We all know certain unhappy people in our lives. We work with them, share a morning commute with them, we might even be married to them! Whomever this person is to you, they can often be a mystery.
From the outside, they seem to have everything going for them. Yet, that black cloud will not leave – it seems to follow them everywhere.
If you have ever wished to crawl inside their mind and get a secret glimpse into WHY they are the way they are, individual possibilities would be limitless. Every person’s story is different. But there might be some themes that pop up as you start to compare the unhappy people around you.
Take a look at our list and see if any of these ring true. They might provide you with some insight as to why they are the way they are.
10. Their Behavior Makes Them Feel Ashamed
“I’ve actually apologized to some people I was a real jerk to because I feel ashamed. I didn’t need to be that angry. There was something going on inside me when I was angry and feeling very threatened and not feeling good about myself.” – Howard Stern
Unhappy people might be going through a period in their life where they are being hypercritical of themselves. They might have set a goal for themselves that was too lofty, and in their failure they blame themselves. Shame isn’t something easy for anyone to admit.
If they lash out and are generally unhappy, don’t feel it’s something you did that caused it. They could be wrapped up in their own behavior and their own shame at not performing at the level they expected.
9. You Make Them Feel Inadequate
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson
This is a tough one and can cause problems for many unhappy people. Feelings of Inadequacy go back to how we see ourselves and what we expected out of ourselves.
And being around you when you’re looking great can spark that feeling in the unhappy person. Just being around you as you are being you can make a depressed person feel worse.
Ever notice that some of the unhappy people make a habit out of avoiding hanging out with you? It’s not you! You don’t smell! They are overcome with feeling inadequate when they compare themselves to you.
You get them to think about their inner power because they see your power. Whether that be simple confidence, a skill you exhibit in your day job, a favorite hobby of yours, others perceive that as power. And the fear of knowing the same power is inside them, but under-utilized, is something they will never admit.
8. They Make Excuses To Avoid Situations
“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” – George Washington Carver
Truly unhappy people are usually making excuses for one thing or another. Some are good at it, while others are not. But unhappy people are not going to admit why they are giving you an excuse.
Some might only try to get out of big things: a company event, a rather large project at work. But some start to create excuses for even the smallest things. Why is that?
For some, the weight of responsibility compounds with each task on their to-do list. After a while, the normal day to day weighs on them and even asking for one more small thing can seem overwhelming from their perspective.
With a low self-esteem thrown in, their feelings of inadequacy can make an easy task too much for them to handle. Then out come the excuses. It might be easy to catch them when they do it, but they will rarely admit why.
7. They Self-Sabotage Their Efforts
“I don’t want to completely self-sabotage everything that I’ve got and alienate everyone. But I definitely want to take some chances as I always have.” – Katy Perry
Taking a look at what we’ve discussed so far can create a situation where the unhappy person desperately wants to get out from under the unhappy cloud following them around. So they want to take a risk at something new, something that could change their direction.
We would think that’s good until a few days or weeks later when the new effort and new attitude come crashing down. We wonder what happened because, from our perspective, they seemed to have it in the bag!
Self-sabotage is hard to admit, mostly because some unhappy people don’t even realize they are doing it. They want to get that college education, then pick a major so difficult it requires all their energy.
Suddenly, they throw in a part-time job, volunteer work and joining some campus clubs which is way more than anyone would consider taking on. They get so caught up in wanting to turn things around, they don’t moderate and when grades come out, things are so bleak they give up.
Some will not admit it, but they repeat this cycle to keep themselves from succeeding at the goal they have set to prove to others who cheered them on that it couldn’t be done. It seems a twisted form of rebellion almost.
6. Unhappy People Knowingly Lie
“‘Pathological liar’ is absolutely the toughest individual to deal with as a psychiatrist. Because you can’t take anything they say at face value. And you can’t, you know, fill in their personality. You don’t know what’s real and what’s not.” – Dale Archer
Maybe you have encountered the unhappy person who is known to lie. If someone came to mind, then they’re not too crafty at lying, otherwise you wouldn’t know that they are prone to doing this. But do they know that they are lying?
