If you’ve seen How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, you’re familiar with the ‘How-To in Reverse’ publication format. In this style, short How-To lists allow you to recognize the destructive patterns of behavior that lead to a specific, often undesired result.
Luckily, I’m not here to teach you How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. But, I should clarify that it is not for a lack of interest in the topic. Instead, it is simply because it requires a bit more of my time, money, and emotional well-being to lose a guy. My inefficient internal software is still running on iOS6, and I haven’t approved the overnight update. Ask Me Later.
Now, admit it. You already know how to be mean to yourself. But… you’re looking to get to that next level. More specifically: that group-chat-text, tea-sipping, teenage-girl level of total self-destruction. The type that has you researching the safest and surest way to perform an at-home, DIY exorcism.
Have you ever met such a colossal b*tch in your life? One that could inspire this complete transformation? Consider for a moment, the following underrated b*tches of pop-culture: Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby), Summer (500 Days Of), Kathryn Merteuil (Cruel Intentions). Daisy and Summer specialize in veiling their life-ruining behavior with a seemingly innocent, annoyingly quirky, self-obsessed romanticism. Kathryn, however, is a bat straight out of Crazy Train hell. She’s truly just a hotter, more evil version of Dolores Umbridge. Every one of us is waiting on Ozzy end them both.
Maybe you’re still wondering… could a man be a b*tch too? Indeed.
Remember John Lynch in Sliding Doors, Magneto’s comic book story-line as a whole, or even the ever-sexy Tyler Durden from Fight Club? These guys showcase the various options a man has to gaslight women, corrupt brotherhoods, and incite irreparable damage to anyone in a one-mile radius.
The Top 10 tried-and-true ways to become your own worst nightmare are included below. These habits will guarantee you a level of despair, loneliness, and loss of identity that only an out-of-network doctor can help resolve.
Some of these toxic behaviors may ring true for you. Others might be reminiscent of relationships from your past. If any of these are new for you… I’m glad my pain could be of service to someone.
Become an accountant.
No, not literally. Be realistic. That’s not in the cards for us. In order to properly bully yourself, begin frantically transacting your worth in every way possible. Download all the apps capable of tracking your dollars spent, calories consumed, workouts completed, number of friends, etc. For a generation that is so proud to exclaim our hatred of mathematics, we sure know how to quantify and compare our worth. Good luck logging the food from the potluck.
Assume the worst.
Many text messages, face-to-face conversations, and unsolicited remarks on your appearance can be left open to interpretation. When given an option to assume the best or the worst of this interaction, choose the worst. Disregard all prior knowledge of this person, their point of view, and how they communicate. Allow your resentments for their cruelty to fester, unbeknownst to them. Stockpile passive-aggressive responses for future use (ie: ‘Your hair looks different, too!’).
Gift to receive.
Bait others to treat you well, by treating them ‘well’ first. Choose the most obnoxious displays of your affection that require the smallest amount of thought and/or preparation. Be showy. Don’t display your love unless you have an audience. Get extremely disappointed if you’re not publicly acknowledged for your efforts. Become exponentially more angry if you don’t receive a bigger, better token of appreciation in return. Calculate everything. Become obsessed with ‘fairness’.*
Spend time with people that make you feel lonely.
Make like Ed Norton in Fight Club, and find yourself some single-serving friends. Welcome the type of people that will scoff at your soulful, starry-eyed creations. Don’t stop looking until you find people that will cut you off when you’re talking about your problems, or guilt you for not being in your usual happy-go-lucky mood. Definitely support them in their time(s) of need, but don’t expect anything in return. We’re here for a good time, not a long time alright? Don’t complicate things with your emotions.
Play it cool.
Watch what the crowd is doing. Don’t laugh too loud, dance too expressively, or share dissenting opinions on any controversial topics. Don’t be vulnerable. Maintain a fluid concept of yourself, careful not to commit to anyone or anything that is deemed to be ‘other’.
‘Play small’ so that you don’t make anyone around you too uncomfortable. Don’t demand honesty or morality from those close to you.
Criticize those around you that seem a little too fearless. Make comments under your breath that let them know they need to tone it down (ie: ‘Wow, Katie! Did you forget where you are tonight?’). If you’re struggling to find something to talk about, just start criticizing someone’s appearance. Anyone, really. God will understand.
Whether it is the core of your sexual identity, your obsession with Throwback Jams Radio, or your affinity for impossibly long acrylic nails, nothing is off limits. Allow yourself to become so ashamed of your interests and your tastes that you quite literally apologize for your presence in any conversation. Don’t seek experiences that are true to your inner self. Become a vehicle for others’ happiness instead.
Give in to cognitive dissonance.
When your beliefs and your behaviors don’t match up, give in to the resulting stress. Adjust your beliefs and your morals so that you can keep behaving exactly how you want. Justify your toxic habits with the old ‘it’s not thaaaaat bad’ mentality. This will help you stay comfortable while you cheat, lie, and justify your way out of nearly everything. Compromise your integrity until you become a stranger to yourself and to those you love.
Take everyone’s feelings personal.
We’ve already discussed ‘assuming the worst’. This is the next step for the more advanced self-targeting bully. When someone shares their feelings with you, don’t react by communicating your original intentions or by discussing a path forward. Do not use language that might indicate your liability. Instead, contrive a new reality. Receive all criticisms as an attack on your personal brand, and never as a reflection of the other person’s internal struggles or reasonable concerns. Go Donald Trump on them and BUILD THAT (EMOTIONAL) WALL!
Pathologize your thoughts and behaviors.
Judge yourself for every insecurity and imperfection. Blow things out of proportion. Register every uncomfortable moment as a panic attack. Label yourself as codependent for nervously waiting on a text message from your husband. Call yourself crazy for drunk-texting your ex-girlfriend. Sure, some people are serial killers. BUT DAMN, you’re a mess, honey!
Beg for love.
And last but not least; beg for affection, commitment, and intimacy. Explain yourself until you’re exhausted. Then, explain some more. When you’re met with opposing energy, push harder. Say ‘thank you’ for any scraps of basic respect thrown your way.
Unfortunately, internalizing these Top 10 tips to bully yourself does not require a large stretch of the imagination. These habits are not reserved solely for the Regina Georges of the world.
These all-too-common behaviors are clear indicators of underlying insecure, unhealed, and possibly self-loathing ideologies. While the resulting behaviors can be displayed in varying degrees of severity, we must not ignore their source.
Only when we heal ourselves and restore our own shining lights within, may we truly begin to love those around us wholeheartedly.
Be vulnerable and ask for what you deserve.
“It is so much easier to cause pain than to feel pain. […] And, when you don’t acknowledge your vulnerability, you work your sh*t out on other people. Stop working your sh*t out on other people!”Brene Brown. Call To Courage. 2019.
*This is not to make light of those who identify their love language as Receiving Gifts. Relationships are a balance of give and take, and we’d all benefit from learning to improve both skills. If you haven’t yet, read Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages.