Monday, August 22, 2011

Is Somebody Bringing You Down? Insidious Killers of Relationships and Marriage

There are some people who not only don’t want anything in their life to go right, they don’t want anything in your life to go right, either. These people will pose as your friends, but if you carefully listen to them, you’ll know they don’t act like friends, because every time you get excited about something going well in your life, they have something negative to say. These people can even end up being your partner or your spouse, and if they do, they “gotta go!”

I had a run-in with a defeatist this morning, and it reminded me that defeatists, people who are simply resigned to defeat without regard for real chances of success, are a scourge not only to all achievers, but to relationships, since a great relationship with them is not possible and a great relationship in their presence is something they will fight tooth-and-nail, and I want to make sure you can recognize them and get them out of your life before they can do too much damage to you or those you love.

You shall know these people by their works, as the saying goes. They lead a mediocre life at best, always complaining about some problem, always a day late and a dollar short, and always trashing any idea you have to get ahead or trying to tell you that whatever success you just experienced will have to be short-lived because they tried it and it didn’t work out for them.

The plain and simple truth is that these people have no self-esteem and refuse to see themselves as successful or even worthy of success, and to confirm that success is impossible, they have to obstruct everyone else’s success in whatever way possible, else their little delusion explodes and they have to admit that success is possible and it’s their choice to fail that has caused them to fail all their life.

You do know them, huh? Maybe some of these:

1. The guy who says the car you’re trading up to is a piece of crap, and Consumer Reports or other consumer advocate or customer reviews only say it’s good because they’re taking money under the table.

2. The woman who says that the business you want to start can’t possibly succeed because everybody knows there’s no real market for something like that, and only by dishonest means can you ever make a living selling real estate, manufacturing some way cool new gadget that the world is begging for, or performing a service that everybody and their brother is asking you to quit your job to come to do for them.

3. The guy who spends more time bitching about not having a job, or more effort trying to look like he’s trying to find one while milking unemployment insurance and entitlement programs for every penny he can get, than it would take anyone to actually get a job and work at it.

4. The chronic substance abuser who says there is no sense being clean and sober because they couldn’t do anything worthwhile anyway, and by the way, neither can you, so you might as well join them for a few drinks, smokes, pills, etc.

5. The zealot who greets your ambitions with sermons about how “money is the root of all evil,” and “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and telling you that you should be volunteering for their pet charity instead of starting or expanding your own business, trying to make you feel guilty about wanting to improve yourself and your situation through honest effort and hard labor.

I’m sure you get the picture by now. No matter what you want to do, they say it can’t work, and no matter how successful you are, they say it can’t last, or they want to throw some obstacle in your way, like guilt, or the futility of the system, or some lament about life not being fair.

There are three basic scenarios in which these sorry people can have a negative impact on your life and especially your relationship, if you let them. Above all else, keep in mind that they can only impact your life IF you let them, because you always have the choice of eliminating them, even if YOU are the defeatist; we’ll talk about that scenario last, so pay attention, because it’s the biggie.

The first scenario is where someone who doesn’t live in your household is the defeatist. Maybe a co-worker, somebody you erroneously regard as a friend (no real friend who values you and whom you can value can truly be a defeatist – they are more likely to be some kind of dependent and need you rather than care about you), or even a family member who doesn’t live with you. These are the easiest people to dispatch, because you can give them two choices, to straighten up and support your aspirations or stay out of your life; you can ultimately hold them accountable for their choice by cutting them out of your life if they don’t get on board.

Yes, they might get pissy, and might say bad things about you, but while they’re sitting around talking about how you cared so little about them that you just went off and succeeded without them (a defeatist’s favorite lament), you’ll be off succeeding without them! Big whoop, huh? Hardly…

In the second scenario, the defeatist lives in your household. Ouch. That either means family member or some down-on-their luck “friend” (yeah, right, see the first scenario) that has suckered you into taking responsibility for their bad judgment and may have even out-stayed their welcome within the first day of moving in. This scenario is considerably tougher, but still ultimately in your control; you may just have to pay a higher price for their cooperation.

