“What is really going on here? Are they crying out for help?”

In the series I have written 3 letters which cover the perspectives of;

The sentiments running through these letters can be universally applied to other relationships that we have, e.g. a Parent, a Sibling, an In-Law, a Partner, a Work Colleague, a Boss, a Friend, or a stranger on a train. I also wish to be clear that although these Batshit Crazy Letter’s are addressed to woman, I strongly believe that Batshit Crazy behaviour is in no way limited to the female gender.

I’ve also written these articles because I wanted to bring some empathy and compassion to the situation. Now before you go thinking that I’m pronouncing myself as a saint who takes the higher road I want to be clear that my motivations are much more aligned to my own self-interests.

I’ve found that when I’ve looked beyond what is being presented to me and I’ve tried to focus on the real person and the real issue; that it has brought me much more of what I want. I want peace in my relationships and in those stressful situations.

It is also an approach which helps me align with my own higher sense of self. I say I want to experience myself as a compassionate and caring person; well what better context to give that a go in then a Batshit Crazy one?

My goal is to interact within the parameters of this sentiment:

“I am hearing what you are saying and it makes sense to me that you are feeling this way. I know that there is a lot going on that I’m not seeing too. I’m here to help you understand that what ever it is, you are more than it.

In the meantime I’m going to chill out a bit from being so defensive. I’m going to look past what you are presenting to focus upon what I know to be true about you.

I know that just like me; all you want is to feel loved, safe and heard. No matter what you do or say, you are valuable and I know that you are doing your best, just like me. You are, just as the day you were born, a magnificent being.

I want you to know that I feel blessed to have you in my life; because it is the uncomfortable things about you that are helping both of us to grow.”

Dear Batshit Crazy Person

Like I said I don’t always get it right and I never will, but the good news is that even when I let my hurt and confused loved one down; the interaction causes both of us to desire more peace and harmony in our relationships.

‘Letting them down’ also reminds me that they don’t need me to ‘help’ them; they are magnificent beings that are more than capable of seeking out the solutions for themselves.

So who’s with me? Who’s up for the challenge of redefining our own role in the Batshit Crazy dynamic?

Leanne xx

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5 thoughts on “My Batshit Crazy Series

  1. Firstly, it’s great you’re thinking and writing about this stuff, however, some of the responses you’re advocating may promote continued batshit crazy behaviour. If my friend or lover is constantly batshit crazy and I’m lovingly looking past their behaviour and the consequences of it, and focussing on their worth… my perceived sense of worth diminishes no matter how strong my personal resolve and self-esteem and the message they receive is that any behaviour, even cruel behaviour, is okay with me; I’ll look past it and I’ll love them regardless. In reality, only parents and children can love unconditionally, although I admit, it’s still something for which the rest of us should probably strive.

    I think it would be more helpful if we said, “I hear what you’re saying, however, it doesn’t quite make sense to me that you’re feeling this way. I know there’s a lot going on that I’m not seeing… and you will need to show me so that I can understand… we both need to chill out a bit and come back together later when we are able to discuss what was going on for you, etc., because it’s important to me that we do.” The batshit crazy person must have the opportunity to work with us, whether they take it up or not, and not be encouraged to continue as they always have. We can still love them for who we know them to be but we have joined with them by asking for and providing information so that real growth can occur together, not separately. Perhaps love can be unconditional, and partnerships/relationships cannot.

    I think trying to look beyond what is being presented to us and focussing on the real person is really great advice. But, it is easy to assume what the real issues might be for that ‘woman on the train’ and forgive her because collectively it’s the compassionate thing to do, but individually, if she was my wife *shudder*, in a committed and loving relationship with me, I’m not going to assume anything; I would need an explanation for her hurtful behaviour. Then forgiveness and healing can take place for both of us.

    • Hi Stanley,

      Thank you so much for your considered, intelligent and thoughtful response. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughts.

      I concede that it could appear as though I’m suggesting that there should be no consequences for abusive and cruel behaviour. I absolutely agree with you that there should be, no one should be expected to love another at the expense of their own self-esteem. And I agree with you that no matter how strong your resolve is that you will always be diminished by it. What I am truly advocating is not hitting their ball back to them over the net, or getting off as a player on their stage. To ignore their surface behaviour only long enough to address what is really going on underneath. Once we get into that space then we can talk about how it has effected us and the boundaries that we intend to set etc.

