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Ten Examples of Crazy Making in Relationships

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Ten Examples of Crazy Making in Relationships

Crazy making in relationships is a subtle dynamic that can leave you full of self doubt, wondering if you might be going crazy. Crazy making is a form of emotional abuse involving things such as mind games, intended to make you question yourself. It destabilises your confidence and slowly allows the other person to gain more control over you and the relationship.Thoughts such as “Is it just me?”, “Am I imagining things?” and “I am not sure anymore of what is wrong or right” all suggest that you might be in a crazy making relationship.

Crazy making in relationships involves calling in to question another person’s sanity, insisting on their ‘version of reality’ all the while projecting their defective inner landscape onto their target. Crazy makers are abusive individuals who try to convince their partners that they are defective in some way, in this way they make the victim more emotional, more needy or dependent. 

Do you experience more self doubt than before, a sense that you used to be happier and more confident than you are now, feeling on edge when in the company of your partner, feeling as if you can’t do anything right, apologising far more than you ever used to, constantly second guessing yourself, finding it harder to make simple decisions, or doubting your perceptions of the world around you?

All the above may be signs that you are in a crazy making relationship. Let me explain it a little more by giving you ten examples of crazy making behaviour. This article might just save your sanity…

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1. When your partner convinces you that something happened when it didn’t (or vice versa)

An example of this could be a social event. You might be 100% sure that you were not made aware of an upcoming party and your partner will insist they told you. A one-off occurrence can happen to anyone but when this happens several times it is a form of crazy making.

2. Passive-aggressive behaviour

If you need to be somewhere at a specific time, your partner may appear to be dawdling. They will deny this if you point it out, but subtly they are thwarting your plans. You might ask for something and they will pretend not to hear you. An item that you keep in a regular place might get moved from that spot with denials that they ever touched it. These are all examples of passive aggressive behaviour. It is manipulative and subtle. Crazy making people are too clever to be overt in their actions as they know that their behavior would never be accepted so they find clever ways to undermine you. Ways that aren’t as obvious or could be open to interpretation.

3. Everything is somehow your fault

Crazy making partners rarely admit to doing anything wrong. They manage to twist events around and somehow the blame ends up back on you. Crazy making partners seem to end up as the victim all the time. They may provoke you until you can’t take it any longer. When you eventually react negatively towards them, they will be the ‘hurt’ ones.

4. Projection

Crazy makers project their internal chaos onto others. The emotional environment around them is tense, not rational and easy-going. Instead, people in their company often feel on edge, waiting to be picked on or judged in some way. When they make you feel anger, they are giving you a taster of what they feel all the time. They may cleverly disguise it, but crazy makers often have a history of tumultuous relationships. Generally, the more passive their partner is the longer the relationship will last.

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5. Non-verbal body language sends a dismissive message

Crazy makers will often make you feel as if you are doing something wrong without uttering a word. Instead, they will sigh loudly, roll their eyes (and make sure you see it) or shake their heads while you do something. This sends you a clear message that they disapprove of your actions. Instead of engaging in rational verbal communication, their subtle gestures will become something you are very in tune with. This is perfect for crazy makers as they can then carry on with their disapproving signs even when in public. On an ongoing basis, this erodes self esteem and confidence making a person even easier to manipulate.

6. Making you doubt your perceptions

Crazy makers will say provocative statements and when you react, they will immediately let you know that you are being too sensitive or that you are overreacting and that you should listen more. They will tell you that you have misunderstood them. It will always be your fault, never will they apologise for saying something that upset you – it will be your fault for not understanding them correctly. They will rarely be bothered that they have said something to upset you, instead you will be blamed for your reaction. They rarely see their part in the ‘play’. You may try harder to please them because it feels like you are the cause of all the trouble when in fact, your perceptions are valid but are completely undermined in a crazy making relationship.

7. Hypocritical behaviour

You would think that a crazy maker would be perfect in every way as they seem to have so much to say about what others do wrong. Yet, often, crazy makers are the biggest hypocrites. There is one set of rules for them and another for everyone else. Don’t anyone dare tell a white lie or withhold information yet many crazy makers do this on a regular basis.

8. It’s all about control

Crazy making in relationships is all about gaining control. Crazy making behaviour often develops in childhood. When, as a child their emotional needs are not met, children learn dysfunctional ways to cope. They take these dysfunctional strategies with them into adulthood and try to use the same manipulative techniques in their adult relationships. Their manipulation tends to work better with other individuals with low self esteem although anyone is open to succumbing to this type of relationship depending upon their mental state at the time. Crazy makers are generally insecure people.

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9. Subtle brain-washing

This can also exist when crazy making in relationships develops. Again, this is done in a subtle way as crazy makers try to get you to come around to their way of thinking. You may have packed the dishwasher for many years in a way that works perfectly well for you, when suddenly, this method will be challenged. “Why have you done that?” or “Why are you doing it that way?” You begin to question your way of doing things and the process of confidence erosion and self doubt commences. This is a form of control and links in with rigid thinking. Things have to be done in a certain way and if they aren’t, you can be made to feel that you are lacking in some way.

10) Setting you up to fail

This is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You will find that the rules change according to a crazy maker’s fickle wants and wishes. As the dynamic shifts, you will try harder to please them yet nothing ever seems to be quite right. I have witnessed confident people become a shell of their former selves after being in a crazy making relationship. It can happen to the best of us.

How to deal with a crazy making relationship

When you start to realise that it isn’t just you and that there is more going on in the relationship which makes you feel you might be crazy, it relieves the pressure. It also becomes easier to identify crazy making in relationships. Remember that no matter what someone else does or how they try to influence your mood, you still have ultimate control over how you react. Remove yourself from the situation temporarily if you need to but refuse to allow another person to manipulate your mood. This is what helps them to feel powerful. When they see that their subtle ways are causing an emotional reaction in you, they feel that they have won. It’s a sad way to go about trying to feel important and powerful but then again crazy makers don’t think the same way as a healthy normal individual.

Crazy makers have dysfunctional thinking patterns that more often than not begin in childhood. As a child, when parents do not lot allow free expression of healthy emotion or suppress their children in some way, it sends a message to children that they are powerless. Subtle manipulation is one way a child can still feel like they have power – whether they do this by lying, stealing or withholding information, it allows them to cope with the stressful situation. These coping skills stay with these children but unfortunately do not serve them well in adult relationships. Manipulation will never get a person as far as good open communication will. This is something many crazy makers were denied as children. The parents ruled and the children obeyed.

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Crazy making in relationships comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be difficult to spot as there are many variations. If you find that you have become indecisive, doubt yourself regularly (whereas before you were quite self assured), have lost confidence or generally feel something is amiss but you cannot put your finger on it, it might be that you are in a crazy making relationship. Learning to interact as adults is key to forming a solid relationship where manipulation is not used as a form of control.

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a Psychologist/CBT therapist who believes getting through life is easier with a robust sense of humour.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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