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A Do-Gooder's Guide To Sabotage

Make It All About You

man in business suit throwing tantrum. hey main character, make it all about you. everyine is just being so unfair and mean even though its not your fault. waaah! the luminary braintrust do-gooder's guide to sabotage

Welcome to Sabotage for Do-Goodery

In this discussion series, we examine common ways we self-sabotage progressive movements.

Sabotage for Centers Of The Universe

Make It About You

Excerpt from the CIA Field Manual on Simple Sabotage:

“Cry and sob hysterically at every occasion, especially when confronted by government clerks.”

Are you a good person? Is your sense of self entirely dependent on how others see you? Do you have a flair for the dramatic and a penchant for hysterics?

Well, buckle up, buttercups – you’re about to be a star!

Deep down, you know that if you close your eyes and block your ears, everyone in else kinda ceases to exist. The world revolves around you, and you’ve developed exactly the right persona to lead us all into the next level of chaos and exhaustion.

Incorporate the three strategies below to ensure that every issue revolves around you, your journey, and your deepest desires.

Perhaps you’re looking to dismantle an established group that’s running a bit too smoothly. Maybe you just want to keep your kids too distracted to focus on developing relationships outside the home. Or maybe you’re just a little bored and want to fuck some shit up.

By volunteering for the role of Center of the Universe, you can achieve all your dreams and more – all for the low investment of everyone else’s time and patience!

Step 1: Cultivate Double, Triple, and Quadruble Standards

Everyone’s working on boundaries these days, but you think bigger. So instead of setting boundaries for yourself, focus on setting boundaries for others. 

And by ‘boundaries,’ I mean goals, rules, and expectations that nudge everyone else forward. Let the world know how everyone should be behaving if they want to build an ideal world free of war, violence, and carbon.

Communicate your boundaries

You deserve to be treated in a respectful manner. Actually – after all you do for others, you deserve reverence and admiration! Remember that your presence is a gift, so treat every interaction with your colleagues as if they are auditioning for your approval.

Let your collaborators know that you won’t put up with disrespect, insults, negative criticism, nasty tones of voice, nano-aggressions, or feedback of any kind if it makes you feel bad.

Lead by example

The only way for collaborators to know what not to do is to help them empathize with the targets of disrespect and attacks. So target them with disrespectful attacks. I can’t believe I even have to spell this out for you. You’re so stupid.

See what I did there? I insulted you and used ableist language for the greater good – so you don’t have to! I’m willing to be the bad guy and push you down, because I’m a good person. You’re welcome.

Stay in the game

You can’t win if there’s no competition. In collaborative spaces built on compassion and power distribution, you may need to inject some friendly rivalry to keep everyone on their A-game.

“Oh, you use reusable diapers with plastic snaps. That’s so… interesting. I knit mine out of ethically sourced hand-lanolized alpaca wool. It’s just better for our kids future, you know?”

Motivate through shame

As competition heats up, you may face rivals looking to unseat you from power. Bring out the big guns and tap into the power of shame.

Shame anyone who challenges your ‘boundaries,’ your social power, or your disrespectful behavior.

Whoa Jessica – where is this attack coming from? I can’t believe you would say something so triggering to a [INSERT YOUR OPPRESSED IDENTITY HERE].” When you’re tired of the conversation, just burst into tears.

Shame others for not already knowing what you just discovered yesterday.

“You’re a disability rights advocate, huh? And you’ve never learned Protactile? Hmm… I see.”

Don’t be afraid to weaponize your own shame.

Pivot any challenge to your fragile shell of goodness into a cry for help.

Highlight how bad you feel and apologize as if you’re being flogged. Rely on your stream of consciousness and creativity to twist any feedback into an attack for existing. If you can’t be a hero, be a victim!

“You’re so right, I’ve been so HORRIBLE to you, Jessica. I can’t believe what a bad person I am. I’m the worst. I’m so upset. I shouldn’t even be allowed near you. It hurts me so much to think of what I’ve done. You all must haaate meee and I deserve it! I’m a slug. How dare I be born. Jessica – you and my parents were right, I’m such a burden. Everything you’re telling me just confirms that I deserve to be abused. I deserve all the attacks and insults you’re slinging my way right now. [START HYPERVENTILATING] Jessica – I’M SO SORRY FOR BREATHING.”

What a monster. Jess is being so horrible to you! She deserves to feel bad for asking you to stop eating her lunch.

Step 2: Always Presume Sinister Intentions

Everyone’s out to get you. As you’ve just convinced yourself, everyone hates you just for existing, so you can be sure that any misunderstanding or innocuous statement is a direct personal attack on your honor.