      I once had a partner and our dynamic was to scream and yell at each other until we could no longer, then we would burst into tears. At that point we would always put our defences down, open up to each other and at that moment we were able to listen to each others point of view no matter if we agreed with it or not. My intention to try and look beyond what is being presented is to offer a short cut to that space. That same partner and I were able to finally end our relationship in that space. It was a space where we no longer felt confused or hurt or angry, we calmly resolved that we were both wanting different things and that although we both cared and loved each other it just wasn’t working.

      Dr Harville Hendrix advocates validation as a part of the dialogue processes, and it is a process that I love and try to use all of the time. The other part of his process I didn’t include in my statement but upon reflection should have as it is a powerful and important part. First part is “What you are saying makes sense to me, it makes sense to me that in your world and from your perspective you believe this to be true.” The second part is that it doesn’t require me to agree with them or for it to make sense in my world, I am only offering validation to their right to have a different perspective from me. I think your point about “show me so I can understand” is a loving sentiment that also validates.

      I’ve found this to have massive power in diffusing those heated and confused situations, from that point we can decide how to move forward. Rightly or wrongly I’ve found it much easier to give ground, accept responsibility and listen to the perspective of the other when I’m in a space where I feel safe, heard and loved. My intention is to get us into a good space and ‘then’. Loving space and ‘then’ work it out, loving space and ‘then’ face consequences, loving space and ‘then’ walk away. I think your point about “we both need to chill out a bit and come back together later when we are able to discuss what was going on for you, etc., because it’s important to me that we do.” is a great one and shares a similar sentiment.

      Lastly your point about “Perhaps love can be unconditional, and partnerships/relationships cannot” I would tend to agree with, I know I have never managed it for a sustained period of time. I have had brief moments though, as no doubt most people have. And I know that I’ve had more of those moments since I set an intention to do so…which has been really nice. I think your point about it being something for us to strive towards is a good one.

      I’m really looking forward to hearing more from you Stanley throughout this blog. Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts, it is most appreciated.

      Leanne xx

      • Stanley says:

        Hi Leanne,
        Thanks for providing more information; I understand what you’re saying about getting to a space where both parties feel safe, heard and loved. Getting there is the hard part, particularly when efforts to diffuse the situation and move it into a safer space are often one-sided; you tend to come off as a patronising know-it-all to a screaming batshit crazy person. But I get it. Thanks.

        A few points I’ve been thinking about:
        1. What behaviour can be considered abusive or cruel?
        2. And, if there are consequences for such behaviour, what should they be?

        There is of course, obvious cruelty and abuse, which should never be acceptable to anyone, but what about the subtle kinds, the sarcasm, the withdrawal of affection, the endless demands for attention, the obstinate refusal to be kind, being ignored for hours or even days, and repeated bouts of batshit craziness? This behaviour might only touch the edges of ‘classic’ abuse and cruelty, but the effects on the person on the other end, could be as profound I think, over a long period of time. It would be hard to look past what is being presented under such grueling conditions. But it’s possible, I see now.

        You mentioned that we need to ignore the surface behaviour long enough to address what is really going on underneath – what does this look like in the moment? Do we leave the house? Do we go away for the weekend without our phones? Do we turn the TV up? Do we go to bed? How can we ignore someone who is dumping a huge load of crazy on us without slipping into the role of punisher? By not hitting the ball back over the net, are we guilty of a kind of reckless passivity that adds another issue to the big bag of them? Or is not playing the game an act of positive participation and not passivity at all? I think there’s a fine line I’m struggling to identify, between ignoring bad behaviour and condoning it.

        From my limited experience, those who do the batshit crazy well, and often, are the ones who can’t be enticed into a safe space to discuss anything. Ever. Perhaps being consistently kind and willing to look past the behaviour for long enough, might make a difference?

        And, what should the consequences be for bad behaviour? Do we limit our affection? Or beg for an apology or explanation (that is unlikely to be given)? Or deliver the ultimate consequence, separation or divorce? Perhaps all we say is, “we both need to chill out a bit and come back together later when we are able to discuss what was going on for you, etc., because it’s important to me that we do.” And, if this discussion never takes place, neither does the reunion.

        I know you don’t have all the answers, nor do I… nor does Dr Hendrix, but I’m enjoying the discussion none-the-less.

