A makes-me-crazy love relationship occurs when one member of the union is, invariably, defeated by the other.
Perhaps you find yourself feeling secure in your opinion or feeling regarding something your partner has done. Yet, once you begin to discuss this perception with the other you second guess and doubt what had been firmly in mind. This type of pattern leaves the recipient of makes-me-crazy, spinning and never able to be sure if what they think or are feel is valid. As a result, they are left hesitant regarding their decisions and ashamed of their emotions. Typically, the culprit who makes you crazy in these situations is actually projecting their own insecurities and self-hatred onto you.
Take the example of Caroline:
Caroline continually found in her relationship with Jack that she was second guessing and doubting her impressions and emotions. At times she would feel frustrated that he had not followed through with something he promised or committed to do, but the minute she shared her feelings Jack justified his actions with so much confidence that she told herself to ‘let it go.’ When she did have a particularly intense emotion (like the time, he stood her and her parents up for a long planned evening out), he would tell her she was too sensitive and unable to think rationally. Despite all of this, Caroline eventually married Jack and the difficulty escalated. With kids to care for and bills to pay, Caroline was constantly angry and anxious. She strained to convince Jack to see things as she saw them. And yet in the effort she almost always lost her focus as she allowed him to convince her again and again of how she had failed him. After ten years of marriage and two children, Caroline entered psychotherapy still torturing herself with what she could have done differently to ‘fix’ the relationship.
Here are five signs you are in a makes-me-crazy love situation:
1. Chronically second guessing yourself and doubting when you are upset with your partner, “am I over reacting…maybe I am being too sensitive…”
2. Making excuses to friends and family members about your partner’s poor behavior “he had a tough week at work….he thought he had told me that he wasn’t coming, but I misunderstood…”
3. Taking yourself away from your own feelings “just let it go…it’s really not a big deal…don’t be overly dramatic…”
4. Anger that never seems to quite get quenched or resolved when you communicate with your partner.
5. Continually trying to ‘fix’ things in the relationship. Working overtime to please or make things right. Feeling overly guilty and working to make amends about things that really may not be your responsibility.
If you find yourself in a makes-me-crazy love relationship, carefully consider your history with love. If early in life loving one or both of your caretakers left you feeling undervalued, you may unintentionally pick undependable or inattentive lovers who dismiss your needs or emotional concerns. It can be intoxicating to meet a person who triggers old love patterns. What was once a powerless child who felt at the mercy of an inattentive caregiver becomes a powerful adult who selects an emotionally unavailable partner with the hope he will change his ways for her. Change because, unlike those who disappointed her as a child, she is able to make him see that she is worthy and special. Sadly the allure that he will become something she has never before experienced gives way, and she is left once again feeling unworthy of love.
As I describe in my book Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy--Why Women Settle for One-Sided Relationships, this pattern often repeats because nascent sparks of love are absent when this person does date someone who is directly loving toward her or shows genuine interested in her ambitions for her life. Absent because a man with the capacity to actually care for her does not match her need to overcome an indifferent man to prove that she is worthy.
Often those who struggle with self-acceptance are the ones most likely to be pulled into a dynamic where the other has little ability to take responsibility for poor behavior. Escape from this condition comes to those who learn to recognize the pattern and discover that it does not have to be their destiny.
Negative core beliefs about the self are not always within a person’s conscious awareness. And, particularly when in a “he-makes-me-crazy” love relationship you may be so consumed by what you think he is thinking of you that you have lost your emotional balance.
These steps will help you cure this emotional vertigo:
1. Stop hyper-focusing on your partner and re-direct your thoughts to yourself.
2. Allow a bit of time each day to sit alone and consider all that you push away to suit your makes-me-crazy partner.
3. Develop awareness for the emotions and thoughts that seem to reoccur in your internal narrative.
4. As you become more consistently conscious of your impressions, communicate what you feel to others without reservation or equivocation.
As trite as it may sound, changing your relationship with yourself will have a profound impact on the people you chose to let into your intimate world. Push yourself out of your comfort zone; get to know new types of people—even if at first they do not elicit the intense chemistry and intrigue to which you have become accustomed. Connecting honestly with others in non-romantic contexts is a counterintuitive way to learn how to pick romantic partners that are capable of knowing and caring about you. The more accustomed you are to people treating you in a healthy manner, the more alien those who do not treat you this way will seem.
I am a clinical psychologist and author of Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy—Why Women Settle for One-Sided Relationships. Keep the discussion going, click here to follow me on Facebook or here to follow me on Twitter @DrJillWeber.