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It's way too easy to use the word "crazy."
And it's so far from the truth.
Because "crazy" means different things to different people.
And especially because crazy is a subjective experience.
It's lost all meaning due to how stigmatized it has become.
And let's consider this: how often do you hear someone say "My husband is crazy!" compared to the other way around?
Using this word hints at the power dynamics in our society. It says more about how we control others than it does about the mental state of the person getting the label slapped on them.
If you find yourself saying, "My wife is crazy!" or even, "Is my wife crazy?" it's time to rethink things.
Here are the reasons why it's a bad idea to use these words together.
1. Mental Health is an Incredibly Complex Phenomenon in Life
Do you know what mental health means to you?
Can you describe it in a few words?
My guess is that you probably can't.
And that's because mental health is a spectrum from sickness to health.
Mental health issues could be a thing in one culture and not considered problematic in another culture.
And while health professionals in the United States refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for clear-cut answers when it comes to diagnosis, each person's experience is unique.
We are all a combination of our life experiences, good and bad.
Calling someone crazy is an attempt to limit that person to the worldview of another.
Even professionals who are trained and qualified to provide diagnoses would not use the term "crazy." They would be more precise with their language. They would pick certain conditions that only apply under certain circumstances.
And that's because mental health is not a precise thing. You always have to understand the context it's operating in.
2. Do you know what you're saying when you say "crazy wife?"
Some people use this phrase to mean a person who doesn't respond to another's instructions.
Others use this when their wife has an occasional mood swing.
With so many different ways a person can act, how can "crazy wife" apply to anything universal?
What you're really doing when you call someone crazy is indicating you are experiencing a set of behaviors that you don't understand.
When what you witness gets far away from the behaviors of daily life, the brain struggles to make sense of it, and one of the first words that come to mind is "crazy."
The behavior you're witnessing might be a completely normal response to a situation, or it could be a sign that something's really wrong.
3. Understanding Behavior: People Respond to Situations in Different Ways
Could it be possible that your wife grew up in a very different environment than you did?
Could it be possible that she has a drastically different set of life experiences than you?
Of course it could.
The environments and life experiences we have influence how we behave.
What seems crazy to you could be a typical response in another environment.
Maybe it was completely acceptable for your wife's family to yell and throw things when things weren't going the way they wanted them to go.
It's much better to respond to a confusing, out-of-control situation with curiosity and compassion rather than judgment.
This is easier said than done, of course, but you can't "fix" a situation by labeling it.
You have to take the time to understand it, and that requires curiosity.
4. But What if You're a Loving Husband, and You're Concerned?
Let's put aside the scenario of Mr. Perfect and his Crazy Wife.
Let's assume that you are not trashing a woman in your life.
Sometimes, things have gone horribly wrong and your loved one needs help.
How do you know if this is happening to you?
First things first: you know why you married your wife. You've been around her for a long time and you know that she has the ability to be a great woman.
But something has changed and has deviated so far outside of normal experience that you don't know what to do.
Ask yourself questions to understand how far outside normal experience your wife's behavior truly is.
As a husband, you have an obligation to fight for the "until death do us part" that you agreed to.
As a husband, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this something that has ever happened before?
- Is my wife's behavior still based on reality, even if it's a reality I don't agree with?
- How does this differ from the lovely wife I fell in love with? What behaviors did I love that I'm not seeing now?
- Am I actually being the "crazy" husband? (Again, it's not a good idea to label yourself this way, but this question can still be a powerful one)
- Is my wife putting her life at risk? Is she a danger to me or to others I love?
- What is actually going on? Am I experiencing verbal attacks or physical attacks?
The point of these questions is to get you to start to make sense of what you're experiencing.
You need to differentiate between behavior you simply don't like because it doesn't benefit you and behavior that is dangerous and threatens people's safety.
You have to understand if you have a communication problem and need to see a couples' therapist or if you should be quickly getting your life to a hospital for a psych evaluation.
Behavior you simply dislike because it doesn't benefit you means that you have a responsibility to learn how to connect and communicate with your wife in more effective ways. The Imago therapy approach can be seriously helpful. Here's a short video that explains how to use it.
But behavior that is dangerous and puts others at risk is something you need to address.
It's completely acceptable to call 911 if your wife, or anyone else, is in immediate danger.
Or, if you think you can do it without jeopardizing anyone's safety, consider taking your partner to the hospital to get evaluated.
Mental illness is not a joke, and calling someone crazy perpetuates a social climate that makes it harder for people to get mental health care when they need it.
Now You Know That "Crazy Wife" Is Not a Thing
Now you've learned that mental health is incredibly complex.
You've also learned that it's important to check your reality of the situation to see if there are logical explanations for what is going on.
You know that people respond to situations based on the experiences and people who shaped them.
Most importantly, using the "crazy" label distances you from the person you love.
It's more about attempts to control and make sense of difficult emotions that are hidden just beneath the surface.
If you take the time to understand where your reaction is coming from rather than the behavior you're seeing, you'll be much better off.