When you are told to do two opposite things and then chastised because you did one and not the other, that is an example of crazymaking.
Crazymaking is a guaranteed way to control someone because you can never be right. If a person requires two opposite things from you, point out that this is impossible and that you cannot do this.
Here is an example from an old joke: A mother gave her son two shirts. At a family gathering the son made a special effort to wear one of these to please his mother. When he arrived, his mother was angry. "Why?" he wanted to know. "Because you did not wear the other shirt, " she replied.
Crazymaking can happen in a variety of ways. For example, in a discussion a person might say two opposite things. You are lead to believe that he/she changed his/her mind and you accept the last statement as what was meant. But later in the week, when the issue comes up, he/she says, "Well, I already told you such and such" which was the first thing he/she said. In short the discussion with you was set up so that no matter what happened the person can say that he/she did what was agreed. Note: 'crazymaking' really will make you crazy after a while...
By Dr. Margaret Paul December 31, 2006 In order to manage another's crazymaking behavior, you need to name and manage the painful feelings of loneliness and helplessness that occur when you are at the other end of crazymaking behavior.
Please permit me to get straight to the point. If you are married to The Crazy-Making Husband, in his head and heart, your very existence is the problem.
Yes, you read my words correctly. What you do or don’t do, think or don’t think, feel or don’t feel isn’t what activates his crazy-making. It’s the fact that you exist.
Though he may deny it, the core reason is that The Crazy-Making Husband doesn’t want to be a husband. In fact, he doesn’t want to be a grownup. As his wife, your existence ‘demands’ he be both. Take a survey of women whose husbands drive them crazy. I guarantee not one will report that her husband accepts responsibilities willfully, or gracefully — especially relational responsibilities.