The 10 Habits of Highly Miserable People.

Perhaps you just know someone that is truly miserable for no real reason, it could be a work colleague, a family member, or it could even be you, this article highlights the top 10 traits that these people have that compounds their misery.

This article is all about being miserable, not the depressed (which is a medical condition with a specific combination of symptoms), instead I’m talking about the dour, sorrowful, gloomy, negative people that we come across and some of their traits and habits that could makes them this way.

It’s a bit like the paradox of the chicken and the egg, do miserable people do these things because they are miserable, or do these traits give them a life of misery? and to be honest it’s probably a bit of both, although what I do know is that if you can identify with some of these traits then you had better watch out because a life full of misery may be just be around the corner for you too.

1. Focus on the ‘what ifs’

We all know that miserable people tend to focus on what has gone wrong but also frustratingly they also focus on what could go wrong, their catastrophising creates anxiety, stress and fear around the ‘what ifs’ of the ‘worst things that could happen’ in their life, at home or at work, leading to a fretful life of needless stress, worry and anxiety.

2. Could have and Should have.

Miserable people dwell on what they could have done and what they should have done in life, this creates feelings of regret, sorrow and eventually bitterness of their past which eventually makes them downcast  in the present and then gives them a sense of melancholy about their future.

3. What’s Wrong.

One of the traits that miserable people tend to have is that they are always telling you what’s wrong, in meetings at work they are the ones that naturally focus on the negatives and the things that might trip you up in the future. They are the naysayers that wait for perfection instead of striving for it, they take away the momentum from any project that crosses their desk and hence (especially when they have something to do with it) things never get off the ground, and when that happens all you can hear is them telling you ‘I told you so’.

4. Birds of a feather.

Somehow miserable people have an ability to find other miserable people with similar problems, in these groups they endlessly discuss their problems, if this culture takes over in the workplace there’s a negative effect on everyone, (see my other blog on the Losada ratio).

It’s not uncommon for miserable people to find other miserable people and develop need / need relationships built on their necessity to feel better by telling each other how bad their life is, unfortunately any benefit is short lived until eventually all they do is compound their discontent.

5. Negative Identity.

All of the negative thinking miserable people do means that it’s not long before they also start to think bad of themselves, and in their hopeless perception of the world they start to develop a negative self identity. When this happens they develop the inability to make positive choices when opportunity arises to define their life in a positive way, this re-enforces their negative identity, their ‘could have should have’ bitterness until they actually start to dislike or even hate themselves.

6. Negative self talk.

As well as Negative identity, miserable people have negative ‘self talk’ they habitually chew negative events over again in their mind, they ruminate and look for all of the negatives around them, they tell themselves over and over what’s wrong, why they aren’t good enough and they take the role of the victim telling everyone why the world is out to get them, how bad things are getting or how bad its always been for them.

7. Gratefulness, Gratitude and helping others.

As well as taking a negative slant on everything, and focussing on how bad things are miserable people just don’t seem to feel grateful for the really important things in life, for all of the positives that surround them, and for how well off they are compared to others.

Helping others never seems to come naturally to miserable people and in turn seldom is gratitude returned, this lack of gratitude creates a lonely selfish existence that isolates the individual from the team.

8. Godzilla Syndrome.

Worse than being ungrateful really dejected people actually revel in knocking others down, this is the so called Godzilla syndrome’ where others are persistently knocked down for the purpose of making that person look bigger. Unfortunately all this does in the workplace is ‘poison the ground’ around them and as we all know nothing grows that well on poisoned ground.

9. Life-long Boredom.

Miserable folk, feel pointless, do the mundane and drift through life, they live in a state of apathy, they become predictable, they lower the bar, they stay average and in doing so they never fulfil their potential, sometimes this results in a life of endless TV, sofarisation and boredom.

10. Blame.

The miserable can’t wait to tell you what’s wrong, they love to point out it’s someone else’s fault, they blame others, they are ever critical and with this they fail to take responsibility to be proactive to make their lives better, often you may hear the phrase ‘it’s not my fault’ because in their eyes there’s always someone else to blame.

In Summary

I wrote this article because for years I have worked with miserable people, or I have got into habit some of having some of these traits myself to the disadvantage of family, friends and colleagues around me.

Experience has shown that one of the first steps in helping people change is for them first to first recognise that there is a problem, that they can change, and that they can do something about it. This article highlights 10 things they can take a look at to help them do just that.