As new phone technology keeps offering to do more for us, we have the luxury of letting our phones run the show that is our lives.

The question is: Do you become a phone saboteur when your phone begins to slow down or starts losing it’s original flawless shine?

Yes, it’s possible that just like the relationship trajectory of lovers not meant for each other, a human-phone love affair can devolve into a one-sided grudge match.

Why would this happen? Well, the answer is that when powerful digital technology takes over basic human tasks on a reliable basis, we tend to develop a complex and confusing dependency on our gadgets.

Look no further than the swirl of negative emotions we feel when pages begin to load slower….

Are You a Phone Saboteur?

What is a phone saboteur? It’s a person who consciously or unconsciously facilitates the demise of his phone. Phone sabotage develops out of a love-hate relationship with the device.

In the beginning of the relationship, we are in awe of what the phone can do for us. We celebrate it when it’s still considered new. We holds hands with it. We stare at it. We clean it and dry it and fill it with all kinds of digital goodies.

As time passes, our phone inevitably starts to let us down with progressively slower loading speed, unexplainable crashes, unattractive scars and untimely malfunctions. As newer technology rolls in, our sense of awe turns to resentment when we have evidence that our phone is now officially a digital dinosaur.

How frustrating is it when a highly anticipated web page refuses to open, or when the screen is harder to view because we dropped it, or when calls drop more than they should?

It’s Too Easy to Confuse Self-Blame with Phone Blame

Have you ever been on vacation (hopefully in a warm, tropical place during the winter months) and you noticed that you simply can’t put your phone away? Someone you’re with even makes repeated comments that you’re not taking advantage of this rare time to “vacate” your everyday life by powering off. You know you should be more relaxed and appreciative of your surroundings and lack of responsibility. Despite not expecting any important texts or emails during your vacation, you keep checking and checking just because that’s what you’ve trained yourself to do 50 times a day for years.

Let’s face it…If you don’t grant yourself the right to disconnect on vacation, at least give your phone the right to have a vacation of its own. It WANTS to just sit in your hotel room’s safe. Just know that your difficulty disconnecting from your phone (or other screen) could be promoting a confusing dependency that, at its worst, creates a sense of life feeling out of your control.

Phone Resentment and the Displacement of Anger

Some phone deaths are premeditated. This was my experience when my iPhone 5 was on the fritz.

Not long ago, my phone breathed its very last digital breath in my hands. I was there watching overhead with mixed feelings as the screen flickered into nothingness. Then the phone that brought me so much comfort over the past year plus was finished. Or at least I thought it was finished.

Now I can admit that I neglected it a bit because I wanted to upgrade. Was I consciously caffeinating my phone with coffee or tossing it against the wall? No. But could I have been more careful? It’s not the most flattering confession, but to be honest, I knew exactly what I was doing. My phone had already taken on water damage and all of my data was backed up. My plan was calculated and I was quite ready to usher a new iPhone 6 into my personal digital world.

A Bit of Phone Resentment is Healthy

The hope is that a bit of phone resentment will promote disconnecting from your phone when you recognize that it’s best for your mind and body to do so. You might be digitally overstimulated (see The Signs of Digital Overstimulation for more on this topic) or suffering in your romantic relationship as a result of your screen addiction (see Quality Time and Your Personal Technology for more on this topic.)

Why would we facilitate our phone’s demise?

Here are 5 signs you’re a phone saboteur:

1. Your phone is partially broken or scratched so you question why you should continue to treat it with kid gloves. Why show it respect when it no longer does everything you want it to do? 

2. (As I just confessed to)…You neglect your phone enough to accelerate its demise so you can easily justify upgrading to the next model.

3. You never learned to treat valuable items with respect and your $750 phone is no exception. You take chances with valuable items because that’s just how you roll.

4. You grow tired of being overly accountable to so many people who expect you to respond immediately via text or email. You grow frustrated with your lack of self-control around your phone. You can’t stand how much time you waste on social media. You realize you’ve forgotten how to just be with you own thoughts.

5. You know no other way to slow down the blazing pace of a modern, digitally dependent lifestyle than to make sure you don’t have a phone. See (LINK) for more on this reason.

Avoiding Phone Sabotage

Not everyone is a phone saboteur.

Some people maintain a relatively healthy relationship with their phones. How do you avoid sinking into a love-hate relationship with your pocket companion?

For one thing, discipline helps you repeat the same habits that minimize phone damage. I’m referring to putting the phone away  rather than carrying it with other items…or avoiding putting it on a table with cups of liquid.)

Perspective also helps. Embrace the idea that your phone is still an awesome device even with a cracked screen. Be thankful that you’re alive during this exciting era of rapid technological growth. See your ability to use this device as a privilege.

More than anything, a sense of personal responsibility is most important. Avoid blaming your phone. It’s not built to last forever. Don’t displace your stress and anger toward other aspects of your life onto your helpless device. It can’t defend itself.

If you do, in fact, relate to at least a couple of the above-mentioned reasons for sabotage, make sure you’ve engaged in fiscally responsible planning for the purchase off your next phone. More importantly, save the contents of your phone (buy or double-check on the integrity of your cloud storage) so you don’t lose the data or have to pay to have the data extracted.

A phone saboteur doesn’t need to also be a phone data saboteur. The latter is so destructive and scary, it needs its own series of blog posts. Any bloggers want to give that one a shot? Let me know.