How to Sabotage Your Relationships

Send mixed signals – What a great way to get off to a bad start in a relationship! If you want people to be confused and angry, be sure to keep them guessing about what you are thinking or what you really mean.  It can also drive people crazy if you’re unwilling to express your honest opinion, or if you make them wonder if you’re telling the truth.  Mixed signals will keep others off guard and frustrated.

Assume the worst – Convince yourself that the friend who let you down did it on purpose; don’t even consider the possibility that it was an honest mistake or simple misunderstanding.  If something doesn’t go your way, you can effectively sabotage your relationship if you begin by assuming that it’s never going to be okay, and then respond accordingly. Rehearse the belief that you have to look out for Number One because others are out to get you.

Blow off Commitments – Don’t say “no” to anything – ever. Remind yourself regularly that if you draw healthy boundaries around your time, your health and your family, other people might be disappointed and stop liking you as much.  Therefore, it’s very effective to promise people whatever they want to hear, but don’t deliver.

Overreact – Nobody has a right to forget your birthday or bump into you while they’re looking at their phone!  People should always be completely sensitive and considerate when they interact with you, and by golly, they should be paying attention to where they’re going!  When life’s boo-boos and accidents come your way, the best way to sabotage your relationships is to take offense and make a big deal out of it.  A few choice words or a demand for an apology, no matter how small or unintentional the offense was, works every time.

Tune Out – You can do some serious damage to your relationships by giving the impression that you really don’t care about anyone but yourself and that whatever others have to say is not very important. Checking your phone while someone is talking with you is a clear indication that you’re not listening. Another sabotage technique is thinking about what you plan to say instead of genuinely hearing and clarifying what the other person is saying.

Assign motive – Assigning motive means deciding WHY a person did what they did or said what they said without actually clarifying the misunderstanding first – and be sure to conclude that they purposely hurt or disrespected you.  This is extremely effective in sabotaging a relationship because it causes you to react in a way that might be inappropriate if you had known the truth.  It is often based on inaccurate information and almost always lets you play the role of victim.

Gossip – This is a time-tested favorite of people who want to sabotage a relationship.  Not only is there a possibility that the things you said will get back to the person, but it will help reinforce negative thoughts about someone.  It’s an effective way to drown out any positive thoughts you may have about the person or situation you were gossiping about.  Gossip has a way of destroying other people’s relationships as well as yours, so it is a powerful tool.

Exaggerate – Whenever something happens to you, the most important thing is to make a good story out of it, especially if it results in sympathy, credit, or compliments.  Since much of what happens in life is fairly normal or common, it’s often necessary to make it seem more interesting or painful than what happens to other people.  People close to you will eventually catch on and grow tired of your stories and think of you as a drama queen.  It is likely to cause them to make excuses to spend less time with you.

So, there is a quick lesson in how to sabotage your relationships.  However, if you would rather have healthy relationships, do the opposite.  Just add the word, “DON’T” to the points I made above.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

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