Actions speak louder than words. If Jessica offers to share a batch of organic brownies with your family, she’s not making a peace offering, she’s making a statement. Call out this disrespect before it goes too far.

“Oh, so you’re saying I’m poisoning my kids when I buy store-bought brownies? Wow, Jessica. Harsh.” 

The more outrageous the presumption, the quicker you candelegitimize your opponents and nip these attacks in the bud. Cultivate a culture of fear until no one feels comfortable challenging you, or maybe even being in the same room with you.

Step 1: Identify your arch nemesis.

Step 2: Blow insults, small conflicts, and chit-chat out of proportion.

Step 3: Leap to wild conclusions about sinister intentions.

Step 4: Round up empathetic minions and get them on your side.

Step 5: Win the bake sale. World domination to follow.

Step 3: Keep The Group Focused

An effective initiative needs a clear purpose and a simple process for making decisions. Contribute to the group by always bringing discussions back to the impact on you, your needs, your perspective, and your feelings.

There’s really only one unchanging priority you can always rely on – and that priority is you.

Stay Focused With Selective Derailment

If someone suggests a community picnic, derail it by ticking off your many dietary restrictions.

“A potluck? Oh I guess I’ll just sit 50 yards away from all of you clutching my epi-pen.” [Take three big steps back, sigh deeply, and don’t be afraid to let a quiet tear roll down your cheek.]

Redirect every discussion to be about your personal trials and tribulations.

“Building a community garden sounds fun, but remember how Jessica killed my grandmother’s pothos the last time she house-sat for me? I’m still processing it in therapy. Honestly I just don’t know if I’m ready to touch dirt again. It’s only been three years – I can’t believe you’d even bring it up.”

If the group chooses to move forward despite negative impacts on you, never let them forget.

“No, it’s fine. It’s fine. It wasn’t my idea to host a book drive, but now look at who has open all these boxes. I hope all my paper cuts are worth raising money to rehome families after the tornado. I’m sure Jessica meant well but honestly we would have raised ten times as much with my dance-a-thon idea.”

I’m pretty sure this is what the feminists are talking about when they harp about carrying ‘the mental load.’

Gently explain how centering yourself brings clarity and a feminist lens to the work, so your colleagues know to value your emotional labor.

If you really think about it, what you’re doing is selfless, and equality. Diversity. Glass ceiling. Google please bring me some traffic with these feminasty keywords.  Live Laugh Topple The Glitterarchy.

Sabotage Strategy Risks & Rewards

Why build mutually reciprocal, trusting collaborations when you can plow forward doing whatever the heck you want?

Friends, family, and collaborators will never know what version of you they’re going to get, keeping them alert and ready for outside threats. Really, you’re just preparing them for the real world.

Sure, everyone will be hesitant to alert you when you’re barrelling forward on the wrong path, wasting your time, energy, and money.

And I guess you’ll never quite know if it’s love or fear behind the compliments and smiles of your underlings.

But if you have to blow things up to get shit done, then so be it.

You’re here to make change and create a better world (for you), and only a main character with your discipline and willingness to say horrible things can burn down a path to this glorious future.

After all, a little bit of fire can be cleansing. With this strategy, you can not only disrupt your local parenting and advocacy spaces, but also ensure your rightful place as the epicenter of attention.

Remember, the phoenix rises from the ashes. It’ll all be worth it someday as you lie satisfied on your death bed, alone, unencumbered by your family, friends, and everyone else who dared to challenge you.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

This work is best done in isolation. You can’t let others’ needs, ideas, or feedback slow you down.

So obviously, you’ll want to avoid joining any kind of suspicious group workshops where you gather with like-minded parents working on the same path to collective liberation.

The last thing you need is to reflect on everything you’re juggling in life with people who know what it’s like to feel vulnerable and powerless – but somehow remain determined to make this world a better place.

Stay ignorant & hold tight to internal barriers so you never have to grow!

In the final chapter of the Summer Luminator, we overcome barriers to getting started and staying on track. So you’ll want to do the exact opposite of everything we practice that week, such as:

  • How manage scope creep & strategies to stay on track
  • Navigating rough patches & internal resistance
  • Creating recovery space for disruption, change, and mayhem
  • Creating a legacy your kids deserve
  • Launching a kick-off sequence to transform what you’ve created this summer into year-round action.

Just do the opposite of all that. Ahhh, curled up in a little ball at the center of the universe, enjoy the sweet security of never challenging yourself.

And all you have to do is shut your eyes and clamp your hands around your ears real hard until the rest of us cease to exist.



Raise A Ruckus

Instead of going it alone, join together as we romp through goofy strategies, practical tips, and help you grow into the parent and social advocate you always wanted to be.

Sabotage for Do-Goodery

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