Have you ever been called crazy? I have. I've been called it to my face and behind my back. Both are equally demeaning and heartbreaking. I hear a lot of men call their ex girlfriends or women they aren't interested in as "crazy" but, I mostly hear women calling other women "crazy". It drives me nuts (pun intended) and I think it needs to stop.
When I was 19 I met my first love. I fell hard and fast. On our first date I had the thought of, "i'm going to marry this guy." We dated for a year and broke up because he had cheated on me with 8 different women. My instincts were spot on at 19/20. We were broken up for two years and then we got back together. I know! I had very little self worth, clearly, and his Mom was dying when we got back together. I loved his Mom and she had wanted us to be together so, it felt like the right thing to do at the time. It became clear pretty quickly that despite his presistent claims he had changed, matured, etc he had in fact, not. Plot twist- He was still cheating! All of this came to a head one night and we had the worst blow out fight I've ever had in my life. He called me crazy that night and continued to every time I brought it up to get it resolved. He said over and over that he had done nothing wrong, it was all me and I was crazy. I started to question my sanity! Was I actually crazy? I understand now I was being gaslit and he was in fact cheating on me again, just like I had suspected. I went to therapy to get some clarity and bless that therapist for showing me the light. But, being called crazy over and over by this guy claiming to love me was very painful. The worst part, I'm sure he told whomever he was cheating with that I was crazy and his next girlfriend that I was too. I don't bring this up because I care about their opinion about me (I don't) but, this is how women get pulled into calling other women crazy.
I hear it all the time with the new girlfriend calling the ex "crazy". When she talks about her new loves past relationship to friends it's always, "oh, well she was nuts!" In the case of my ex's new love interests they were hearing that and possible repeating. I think this is incredibly damaging. One it discredits those who actually struggle with mental illness, two it removes empathy from the equation and three it creates a dynamic of me versus her. I've done this too! I get the new girlfriend calling the ex girlfriend crazy because then it makes her less of a threat. It's a, "I don't have to worry about her because she's nuts! and it definitely had nothing to do with my new partner who is clearly perfect and she is the bad one." Right? What if instead we acknowledged every situation takes two to tango? And admit when we feel threatened by someone? I know it's vulnerable to admit feelings of jealousy because then we will get labeled as crazy. BUT! feeling jealousy is normal. Feelings are normal! And we, as humans, will always feel the full range of the "good" ones and the "bad" ones. It can actually be helpful if, instead of shoving the feeling aside, putting the other person down, we take a minute to look at why we feel jealous. The jealousy is pointing to an insecurity we haven't dealt with inside ourselves. How powerful would it be if we noticed pangs of jealousy as a warning side that we needed to take more time to investigate ourselves and heal?
I would love if we all started to have more empathy for one another and the way that starts is giving ourselves that same grace. We all have had moments of not behaving in alignment with our highest self. When we see another woman doing the same versus calling her crazy which is just perpetuating damaging cycles, let's put ourselves in her shoes. Way back in the day calling a woman crazy and unstable was how men continued to discredit women and keep them out of the business world, positions of power and voting. Why do we want to continue to use similar tactics on each other? None of us is perfect and none of us need to be. Your new boyfriends ex girlfriend isn't a threat and she doesn't need to be put down so she isn't one either.
Who wants to make a commitment to stop gaslighting women and calling them crazy? I do! I want to listen to our stories and help lift each other up. I want to help educate everyone on emotional health and I want to continued to be educated as well. Let's stop to investigate when we hear the word crazy being thrown around versus jumping on the bandwagon. Whose with me?