By Eric Leech
Misery loves company, but nobody ever said good company couldn’t be found in misery, especially when we can learn from our mistakes. Statistics show that many couples use poor techniques in their relationships, resulting in unpleasant outcomes. While a simple relationship may not always be simple to achieve, a miserable one can be quite easy to maintain if you focus on these five fatal traits.
Argue like a badger
Badgers are very unforgiving creatures with one rule to live by. It’s either their way or the highway, and if you have any argument with that, they will persuade you otherwise through unpleasant consequences, otherwise known as scratching and clawing until you agree they’re right. Humans have a very similar technique when trying to change each other’s behavior consisting of using the phrase “you,” instead of “I,” as in, “You are to blame for this,” and “You’re the reason everything is wrong with my life.” Other popular strategies and sure ways to guarantee a miserable relationship include refusing to listen, resisting asking questions when you don’t understand, attacking with sarcasm and verbal abuse, and ending every argument on a negative note. Your goal is to win every argument and never consider or compromise any reasonable requests offered by your spouse or partner. Winning every argument leaves behind a sticky residue on a relationship, almost guaranteeing hard feelings and misery the next time a conflict arises.
Guide your partner via negative reinforcement
Many counselors claim that positive reinforcement is the best way to lead a partner by example, but those looking for a miserable existence will prefer guiding their relationships via negative reinforcement. Where positive reinforcement teaches spouses the advantage and benefits of certain behaviors, negative reinforcement teaches fear, guilt and anxiety by nagging until they can’t stand to hear your voice anymore. What this achieves is a very temporary change in behavior, focused on merely achieving momentary peace and quiet. In time, this antagonistic behavioral learning technique creates a wedge between couples. Instead of embracing positive change for the better, as positive learning is known to achieve, a spouse will become only motivated by the reward of avoiding their partner altogether.
Pursue happiness as if it were on sale at Wal-Mart
While some fools might tell you happiness comes from our own purpose and happy thoughts, miserable couples understand that happiness can be bought just as easily as respect, admiration and faith. Research suggests that true happiness would never be as sweet without the occasional sadness, but miserable couples know true happiness comes from achieving a perfect life, complete with the perfect wife and mostly perfect husband. While we may only be able to control up to 42 percent of our happiness by choosing to focus on the good things, we can guarantee 100 percent misery by choosing to concentrate on the bad. There are at least three levels of joy, all of which require money, including food, sex and fancy cars. Through our envy of other people’s stuff, we can finally forget about such needless blessings as love, health, family and friends. We will be devoured by your own selfish thoughts, forgetting that failure is not a learning experience, but rather an invitation to disappointment.
Let go of your curiosities
Miserable couples know that curiosity killed the cat, so they choose to be unenthusiastic about their own lives, the life of their partners and the world around them. Whatever they knew about themselves or their partner probably still stands true today, so they allow themselves to become bored and disinterested. Despite what you may have heard, what makes a happy relationship thrive is not passion, love, creative intimacy, surprise or the belief that your partner is truly interested in you. Some psychologists say you can secure the likelihood of having a miserable marriage simply by creating a lack of curiosity in your relationship. To accomplish this, avoid talking with your partner about your goals, dreams and aspirations. Become a poor teammate in everything from work to social activities. Your goal should be to resist cooperation and compromise, choosing instead to seek a negative, prejudiced and judgmental viewpoint. Your favorite comment to all who ask inquisitive questions is, “I don’t know!”
Seek excitement, anxiety and jealousy in all your relationships
People are drawn to excitement in life. It is one of the fundamental reasons for finding and maintaining new relationships whenever you start to become too comfortable in your existing ones. Boredom is the enemy of relationships for miserable couples, because they understand that behind all the dull, tedious repetition lies comfort, predictability, stability, support and faithfulness. Studies show biologically, as time goes on, the opium-like injections of oxytocin in the brain subside, the butterflies that used to flutter now seek shelter in a dormant cocoon, and the sexual attraction we used to feel becomes challenged by a simple piece of chocolate. Multiple marriages and affairs can satisfy this urge for excitement, guaranteeing a life of endless anxiety, obsessiveness, risky sex and jealousy. Boring couples who live the daily grind of a mature relationship only have honesty, security, trust and intimacy to look forward to.
What is Misery?
There have been several schmucks as of recent years running around telling people that we don’t have to live with a miserable relationship. They say that we can make them what we want, just as long as we take the time to understand each other and work together toward our goals. One thing we do know is each of us has the capacity to make almost any situation miserable. What is misery? It’s only a word.
Happy relationships come about not by how they are dealt, but how we choose to decipher their challenge and turmoil. Through mistakes come knowledge; misunderstandings breed perception. Take everything that has been said in this article as a reminder that we have more control of our relationships than most of us realize.