Sounds harsh, huh? Well, yes it does, until you realize that the defeatist is so efficient at killing any chance of achievement and happiness they might have that they almost always end up in trouble as a result of their own choices, not random events. Yes, there were certainly some defeatists displaced by Hurricane Katrina or a tsunami, and one could reasonably argue that at least some of those were there by choice (to stay when they could have left and ultimately to live there at all) as well, but regardless, they would be doing it to themselves if natural forces weren’t doing it to them, because they choose failure after failure. What do you do with them?

The same thing you would do with the ne’er-do-well in the first scenario – you give them the choice to straighten up or leave! By continuing to support them as they destroy their own life and try to influence you to destroy your own, you are “enabling” them, and maybe even paying for them to do it! And they will reward you by inviting you to join them in their pity-party, and may even let you continue to pay their bills while they’re sitting around too depressed to look for a way to fix their problems and regain their independence, if they ever had any. Just what you live for, right? They think so. Their entitlement mentality will permeate everything they contact, poison it, and kill it if they are not dispatched quickly.

If you know a defeatist, look at their life – indeed, check out several. See how many are living in really bad rental housing, shacked up with friends, parents or other relatives (well into adulthood!), and how many of them are working minimum or near-minimum wage jobs when the average person of their age and expected experience level is at twice that or better.

Ever met the “starving artist” type, whose mantra is “nobody understands me or my art”? They may be the only person alive who doesn’t realize that their art isn’t art, and would be best used as fecal absorption medium in the loo, but the problem in their mind is that it is everyone else’s responsibility to appreciate their creation, not their responsibility to create something everyone will appreciate, and they are some of the worst in the world at trying to project that attitude onto others.

There may be some emotional repercussions from ousting them, but can you afford to be influenced by that failure-mongering attitude? Can you afford to have your partner or your children (if you have any still at home) influenced by them, or disrespecting you because of your failure to rip them from your jugular vein? Get them out of your life before they impact your relationship with members of your family.

But wait! What if it is your partner that is the defeatist? Does that make a difference? Should it? Think with me for a minute here. You’re on an ocean liner, it’s going down, you and the rest of your family and friends are on a lifeboat, there’s still more room and plenty of supplies, but your partner says, “no, I’m just going to go down with the ship, because if I get in that raft, nobody’s going to find us.” What do you do?

Do you step out of the raft and back onto the sinking ship to go down with them when there was clearly an available and attainable choice to live??? Not me, nor anyone else who realizes just how precious a resource your life is. Being on that sinking ship – that they choose to go down with rather than to step on the raft – is a bad choice on their part that does not in any way create an obligation on your part. Literally or figuratively, you have no obligation to go down in a sinking ship just because someone else, no matter who they are, chooses to do so.

Repeat after me: “A bad choice on your part does not create an emergency or obligation on my part.” Again. Again. Keep going. Yes, again! Keep repeating it until you understand it, accept it, and can live it. You may choose to help somebody out of a tough spot if they are typically responsible and were blind-sided or possibly swindled, but there’s no good reason for you to sanction and enable someone’s stupidity by bailing them out of a bad choice that was made simply because they wouldn’t acknowledge the possibility that they could succeed at something else and give it a try.

If it’s your spouse, give them some time, support, and even professional counseling if they need it, as well as ample opportunities to succeed so they can learn that they can indeed do it, and hold them accountable for both the outcome and a timetable for an outcome, and if they just can’t make the choice to snap out of it, fire them! It may cost you half of everything you have, but that’s better than having the defeatist costing you everything you have, including your life, for the rest of your life.

