You know, Marla* and I had talked about our ex at length — kind of like a post-breakup peer review. If you’ve been reading my articles, you know that it’s been all types of a thing for her.
Our ex cheated on both of us. I left and got married. She went back. And then she found out that he also was using her for money that he would pay to other women. She booted him out after that, plus more closeted skeletons popped up.
We traded stories about what he said. Our ex said she was racist against black people (awkward lie, since she’s part black) and also said I was “trying to turn him white by bringing him to fancy restaurants.” (Uh, what?)
Yeah, we were both baffled, but we noticed something. The better we treated him, the worse he spoke about us. Meanwhile, the more roach-infested his mother’s house is, the more he wanted to stay there or mimic its filth in other places.
Honestly, this is one of those conversations I really think about a lot. It took me a long time to really have it sink in that this guy managed to go bonkers when he had two women treat him well. He really, truly couldn’t handle women being nice to him!
It was then I had to face the music: some people genuinely don’t want to be happy or stay in healthy relationships. There are more people like my ex than you think, and it often happens because they stop being willing to trust others who treat them well as a result of abuse.
People who want to stay miserable are best left alone. They tend to drag others down because misery likes company, or worse, outwardly try to harm those who try to do right by them.
Not sure if you should keep bothering with that miserable friend? Here’s how you can tell if they just want to feel awful 24/7.
Every time they are given a new opportunity or a chance to better themselves, they refuse it.
Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash
I remember one moment that I told my ex to try to apply to a new garage because they paid better than what they paid at his current place. He immediately said no, because “they only hire white guys and good ol’ boys.”
2 months later, that garage had hired a person of color fresh out of ITT Tech. I gave him a look and he just shrugged it off. He was convinced that it would never happen to him.
People who are dead-set on staying miserable do not want to grow. They will kick and scream if you try to get them to do anything, including get a job that suits their needs. Part of this is poverty inertia, and the other part is that they are terrified they’ll fail if they try.
Even if you offer them a better position on a silver platter, they will come up with a reason not to work at it. This is why I always tell people that I’m willing to teach them how I got to earning six figure from writing. I also offer to link people up with opportunities.
People talk a ton about how they want to do better in life. To date, I have yet to meet a single person who has actually walked the walk.
They seem unusually angry and bitter about people who are doing well for themselves.
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This is something that seriously stood out to me with my ex. He had a bunch of names to call people who were rich — some deserved, some not. Even if you started poor, you’d hear a litany of mean things come out of his mouth about you.
He really, truly hated anyone who wasn’t living in squalor off Section 8. It only really sank in how much he hated us when we heard the way he was talking about us behind our backs. Let’s just say my jaw dropped a little bit.
What’s ironic is that I wasn’t even doing that well back then. I had an average income for my area. It was still enough to unleash a level of vitriol you’d usually hear for billionaires.
The way he discussed wealthier people was even worse. The dude straight up said that he wished people in rich neighborhoods would die. Truthfully, we should have both seen that as a massive red flag and left him.
People who tend to revel in misery feel a deep-seated hatred of people who are doing better than them, even when those people want to help them. The reason why is simple: well-to-do, self-made people ruin their narrative that life just “chooses” who’s successful from birth.
As a result, they have to smack-talk those people. It’s the only way to save their egos from having to confront that the reason they’re so upset is them.
They act like they want to hang out with you, but when you give them the time of day, they push you away or abuse you.
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I see this a lot with geeky guys and female models. It’s actually a reason why I tell women to avoid men who attend anime conventions. A lot of people love the idea of pursuing someone (or a group of people), but have a total conniption about actually getting accepted by them.
They genuinely don’t believe that they could be liked by them. Or, if they do believe it, feel like they don’t deserve it. They end up lashing out, making cutting remarks, or trying to control the interactions until the friendships die out.
Once again, this is a sign that the person isn’t actually comfortable being happy — or can’t stand the idea of being around people who make them examine themselves. Sometimes, people are just not okay with actually getting what they want.
For some, the chase is more satisfying than realizing that they can have it. So, they sabotage their friendships so that they can keep that narrative of “being the outcast” and having the ability to say that they keep trying but that no one accepts them.
How do I know? I’ve been this person and I’ve seen it play out a hundred times with other people. Apparently, it’s a trauma response that turns into a bad adaption.
They cannot handle personal accountability.
Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash
I can’t help but notice that people who crave misery and want to stay in a bad situation will never admit accountability. This is what it looks like, per a conversation I had with a former friend of mine from back in the day:
“Are you going to be able to pay rent this month?”
“No. My landlord is being a dick, too. He’s starting the eviction process.”
“What happened to the job I got you an offer for?”
“They were asking me to start too soon, so I didn’t do it.”
“You didn’t have a job before then. What gives?”
“They wanted me to do this boring work where I have to move boxes. I don’t want to do that! They said I had to earn management role!”
“Yeah, that’s usually how it goes. And you refused to work, and now you might be homeless.”
“This shit’s so unfair.”
I’ve also heard this same friend accuse people of racism when he was let go, despite showing up to work high or being disrespectful to customers. Nothing was ever his fault, including him refusing to work.
They are deeply ungrateful for any help they get.
Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash
Yo, I’m still floored by the fact that my ex accused me of “trying to turn him white” by bringing him to 5-star restaurants, luxury gyms, and hookah lounges. Most of the places I took him to were wildly diverse.
But, that basically says it. He didn’t act grateful to me. He also didn’t act grateful when Marla would splurge on clothes for him or help him fix his own car. (Kind of a rip, considering that he’s a mechanic.)
Imagine how much happier he would have been if he counted his blessings, saying things like, “Wow! This new wallet is great! Thanks Marla!”
They actively sabotage others’ happiness as well.
Photo by Stan B on Unsplash
While this is not always a sign of a person who wants to be miserable, it is a sign of someone who tends to make themselves miserable. We’ve all seen this in action one way or another:
- The woman who enters a friend group, gossips about everyone, tears it apart, and is floored when she’s no longer welcome.
- The coworker who sabotages someone who isn’t even in the same department as him, just because she can.
- The guy whose entire life story is literally just “Woe is me!”
- The person who constantly finds something to whine about, no matter how good things are going.
- The partner who seems to take joy out of being a happiness-suck to his significant other.
Misery absolutely loves company, especially when they want to stay miserable. Beware the person who never seems to have smiles around. You’ll end up just like them if you let them in your life for too long.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
You may also like these posts on The Good Men Project:
|White Fragility: Talking to White People About Racism||Escape the “Act Like a Man” Box||The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men’s Lives is a Killer||What We Talk About When We Talk About Men|
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