crazymaking – a form of psychological attack on someone by offering contradictory alternatives, then criticizing the person for choosing either. (Dictionary.com)
When a bully uses the crazymaking tactic to attack the target, he/she puts the person in a lose-lose situation. It’s a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
For example, a bully may tell a woman she wears too much makeup, looks like a slut, and needs to tone it down a bit. So, the woman goes lighter on the makeup the next day, only to be told by the bully that she’s too barefaced and looks like a nun.
No wonder it’s called “crazymaking” because it can make you crazy if you let it. Understand the bullies do this to jerk you around and maintain their power over you. They have you jumping through hoops to win their approval because they have you feeling that you can’t do anything right.
Understand that crazymaking is covert verbal abuse. To protect yourself from it, you must first learn to recognize it when it happens to you.
A surefire way of identifying crazymaking is by noticing how it makes you feel. Crazymaking can:
- Make you feel off-kilter and unsure of how to defend yourself
- Make you feel lost and confused
- Make you feel blindsided
- Make you feel discombobulated or disoriented
- Give you mixed signals and messages but make you too afraid to ask for clarification
- Make you feel extreme discomfort around the bully
- Make you feel jerked around and toyed with
- Make you want to walk away from the bully but only leave you frozen
- Make you feel bewilderment
- Make you feel that something is “off”
Make no mistake. This is how your bullies get their kicks. They enjoy this because, again, it gives them a huge rush of power and makes them feel superior to have some sucker bending over backward to win their approval. Understand that this is a game! And your efforts to conform to a bully’s standards are pointless because bullies will only continue changing the rules and moving the goalposts. After all, bullies are notorious megalomaniacs who quickly get drunk on their power.
So, you must know your worth. That means knowing that you don’t have to live up to anyone’s standards but yours. You are the only person who knows your likes and dislikes. You are the only person who has the authority to choose what you want, how you want it, what you do, how you do it, and so forth.
Who are they to criticize you? Your life is your life, and you have the right to live it on your terms. Do what makes you happy, and to hell with anyone who has a problem with it.
The only way you’ll be able to battle crazymaking successfully is to have confidence and a strong sense of self. You must know yourself and be secure in yourself. Only then will you have no tolerance for this type of behavior, and therefore, crazymaking bullies have no power over you.