How to Build a Bad Relationship by Steven Leeds
We all enter into relationships with certain communication skills. Some will lead to healthy ways of relating that will be mutually satisfying and some not. Some will last a lifetime and some will lead to an early exit. Most of the things we do, we do without actually knowing how we do them. We do them unconsciously.
If you are reading this blog, then you are probably someone who would like to improve your communication skills. But before describing how we can improve our relationships, I would like to start by describing ways that we harm relationships, others and ourselves. This is a ”how to” blog. How to destroy a potentially good relationship or maintain a bad one.
Rule 1: Blame the other person for the way you feel. If you are upset, tell the other person that it is their fault that you are feeling bad. Never take responsibility and admit that you play some part in the interaction. Hold on to the bad feelings for as long as you can and see if you can make the other person feel guilty, so that you are not the only one feeling bad. See yourself as the victim. If you are the person being blamed, feel guilty and blame them back. Use phrases like, “It’s all your fault,” “You make me angry.”
Rule 2: Expect the other person to know exactly what you need without having to make it explicit. And when it is clear that they have no idea, get enraged and start complaining and accusing them of not caring, because if they really cared they would know what you need without having to ask. And when you finally do express what you need, do it in bursts of anger. Then if the other person actually responds positively, do not let them off the hook. Tell them “If you loved me you would have given me what I wanted without me having to ask. I shouldn’t have to ask.” If they do not respond positively, do not mention it again. Think to yourself, “I shouldn’t have to tell them more than once.” Feel right. Know they are wrong. Hold a grudge. Feel superior lest you feel inferior.
Rule 3: Attack and Exaggerate Whenever the other person does something that you do not like, focus on “their” behavior and use words like “always” and “never.” For example, “You are always complaining” or “You never listen to me.” If they start to defend themselves, tell them, “You are always being defensive.” Avoid being specific or talking about your own feelings. Never say things like, “ I feel vulnerable” or “ I feel hurt.” An even better alternative is to focus not on their behavior, but on their identity. For example, “You are an idiot” or “You are crazy.” A favorite is “You are being just like your mother/father.” In this way you can eventually get to judge their whole family.
Rule 4: Avoid getting criticized If you think the other person is going to criticize you for something you have done, defend yourself to the end. Do whatever you can do to postpone criticism (and feeling guilty). Use any of the following tactics; attack, defend, change subjects, or placate them. Do not consider what you have done to contribute to the problem.
Rule 5: Do not validate the other person If you are having an argument, never validate the other person’s opinion. Make them wrong. Remember that only one of you is right. If the other person attempts to convince you that you both have legitimate points of view, tell them they are just saying that because they do not want to admit to being wrong.
Rule 6: Keep focusing on the problem, not the solution and remember that the other person “is” the problem. Whenever you get in an argument, never focus on solutions. Focus on the problem. Bring up as many unresolved past situations as you can, times when they did something wrong, when it was their fault. Focus on who started it. (Which is always the other person). Making the other person wrong is always more important that finding a solution. Focus on the past, not on the future. And if you do focus on the future, imagine that nothing will change. And of course, if they are bringing up all the things you have done wrong, that’s your cue to do the same.
Rule 7: Hope that problems will magically disappear Never seek help. Seeking help is a sign of weakness. Never go to a therapist. Never read self help books. Do not ask others for advice and if they give it, always respond by saying, “Yes, but…” Tell them you have tried “everything.”
Rule 8: Do onto others what you are afraid they will do to you. Whenever possible do it before they get the chance to do it to you. If they do it to you first, get even. If you suspect that they are lying to you, lie to them. If you are feeling pain, assume that, they caused it (intentionally), then you have the right to hurt them back. If you suspect that they are cheating, it is okay to cheat. If they are withholding, withhold from them.
Rule 9 Assume Negative Intentions If the other person does something that results in you feeling bad, assume that they intentionally made you feel bad and feel justified to hurt them back.
Rule 10: Keep Score Keep track of how many times they have done something wrong. Most people can remember these things and have them ready when needed. If you do not trust your memory, keep a list. This way you are prepared with ammunition when they point out one of your imperfections.