At the end of myself…at the feet of Jesus

Matthew 25: 40, And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Crazy Making


Consider this: what if you got up tomorrow and, suddenly without explanation or warning, everybody around you told you that the sky orange: not orange at sunrise or sunset but orange around the day-lit clock? And, what if, when the day finally ended everyone told you the night sky was green? The first day you might laugh it off as a colossal practical joke but what if you got up the next morning, and the next and the next and the next and every single morning you were told the daytime sky was orange and every single evening you were told the night sky was green? Finally, in frustration, you’d ask them how they could possibly believe the sky had changed color. What if they then “reminded” you of some calamity that had occurred, something so grand, so awful, it had altered reality and then chided you for forgetting the event and then, pointing to the sky, said, “And it’s been like this ever since”. And, yet you saw, as clearly as you ever have, that the daytime sky was blue and that the nighttime sky was dark blue or black. What if you protested, trying to make others understand only to be told “You’re crazy! the sky is orange, I tell you, orange!”? You alone disagree and, because of that, you alone are the one everyone thinks crazy. Finally you begin to feel like everyone else might be right: maybe you really are crazy. So, after a long period of being laughed at, of being accused of craziness for not accepting their version of reality, sadly believing you somehow forgot this sky-changing calamity, you begin to accept that everyone else was right and you alone were wrong;  in defeat you admit that the daytime sky is  indeed orange and the nighttime sky is green. And, yet, every morning thereafter when you look at the sky, you wonder if you really are crazy because no matter how many times you tell yourself the sky is orange, it still looks blue to you. Finally, one day, able to bear it no more, you simply quit looking at all.

That’s called crazy-making and that is what abuse victims face day-after-day, year-after-year. We are told black is white often enough that we begin to doubt our own version of reality. We clearly see one thing but our abusers tell us quite another. When we deny their version of reality (no matter that it is faulty), it is we who are told we are crazy. Quite often they tell others, too. Finally, after being continually browbeaten, in defeat, we accept the sad truth: we really are crazy. Black really is white.



4 thoughts on “Crazy Making

  1. The story Ida Mae gave is just the kind of thing that makes telling our stories so difficult for years (until we finally wake up). How illogical is it to scream about the ultra-clean bathroom? Completely illogical. So illogical that if the victim thinks about complaining to someone outside the marriage about her husband’s weird behaviour, she baulks at the very idea. To tell an outsider about that crazy stuff her husband says and does? How would anyone believe it? And the person she told would likely look at her and think “You’re making this up!”
    So she doesn’t tell. She can’t even compute the illogic of his actions in her own mind, so how can she explain it to anyone else.

    • Everything about an abuser is illogical, isn’t it? How could he turn against those (wife, children) who try so hard to love and accept him? Just doesn’t make sense–no more sense than Ida Mae’s husband made in ranting over an already clean bathroom. Pathetic. It’s hard enough for the wife to believe it, it’s incredibly hard for her to define it, it’s nearly impossible to share it or hope anyone else would understand. No one who hadn’t gone through something like that would. That’s what’s so great about the sharing we’re doing. We can understand one another. God’s gift to us? I think so. God bless you~ Anna

  2. Thank you, Ida Mae. I appreciate you sharing your story. I know it’s hard and still hurts. Your story reminds me of so many things I’ve experienced and the stories of other abused women. I sometimes wish I could just go back and talk to myself so many years ago and wake myself up to reality. I wish we all could.


  3. Excellent description, Anna.

    When we first married, the estranged insisted I do all the housework even though we both had full time jobs because “it was woman’s work.” We had a bathroom that was never used but he insisted I scrub it anyway. Then while he inspected my cleaning, he’d take me to that bathroom, point at the tile and holler about all the dirt.

    I’d stand there, looking at him, looking at the perfectly pristine tile and argue. The longer I argued, the longer (and louder) he yelled until I finally gave in, recleaned the entire bathtub and surround. He’d inspect, grumble about what a rotten housekeeper I was and move on the complain about something else.

    I just could not believe anyone would make something like that up. Why point to the cleanest spot in the house and yell if nothing was there? He insisted his eyesight was better than mine. Never crossed my mind back then that he never yelled about the other bathroom– the one with layers of mold and soapscum every week. I finally accepted his version– I was a horrible housekeeper with bad eyesight.

    Crazy making indeed.

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