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The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People - Page 4

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Don’t enjoy life’s pleasures. Taking pleasure in things like food, wine, music, and beauty is for flighty, shallow people. Tell yourself that. If you inadvertently find yourself enjoying some flavor, song, or work of art, remind yourself immediately that these are transitory pleasures, which can’t compensate for the miserable state of the world. The same applies to nature. If you accidentally find yourself enjoying a beautiful view, a walk on the beach, or a stroll through a forest, stop! Remind yourself that the world is full of poverty, illness, and devastation. The beauty of nature is a deception.

Exercise: Once a week, engage in an activity that’s supposed to be enjoyable, but do so while thinking about how pointless it is. In other words, concentrate on removing all sense of pleasure from the pleasurable activity.

Ruminate. Spend a great deal of time focused on yourself. Worry constantly about the causes of your behavior, analyze your defects, and chew on your problems. This will help you foster a pessimistic view of your life. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by any positive experience or influence. The point is to ensure that even minor upsets and difficulties appear huge and portentous.

You can ruminate on the problems of others or the world, but make them about you. Your child is sick? Ruminate on what a burden it is for you to take time off from work to care for her. Your spouse is hurt by your behavior? Focus on how terrible it makes you feel when he points out how you make him feel. By ruminating not only on your own problems but also those of others, you’ll come across as a deep, sensitive thinker who holds the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair and seek out negative feelings, like anger, depression, anxiety, boredom, whatever. Concentrate on these feelings for 15 minutes. During the rest of the day, keep them in the back of your mind, no matter what you’re doing.

Glorify or vilify the past. Glorifying the past is telling yourself how good, happy, fortunate, and worthwhile life was when you were a child, a young person, or a newly married person—and regretting how it’s all been downhill ever since. When you were young, for example, you were glamorous and danced the samba with handsome men on the beach at twilight; and now you’re in a so-so marriage to an insurance adjuster in Topeka. You should’ve married tall, dark Antonio. You should’ve invested in Microsoft when you had the chance. In short, focus on what you could’ve and should’ve done, instead of what you did. This will surely make you miserable.

Vilifying the past is easy, too. You were born in the wrong place at the wrong time, you never got what you needed, you felt you were discriminated against, you never got to go to summer camp. How can you possibly be happy when you had such a lousy background? It’s important to think that bad memories, serious mistakes, and traumatic events were much more influential in forming you and your future than good memories, successes, and happy events. Focus on bad times. Obsess about them. Treasure them. This will ensure that, no matter what’s happening in the present, you won’t be happy.

Exercise: Make a list of your most important bad memories and keep it where you can review it frequently. Once a week, tell someone about your horrible childhood or how much better your life was 20 years ago.

Find a romantic partner to reform. Make sure that you fall in love with someone with a major defect (cat hoarder, gambler, alcoholic, womanizer, sociopath), and set out to reform him or her, regardless of whether he or she wants to be reformed. Believe firmly that you can reform this person, and ignore all evidence to the contrary.

Exercise: Go to online dating sites and see how many bad choices you can find in one afternoon. Make efforts to meet these people. It’s good if the dating site charges a lot of money, since this means you’ll be emotionally starved and poor.

Be critical. Make sure to have an endless list of dislikes and voice them often, whether or not your opinion is solicited. For example, don’t hesitate to say, “That’s what you chose to wear this morning?” or “Why is your voice so shrill?” If someone is eating eggs, tell them you don’t like eggs. Your negativity can be applied to almost anything.

It helps if the things you criticize are well liked by most people so that your dislike of them sets you apart. Disliking traffic and mosquitos isn’t creative enough: everyone knows what it’s like to find these things annoying, and they won’t pay much attention if you find them annoying, too. But disliking the new movie that all your friends are praising? You’ll find plenty of opportunities to counter your friends’ glowing reviews with your contrarian opinion.

