SOMETIMES the reason you feel crazy is because you are in a crazy situation. NOT feeling crazy may be the thing that means you really ARE, and that makes FEELING CRAZY the only POSSIBLE SANE RESPONSE!
I came up with this “explanation” for distress that causes too much self doubt when first beginning to explore SYSTEM ISSUES and the intense inequity in all systems for women. When making presentations, consulting with organizations, and especially in individual therapy sessions during the late 70’s and early 80’s, women continued to express doubt about their well-being, and ability to simply cope, in facing and handling confusing, discriminatory, and simply unfair conflict situations in all areas of life — at work, at home, in schools, churches, government institutions. It was a time of growing consciousness for women….and the POSSIBILITY that a woman could be a party’s political candidate for President was only a fantasy.
But I digress. I knew that such large numbers of intelligent, competent, successful women could not all be CRAZY even though they felt they might be, and expressed the concern. And I also knew I had the same feelings from time to time. And believe it or not, it’s extremely comforting to shift thinking to the possibility that NOT FEELING OFF OR CRAZY OR CONFUSED is an indicator of SANITY! Consequently I began to think, speak and eventually write more around the concept: MAYBE IT’S NOT ME! MAYBE IT’S THE SYSTEM!
That concept is expressed in my first book: RELEASE FROM POWERLESSNESS: TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE! And a healthy psychology of and for women is the theme of most of my writing and speaking. And today, with an election close at hand, I’m deeply aware of the relevance of the concept of frayed institutions, dysfunction at all levels of organizations that results from discrimination, harassment, sexual abuse, and a “rape culture” — or most simply, seeing women as “less than” — less powerful, less relevant, and consequently having less of a VOICE.
Over the years, I’ve been encouraged to see growing numbers of men understanding the concept of broken systems, and realizing they, too, suffer in any system that has inequity or an imbalance of power……It is time for each of us to step up….to see how we might speak, behave, take action to make our systems healthy….to give women and men an equal voice….to learn from one another….to speak and think and feel and behave in a manner that elevates each of us rather than the EXACT OPPOSITE…..
And sadly, political campaigns have mirrored system dysfunction. Ugly language and behavior, efforts to injure, one-up an opponent….or as Columnist David Brooks says, allowing an assault on manners and condoning vs confronting an ugly misogyny and hyper masculinity.
We need and deserve change. And if you feel a little crazy as you either read or watch the news, consider that is INDEED THE ONLY SANE RESPONSE. Then decide what you might do to take care of yourself…..and to lend any one else who might need it…. a helping hand!