Although one of my grandest of all pet peeves is hearing about “crazy girls,” I gotta admit, this catchy tune gets into your head and stays there.
Now, why is the crazy girl stereotype a pet peeve of mine? Obviously because it undermines a multifaceted human being’s emotional response to external and internal stressors and squishes them into one over-simplified box labeled “crazy.” Having feelings does not mean you are imbalanced, and expressing those feelings does not equate to mental instability.
Counter point: Repressing feelings, not addressing concerns, misperceptions and miscommunications because you don’t want to appear crazy is, in fact, an insane way to navigate through your relationships.
So here’s my list of how I check to make sure I am only addressing real issues from my frontal lobe, a place of introspection and logical problem solving, rather than my indulgent limbic system that encourages all forms of histrionics.
- Ask yourself these questions: Are you hungry? Are you dehydrated? Are you tired? – If yes, have a snack, drink some water or take a nap before talking it out.
- Are you having a bad day? Did your boss yell at you? Did you accidentally engage in a political debate on Facebook? – If yes, deal with your feelings on that issue first and then revisit your feelings about whatever your significant other is actually a total jerk.
- Analyze your feelings first before speaking them out loud: Feelings come and go all day, are these feelings relevant? Are they significant? Are they self-indulgent (pity? learned helplessness?) Are these feelings you would address on national television with Oprah or Maury Povich? Don’t go all Maury on your partner.
- Be real with your hormones! Is it a cry your eyes out watching Grey’s Anatomy and eating Ben and Jerry’s kinda night? Could you do some real damage to a sharing size bag of peanut butter M&Ms? Is your uterus ramping up to continuously sucker punch you for the next 5-7 days? Did you actually just lose your mind over a really cute puppy in a toilet paper commercial? While it’s important to trust your gut, when your gut is under the influence of estrogen and progesterone, maybe you question your gut feeling because trust me, those hormones will lie to you.
- Possibly the most important question: Are you in fact, dating a big fat stupid jerk? Or are you dating a genuinely nice person who deserves the benefit of the doubt? If the former, stop dating them immediately, if the later, give them the benefit of the doubt.
After running through the aforementioned QUICK QUESTIONS of SUPER SANE COMMUNICATORS, you’ll know if you’re in a good place to bring up your feelings. I still employ the GAR (GREEN – AMBER – RED) model I used when I was in the Coast Guard.
If you are at a 5/5 for proceeding, you’re in the GREEN. Talk it out, girlfriend, you’re as grounded as the mighty oak!
3-4/5 you’re in the AMBER zone – proceed with caution, you may have an inclination towards over-reacting.
1-2/5 STOP. You’re seeing RED and I promise he didn’t actually call you fat when he suggested making you both a salad for dinner – the dude just wanted salad, ok? Take a time out, take a bath, take a nap, take a walk. Call a Girl’s Night and go out for nachos and beer and let the man eat his Cobb Salad in peace.
Here’s the bottom line: It’s unfair to label all girls as crazy – especially when they are just trying to work out their feelings through honest discussion. Honesty and transparency require a degree of vulnerability and bravery. Let’s respect and encourage Emotional Intelligence. At the same time, if she gambled on an AMBER or proceeded into the RED and is now screaming and ugly crying and you feel ambushed and possibly quite terrified by this display of raw emotion, understand there are probably some underlying complicating factors. Channel some freaking compassion, be patient, be kind.
Do not call her crazy.