Madness is a distorted mirror.
For someone with a concrete identity, who is clearly identified with a specific structure of human experience and possibility, the mad person does not affect them much.
Because they do not identify with them at all.
We are not affected by things and people we do not identify with.
They see the mad person as totally separate from them.
However, for someone who is highly open, fluid, with vast vision and empathy, who recognizes in himself the potentials of the entire collective human consciousness itself, this witnessing of madness will hurt/pain a lot.
Because, here the deep visionary and empath can recognize himself in the mad person too.
It is like seeing a funky mirror at an amusement park, that distorts your face making your nose super large, eyes and chin super small etc.
For the person with a concrete identity, he just looks at it and flatly denies having anything to do with that reflection, he just says “this is not me”.
But for the deep visionary, it is trickier, because he is not identified with any fixed concrete identity as such, and sees himself with all possibilities of the collective consciousness.
So, when he sees the distorted mirror in the amusement park, he knows that, that is his face, a distorted version version of his original face.
The difference between the concrete person and the visionary is that, the concrete person believes the mad person is totally separate and has nothing to do with him, while the deep empath visionary can see the mad person IS HIM, in a greatly distorted form.
We are not affected by the things in which we cannot see ourselves in.
That is the root of empathy, is it not?
When your identity is sufficiently subtle, you see yourself in and as everyone and everything.
When you are young, you are mirrored in your mother’s and father’s image of you, which becomes your social identity (relational identity, ego).
If they mirror you in a seriously chaotic inconsistent mirror, then that becomes your “social identity/relational identity/ego”.
You are then never sure of your security, desirability, lovability, value etc.
Because the parent’s mad fluctuations keeps changing you from an angel to a devil randomly.
So then you start living in fear/anxiety all the time because you never know what wrong you have done, what punishment you are going to get, what expectation is going to be shoved on you etc.
They then keep you walking on eggshells all the time.
In order to adapt to those mad expectation projections on you from the parents, you have to keeping shaping yourself too accordingly.
So the end-result is, even your structure will mirror the mad parents.
The interesting thing to note here is that, madness at this intra-family level is only related to “inconsistency”.
A consistent interaction pattern no matter what it is, within the family, will be coherence and sanity. It may be totally mad with respect to the outside world however.
That is why the tyrant is a particular adaptation to madness, where he creates some arbitrary pattern and then stays ultra consistent in his investment to that, forcing others to abide by the same too, punishing them whenever they don’t.
A second adaptation to tolerate madness would be, to completely sacrifice yourself to the other and always changing yourself to match and harmonize with the changing random moods of the mad person.
The third adaptation I can think of is to completely isolate yourself, so that the self-other “painful difficult dynamic” can be totally avoided.
These 3 types of adaptation are essentially the: fight, fawn, flight responses.
If nothing works, and you are stuck in a inescapable situation, then the freeze response happens, where you lose consciousness of the entire self-other dynamic and float away in some out of body dissociated state.
At the societal level, the macrocosm mirrors the microcosm, that is:
The 4 categories of fight/fawn/flight/freeze form:
The insight I get is: “People see me as they are, not as I am”.
But then it is also true that: “What I know as myself is only the internalized reflections from others”.
Because one cannot know oneself any more than a candle flame can burn itself.
So this is part of the “self-other” interdependent matrix.
Disharmony/Distortion/Projection = madness —vs— Harmony/Clarity/Independence = Sanity
Madness is always relative.
It is the discordant note in the symphony.
If you were born in a mad family, then the structures that you form mirror that circumstance and outcast/separate you too.
The same can be said about the parents themselves.
Maybe they themselves were the effect of mad circumstances.
So in this way, madness propagates itself in the genetic chain.
The way I deal with madness is, I work to transcend it.
By understanding the higher laws/dharma/truths beyond the madness, I work from that footing on fixing the madness in me and others.