By Rory Scher, LMFT
- Use the words always and never and other discounting language to remind your partner they can never do anything right and don’t ever contribute.
- Similarly, point out only what your partner does wrong. This way they won’t get full of themselves or live under the illusion that they are succeeding at anything.
- Use the silent treatment. When you are mad or angry, just don’t talk to them. Usually just for the rest of the day does the trick, but if it was an especially egregious offense, sometimes giving them the cold shoulder for a couple of days is better. Nothing like saying absolutely nothing to remind the person they are terrible!
- Don’t do anything special for one another. Remembering to ask how the person’s day was or how an appointment went—or finding small ways to make his or her day nicer— adds too much bonding and fond feelings.
- Take zero responsibility for the problems in your relationship. If you can convince yourself and your partner that he or she has created this whole mess and you’re the innocent angel, you’ve found the recipe for ruin! Blame works every time!
- Don’t think of ways you could help them out or give them a day off. Obviously his or her job (at the office or at home) is what they are supposed to be doing, and any amount of compassion for how energy sucking and hard it is might make the other person do even less or encourage them to stop contributing. You should probably just live like it’s that person’s job to do those things and expect them to contribute without any thanks.
- Expect your partner to read your mind. After all, you’ve been together for x number of years, so they obviously should know what you’re thinking, what you want, and when you want it, all without you having to say anything. Or, always say everything is “fine” when it’s really not. Tricks them every time!
- Threaten to leave (divorce or separate) during an argument, because nothing says “I’m hurt and really want to fix this” like threatening to leave. Cracking the security of your relationship will do just the trick!
- Share all of your feelings in anger. This ensures they never understand what you are really talking about and they focus all their attention on how “emotional” or “unreasonable” you’re being.
- Stop saying “I love you” or showing physical/sexual affection. It’s too much of a connecting point and too important in a relationship if you’re trying to ruin it.
Maybe you didn’t know you were sabotaging your own happiness and connection. If you’re doing any of the things on this list consistently, your relationship may be headed toward ruin. Maybe you’re trying really hard to express your hurt and get more support in your relationship. And you should! These tactics, however, won’t help you grow closer. Openness and vulnerability create connection; criticism and punishment cause distance. We must teach our partner how to love us, no matter how long we’ve been together. If closeness is what you are after, try dropping your defenses and letting your partner see the real you.