7 More Deadly Habits


 Seven More Deadly Habits


Most of you who read my blogs and articles are familiar with Dr. Glasser’s Seven Deadly Habits of External Control.  For those of you who are not familiar with them, the Deadly Habits are the behaviors that the majority of the world’s population relies on as a means to control other people . . . to get others to behave the way they want them to behave.  They are:


Criticizing         Complaining                 Threatening       Bribing and/or Rewarding

Blaming            Nagging                        Punishing


Dr. Glasser,  has identified these behaviors as part of the External Control Psychology that destroys relationships.  He points out that there are more than seven.  But he further states, “If you can overcome the use of these seven, you will be well on your way to better relationships.”


If you were to analyze these behaviors, you would notice that they are all overt.  There is nothing hidden in their application.  They are openly and purposefully conducted so that the person on the receiving end will be sure to take notice.  They are controlling behaviors.  If a person isn’t aware of them then they would have to be numb between the ears not to recognize them as controlling and offensive in nature.


There are, however, behaviors that others use to control people that are not so open.  These covert behaviors are meant to have the same result as the Seven Deadly Habits but in an underhanded manner.  Three of them play on your own self-image and self-worth to feel badly if you don’t do what someone else wants you to do.  The last four rely on the help of others in order to gang up or rally outside forces to get you to behave the way that others want you to behave.  These overt behaviors are:


Guilting             Martyring                     Rumoring                      Tattling

Shaming           Triangulating                 Lying                           


Guilting and Shaming go hand in hand.  The idea behind these behaviors is to get you to feel ashamed of yourself for refusing to behave in a certain way.  By not doing what someone wants you to do, they infer that you would be guilty of “making them feel badly” and therefore you are to be held accountable for “making” them feel unhappy.  And for that, you “should be (or feel) ashamed.”    It is External Control playing against your own belief in External Control.


Martyring serves the same purpose of shaming and guilting only in camouflage.  The idea is that someone important to you will appear to give up their wants and needs for the sake of your wants and needs with an ulterior motive.  Then they hope that you will feel so guilty about it that you will change your wants and needs and end up doing what the martyr wanted in the first place.  “That’s okay.  Go with your friends.  I’ll find something here to keep me occupied.”  Or, “Take as much money as you need.  I can let that doctor appointment go until a few months later.”


Some have even been known to put themselves in harm’s way to cause possible injury to get others to feel sorry for them and to gain attention.  They do this by taking unnecessary risks or even purposely harming themselves.  Feigning illess is yet another.


Triangulating serves to get support or advice from someone else concerning a problem they are having with another person who is not behaving the way they want them to behave.  It often results in the outside person, who usually has no need to be involved in the matter, to become resentful toward the non-complying person and join forces against them.  Mother to daughter concerning her son’s school grades:  “Kenny’s teacher called me today and he’s failing everything!”  Now the daughter can gang up on her brother, not so much for his poor grades, but because his behavior is upsetting their mother.


Rumoring, Lying, and Tattling are behaviors that are often used for revenge and/or harm another’s reputation or criticize their behavior.  It is a form of criticism about a person but not directed to the person.  Instead, it is directed to others so that others will become judgmental and criticize the person or persons who are not behaving in an acceptable manner by the standards of others.  We see it openly in politics but in families, business, and relationships, it is more covert. 


These methods are often used along with triangulating:  Elderly mother to care giving son:  “Do we need anything from the grocery store?”  (Her way of saying she wants to go to the store but doesn’t know how to ask).  Son:  “No.  We have all we need for now.”  So then the mother calls another family member and says, “Jacob won’t take me to the grocery store.”  You can just imagine what blows up next in the drama between the son and his sister.


All of the overt Seven Deadly Habits and the Seven Covert Habits are meant to serve the same purpose:  To control someone else and doing so by playing off of the world’s belief system that others are responsible for their happiness or unhappiness; and that they have no control over their emotions other than what others “caused them to have.”


It’s interesting to note that if you no longer utilize External Control and are fully aware that you have choices on how to perceive and deal with the behavior of others . . .  these 14 Deadly Habits will have no negative effect on you.  It drives others crazy.  Ooops.  It appears I have just come up with another external controlling behavior.


In the game of football, there is an unwritten rule but one of mere common sense.  The rule is:  If you want to win the game, don’t tackle anyone wearing the same uniform as your own.  The behaviors of External Control are tackles on your own team members.  They defeat your purpose and cause the team to lose

1 Comment

  1. Kim

    I just got used to 7 and now there’s 14 to remember!!! Great, Mike, I love the additions.

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