Dealing with Crazy People!
People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys by Mike Bechtle
Click here to purchase People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys
This is a good book filled with lots of useful tips and information for those of us who have to deal with “crazy” people. It is from a Christian point of view and has some religious quotes and influence, although I didn’t think it was too preachy. There were long sections with no religious commentary at all. Most of it is good common sense; however, if you were raised in an abusive home, you might not have learned to have the kind of boundaries and self-respect you need to deal with dysfunctional people. That has been a big problem for me, so the title of this book caught my attention at the book store!
I think the information in this book is essential and very, very helpful. I underlined so many good ideas and realities that I wish I’d known sooner. Such as “The key to controlling our emotions is to manage our thoughts” (page 84.) Bechtle points out that we cannot change crazy people, but we could make ourselves miserable trying to do it. Instead, he points out that we have to change our reactions to crazy people so they no longer have the power to control our emotions. I have a problem with a sociopathic ex-spouse with whom I have not spoken in two years. He still manages to attempt to harass me in any way he possibly can…that doesn’t breach the protective order I have against him. For two years, I have lived with daily harassment or reminders of it as he has tried to destroy all of my friendships and has spread lies about me. I finally said “enough is enough” and decided to completely shut off all information about his wacky behavior. He’s still out there being crazy, but I am not paying attention to it anymore. I am so much happier and my friends tell me they see the difference now that I have peace in my life again. It has allowed me to be far more productive. The author doesn’t specifically address dealing with personality-disordered people, but many of the ideas still apply.
The author recommends tips such as backing away from your emotional response to a crazy person, and instead looking at the situation realistically. Crazy people often manipulate or lie to us in such a convincing manner that we believe them and lose track of reality. It allows them to control us and our emotions. Instead, we need to replace our incorrect thoughts with truth and enforce strong boundaries. This book includes these important ideas and more.
One thing I will say is, even though this book has many level-headed, sensible and helpful ideas, it was not an easy read for me. The text is simple and easy to understand, but it’s not written in an engaging way that made me want to read it straight through. It’s not a fun book to read, but it is one of the best books I’ve read on the topic of dealing with crazy people and protecting yourself. I really think he makes excellent and useful points. Another thing I’ll point out is, this author doesn’t focus much on cutting contact with crazy people. He mostly describes ways to live with that person without letting them control your life, so this book will be helpful for those who can’t get the crazy person out of their lives.
The chapter titles are:
Part 1–Stuck in a Crazy World
1. I’m Okay, You’re Crazy
2. The Problem with Believing We’re Right
3. How Relationships Work
Part 2–Changing Someone Else
4. Stop Yelling at the Toaster Oven
5. The impact of Influence
6. Can I Fire My Family?
Part 3–Changing Yourself
7. Why Can’t Everyone Be Like Me
8. The Energy of Emotions
9. Seven Keys to Unlocking Healthy Relationships
10. Key #1–See Yourself Realistically
11. Key #2–Take Yourself Lightly
12. Key #3–Don’t Sweat the Wrong Stuff
13. Key #4–Don’t Rush Growth
14. Key #5–Live Through the Lens of Kindness
15. Key #6–Base Your Choices on Integrity, Not Convenience
16. Key #7–Go the Distance in Relationships
Part 4–Changing Your Environment
17. Prioritize Your Relationships
18. No Guarantees
19. When to Leave
Part 5–Putting It into Practice
20. Giving Up on Getting Straight A’s
21. You Can’t Steer a Parked Car
22. Your Relationship Survival Kit
23. It’s Worth the Effort