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The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People - Page 2

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Fearing economic loss has several advantages. First, it’ll keep you working forever at a job you hate. Second, it balances nicely with greed, an obsession with money, and a selfishness that even Ebenezer Scrooge would envy. Third, not only will you alienate your friends and family, but you’ll likely become even more anxious, depressed, and possibly even ill from your money worries. Good job!

Exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, and, for 15 minutes, meditate on all the things you could lose: your job, your house, your savings, and so forth. Then brood about living in a homeless shelter.

Practice sustained boredom. Cultivate the feeling that everything is predictable, that life holds no excitement, no possibility for adventure, that an inherently fascinating person like yourself has been deposited into a completely tedious and pointless life through no fault of your own. Complain a lot about how bored you are. Make it the main subject of conversation with everyone you know so they’ll get the distinct feeling that you think they’re boring. Consider provoking a crisis to relieve your boredom. Have an affair (this works best if you’re already married and even better if you have an affair with someone else who’s married); go on repeated shopping sprees for clothes, cars, fancy appliances, sporting equipment (take several credit cards, in case one maxes out); start pointless fights with your spouse, boss, children, friends, neighbors; have another child; quit your job, clean out your savings account, and move to a state you know nothing about.

A side benefit of being bored is that you inevitably become boring. Friends and relatives will avoid you. You won’t be invited anywhere; nobody will want to call you, much less actually see you. As this happens, you’ll feel lonely and even more bored and miserable.

Exercise: Force yourself to watch hours of mindless reality TV programs every day, and read only nonstimulating tabloids that leave you feeling soulless. Avoid literature, art, and keeping up with current affairs.

Give yourself a negative identity. Allow a perceived emotional problem to absorb all other aspects of your self-identification. If you feel depressed, become a Depressed Person; if you suffer from social anxiety or a phobia, assume the identity of a Phobic Person or a Person with Anxiety Disorder. Make your condition the focus of your life. Talk about it to everybody, and make sure to read up on the symptoms so you can speak about them knowledgeably and endlessly. Practice the behaviors most associated with that condition, particularly when it’ll interfere with regular activities and relationships. Focus on how depressed you are and become weepy, if that’s your identity of choice. Refuse to go places or try new things because they make you too anxious. Work yourself into panic attacks in places it’ll cause the most commotion. It’s important to show that you don’t enjoy these states or behaviors, but that there’s nothing you can do to prevent them.

Practice putting yourself in the physiological state that represents your negative identity. For example, if your negative identity is Depressed Person, hunch your shoulders, look at the floor, breathe shallowly. It’s important to condition your body to help you reach your negative peak as quickly as possible.

Exercise: Write down 10 situations that make you anxious, depressed, or distracted. Once a week, pick a single anxiety-provoking situation, and use it to work yourself into a panic for at least 15 minutes.

Pick fights. This is an excellent way of ruining a relationship with a romantic partner. Once in a while, unpredictably, pick a fight or have a crying spell over something trivial and make unwarranted accusations. The interaction should last for at least 15 minutes and ideally occur in public. During the tantrum, expect your partner to be kind and sympathetic, but should he or she mention it later, insist that you never did such a thing and that he or she must have misunderstood what you were trying to say. Act injured and hurt that your partner somehow implied you weren’t behaving well.

Another way of doing this is to say unexpectedly, “We need to talk,” and then to barrage your partner with statements about how disappointed you are with the relationship. Make sure to begin this barrage just as your partner is about to leave for some engagement or activity, and refuse to end it for at least an hour. Another variation is to text or phone your partner at work to express your issues and disappointments. Do the same if your partner is out with friends.

Exercise: Write down 20 annoying text messages you could send to a romantic partner. Keep a grudge list going, and add to it daily.

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18 comments

  • Comment Link Saturday, 13 June 2015 17:22 posted by Ann Joy

    I am surprised at people finding the author ignorant and the irony offensive. I've been through times of depression myself.Everyone was saying things like stop worrying, it's gonna be OK, but I felt like throwing up when hearing this.Then I met a stranger in the park who talked to me very much like the author, showing me how ridiculous my thought patterns and complaints were. I am very thankful for this happening, because he actually succeeded at pulling me out of depression!

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 06 May 2015 14:35 posted by wayne west

    Excellent
    The symtoms alone remind me of some i know well

  • 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

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