People you love can drive you crazy. One common way is known as “crazy-making.” They tell you to do (or not do) something and you kindly comply. Later, they criticize you severely for doing what they asked you to do! Seriously…!
An adult daughter has a father who likes to get too involved in her life. She therefore shuts him out, giving him one-word answers to his questions like, “I’m fine.” “Nothing. It’s all good.” and so on.
One day, she gets upset with him and says with a tone of anger and disgust, “You don’t know anything about what I think or want!” He feels hurt by her accusation yet angry too. After all he had often inquired but she had not opened up.
What can he do? She’s right but she is the cause of it.
It hurts deeply to know that you are doing what someone wants only to be criticized for doing it. “Leave me alone but pay attention to me!”
How do you get centered when someone does crazy-making to you? These are the crucial moments that can easily trigger an angry round of what I call “punch-counter-punch.” It takes self-discipline to not get hooked into an angry argument of blame and judgments.
One good solution is to focus on the present and let go of the past. Forget what they said and accept that in this present moment, their accusation is indeed true, even though you only did what they wanted. This will center you and then you will see the right thing to do. Usually, accepting this injustice will calm them down. Then you can ask what it is they would like you to know? From there, they will either open up and be real, or close up and take ownership of it. Either way, you will have risen to the challenge.