Guest Atomic Dog
by Chris Shugart
I can't stand it, I know you planned it
I'm gonna set it straight, this Watergate
Oh my, it's a mirage
Listen all y'all it's sabotage!
— Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"
Mike was the worst training partner I'd ever had. He'd show up late if he showed up at all. He always wanted to quit early. He flapped his gums incessantly. He'd make excuses and punk out on any tough exercise. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was his poisonous attitude.
If I got bigger, Mike would make snide comments about me being fat. If I got leaner, he'd make sarcastic remarks about me being "skinny and frail" looking. The thing was, Mike was my buddy, or so I thought. He'd make his noxious comments in a joking manner, just a little ball busting between friends. It took me a while (too long) to realize that ol' Mike had problems, and his "issues" were starting to affect me and my progress in the gym. Mike, you see, was toxic.
The concept of "toxic people" was popularized by Dr. Lillian Glass in her book by the same name. I read the book at the recommendation of Biotest head honcho Tim Patterson. Although it was pretty heavy on "pop" psychology, it was pretty darned interesting.
A toxic person is basically anyone who holds you back, cuts you down, makes you experience any number of negative emotions on a regular basis, and generally causes you to feel like a piece of toilet paper, and not that nice triple-quilted stuff either. A toxic person can be a friend, a co-worker, a family member, and even a girlfriend or spouse.
Dr. Glass outlines 30 different types of toxic people in the book, including The Mental Case, The Fanatic, The Accusing Critic, The Instigator, The Opportunistic User, and the ever popular Smiling Two-Faced Backstabber. No wonder Bossman Patterson recommended the book: the bodybuilding and supplement industry is a breeding ground for these wackjobs!
Enter The Saboteur
After reading the book, I came up with my own category of toxic terror, one that seems to rear his septic head often in the bodybuilding, fitness, and athletic community: The Saboteur.
The Saboteur is out to sabotage your training and diet program. He or she can do this overtly or covertly, and through physical or emotional manipulations. Let's go through some examples:
• A family member cooks you your favorite cheat food and encourages you to "live a little" and give up the diet.
• A friend drops seemingly casual but negative comments about your goals:
"Yeah, you've lost some fat but you ain't exactly Brad Pitt in Fight Club, bro!"
"Sure, you're getting big, but all that muscle will just turn to fat when you get older."
"That's a fast time in the 40 yard dash, but I knew a guy once who was way faster."
• A co-worker knows you're dieting yet keeps offering you junk food. This office saboteur has been known to wave doughnuts in your face in a "joking" manner. He or she may also refer to you as a "health nut" or "fanatic."
• Your spouse tries to talk you out of going to the gym, or make you feel guilty about it:
"Why can't you spend time with me instead of running off to the gym?"
"We're strapped for cash and you spend $50 a month on a stupid gym membership?"
"Why do you go to the gym so often? Are you seeing someone up there?"
So why do they do it? Well, they may be doing it consciously or unconsciously. It can be done out of hatred or competition, but the usual culprits are jealously and fear. Example: Your girlfriend or spouse (who usually hasn't been bitten by the training bug) sees you losing fat and getting more muscular. Your body is looking better and better. She's afraid you'll leave her for a better looking woman, so she tries to sabotage you in order to "keep you." Delusional thinking? You bet, but frighteningly common.
Another example is the jealous co-worker. She sees your discipline and hard work, and she watches as your body changes. She's failed at fat loss many times in the past and she's jealous of your achievements. Her attempts at sabotage can take many forms: caustic comments (often made as thinly disguised jests), tempting you with shitty food, subtly discouraging your healthy behaviors, spreading rumors that you must be "on something," etc.
One of the most biting comments is used against females who lose a lot of fat: "Isn't it interesting that losing weight makes a person look older?" Ouch. It takes a really toxic thundercunt to fire off that not-so-cleverly disguised attack. (Sorry, you may think I'm picking on women here. No, both sexes can be saboteurs; women are just really, really, really good at it.)
These types of saboteurs behave this way to make themselves feel better. Your discipline and success is like a slap in the face to them. Without saying a word, you're making their excuses look pathetic. These infectious whiners won't be inspired by you; they'll be offended. Nothing pisses off a toxic person more than seeing someone else succeed!
I've seen toxic men use these same tactics on their wives. You'd think a man would want his overweight wife to get into shape, right? Not if he's toxic! These pencildicks might not like having fat wives, but they'll do everything they can to keep them that way. Why? Rampant insecurity. Keeping your wife fat is a great way to control her and keep her at home. This is usually coupled with verbal and emotional abuse. And yes, I've seen insecure women do the same thing to their husbands and boyfriends.
Sound crazy? It is, but I can't tell you how many times I've tried to help someone with their diet only to have their spouse do everything in their power to ruin it. And here's where we learn about how devious the Saboteur can be. You know what the most common form of sabotage is for these poisonous personalities? This line right here:
"Honey, I love you just the way you are. You don't have to lose weight."
Horse puckey! That's a velvet hammer used to squash another person's opportunities. It's sleazy and dirty and only used by an insecure person who's emotionally retarded. Aesthetics aside, I'd be wary of any person who doesn't want his or her significant other to make positive health decisions.
"I love you just the way you are" is a polite way of saying "I'll feel inadequate and lazy if you get into shape and I don't! Please stay fat and increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Better you die at age 45 that me feel insecure or pressured to get into shape myself!"
A few things to keep in mind regarding the Saboteur:
#1: Watch for poisonous patterns.
Not everyone who offers you a slice of pizza or suggests you skip a workout is a saboteur. What you're looking for here are consistent patterns of behavior. How often does the person do this? How many different ways does the person try to do it?
#2: There are no "casual" negative comments.
If someone regularly makes nasty remarks, even in a joking manner, he could be a saboteur. Remember, saboteurs can be awfully subtle and polite about derailing your progress. They employ the "death by a thousand cuts" technique. And their tongues are wicked sharp. The closer the person is to you (wife or parent), the deeper the cuts.
#3: The Saboteur is the one with the problem.
It's easy to take these attacks personally, but you shouldn't. The Saboteur is the one with the "issues," not you. Their insecurity, jealously, and self-loathing are forced on you because you represent the opposite. Even though you don't mean it, you're a symbol of their failings and shortcomings.
#4: The Saboteur is seldom seen by you as an "enemy."
Although they can be, the actions of a saboteur are seldom overt. And the saboteur himself is seldom a person who obviously has it in for you. The most prevalent saboteurs come from within your own family and close circle of friends.
#5: Sabotage often comes disguised as concern, a favor, or a nice gesture.
I was recently contacted by a guy who'd lost ten pounds using my Velocity Diet. Although he had more fat to lose, his family was already filling his head with negative thoughts and lashing out. They told him he was anorexic, that he had a problem, that losing fat was unhealthy, that he took "too many pills" (in this case, salmon oil capsules), and that protein would damage his kidneys.
No surprise, everyone in his family was obese and did nothing but vegetate in front of the TV and eat potato chips. But still, verbal barbs like this coming from your family can be the sharpest and most frustrating.
Were they really concerned? No. They were upset that this guy was climbing out of the box they'd put him in. His success was making them feel inadequate. His fat loss reminded them that they were obese couch spuds. Luckily, this guy resisted the pull of the fatty flock and dodged their attempts at sabotage.
Side note: Saboteurs sometimes travel in packs.
#6: A sabotaging woman will often use a very powerful weapon against you: her vagina.
The power of the pussy will make a man not only accept the leash but gladly put it on himself. I've witnessed several sabotaging women use this weapon to control their men. This type of woman often falls into another toxic category created by Dr. Glass: The Self-Destroyer.
If you have any physique or career goals, avoid the Self-Destroyer at all costs. This hellbitch is hell-bent on making the worst possible choices for herself. She's often unstable and borders on being out of control. (This, of course, makes her great in the sack.) For whatever deep psychological reasons, she's out to destroy herself. She may do it with food, alcohol, drugs, money, sex, or stupid risks. While she usually prefers abusive men and ex-cons, she may occasionally end up with a T-man. She may not set out to destroy him, but if he's around she'll make sure he goes down with her.
The most common trap she'll use is to get you to "rescue" her (usually from self-destructive mistakes she's made.) All too often, the white knight will find himself dancing like a puppet on a string, fully controlled by what's between her legs. Ultimately, he wrecks his diet, quits training, and makes poor life decisions.
Long story short: beware the sabotaging gal with fangs in her coochie.
#7: Dealing with the Saboteur
A co-worker can usually be ignored. Once you learn to recognize and interpret these attempts at sabotage, you can see them for what they often are: a sign that you're accomplishing something. Take it as a compliment. Eat it up and thrive on it.
But what about the friend, family member or spouse? Dr. Glass recommends confronting them with humor. I agree, the straightforward approach is the best. End the game as fast as possible. When they try to sabotage you, ask them directly about it:
"Why are you offering me a cookie when you know I'm dieting down for summer?"
"Why do you try to keep me from going to the gym?'
"Why do you make shitty remarks every time I lay down on the bench and try for a PR?"
This is especially effective when the Saboteur doesn't even realize what he or she is doing. Remember, these are often delusional people wrapped in a security blanket of defense mechanisms, and a reality check is just what they need. It'll be very difficult for them to continue with their sabotaging ways after you point out what they're doing.
And what if the person is a deadly combination of Saboteur and Self-Destructor? Run. Run like the wind. There's not much hope for these time bombs. If it's a co-worker, avoid them. If it's a friend, de-friend him. If it's a girlfriend, think with the big head for once and kick that back alley bitch to the curb.
#8: Sometimes the "saboteur" isn't.
This is an important caveat. A 97-pound bulimic whose hair is falling out because of malnutrition will often attack those trying to help her. In her muddled mind, they're just out to sabotage her. The 17-year old juicer may be convinced that the people telling him he's too young to use steroids are just jealous. These are obviously not cases of sabotage. So, you have to be careful when labeling someone a Saboteur. You might be the one in the wrong.
Gods and Insects
The Testosterone Nation lifestyle, to me at least, is all about achievement and living a full, engaged life. The foundation of this is hard training and a healthy diet. With that solid base, anything is possible and all aspects of life are enriched. The Saboteurs hate that, and they secretly hate you for doing what they either can't or won't.
"You are a god among insects," Magneto said to Pyro in X-Men, "Never let anyone tell you different." Now, Magneto is a bad guy, but he had a point. The bitter, complacent people out there don't want you to rise above the norm. You're not allowed to be different. Today, "normal" is fat, weak and unhealthy, and their message to you is "Stay in your fucking box!" Given the chance, they'll drag you down and lock you up.
Listen to what people around you are really saying. Spot the Saboteurs, let them know you're on to them and diffuse them. I got rid of Mike. Anyone you know deserve the boot?
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