The Crazy Ex
We’ve all heard it before, “I have a crazy Ex.” Does saying this define them… or does it sign more of a red flag about you? In fact, Natalie Portman said it best, “If a man says to you that a woman is crazy or difficult, ask him, ‘What bad thing did you do to her?” Today we are talking about the crazy ex, and what it says about you.
On Monday we discussed the history of the term Hysteria. So we can understand Crazy to be a loaded word used to undermine a women’s feelings and experiences. Natalie asks us to “Stop the rhetoric that a woman is crazy or difficult.” Women are generally more sensitive to being termed ‘crazy,’ however, this rule goes both ways in modern times. To state that you have had a few crazy exes, without any more information speaks more on you than it does them. Are you unable to deal with emotions? Did you not address and care for issues before it got to the point of ‘crazy’? Why were all your Exes were crazy? You become a constant factor.
When we hear you refer to your ex as “Crazy” We hear it as code for “I played with her emotions, ruined her mental health, gave her reasons to be jealous, gaslighted her when she called me out, and now she’s justifiably upset and hurt while I demonize her behaviour. People are toxic, yes that's true for both genders. However, if you repeatedly use the term “crazy” in references to your ex or exes it speaks more about you than it does the ex.
Here are a few of the things we think when we hear “Crazy Ex.”
You can’t take responsibility.
When we hear you call another crazy we immediately think about the shared responsibility in a relationship. How did you handle it? What part did you play in dealing with the person, working to ensure comfort and resolution? If the entire blame is placed on the other person, it’s a red flag.
You’re probably not very mature.
Crazy implies that behaviour is irrational and has no basis. People usually do not act crazy without reason. While it is one thing to have a crazy date or relationship if there is a trail of crazy behind you… you might be the one lighting it.
You sound insensitive if your ex actually was dealing with mental health issues.
What if your partner really did have a mental health issue or extremely stressful circumstances? It’s in very poor taste to divulge someones private problems or mental health for entertainment, but it’s in even poorer taste to describe that person as crazy.
It’s probably a weak attempt to make yourself look good.
If you’re calling your ex crazy it might be an attempt to ensure you’re saving face. If their partner was going through a stressful time and they were not particularly helpful or even worse acted out terribly, they might brush over the entire event as their ex being crazy to ensure their actions or inactions remain unknown.
It makes me wonder: What did you do to them?
If she acted out in anger such as slashing your tyres or smashing your favourite game… it makes me wonder: what did you do to her? Did you play your game for the entirety of her birthday? Do you call your Exes crazy, after you’ve cheated on them and driven them mad?
You might actually be the risk, not the “Crazy Ex”
When someone claims their ex is crazy you can’t help but wonder… “is the Ex? Or did the Ex simply get sick of your partner's garbage?
You could be deflecting.
Were you in the wrong? The world isn't as big as we think it is and it doesn't take long to find out whether or not the Ex was the crazy one, or they are. Time is the best test, and if they begin noticing that you're controlling, manipulating or erratic they will know the Exes were not the Crazy ones.
It sounds like you need to do some self-reflection.
Do you have compassion? Are you aware of mental health issues that precipitate a break-up and even more so everyday life? Are you aware that calling someone battling a mental illness crazy is insensitive? Do you have the capacity for self-reflection? As in most relationships, both parties bear responsibility for the circumstances.
There’s less of a chance of getting back together
If you do decide you want to get back together, but you’ve slandered your partner to your friends and family, even saved their number as “Evil Crazy Bitch” you can imagine there will be a fair few awkward circumstances. Especially if you forget to change their contact name back.
Wait...Can I talk about my Crazy Ex?
While I’m not saying you're not allowed to say you have a crazy ex if you did have one.. Just be careful when using the term as many women especially think that it is a blanket term used to describe any emotional outburst, even justified ones. If you did have a crazy ex, explain how they were crazy rather than using one term to describe all their actions. This is also a very important conversation to have with future partners to ensure they know what you find unacceptable. Just be careful, no one wants to hear too much about an Ex, and mental health is not entertainment. So think next time before you bring up the crazy ex!
Read Don’t Call Me Hysterical if you'd like to learn a little bit more about the female psyche!