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Assuming the Worst

Updated on April 22, 2012

Do you know someone who always assumes the worst about other people? Maybe you are one of these types of people. Or maybe you just have to deal with a person who is constantly assuming the worst about you. Either way, this situation is a real drag. However, it is the person who always assumes the worst that really misses out on life. This behavior ruins personal relationships and leads to misery. This article explains the characteristics of this behavior, possible causes and what to do and how to deal with this pattern, as well as coping mechanisms for those suffering from this trait.

Characteristic behaviors of People Who Always Assume the Worst

  • Paranoid delusions about the motivations and intentions of other people.
  • Negative thought patterns about others such as thinking that people are out to get them or that people can’t be trusted.
  • Behaves irrationally and erratically by accusing others of conspiracy, assigning false motivation and blame to others, and judging and making assumptions about the behaviors of others and thinking that they know what others are thinking without evidence.
  • Pushes others away through their constant criticism, mean lashing out sessions and lack of trust.
  • Unwillingness to listen to others, acknowledge the feelings of others or even allow others to speak for themselves.

Why do people assume the worst?

There are a variety of reasons why someone would be or become the type of person who always assumes the worst about others.

  • History of Broken Trust: People who have had a history of broken relationships and trust broken may have a hard time trusting others. They may lash out to keep others away and break trust first to avoid getting hurt.
  • Feelings of Worthlessness: Low self-esteem can hit anyone at anytime. Maybe a person is getting older and feels they are being replaced on the job. Maybe someone is feeling inadequate in terms of relating to others in his/her personal life. Whatever the reason, feelings of worthlessness can cloud all relationships and make people behave irrationally and always on the defensive.
  • Chronic Illness: People who are in a lot of pain who don’t seek treatment and responsibility for what they have to do to get better can get mean. I know from experience. Physical illness untreated can lead to mental breakdowns and the person may lash out because they are in so much pain themselves. Making someone else feel bad is a way of coping and distracting themselves from their own pain. In the same way that people self-harm to deal with emotional pain, people can emotionally harm others.

These are just a few conditions/situations that can cause people to behave in this manner. There are many others reasons and it is impossible and unnecessary to determine why someone always assumes the worst. The commonality behind all these reasons is that it is about them and not you.

What to do When you are a Victim?

When you are the brunt of someone’s false accusations and meanness, it can be almost impossible to not let it impact your life. You feel sad, angry and at a lost as to what to do to gain this person’s trust. You are wrapped up in an endless cycle of fighting, lashing out and harsh criticisms of which nothing you can do will prevent this other person from believing their own web of lies and false/made-up information and evidence against you. They don’t feel bad about their behaviors because they believe they are 100% right and justified. This certainty is based on delusions established by negative thinking patterns. Good luck on trying to get someone else to recognize these behaviors before they are ready.

When working with or interacting with people who have this condition, it is best to disengage. When someone is at the height of a delusional rant, just walk away. The accusations will prove to be false in the end so why waste your energy. Falling into a trap of feeding into their attempts to get your negative attention and abuse you will only make you feel bad. As hard as it is to do and as much as you want to defend yourself and stand up for yourself, just walk away. Remember that the lashing out is not about you. It is about them and how they feel about themselves.

Walking away is pretty much the only thing you can do. People who are always assuming the worst about others spend much of their time feeling emotionally drained from constant false alarms, always being on the alert for your double-crossing ways and the constant paranoia. They either get help or stay miserable for their whole lives. No need to join them in the misery.

What you can do if you always assume the worst?

  • Be aware of what you are doing. Acknowledge that you have a problem and that you are unhappy with how this behavior makes you feel.
  • Change your thought patterns. Recognize when you start to think the worst and stop that negative thinking train.
  • Vow to wait and see instead of assuming and judging. Put a lid on any righteous declarations.
  • Understand how your words and actions make others feel. If you have hurt someone's feelings, apologize. Give others room and space to express how they feel instead of shutting them down.
  • Adopt sensitivity, think before you speak. If what you have to say is mean, don't say it.
  • Take a time out. When you feel emotionally on edge, take a deep breathe before speaking.
  • Understand how your behaviors are impacting your relationships and think about how you would like your relationships to be. Do things to cultivate instead of harm your relationships. Allow yourself to be happy and express love and appreciation.


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    • uzma shaheen profile image

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 5 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      I agree with your point,you can end relationship if your spouse have the this trait,but what if one of your parents are like this?there you can't end your relationship with them. in that case,i don't know which stratedgy should be follow and how to deal?

      thanks for your suggestions.great hub.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Living with someone like this is very hard because it ruins the relationship in the end. Either you end the relationship or live with the constant negativity. Hopefully, the person will one day get help.

    • uzma shaheen profile image

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 5 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      this is a great hub. when you are living with such person, who has the trait of always assuming worse,then this is very difficult to disengage. you can disengage once,twice or thrice but not always. then what should be done?

      great up.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Great hub with interesting content. I do know some people who display this type of attitude, and you are so right, you just have to disengage. It is the best thing to do for them and yourself. Great tips and advice on this topic. Voted up.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I am actually surprised how many people are so quick to make negative and misguided assumptions about others.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great hub. I think we all know someone who has some of these traits. Good advice given, disengagement is difficult to do but necessary at times..Thank you...

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks hotwebideas. You are definitely not the only one who has to deal with this situation, especially by those close to you.

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 5 years ago from New York

      Hey, great hub and voted up. I hate this kind of people and you are right, just walking away is the best, or simply not responding when they email you.

      Thanks, I am glad that I am not the only person who experiences that. Sometimes, it is the closest people to you who are like that.