Hmmm….who does that leave for the third scenario? Well, yes, YOU! If you are the defeatist, you’re in big trouble, because everyone around you either pities you, is annoyed with you, or flat out wishes you’d find somebody else to bring down with your negativity. Yes, YOU are the one who may be about to get the “shape up or ship out” ultimatum, and no, there’s no nice way to put it, they’re really feeling that way!

But, since it is you who is the defeatist, it is you who has ultimate control as to whether that defeatist philosophy and attitude gets fixed! You don’t think it’s you? Well, take the test. If as you read the preceding paragraphs and kept feeling you needed to defend those mentioned because they just couldn’t help making bad choices because everybody always makes bad choices and nobody does anything right except by luck, guess what! You’re a defeatist!

If you are the defeatist, denial time is over. All these things I’ve been talking about doing are subject to be brought to bear against you, and somebody may already be contemplating it. You’ve thought all your life that you couldn’t succeed, and as long as you thought that, you were right, precisely because you thought it.

Henry Ford, the great American industrialist who founded the Ford Motor Company was known for being tough and rude, and at times, a little too arrogant for his own good (such as trying to tell the market what it was going to accept, which almost bankrupted him over the Edsel), but he was also incredibly wise in areas of human intelligence and human behavior.

He was known to take prospective employees out for a meal, and watch to see if they salted their food before tasting it. If they did, they were creatures of habit, not people who salted food because it needed salt, and he wouldn’t hire them. He wanted thinking people. And one of his favorite expressions according to historians was, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Wisdom from the grave.

Ask any achiever about happiness and success and they will tell you two things: Success is a choice, and hanging out with losers is something they won’t do. So start by accepting that success is a choice, then pick a successful person and learn from them.

It doesn’t have to be a Fortune 100 CEO, just somebody who is living a life that you would like to live. Model their behavior, especially how they think about life, success and achievement. Then find others whom you can model, and learn from everyone you can. It will give you the picture of success to move toward, the thought processes to help you get there, and the confidence to continue succeeding and be strikingly attractive to your partner! Then instead of wishing you were somewhere else, everyone will want to be around you and doing things with you for a change. ‘Nuff said!

Incidentally, I’ve posted a highly-successful process for success in life, career, and relationships on our forum,, in an article in our Hot Tips forum called “Getting Your Life in Order for Happiness,” and it contains wisdom that some of the world’s most successful people have deemed crucial to their success. I’ll even give you the direct link to the article: And you now have a choice, to be a defeatist and dismiss it without even looking at it, or an achiever who will read the article and do what it says. I’m offering to spoon-feed you success here, so don’t be a prat (there are also links to British slang dictionaries there if any of you need one). Get it done.

Folks, success and happiness really are choices you can make, no matter what it is you want to do, as is a great relationship. You must choose to believe you can succeed, you must choose to act to succeed, and you must choose to eliminate anything from your path that will keep you from it. Nothing that is a part of your life is a neutral; it is either for you or against you, enriching your life or detracting from it. Remove the detractors and live. Part of your job as a husband and father is the same as that of a soldier, to protect your family and domicile from all enemies, foreign and domestic. And if you fail in that job, you have no right to complain when those in your charge want new leadership.

If you’re having relationship or career troubles, or any kind of trouble, seek advice from those who have successful experience upon which they can base good advice, not somebody who whines about how there’s no use in trying. Don’t waste your time discussing your plans, hopes, and dreams with someone who plans for nothing and expects nothing but failure, hopes everyone else will fail to validate their own failure, and dreams of nothing but rationalizations for their own failure (or someone handing them success, such as those people whose retirement plan consists of buying a lottery ticket every week), or seeking advice from those who obviously have none of value to offer. Invest your time, and expect a return; you don’t know how much you have left and any that passes is gone forever.

If improving your relationship is on your list of things at which you want to succeed, there’s a ton of good advice in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” It’s tested, proven, and works. Download your copy today at, because success is a choice, your choice, as is a truly great relationship, and what you need to know to get it done is just a few mouse-clicks away!

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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