How to Get Out and Stay Out Once You Realize You Are in a Relationship with Crazy
Here’s another superb article written by CrazyBuster, LiliM:
This article was inspired by some of the callers I’ve heard on Dr. Tara’s Shrink4Men Radio show. After listening to the first four episodes, I’ve noticed a theme with some of the men who get sucked into the madness of the high-conflict (HCP)/personality disordered/Crazy partner.
Just like women who seem to date the same loser over and over, there are some men who keep dating the same Crazy over and over.
If you have a pattern of getting involved with unstable, abusive, crazy, high-conflict and/or personality disordered women, you need to start connecting the dots.
If you realize that you have a habit of being attracted to Crazy, it’s in your best interests and your children’s interest (if applicable) to break your bad habit. The first thing I recommend is identifying your particular brand of Crazy.
When I was still attracted to Crazy, my Crazy of choice was the Cheater/Blamer Crazy. Once you identify your Crazy of choice, you then need to figure out how to end your attraction to Crazy or how to “Crazy-Proof” yourself.
How do you stop the cycle of attraction to Crazy?
At the end of a relationship with Crazy du jour, many of us vow, “Never again” and sincerely mean it. Nevertheless, odds are you’re still vulnerable to Crazy. Most of us tend to be conditioned to certain patterns of behavior and seek them out without even realizing it. If you get involved with the same type of Crazy over and over again, it’s helpful to realize that even though the Crazy package may look a little different, the inner contents are all the same.
If you’re in a relationship an unstable, abusive HCP, you need to get out.
However, this is easier said than done. With an abusive HCP and potentially personality-disordered person, the getting out part is neither normal nor easy. You can’t just say, “Hey, it’s not you, it’s me;” or, “Hey, it’s just not working out;” or, “Hey, I think we need to stop seeing each other.” Not with Crazy. The HCP will not allow it because it triggers their two biggest fears: the fear of abandonment and the fear of feeling inferior.
You need to plan your exit very carefully. Plan as though your life depended on it. In some ways, it does.
Nothing is easy with Crazy. They thrive on making everything an ordeal and a trial. So if you live together, rent a storage unit, and wait until your Crazy is gone. Take a day off work, gather a friend or two, and get your stuff out of the house. This is even more true if you’re married. If you’re married, you need to have a legal exit strategy in place before you get the storage unit and gather your friends.
Above all else, PLEASE do not tell your Crazy anything. When you’re a decent person, you want to give people a head’s up when the axe is about to fall because we don’t want to needlessly hurt the other person. THE RULES OF COMMON COURTESY DO NOT APPLY WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO BREAK FREE OF THE CRAZY.
So whether you just live together or are married, telling the Crazy about the demise of the relationship should be the very last thing you do. Get everything else in place before you tell her it’s over.
Once you’ve done due diligence on how to get the hell outta Dodge and have informed Crazy you’re done with the relationship, you must prepare for what comes next.
Crazy will not let you go, not without trying to inflict maximum damage first. Even if she doesn’t want you and has repeatedly told you what a POS you are, she will not be dumped, she will not be left. When she rewrites history for your friends and family, you will be the one who was dumped, although, somehow, you will also be accused of being abusive. Be forewarned.
Block her calls from your cell phone. If you have children together, establish one email and one phone line for her to contact you and block her from all other avenues of communication. If she is a Crazy Dialer to your place of employment, make sure you let your boss know there might be trouble on the horizon.
Many people often feel embarrassed letting their boss know their personal life is not peachy keen. However, Crazy is very good at spotting your weak spots and work is often an obvious weak spot. Let your boss know ahead of time she may be calling and shrieking and accusing you of this or that. I’ve found, in chatting with men who worried about this, when they talked to their boss, they discovered their bosses willing to protect them while at work.
Prepare yourself for the siege. You know it’s coming, you’ve been with her long enough to know she’ll go that route. Unless there are children, go completely No Contact. Don’t be fooled by her protestations of love and desire, and her professed inability to live without you that may be coming your way. This is called hoovering.
Go No Contact, and stick to it. NO MATTER WHAT. The whole No Contact gig is harder than it seems. You have to do this, however, for your sanity and your ability to move forward and away from Crazy.
If children are involved, do your best to keep contact to the bare minimum and consider parallel parenting instead of co-parenting. You cannot co-parent with Crazy.
So what comes next?
You have now exited the Batshit Cave, gone no contact, and are working at maintaining it. You are adjusting to life without the drama and madness that comes with Crazy. You’re starting to think that maybe you could be ready to go out with another woman.
Before you re-enter the dating pool, go to counseling. When we get involved with such destructive people, we become damaged. We end up carrying loads and loads of baggage on our internal baggage cart from having these people in our lives. Why we allow them in our lives is as varied in reasons as there are people here.
It’s a long path that leads us to coupling with Crazy. You need to realize that and stop yourself from merely continuing on that path now that you have seen the light and become aware.
Find a counselor that you like, that will challenge you, that will help you to look within to see what it was that drew you to Crazy. Identifying that “something” will keep your from hooking up with yet another Crazy in different packaging.
Now that you have invested in the gift of counseling for yourself, you need to learn how to spot the red flags that will alert you when the next Crazy is near.
We often talk about gut instinct. We talk about it, but a large number of us don’t listen to it. You need to start tuning into that.
There is a reason that we feel uneasy or unsettled with certain people. Because we are conditioned to see the general good in people, we often dismiss that gut instinct, that unsettled feeling that tells us, “Bad idea.” Stop ignoring your gut.
Once I got out of the relationship with my Cheater/Blamer, I hustled into my counselor’s office. I was full of blame, anger, and righteous indignation, the whole nine yards. The counselor stunned me by asking, “Why did you put up with it? What need did being with such a man meet in you?” I didn’t know what to say. I hadn’t even considered such a thing. So rather than venting about my crappy ex, I started to work on why I allowed myself to be with his crappy ass.
When you learn to see why you put up with certain things, you’ll be able to spot the people who will expect you to tolerate their crap before you get involved with them. Your gut instinct will sound the alarm and you may even feel like you want to vomit when you encounter these people. Instead of rushing headlong into another painful romance, you’ll know to smile politely and carefully walk away.
It’s really unfortunate that the people who are kind enough to get involved with these destructive and broken types are often the ones who have to do the most work to get back to some sense of normalcy. For any number of reasons, you are attracted to them, and once involved, are changed forever. It does not, however, need to be a negative change.
If you recognize the hell that the Crazy relationship was and do the work to recover from it, you will ultimately become a healthier and stronger person. It will completely and utterly suck to get past the relationship. However, you will come out better on the other side.
Hold onto that. You do not have to live in a way that makes you unhappy. You don’t deserve it and it’s not your fault she’s Crazy.
How you choose to act once you see the Crazy IS on you. That, you can control. You don’t have to just live with it. You do not have to tread the same path that you have been on.
Be honest with yourself, stay safe and good luck.
Thank you, LiliM, for another fantastic contribution to the site. Keep ‘em coming! – Dr T
Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting Services:
Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.