In the 1960's two psychiatrists wrote a textbook about it. Essentially it is one person projecting negative traits or elements onto another person, trying to make them feel they are crazy. It is extremely manipulative behavior, meant to cause another person to second guess their own sanity. And if that doesn't work, then they begin to tell others around you that they feel you are crazy and need help. It is character assassination at best, and emotional abuse at worst, if things do not cross all the way into the illegal.
It is important to note that this is extremely abusive, oppressive, and manipulative behavior. The Crazy-maker does not give any consideration to what they are putting the recipient through. The only thing that matters is their own agenda. Often these people are not capable of looking beyond their own behavior and needs in order to see the living, breathing person right in front of them. This is not a game. This is real, and the damage that can be done to another person can be great.
So what do we do? There is no simple answer.
You can try to confront the person. The Bible tells us that we are to try to talk to others about our conflicts. The problem is that if the other person does not listen, this will often end up in nothing but a fight. I've been there. It's difficult to get them to be quiet long enough to even listen. All they want is their own voice, and you are not allowed to have one at all. You may also be hit with a barrage of excuses as to why you are the one that is wrong.
That's one key signal. YOU are always WRONG. It doesn't matter what you are talking about, doing, seeing, going, etc. You don't even have to show up to still be wrong. Someone just thinks about you, and you are automatically wrong. You can even be wrong about being wrong! (See why it is called Crazy-making!)
Bring another person, a friend or family member. Try to have someone else get through to them. And if that does not work, the Bible says to 'put them out.' So exactly what does that mean? Could be out of the church, out of your daily life, out of their reach. There will come a time when you have to start caring for yourself, and getting a handle on the people that are treating you like garbage. In some circumstances it will be possible to continue to be around that person, in extremely limited situations, and with certain ground rules. Sometimes even that is not possible.
Pray. A Lot! God can do anything, including giving you the strength to get through this. And sometimes that is the only way you can survive this horrendous behavior.
It will not be easy. In fact it may be the most difficult thing you have ever done. I have put up with a lifetime of this behavior from another. I have waited patiently for them to change. Stayed in the background for them to grow up and realize that I have value. I have tried to talk to them, only to get attacked at every turn. I even went on the offensive and attacked first before I could get attacked again. I have so many knife wounds in my back there is no uninjured place left (figurative, of course). I finally had to give up... walk away... let it go... there is nothing else that I can do. If the other person refuses to recognize your value and your worth, then you must learn to cut the dead weight.
John 15:2 tell us:
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
I hate getting pruned. It hurts. After my divorce I told my friends it was as if I'd had a limb severed. That was an entire branch of me that was missing. This will feel the same way. A piece of your life will be missing. Often it is a large piece, or a piece that you have wanted to maintain for years, if not decades.
There is no doubt that the Crazymakers in our lives are keeping us from bearing fruit. They care little for your accomplishments in life. But God does. God wants us to bear fruit for His kingdom, and bring forth His message to the world. So if someone is holding you back from that, and putting you down in the process, it is time to re-evaluate their worth in your life.
Christ died for you. Don't let another take that value away for their own agenda.