In most cases, when people call another person “crazy” they don’t really mean “mentally ill”. What they really mean is: “I don’t agree with you.”
The psychiatric definition of “crazy” means sensory hallucinations and/or delusions. Delusions have to be obvious, such as a false belief that someone on the television or the Internet is talking to you personally, or other arbitrary, baseless claims.
Most people don’t stop to think what they’re saying when they call a person’s behavior, choices or ideas “crazy”. It might be the kind of clothes someone buys, the kind of house they choose to live in, the friends or spouse they choose…all of these are subject to the label “crazy”.
Sometimes people will call you crazy directly to your face. Doing so is a contradiction. Because if you really thought someone had so lost control of his or her mind that he or she were experiencing hallucinations and/or delusions, communication and persuasion would be futile.
Most often, when people say or imply you’re “crazy” they’re trying to intimidate you into changing your mind. “Don’t marry that person. You’re crazy.” “Don’t take that job. You’re crazy if you do.” “Don’t hold those beliefs or viewpoints. Only crazy people think that way.”
Instead of using the distinctively human method of integrating facts with reason, logic and persuasion, people often resort to intimidation to get another person to change his or her mind. Now that’s crazy, if you think about it. Because someone changing their mind simply because you called them a name or otherwise intimidated them into doing so is not really changing a mind, is it?
The next time someone calls you crazy (or implies it), ask them for proof. “Do you see evidence that I’m having hallucinations or obvious delusions? If so, what’s that evidence?”
You’ll soon find that it boils down to simply one factor: They disagree with you about something.
The same works in reverse. Before you call or label another person “crazy” ask yourself: “Do I really think this person has schizophrenia or mental illness? Or do I simply disagree with his choices or ideas?”
Take responsibility for what you think — and prove it. It’s fair to the other person. And it’s a healthy policy in the management of your own mind and character.
If more people did what I’m suggesting, the world would be a lot less crazy than we currently find it.
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