A troublemaker plants seeds of strife;
gossip separates the best of friends.
Proverbs 16:28 (NLT)
With the entire world in various forms of quarantine, the past couple of months Wendy and I have uttered repeated prayers of gratitude that we actually enjoy being with one another at home. I’ve thought long and hard about what effect “sheltering-at-home” has meant both for those who live with a crazymaker and for those who may have finally had an excuse to escape a crazymaker for a time. This post, originally from April 23, 2013, has generated quite a bit of interest over the years. I thought now would be a good time to put it back out there again.
Over the years I have learned: Just as important as choosing good companions for the journey, it is equally important to avoid sharing life’s sojourn (even for a season) with “crazymakers.” Like the troublemaker in the proverb above, crazymakers plant seeds of strife wherever they go. They waste our time and suck us into the black hole of their neediness. They passive-aggressively pit people against one another and stir up dissension.
In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julie Cameron nails it with her description of crazymakers:
- Crazymakers break deals and destroy schedules. They show up two days early for your wedding and expect you to wait on them hand and foot. They rent a cabin bigger than the one agreed upon and expect you to foot the bill.
- Crazymakers expect special treatment. They suffer a wide panopoly of mysterious ailments that require care and attention whenever you have a deadline looming.
- Crazymakers discount your reality. No matter how important your deadline or how critical your work trajectory at the moment, crazymakers will violate your needs.
- Crazymakers spend your time and money. If they borrow your car they return it late with an empty tank.
- Crazymakers triangulate those they deal with. Because they thrive on energy (your energy), they set people against one another in order to maintain their own power position dead center.
- Crazymakers are expert blamers. Nothing that goes wrong is ever their fault.
- Crazymakers create dramas – but seldom where they belong. Whatever matters to you becomes trivialized into mere backdrop for the crazymaker’s personal plight.
- Crazymakers hate schedules – except their own. If you claim a certain block of time as your own, your crazy maker will find a way to fight you for that time, to mysteriously need things (you) just when you need to be alone and focused on the task at hand.
- Crazymakers hate order. Chaos serves their purposes. When you establish space that serves you for a project, they will abruptly invade that space with a project of their own.
- Crazymakers deny that they are crazymakers. “I’m not what’s making you crazy,” they will say, “It’s just that … [add something else to blame].”
I have found that the only path to increased levels of life, growth, and understanding is the one path that leads me directly away from a crazymaker.