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The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People - Page 3

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Attribute bad intentions. Whenever you can, attribute the worst possible intentions to your partner, friends, and coworkers. Take any innocent remark and turn it into an insult or attempt to humiliate you. For example, if someone asks, “How did you like such and such movie?” you should immediately think, He’s trying to humiliate me by proving that I didn’t understand the movie, or He’s preparing to tell me that I have poor taste in movies. The idea is to always expect the worst from people. If someone is late to meet you for dinner, while you wait for them, remind yourself of all the other times the person was late, and tell yourself that he or she is doing this deliberately to slight you. Make sure that by the time the person arrives, you’re either seething or so despondent that the evening is ruined. If the person asks what’s wrong, don’t say a word: let him or her suffer.

Exercise: List the names of five relatives or friends. For each, write down something they did or said in the recent past that proves they’re as invested in adding to your misery as you are.

Whatever you do, do it only for personal gain. Sometimes you’ll be tempted to help someone, contribute to a charity, or participate in a community activity. Don’t do it, unless there’s something in it for you, like the opportunity to seem like a good person or to get to know somebody you can borrow money from some day. Never fall into the trap of doing something purely because you want to help people. Remember that your primary goal is to take care of Numero Uno, even though you hate yourself.

Exercise: Think of all the things you’ve done for others in the past that haven’t been reciprocated. Think about how everyone around you is trying to take from you. Now list three things you could do that would make you appear altruistic while bringing you personal, social, or professional gain.

Avoid gratitude. Research shows that people who express gratitude are happier than those who don’t, so never express gratitude. Counting your blessings is for idiots. What blessings? Life is suffering, and then you die. What’s there to be thankful for?

Well-meaning friends and relatives will try to sabotage your efforts to be thankless. For example, while you’re in the middle of complaining about the project you procrastinated on at work to your spouse during an unhealthy dinner, he or she might try to remind you of how grateful you should be to have a job or food at all. Such attempts to encourage gratitude and cheerfulness are common and easily deflected. Simply point out that the things you should be grateful for aren’t perfect—which frees you to find as much fault with them as you like.

Exercise: Make a list of all the things you could be grateful for. Next to each item, write down why you aren’t.
Imagine the worst. When you think of the future, imagine the worst possible scenario. It’s important
to be prepared for and preemptively miserable about any possible disaster or tragedy. Think of the possibilities: terrorist attacks, natural disasters, fatal disease, horrible accidents, massive crop failures, your child not getting picked for the varsity softball team.

Always be alert and in a state of anxiety. Optimism about the future leads only to disappointment. Therefore, you have to do your best to believe that your marriage will flounder, your children won’t love you, your business will fail, and nothing good will ever work out for you.

Exercise: Do some research on what natural or manmade disasters could occur in your area, such as earthquakes, floods, nuclear plant leaks, rabies outbreaks. Focus on these things for at least an hour a day.

Blame your parents. Blaming your parents for your defects, shortcomings, and failures is among the most important steps you can take. After all, your parents made you who you are today; you had nothing to do with it. If you happen to have any good qualities or successes, don’t give your parents credit. Those are flukes.

Extend the blame to other people from your past: the second-grade teacher who yelled at you in the cafeteria, the boy who bullied you when you were 9, the college professor who gave you a D on your paper, your first boyfriend, even the hick town you grew up in—the possibilities are limitless. Blame is essential in the art of being miserable.

Exercise: Call one of your parents and tell her or him that you just remembered something horrible they did when you were a child, and make sure he or she understands how terrible it made you feel and that you’re still suffering from it.

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13 comments

  • 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 Friday, 07 November 2014 11:22 posted by Brustvergrößerung

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening.
    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put
    this article together. I once again find myself spending
    a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 05 November 2014 16:29 posted by emmw

    Great read, hilarious if there weren't actual people like this around. Shame tpeople aren't allowed this opinion about people, maybe one day alot of people will be happier by avoidin these miserable selfish ones among us.

  • 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!

  • Comment Link Saturday, 29 March 2014 13:56 posted by Dee Dunn

    Vitriolic. Hmmmm...Is there a DSM-V code for that?

