The “c” word that’s ruining your divorce.

There are a few “c” words floating around our world these days. Words that begin with the letter “c” and are all too heinous to actually be spoken of. Out loud. In polite company.

First off, there’s that really derogatory name for a female (and female body part). You probably have a very good idea of which one I’m talking about. The other “c” word that springs to mind: cancer. Not an uplifting word either, and one that some people are afraid to utter.

But there’s a third “c” word that gets lots of use during a divorce. Another word that I want to add to this list of words we all despise hearing. What is the word I’m referring to?

(drumroll please)


Bat sh#t crazy. Cray. Cray. Crazy Like A Fox.

the word crazy

However you want to put it. This “c” word gets way too much use during a divorce. Crazy is the divorced persons favorite go-to word. Each spouse calls the other one crazy. Want to stay in your house? Crazy. Want joint custody? Crazy. Want to divvy up property? You’ve probably been called crazy too. It’s the fall back word for anyone who’s splitting up. That word is used to describe the process and most definitely the person they used to be married to.

I’ve been called crazy by my spouse. You probably have to.

The crazy word gets hauled out every time separation papers get drawn up and someone decides to get a divorce. Whether you were the one seeking the divorce, if your ex demanded it, or even if it was a decision you made together, I’ll bet someone got called crazy.

And by the way, if you or your ex suffers from a true mental illness; bipolar, OCD, schizophrenia, etc. this post is NOT about you.

This post is for all of us who are lazy. Too lazy to think of a more appropriate or specific adjective to describe the actions of our spouse. This post is for all of us too lazy to stop for a moment and ask ourselves why this person is behaving that way in the first place.

Isn’t it time that we retired the word crazy and found some other more specific, and maybe even, more constructive words to call our former spouse?

the c word that's ruining your divorce

Here are a few alternate words to use instead:








Maybe if we could find a more constructive word to describe the actions of our spouse, we might be able to find a more constructive way to communicate and deal with this person too. Generic, mean spirited labels probably won’t help your spouse be less angry towards you, and probably won’t help the divorce process either. (While you’re at it, here are some other ways to make sure you have a crappy, difficult divorce.)

Maybe if we use less of the Crazy word, we might be able to use another “c” word. Words like coexist, compromise, maybe even compassion.

You don’t have to suddenly talk about your ex like they just descended from heaven, but constantly labeling any behavior you don’t agree with as crazy is probably not helping anyone. Not you, your spouse, your kids.

Let’s cut the crazy talk and find more creative words to use when speaking about former spouses.  Stop using inflammatory word to describe them. Stop calling anyone, including our ex, who doesn’t agree with us crazy.

I think it’s time to give the “c” word, crazy, a nice, long rest.


  1. says

    I excitedly look forward to your posts and completely agree about how the word crazy is used a colloquial blanket term and dismissive throwaway, which demeans others more than we realise.

    Formerly, describing another person as crazy had associations of lobotomies, chemical imbalances, mental health issues etc. That said, I have once personally done this. The words spilt out of my mouth…once I’d verbalised them, they could not be taken back or construed as having alternative meaning. From that day onwards, I decided never to sit in judgement of another human being – plus to take a few calming breaths before responding to someone who is argumentative, combative., irrational..etc.

    • says

      My father once told me “you can’t unring a bell”, once you’ve said something it takes on a life of its own. Good for you that you don’t sit in judgement on other people, it is so easy to do! Crazy is too easy to say and walk away. I do hope that all of us become more mindful of those blanket terms we call each other. So glad you like the posts! I truly appreciate you reading and following.

  2. says

    It’s sad how break-ups devolve into name-calling and blaming–especially when kids are involved. It takes two to make–and break–a relationship, and calling the other person crazy doesn’t absolve us of our own culpability or responsibility. I agree that compassion and compromise are much more productive words–and actions. A thought-provoking post!

    • says

      Roxanne, thanks for reading and commenting. It does take two to make a marriage and make a divorce too. Name calling doesn’t help anyone, especially the children least of all.

