Here’s a book review that went up at AVfM today. I think a lot of my readers will find this book interesting.
I am not an ex-wife nor am I a second wife, so when I picked up Say Goodbye to Crazy: How to Get Rid of his Crazy Ex and Restore Sanity to Your Life, by AVfM’s Paul Elam and A Shrink for Men’s Dr. Tara Palmatier, I expected to spend a few hours immersed in someone’s else’s nightmare, grateful for my own calm, peaceful life. The first page and every page thereafter was a somewhat shocking reminder that dealing with crazy doesn’t necessarily require an ex-wife or a second marriage – it just requires a psycho bitch, and I have a wealth of experience dealing with that.
My mother is crazy.
I can honestly say this book captivated me on a personal level unlike any other book I have ever read. I have, on occasion, attempted to make my way through some psychobabble about dealing with toxic parents or “difficult” people, but as SGTC makes clear, those books are mostly a pile of bullshit, the pages of which are worth wiping your ass with and not much else.
Crazy doesn’t change. Crazy doesn’t care. Crazy can’t be reasoned with, can’t be mollified, can’t be pacified, can’t be satisfied. Ten million pages of strategy isn’t going to help when you’re dealing with Crazy. Study them to your heart’s content, and prepare to continue consuming crazy in doses that will affect your health, your happiness and everything in your world. SGTC doesn’t mince words, and will never explain how you, are in fact, to blame for Crazy being crazy. Oh, you bear some of the blame when it comes to Crazy fucking up your life, but it’s not the blame you think it is.
The book is divided into three sections. The first section helps you identify the kind of crazy you are dealing with, all the while reminding you, than unless you are a psychiatrist specializing in personality disorders, it is not your job to fix Crazy. You can’t. These chapters were rather bittersweet for me to read, because one of my brothers and I both reached that conclusion with our mother, after many, many attempts to fix her. It can’t be done. We no longer have any contact with her, because there is no in-between with her crazy: there is no happy medium where we can abandon ship once the level of toxicity reaches a certain point. She is radioactive from the first second. Quarantine was our only option. My oldest and my youngest brother are still feverishly trying to change their crazy mother. They try to accommodate, to pacify, to meet her demands, and they are still failing and digesting their daily dose of poison.
They will both be getting a copy of this book, but I’m not optimistic.
The second part of the book addresses preparations to deal with Crazy. Specifically directed at the individuals who are going to have to armor up for war, and present an unassailable and united front against escalating craziness, it walks through all the different manifestations of Crazy, and rubs salt into the open wounds in your own flesh that give Crazy the fault lines she needs to exploit your weakness.
It can be unpleasant to read.
I had to put the book down a few times and walk away, because the advice feels counterintuitive, and yet bracingly, undeniably true. Being nice? Practicing forgiveness? Giving other people the benefit of the doubt? Those are lovely, wonderful things when you are dealing with normal people. Try that with Crazy and she will slip the point of her dagger in and then proceed to flay the skin from you one agonizing strip at a time.
Been there. Done that. The first 18 years of my life, I didn’t know there was any alternative to the emotional assault my Crazy mother delivered day in and day out.
The third section of the book gets down to the nitty gritty? What can you do to get rid of Crazy and restore sanity to your life? It’s filled with practical, concrete actions you can take, depending on what kind of Crazy you are dealing with and what your extenuating circumstances happen to be. Some of them are easy, some will rip your heart out and leave you bleeding on the floor, but they are necessary, and the book makes it clear why they are necessary.
In retrospect, I engaged many of the strategies the book recommends, but I had to learn them by trial and error and all things considered, I wish I hadn’t bothered with all the false starts and dead ends. They were the source of considerable emotional turmoil and pain, and had this book existed, I might have avoided them.
I might not have found the book though, thinking it was for people going through divorce, and we don’t often describe leaving Crazy when Crazy is a parent as divorce, which is too bad, because it is very, very similar. For that reason, I want to endorse this book for pretty much everyone, whether you are dealing with Crazy or not. Crazy can be a lot of people – a sister, a mother, a mother-in-law, a co-worker, a girlfriend, a bat-shit crazy cousin or former best friend or aunt. This kind of Crazy is almost always a woman, and if you haven’t met Crazy yet, consider that luck, and assume your luck won’t hold.
Say Goodbye to Crazy is an excellent book for men who are braving the dating market, in particular. Lots of women will “shit-test” men, and red-pill men know how to deal with that efficiently and effectively. What SGTC will help you determine, really early on, before you have wasted time and effort and resources, is whether you are dealing with a woman who has been confused by contradictory messages sent by the dominant culture about what she really wants (that’s imminently curable, for those who care to put in the effort) and bona fide Crazy. Crazy will give you just enough to keep you focused on her. She will play along to the extent she has to. Then she will detonate and leave you, in the best case scenario with a mess to clean up. In the worst case scenario, she can do much, much worse than that. SGTC will give you the tools to spot these psychos immediately and show them the gate before they even cross your threshold.
I also strongly recommend this book for both men and women who work in an environment with a lot of women, especially if those women are in positions of power. Sooner or later, you’re gonna run into Crazy. Knowing how to recognize her, how to deal with her and how to defeat her could be the difference between moving up in your organization or being forced to move on, hopefully without an inferno of false accusations and allegations of misconduct behind you. Crazy can, and will, attempt to destroy your entire life, and knowing how to spot these dangerous women (and some men) is critical.
One last word on SGTC – you aren’t going to find any jargon, esoteric terminology, obscure references or indecipherable metaphors on these pages. This book is for everyone and it’s written for everyone, in clear, concise and often very funny prose. There are no pats on the head, and no cookies for showing up. The book lays how to recognize Crazy, how to prepare for battle and how to win. You don’t need to have Crazy in your life right now to benefit from Say Goodbye to Crazy. Smart people will realize that Crazy is everywhere, and sooner or later, she’ll set her sights on you. This book can help.
Forewarned is forearmed.
The very best way to deal with Crazy is to shut her down from day one.
Lots of love,