Some don’t, but many do. And it can go beyond creating an excuse to get out of the responsibility of doing something they feel unable to do. They start to recreate the narrative about themselves, their past, their abilities.
For some in true pain, weaving any alternative reality is better than facing the truth about themselves. And telling you whatever you want to hear to get you out of their hair is worth being found out later as a liar.
It’s always easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission, although your unhappy person won’t freely admit to that.
5. They Hate To Admit Their feelings
“No one really wants to admit they are lonely, and it is never really addressed very much between friends and family. But I have felt lonely many times in my life.” – Bill Murray
It won’t be an easy time just confronting this unhappy person about their little black cloud, either. It seems the only feeling they are comfortable with are the unhappy feelings, but even those are ones the unhappy person doesn’t want to talk about.
For some, any feeling is bad because emotion is a form of weakness. Maybe they experienced someone in their lives who took advantage of them when they were emotional, so now they keep their feelings guarded.
They truly might not understand their own feelings, so they push everything down to keep it from clouding their mind. Whatever the reason, understand that the feelings are there and are intense, but they are not going to open up like an after-school special and spill their guts about it.
4. They Rarely Trust Anyone
“It takes years for me to trust; I know that about myself. A lot of it is because I am so private and so reluctant to make myself vulnerable.” – Michelle Pfeiffer
Trust is hard earned no matter how happy or unhappy you are. It’s a fact of life. But for unhappy people, it might be off the table completely. Being invalidated or rejected at an early age might have taught them to never trust anyone.
But when one decides that, the gloomy disposition can move in permanently. Again, if you have this person in your life, it’s probably not because of who you are. The vulnerable person hiding under that stormy cloud is closing themselves off for protection.
3. Even Your Simple Happy Stories Make Them Jealous
“Part of being a man is learning to take responsibility for your successes and for your failures. You can’t go blaming others or being jealous. Seeing somebody else’s success as your failure is a cancerous way to live.” – Kevin Bacon
Sometimes, the unhappy person takes the form of your best friend and you might not even know it. And you enjoy your lunch with them because you got to share the good news with them about what happened that morning. But for weeks after, they are ‘too busy’ and distant and just not giving off a happy vibe. What happened?
When it’s uncomfortable to take on the responsibility of one’s own actions, the unhappy person can tend to get jealous and blame other circumstances when it comes to seeing someone have something they wanted. If they can shift that responsibility off of themselves, they create a victim mentality that allows them to be jealous while not being able to remedy the situation.
2. They Play Games
“We want everybody to act like adults, quit playing games, realize that it’s not just my way or the highway.” – Barack Obama
When we reach adulthood, we hope for the mind games to be over. As the years go by, our life experiences show us that nothing could be further from the truth. Everywhere you go, someone’s trying to play some sort of mind game.
And the unhappy people will never admit how much they love to do it to other people. For some, it might be the one thing that secretly makes them happy!
Getting away with things, manipulating you into thinking or feeling a certain way, or turning the tables on you are just a few of the endless ways unhappy people play their games. It’s not a given, but many do it and do it rather well.
They can leave you feeling drained even after a simple conversation with them. And it’s their way of giving you part of their dark cloud of unhappiness.
1. They Like Being Miserable
“Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy.” – Robert Anthony
The number one thing unhappy people will not admit to will be that many really do like being miserable. They won’t say it in so many words, but after being in that state for so long, it becomes their ‘normal’.
If their baseline throughout any given day is to be unhappy, then that is the normal that they come to expect out of every day. And we all know how people like the feeling of control when it comes to knowing what to expect each and every day.
We like our routines. Being an unhappy person can be just as much a routine as pouring your morning coffee. If they were suddenly to be free from that definition of ‘victim’, they might not know how to step into the role of ‘victor’.
For some who have had challenges their entires lives, being happy is so foreign they will consciously and unconsciously avoid it. It’s so different it must not be right. They will take the other 9 steps, especially self-sabotage, to prevent happiness from coming to them.