There is an endless number of life situations that challenge our sense of inner balance and emotional well-being. At least once a week, if not once a day, you may hear yourself or a friend say, “That drives me crazy!”. They may be referring to the fifth telemarketing call of the day, being on hold when trying to transact business over the phone or having your spouse or kid leave the milk out on the kitchen counter for the umpteenth time.

Most of the time we use this expression to vent our exasperation over daily annoyances, but our feeling of sanity can be challenged in much more significant ways as well. For example, your adult child moves back into the family home and never seems to have enough money or a good enough job to move out; or you end up in circular arguments with your spouse and he or she frequently tell you that they didn’t do or say whatever it is that you absolutely know they did or said. This kind of “gaslighting” can make us feel like we are losing our sanity.

Taking on impossible challenges, such as trying to get our adult child to stop using drugs or alcohol, trying to fix someone else’s marriage, or taking on more commitments than any one person could possibly handle can also drive us crazy. So, how do we save our sanity?

In each of these scenarios saving our sanity requires that we take a different type of action or change our attitude. When dealing with daily annoyances, the most helpful way to preserve our inner balance is to cultivate patience and develop realistic expectations. When dealing with an abusive, manipulative partner, we may need to get counseling or consider leaving the relationship. Learning about codependency can help us deal with people in our lives who are mentally imbalanced or unstable and it is often within our power to free ourselves from impossible obligations.

Questions to Consider:
1) What are some of the things that “drive you crazy” and how do you deal with them?
2) Are the things that challenge your sense of sanity mostly minor things or are there some major challenges confronting your sense of well-being?
3) Choose a situation that has been especially annoying or disorienting for you and share what you have done to keep it from driving you crazy.
4) What attitudes or actions have you changed that help you “save your sanity”?
5) What role has setting and maintaining boundaries played in helping you feel a sense of well-being and inner balance? Give an example.