  • Comment Link Monday, 18 November 2013 09:20 posted by Frankie Wall II

    Wow, what can one one say about such an ignorant, unempathetic, victim blaming author. Cloe views "miserable people" (of which I am one - treatment refractory dysthymia with recurrent major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, primary insomnia; I am on disability because of these illnesses) as people who want to, and go out of their way to be miserable. I find this highly offensive as well as breathtakingly stupid. It's just one display of her ignorance. No one wants to be miserable. That assertion by Cloe says more about her than anyone else. She comes across as a jaded, cynical burnout, full of disdain for "miserable people" who just will not stop being miserable (by her account). One of her most bizarre assertions is that "miserable people," who are poorly defined, are selfish with narcissistic tendencies. Strange that I don't know many miserable people who fit this mold and I met a lot of miserable people in the 18 years I worked for a mental health agency, mostly with schizophrenics (who, I suppose, make themselves delusional and cause their own hallucinations...such is the "logic" of Cloe Madanes).

    Some of her "strategies" are actual symptoms of mental illnesses and they are most certainly not chosen by those suffering from them. Number 10 for instance is a symptom of depression known as anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure. No one goes out of their way to not enjoy themselves. In fact, I find myself fighting this symptom on a regular basis. It is torturous and I daresay one of the most debilitating symptoms of depression. It affects motivation, energy, and ones social life (if nothing is pleasurable why bother spending what little energy you have on pursuing it). Many of her other "strategies" are also symptoms of depression, as well as anxiety disorders.

    Overall, I have to say that Cloe is a hateful, bitter individual severely lacking in compassion. If she really is therapist, she needs to retire and start a support group for former therapists who also hate the clients they treated. I can imagine a suicidal person being pushed over the edge by this article. I can't imagine Cloe ever being or having been an effective therapist. And I find it obscene that someone actually posted this garbage for mass consumption. This piece belongs in Cloe's own personal journal where she can blow off steam, not out there where anyone can read it; there are people who suffer from chronic incurable (as they all are) mental illnesses, who are going to feel worse thanks to this petty, pathetic article written form the point of view of a spoiled child, a child who screeches "Why can't people just be happy?! They're being unhappy on purpose! Just to make me mad!" Oh wait, that sounds awfully similar to those "miserable people" Cloe so despises. Is this an article about hating herself and, well, everyone else who has ever been miserable on purpose (I mean, c'mon, that's the only way anyone could ever be miserable: by choice! Amirite?) Mental illness does not exist, especially not depression and nothing bad ever happens to people that isn't their fault. Grieving people obviously killed those they're grieving for just to be miserable and to make Cloe feel mild to moderate discomfort, i.e., torture.

    Read the comments on the AlterNet posting of this article. It made a lot of people feel miserable. It also brought the know-nothing know-it-all sadists who could "relate" to this article out of the woodwork to further shame the "miserable people."

    Cloe - if you have any sense of decency, you'll post a clarification about this article saying you didn't mean to offend anyone and are very sorry if you exacerbated the symptoms of anyone suffering from any mental illnesses. You will also admit to being insensitive and thoughtless. Maybe you can repair some of the damage you've done. If you actually care to.

    AlterNet comments: http://www.alternet.org/comments/personal-health/14-habits-highly-miserable-people#disqus_thread

  • Comment Link Sunday, 17 November 2013 20:28 posted by Marilyn Scholze

    This was the most judgmental article I have ever seen in this magazine. There was no compassion for where people's self defeating habits come from or the pain they cause. Yes, people have patterns that are self defeating, cause misery to others and are annoying or cause others to reject them. I first read this article on Alternet and was shocked to finish it and discover it was written by a world famous family therapist, not an ordinary writer doing a rant. If patterns and self destructive behavior could be willed away by ourselves, or by shaming and shunning from others, there would be no need for our profession. I am truly shocked that this article made the cut to be in the magazine which I have subscribed to and read for many years. Many people are terrified by the vulnerability of being hopeful and optimistic, and shaming them is not the way to release these old patterns. This article seemed like below the belt hits to annoying people, who in all likelihood were traumatized or raised by parents who were.

    The email below is not current. I changed it on my profile today, but if a reply was made to it it would not got through. I'm not sure why it would not allow me to self correct it.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 17 November 2013 14:09 posted by CHRISTINE ALLISON

    The article does lay bare some of the behaviors truly miserable people engage in, which I appreciate,. But, it also makes me wonder about the author's level of burnout... I read the first part of the article and then decided to log-on to see what others are saying. It is certainly a thought-provoking article. I hope others will comment with their thoughts and reactions!

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