When clients first visit with me they often ask, "Am I crazy?" They are asking the question in all seriousness. They'll tell me more of their story and ask again, "Am I crazy? You'd tell me, right?"
For some, the question is asked because the choices they've made seem utterly unreasonable. The things they've done to themselves seem outrageous and irrational. For others, the things that have been done to them are truly unbelievable.
My response over and over is, "You're not crazy, you're hurting like crazy."
It's the question I asked, too. It's easier to think we are crazy than to believe that the memories are actual events. Easier to think we are crazy than to acknowledge the extent of betrayal. Easier to be crazy than to turn and face the choices we've made. Easier to brush off the pain by hoping we've lost our marbles somewhere along the way.
"Am I crazy?" is actually a great defense against shame and pain... for a while. A great defense... until it's not. The important thing to understand is that "Am I crazy?" is a question of self-protection. It's a question that builds walls around our hearts and keeps us from the onslaught of feelings from the damage.
This question of crazy isn't the problem; the original offense is the problem. The original events that changed the shape of your heart is the problem. The original heartbreak is the problem. Events causing the confusion are what's crazy, not you.
Raping is crazy
God as a weapon is crazy
Children as leverage is crazy
Being lied to is crazy
Incest is crazy
Hitting a child is crazy
Bullying is crazy
Murder is crazy
Loneliness is crazy
Controlling another is crazy
Deceit is crazy
Child porn is crazy
Manipulation is crazy
Forced isolation is crazy
Silence in the face of evil is crazy
"Am I crazy?" is a numbing balm for a broken heart.
The question helps us keep the pain at bay until we can breathe deep enough to sit in the reality of what was done to us or what we've done to ourselves.
That's not to say we aren't responsible for our choices as adults. We are. Responsible for telling the truth and getting the support we need. We are responsible for our feelings and taking action on our own behalf. Responsible for making amends. Responsible for learning to nurture our own hearts when we've never felt nurtured.
Do you find yourself asking, "Am I crazy?" A good friend of mine says, "People who are crazy don't ask if they're crazy."
The beauty is that there is help. There is hope. There is freedom from the chaos. Freedom from the confusion. It's a courageous journey. You don't have to walk alone on your way out of Crazytown. It's a trek unlike any other. Are you ready to begin yours? It's extraordinary, and you're worth it!
You're not crazy, you're hurting like crazy.