Self-defeating Behaviour

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Self-defeating Behaviour

Post  forumtester on Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:02 pm

Many people develop self-defeating behaviours within their personal and working lives or their relationships with others. It is when they either unwittingly or deliberately self-sabotage themselves.

For example, pursuing an unrealistic career goal or an unrequited love. If you do this, it is often because you genuinely believe that you will eventually hit upon a good outcome, not because you are intent on self-defeat.

The “all or nothing” thinker tends to develop behaviour based on their belief that if they do not do something completely and entirely then they have failed and there is no point in doing it any longer – this is particularly common amongst people with weight issues when coming off the diet with one biscuit is total failure and over eating begins again.

The “trade-off” is prevalent amongst smokers who know the risks involved but they make the decision to trade off the risks against the (perceived) pleasure they get from smoking. Deliberately doing something that you know will harm you enables you to blame a failure on the bad choice you previously made.

Sometimes you end up doing “counterproductive strategies” when you try to do something to help your situation, but unintentionally create an even worse situation. This tends to be habitual self-defeating behaviour that continually gets the same negative outcome despite previous poor results.

Some self-defeating behaviours are easy to recognise. Misuse of potentially damaging substances such as drugs, food, alcohol etc. are easy to spot and are comforting escapism behaviours.

Emotional behaviours that are self-defeating are harder to spot. For example, extreme perfectionist tendencies, over or under confidence, being incredibly defensive, aggressive or hostile, extreme shyness and an overly suspicious nature. Some people will use avoidance to extreme levels and this can gradually turn in to agoraphobia or severe social anxiety.

Self-defeating behaviours can be treated with hypnotherapy, counselling or psychotherapy. Sometimes identifying the behaviour is enough to enable you to change it. Other times, identifying it and then using a method such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) where the therapist will guide you through various behavioural changes in order to deal with situations in a more positive manner.


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