      • Lou says

        Yes it takes 2 to make a marriage work – presuming those 2 are equal partners. Sometimes it takes one to make the marriage fail – the abusive one…

  3. Patricia says

    Agree. Make a choice to move on and process what happened. It takes two to make or break a relationship. Your ultimate goal is peace. That’s found in forgiveness. We all have strengths and weaknesses. You loved them at one time. Trying to negate that only makes you look foolish. People change and relationship fall apart. Accepting it and not adding labels is the healthiest choice. Who really wants to be in a relationship with someone who wants out of it. Never start one that you can’t let go of if needed. Seeking the happiness of others will ultimately bring you peace. If they have to go then let them go. If you have to go then respect your needs and leave as easily as you can. Bashing is childish.

    • says

      Patricia-bashing is so childish and it seems that in a relationship breakup we so often become children again and behave in the worst childish ways! Forgiveness is something that we can all use more of in our lives! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. GALEN says

    When I encounter people going through a divorce and acting badly, I have to remember: I’m not seeing them at their best. NO ONE is at their best during the stress of a divorce or separation.

    • says

      That’s a very good thing to remember. It’s definitely is not most people’s finest hour! The stress takes its toll and usually results in lashing out. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  5. says

    Name calling is not only hurtful but shows a lack of control by the perpetrator who relies on negative labels instead of intelligent conversation and resolutions. When people are prepared to use that good C word – compromise – there is no need to stoop to name calling.

  6. says

    As a twice divorced woman of 60 in a third very happy marriage, I have many regrets about use of the c word. Both my former husbands are dead – they had tragically short lives, which of course could not be foretold at the time I was hurling abuse at them. Now, as a mature woman who would have handled things VERY differently with the much better mind I have developed over the years, I see that they were human beings with a right to respect. I was SO stupid. Relationships do end and each person has their own perspective. If each differs greatly from the other, it doesn’t mean anyone is crazy. God how I wish I saw that back then. My husband is lucky enough to still have his former wife in his life as they have grandchildren. It is wonderful for them to be able to see their grandparents get along despite not staying married – a great life lesson for them. I would tell any young separated person to think of the furture weddings and family events you may have to attend for your children’s sake and quit using the c word or any others that wound.

    • says

      you are so lucky that you’ve found a wonderful happy marriage. I so appreciate your comments. Yes, we need to think about the long range relationship! This person will be in our lives for a long time; weddings, grand children, we do need to think about the repercussions of our temper tantrums and childish behavior!

  7. says

    If you have children your soon to be ex-spouse will not be out of your life forever. I recommend trying to call a truce of some sort for the kids sake, if not the sake of yourself. If you are devastated by your divorce and have a lot of unresolved anger, then a therapist may be of help to you. Name calling will not solve anything, it will just make a situation worse – and in my opinion it is childish. Think of your children – don’t let them be witness to any negativity toward your ex-spouse (their other parent). Thanks for sharing!

  8. Dave Rauks says

    I am almost to the finalization of my divorce. Wished I would have found this article sooner. It would have helped me be reflective and possibly take a more balance approach early on. I am sure I used “crazy” often which created a tense atmosphere.

    • says

      I’m so sorry that you are having to go through the pain of a divorce. I think it does make it better for everyone, including ourselves if we can make the process less combative and more compassionate towards our ex. It benefits us too.

  9. says

    Words are VERY important. They are the ladder to truer understanding and we have a choice to build that ladder strong or flimsy and get nothing done. Great post.

  10. says

    I’m one of the fortunate ones Rosie that has a fairly good relationship with my ex. In fact he attended my wedding and gets on very well with my husband. It is such a shame that some relationships break down to the point where name calling is the order of the day. It really affects not just the two involved but also children of the relationship. A great post as always.
    sue recently posted…Post Workout Snacks – is yours right for You?My Profile

    • says

      Sue thank you for your comment and your thoughts. yes! the ones who really pay the price are the kids. If we could just get over ourselves and remember them instead. And wow, impressed that you were able to have your ex at your wedding!

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