        Stanley

      • Hi Stanley,

        You’ve blown my mind yet again. I’m pretty sure this exchange is going to become a blog post of its own. lol

        I take your point about coming off as a “patronising know-it-all”. I’ve found in my experience the only away around this is to be really open and vulnerable about our role in it all. I’ve also had times when deep down I’m sure I’ve contributed in some way, but my ego has not wanted to submit even an inch. I’ve found that while this technique seems disingenuous it really works; the technique is ‘just submit anyway’. It’s an approach that allows a dichotomy of thought without any internal conflict. The ego can think “I’m only doing this to get what I want because I am smarter than they are” and our heart can say “just open up, let them have this one…it is going to bring you both what you want.”

        Regarding what behaviour can be considered abusive or cruel? I’d say anything that goes above your threshold. As you said though the tricky thing about that is, over time there is definitely an accumulation effect.

        In my own life there have been many many many moments where that little inner voice of mine had told me that I reached that threshold….and then I ignored it. The ignoring was always done with the full support of my brain giving me lots of wonderful and seemingly logical excuses to enable me to ignore my intuition.

        My belief is that our heart always knows when enough is enough, when it is time to take action. I believe that it is when we ignore those whispers that things get really complicated, confusing and tangled-up in our relationships. I also believe that left unchecked those whispers get louder and louder and things get more and more complicated, confusing and tangled.

        I would argue that at its core the act of “stepping back” or “ignoring” is about allowing space for our intuition to surface.

        “What does this ignoring the surface behaviour look like?” I’d say that any of the examples that you’ve given seem like they would be effective, actually I’d go so far as to say do whatever it takes to get you back to the point of feeling like you are able to offer something loving to the dynamic.

        I also appreciate your point about “slipping into the role of punisher” and being guilty of “reckless passivity”. I’ve had great success by just coming out and telling them what I’m up to, but as I stated before I only think this is a message that is heard when we talk about it as ‘my problem’. This is a tough one for our ego to handle but once again can be done successfully with an internal deal of ”we are only doing this to get our way”.

        I’ve used sentiments similar to this with great success, “This isn’t working, I know you are doing your best and I have really let you down. (Ego is cringing but I keep going) I really care about you and I want to make this work so I’m going to try something new from my end. I’m not asking you change at all, I understand now that this is my problem. (Ego now wants to take to me with an axe but I keep going) I’m going to try and be less antagonistic, when we are arguing I’m going to try and step back a bit. Instead of continuing to upset you I am going to try to say to you, whether I mean it or not, ‘that sounds like a good point, I’m struggling right now so I’m just going to leave the house for a bit so I can clear my head. I love you and I’ll be back soon. While I’m out is there anything you’d like from the shops?’”

        I know that is a really difficult approach to stomach but it works. It brings immediate relief to the situation, it provides space and it helps create a safe space in which eventually the issues can be discussed calmly. And the funniest thing happens when we take all of the responsibility away from our Batshit crazy loved ones; they want a piece of it too. Their egos won’t let them be the victim’s and nor do their egos feel like there is any negative repercussions for taking some responsibility. They’ve just watched us do it and you remained in total control the whole time.

        What to do with the space once you have? My belief is that anything that contributes to you as a person is the best thing. I wouldn’t attempt to unravel the issues within the relationship until I was in a space where I felt like my self esteem was solid, I was in touch with my intuition and I was clear about what I wanted.

        The issue of consequences I find to be a very interesting one. Years ago I remember being in a situation that was off the wall crazy with a stranger that ended with me being hospitalised. Our court system took well over a year for a prosecution to occur. A close friend of mine shortly after the incident told me with regard to my assailant that he would “Sort him out”. The thought of this man facing some vigilantly justice brought me much relief. The ‘sorting out’ never happened and the funny thing was by the time that the court date came around I no longer wished for it to. For me just the idea of a consequence was enough, it felt like a life jacket that I could cling to in a time of my life that I was feeling incredibly dis-empowered.

        12 months later the attack had acted as a catalyst for much change in my life and I was in a great place. So by the time the court date came around I no longer felt like the victim, I saw my assailant for who he really was, a terribly sad and lonely person who was acting out of a life of great struggle and misery.

        I think that the idea of consequences such as divorce, limiting of affection etc are fantastic aids to help get us through, but I don’t think we need to threaten our loved one with them in order to access the relief that they offer. Just having them in our head as ways in which we see a scenario where we take our power back is enough. Then hopefully by the time we get to that loving place that we are striving for the need for consequences is no longer needed and instead empathy fills its place.

        I would argue that from this place we are able to make great choices.

        Leanne xx

  2. Pingback: Batshit Crazy: The Acquaintance My Partner’s Batshit Crazy Ex | The Loving Business Blog

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