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18 comments

  • Comment Link Monday, 27 April 2015 21:17 posted by Alma

    Awesome article! I laughed so hard, and even saw so many things I can improve on. What a learning opportunity! I understand there are real disorders that some of the other comments are talking about, but that's not what this article is about. It's about those who truly create this in their lives. I can see some of these traits in family members, friends, and even in myself. It's a great wake up call to those of us who might be self inflicting some these actions and feelings. I don't think it was meant to attack or minimize real disorders some people might be living with. However, even those people could take this article as a great way to try to recognize something that maybe is in their control to change and work on. Even with disorders there are always things we can work on and improve on our own, and the first step to do that is to recognize it. Loved this!

  • Comment Link Friday, 06 February 2015 20:31 posted by Donna

    Enjoyably helpful! I will try to un-practice some of these habits!!!!

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 28 January 2015 08:58 posted by jen

    Brilliant, so true!!

  • Comment Link Sunday, 28 December 2014 21:42 posted by Debra Crowder

    The author of this article is a very insensitive person. Having struggled with depression for years I resent having people like her mock this illness. Yes, humor in life is good and necessary but I see nothing funny about someone making light of another persons struggles.

  • Comment Link Monday, 24 November 2014 17:22 posted by skoogmagoo

    I thought the article was funny and so true. But I'm a happy person and I only have sympathy for true victims, not those who make themselves victims. I found this article by googling why some people are only happy when they are miserable, because I know people like that. They are just like the other commenters here, full of self pity.

  • Comment Link Monday, 10 November 2014 10:44 posted by Debbie Rice

    I really enjoyed this article. I definitely recognized some personality disordered thinking, which of course is not chosen, but developed over time, and not easily changed in my experience. I do think that personality disorders are often not recognized and someone is seen as manipulative when really there's a serious disorder behind the behavior.

    Personality disorders aside, I do subscribe to the theory that many of our behaviors have a payoff (positive or negative) which we gain something from, thus we repeat them over and over. All therapists know this. The issue as I see it is determining first of all whether the behavior and thinking is egodystonic or egosyntonic. Next, what's the gain for the person and do they really want to change the way they interact in the world.

    The author has a gift for clarity of describing behaviors and thinking and I think it's presented in a fun and insightful way!

  • Comment Link Saturday, 08 November 2014 16:54 posted by Kelly

    Wow, looks like a bunch of the miserable people the author sees so very clearly are the same ones commenting. Funny how if any of these people had enough self awareness to recognize their own behavior they would know they all hit most of the points in this article in their responses and pointed the misery arrow right at themselves. So they are sensitive and mad about what? That someone called out their misery game and it touched a nerve? If you are mad and embarrassed that thre is someone in the world that sees your game of attention seeking for what it is change the behavior or just own the fact that you cultivate being an unhappy person. It is a choice, whatever the circumstances of your past,present, or biology you always have the choice to change, the choice to forgive, the choice to do the work it takes to heal, the choice to seek help, and the choice to accept the help, therapy, medication, and lifestyle adjustments. So quit whining. And FYI this article is clearly satirical and meant as a tongue and cheek " what not to do" manual based on keen and experienced observation of cognitive dysfunction. I thought it was hilarious. Learn to laugh, even at yourself, it solves a world of problems.

  • Comment Link Monday, 28 July 2014 13:16 posted by Charlene Hall-Redick

    How heartening to read the responses by other clinicicans to this article and see manifested such mercy towards those who are miserable. Someone once told me: "Therapists give out hope like cookies." I laughed but I've never forgotten it and i do see this "giving out Hope as a main function we perform.
    Charlene Hall Redick

  • Comment Link Monday, 07 July 2014 13:40 posted by Emily French

    Sorry but I like it we need some satire in our line of work, and lets face it some people do like being miserable they get enough out of it not to change --at least for now

  • Comment Link Monday, 07 July 2014 13:28 posted by Deirdre Modesti

    Laughed so hard! Perfect article!

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