Dear Dr. Irene-Per your response and at the urging of
other "posters" here's my list - I came up with a few more...but
it seems our "rules" could be never ending. (Expanded version of Sunshine's Yak
Misperceptions or lessons learned: the UNTRUTHS
believed to be TRUE:
1. Someone always has to be right. There is no middle ground-no
2. Don't just be yourself. That's not good enough. Anyway, people
might not like you just the way you are. Be what others tell you or want
you to be.
3. Life is war. The good guys and the bad guys. Take sides.
Use whatever intimate knowledge you know about the "enemy" as a
4. Why tell the truth-you might get in trouble if you made a
mistake. Why not just lie and take the chance you won't get caught.
5. If you're not happy, it's the other person's fault. They are
supposed to make you happy.
6. Whoever can yell loudest is the "winner."
7. Someone has to win.. that makes the other person the LOSER. No
"ties" in this game.
8. If you're unhappy, make sure the other person is, too.
9. Life is perfect. Relationships should always be perfect.
People have to be perfect.
10. Lie when you can to get your own way, have it all-maybe the
other person won't find out.
11. If you're caught in a lie, blame it on someone else, change your
story and compound the lies-it really helps get people confused, including
12. Don't take any ownership for your own actions-blame someone else
because "they made you do it."
13. Don't take ownership for your own feelings or emotions-you were
just reacting to the other person-they MADE YOU feel that way (even though
they can't make you do anything else).
14. Money equals power and control. Make sure you control the money
or use theirs.
15. Who you simply ARE is not important-pretend to be someone
16. Always find someone else to meet your needs-don't meet your
people are just there to be used like objects..
17. Other people's feelings don't matter, only your own. How dare
they hurt YOUR feelings.
18. Good guys finish last. Be a bad guy when no one is looking, then
pretend to be the good guy in public.
19. Don't tell anyone what you've done, seen, heard, had done to
you-they'll think you're crazy or neurotic or paranoid-they'll say you
20. Counseling is only for crazy people. If I don't go to counseling
it means I'm not crazy, I don't need any help. I don't have any
problems-just others do.
21. Keep everything behind closed doors-don't let out family
secrets-not even to family.
22. Embarrass others but never allow them to embarrass you.
23. Sit back and do nothing. Don't take the initiative. Then blame
someone else because they didn't tell you. (or if they really did, just
24. Don't keep your commitments. But expect or force others into
constantly keeping or proving theirs to you.
25. Don't ask people for what you want-tell them-don't allow them a
choice-then you can get mad that you didn't get what you really wanted-
and it was their fault.
26. Give people choices, say it's up to them. Then get mad when they
didn't pick what you really wanted but never said in the first place.
27. Ask people for their opinions. Then tell them their
opinion is wrong.
28. Make people feel stupid when they've learned something new and
want to share it with you-after all, you already knew it, right?
29. Offer your help to others-don't let them help you-that might put
them "in control."
30. Underdogs are poor helpless people who can't help themselves-you
have to do it for them-be the "hero"
31. Too much damage has been done-things can never be fixed, aren't
worth working on to repair-that would require too much effort move on to
something or someone new.
32. Neglect or let things go for so long that you get overwhelmed
and then give up.
33. Always "get even", strike back, hit harder than them,
get angrier, louder, whatever it takes to win the battle-even if it means
losing the "war".
34. Do what I say, not what I do.
35. Children are to be seen and not heard; they're "second
36. Make promises and then break them or, better yet.. say you
37. Pretend to be listening when you're actually busy doing
something else or thinking about what you'll say next to defend yourself.
38. Always be on the defensive-after all, anything anyone says is
"criticism" not feedback.
39. You're better than everybody else-at least pretend to be.
40. Always expect approval-if you don't get it---get MAD, feel
41. Expect attention, but only if you get some first-remember the
world revolves around you.
42. RESPECT EQUALS FEAR. If they fear you, they must respect you,
43. Trying to problem solve takes too much thought and effort-escape
44. If you've done something shameful, don't admit to it, it just
adds to your shame. Better yet, find someone else to blame for your
actions, words. Twist things around until others totally confused.
45. Use whatever forms of manipulation you know or have learned to
get you what you want-try them all out until you find what works.
46. Place expectations on everyone else-don't let them place any on
47. When someone gives you an unexpected gift, be suspicious. Don't
48. Say you appreciate something you got, then don't use it.
49. The rules apply to everyone else but you.
50. Don't take care of yourself, let someone else take care of you.
Then you can complain they didn't take good enough care of you.
51. Get others under control by going out of control.
52. Don't let yourself ever feel "controlled" by others.
53. Treat people who are different than you with pity, contempt
54. Demand respect-don't earn it.
55. Offer to help, but don't be available when it's needed.
56. Expect compliments, "fish" for them but rarely give
them in return.
57. What is mine is mine-and so are the things that belong to
58. Use other people's possessions-get mad if they use yours.
59. Tell the other person what they say is true isn't true-you know
their truths better than they know their own.
60. Do unto others what you'd NEVER want done unto you.
61. Let others initiate a project, then take over or criticize-they
obviously need your supervision.
62. Expect to be supported then say you never are.
63. Dwell on one bad thing to the exclusion of all the good things.
64. Don't keep your commitments. Better yet, never make any.
65. Use "blackmail" to get what you want.
66. Believe that others think just like you-or should- because only
you are right.
67. Diminish others' self-esteem, sense of worth to build your
68. Make others' accomplishments appear trivial to your own-yours
are always better.
69. Treat others like you own them-they are your possessions-not
their own person.
70. Rules are to be made then broken or changed.
ANY OF THE ABOVE RULES CAN
CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
I'm sure I'll come up with more over time. I've been working very hard
to "unlearn" and/or stop buying into these "rules." Most were not what
I believed in when I got married, although some were part of my "family
of origin", too. Maybe why it took me so many years to recognize the
dysfunction in my marriage. Also, I adapt easily-or should I say
"mold"?! Take care...I
Sunshine Thank you Sunshine,