“Mental wounds still screaming. Driving me insane. I’m going off the rails on this crazy train.” - Ozzy Osbourne
When it comes to “doing life” with a spouse or significant other, clients often ask me to reassure them that they have not plunged off the edge of reality and entered into crazy town. The unfortunate outcome of an unstable relationship is the experience of feeling like one is standing on the verge of insanity. When negative communication and interaction patterns flare once again, pestering questions such as “Is it me?” or “Am I the one that is the problem or is it him/her” emerge once again. However, what they really are trying to communicate is that they feel stuck in their communication cycle. What’s worse it that each partner knows exactly how to trigger the other so, when one verbally or emotionally wounds the other, instead of saying, “I feel hurt by that…,” they up the ante and attack back, turning each other into people they never wanted to be (while blaming their partner for it). Therefore, the dance of hostile dependency continues while each partner believes that if only the other person would change, they wouldn’t be so “crazy.” This negative cycle forces them to spiral down, continues to make them feel worse about reacting in hurtful ways and creates resentment towards their partner for feeling like they’re “setting me up for failure.”
There is hope however. You’re not crazy. You just don’t know how to stop the crazy train.