How to Cope With Crazy

Madness Is All In The Mind by Craig Sunter (CC BY-ND)

Madness Is All In The Mind by Craig Sunter (CC BY-ND)

Crazy people. They never think they’re crazy. Their craziness makes perfect sense to them. —Rick Yancey
Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.
—Dalai Lama
Just because you can get along with anyone doesn’t mean you have to. If you’re unhappy after having tried every way to make things work, chances are that you should move on. ―Amir Levine
No one can drive you crazy unless you give them the keys.
—Timber Hawkeye



We all know people in serious need of a psychic makeover. People who are vulnerable, self-destructive, or just plain stuck. People we want to shake until a light bulb appears and they see the error of their ways.

But change comes from within. You can confront people with honesty, you can inspire them by example, but you can’t make them change. This is a hard reality to accept—we want so badly for people to grow—but you’ll feel better once you do.

Now for the change you can affect: your own.

You can choose to distance yourself from people who drive you crazy. People who make unhealthy decisions, who deny the reality that’s so clear to you, who refuse to climb out of the rut they’ve carved for themselves. You can choose to walk away.

You can also choose to stick around provisionally. Draw solid boundaries to protect yourself from crazy-making people. For example, you can meet up with someone but leave if things get dicey. You never have to nod and smile your way through a toxic situation.

Before you waste any more precious time and energy on difficult people, remember that there’s only so much you can do. You can speak your mind, offer assistance, and set a better example. You can also walk away. But—as frustrating as it is—you cannot make other people change.


  1. Your view is crystal clear. I have seen lives changed for the better and not so good, all because the good guys could not let go when they should have… Yet I am grateful many err on the side of windmill tilting. But your gift to some is the freedom and permission to escape when that is really the most important thing to do. BRAVO!

    • Thank you, Guillermo. Windmill tilting is vital, but there’s a difference between long shots and lost causes. On airplanes you’re told to use your oxygen mask before helping more vulnerable passengers with theirs because in that situation your stability is an asset. Giving more than you can spare erodes your own stability, which helps no one. As you intimated, this article is for those well-meaning people who mistake self-sacrifice for generosity.

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