Do you have Crazymakers in your life, those people that Julia Cameron in her book The Artists Way describes as: those persons that create storm centers (page 44). They may not be Drama Queens or Divas or anyone who’s over-the-top in any way; sometimes they can seem very normal–and even nice–but they still drive you crazy!
I know I do!
Let me give you an example from my own life. I work with a woman who is agreeable on the surface but she has a very subtle way of casting those around her in an unfavorable light and, the next thing you know, you’re under the bus. I’ll call her Sally. Needless to say, I’m careful when I have to deal with her!
Just yesterday, I was in a meeting, which Sally also attended. After it broke up, three of us (me, Sally, and another co-worker) were chit-chatting as we gathered our papers and files. Sally mentioned she was having a problem with a former friend of the three of us. It was a problem that Diva always created, which is the reason that caused me and my other co-worker to drastically limit our contact with.
When Sally mentioned her difficulties with Diva, I debated whether or not I should reassure her by telling her not to take personally the things Diva said and did.
Any of my true friends I would immediately reassure them but Sally has a bad habit of twisting things–even things I intend to be helpful–into something that they aren’t. With that reminder, I thought I’d keep my mouth shut. But then another thought came into my mind: what kind of person do I want to be–the type of person who lends a helping hand where they are able to, or the type of person who lets others flail around instead of helping when they know full well they are able to?
I chose to try to reassure Sally.
Yes, as I suspected, she took my words and started to twist them, but then I remembered something about Sally: she loves animals. In her current apartment she isn’t allowed to have any so she takes care of people’s pets in their homes when they are away.
I interrupted her and asked if she was still pet sitting for the adorable cocker spaniel puppy she had told us about the other day. She was momentarily taken aback at having been derailed but her love for animals kicked in. She lit up and started telling us of the puppy’s latest antics.
Phew! Dodged that toss under the bus! 🙂
Your homework today is to ask yourself how you’re trying to connect with people–especially the ones in your life that drive you crazy. Certainly move them out of your life, if possible, and, if you can’t do that then limit your contact with them.
On the occasions when you have to deal with them, try to connect in a different way. Find out more about them–people are multi-faceted and there’s more to Crazymakers than the traits that drive you nuts. Find something about them that that you find interesting or that you may even admire about them (perhaps they’re an avid movie-goer or they travel or they have an unusual hobby). Then, when you have to be with them, connect with them through those other aspects.
I admit that it’s hard, sometimes, to use this technique with Crazymakers, but give it a try.
Let me know in the comments below–or on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/YesICanPepTalks/–how this technique works for you. And share with us any tweaks that you’ve found that makes this technique more effective.
Your Friend and Pep Pal,