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Won't Let Them Take Me . . . To Crazytown

"The best thing you can do for the poor is not be one of them."

- Rev. Ike

"The best thing you can do for the crazy is not be one of them."

- Black Woman Blogging

"When you see crazy coming, cross the street."

- Iyanla Vanzant

You know them when you see them. Or maybe you don't. They come in late to a meeting or event and make a commotion, as if that would distract you from the fact that they're late. Or you have to negotiate with them to get them to do their crucial part on a team project because now they want to question everything that was done before, all of which they had already agreed to. Or they lie. Alot. Or they borrow money from you and then pick a fight with you to have an excuse not to pay you back. Or they constantly eye you up and down and "suggest" how you could dress better, look better, whatever. Or they are the drama queens and kings -- veritable drama royalty -- at any family event. Or they blame everbody and everything for all that's wrong with their lives.

They are, in short, crazy -- whether they be narcissists, passive-aggressives, neurotics, pathological liars, obsessive-compulsives, whatever. And if you're not careful, they will attempt to take you to Crazytown with them.

Don't let it happen.

I've spent a while recently negotiating with a passive-aggressive on a team project. I routinely tell anyone -- I don't negotiate with terrorists or children. Add "passive-aggressives" to the list. I would have had more success negotiating with bin Laden. It took me a while to figure out that the goal of this passive-aggressive -- or any crazy -- is to take you to Crazytown, where they've happily taken up residence, a place where the drama never ends and chaos is not only normal, it's embraced.

I'm not going there willingly, and neither should you.

Since I'm related (either by blood or marriage), work with, or deal with crazies, let me share the benefit of some hard-earned wisdom with respect to crazies, some of which I would have learned a long time ago if I had listened to my older siblings:

1) Goal One: Not to be taken to Crazytown. Crazies want you down there in Crazytown with them because it affirms their reality, no matter how warped it may be. Don't go there. Don't become dramatic with the drama royalty, don't become passive-aggressive with the passive-aggressives. Whatever brand of craziness they have, just don't embrace it. At all costs, do NOT go to Crazytown with them.

2) Yes, they are crazy; yes, you should feel bad for them; but no, not bad enough to be victimized by them. You are not the Captain Save-A-Ho of Crazytown. Yes, it's sad that they're narcissistic (although I've yet to meet a narcissist unhappy with him or herself), passive-aggressive, or whatever, but your empathy should stop at the boundary of feeling bad for them and trying to save them. Why? First, because once you try to save them, you become their victim. Second, because you can't save them any more than you can perform open heart surgery and do sudoku at the same time. Only a professional can help a crazy. Don't try this at home, or anywhere else for that matter.

3) Do not put yourself in a position to either need or help a crazy, otherwise you will not achieve the goal of staying out of Crazytown. Trust me, if you are in a position of need with respect to a crazy, you'd be better off putting yourself out of your own misery than being slowly tortured by their craziness. Second, if you help a crazy, you become their victim, either by being caught up in their drama or being blamed for helping them in the first place. So, don't ever need a crazy to help you and don't ever help a crazy.

4) When it comes to crazies, avoidance is the best option. When Iyanla Vanzant said, "When you see crazy coming, cross the street," she summed up dealing with crazies at its best. Avoidance is the best option. Even engaging crazies in idle pleasantries like, well, "Hello," is, to them, an invitation for them to take you to Crazytown. Why? Because you showed an interest in them. Yes, that's all it takes. Might as well have hung a sign around your neck saying, "Hitchhiking to Crazytown."

Now, sing with me, to the chorus of Funkytown:

Won't let them take me . . . to Crazytown . . . won't let them take me . . . to Crazytown. . . .

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