self-defeating behavior

What is self defeating behavior? (What you can do to beat it)

Self-defeating behavior is a behavior that reduces, limits or prevents their own achievement. It can be as minor as procrastination and as major as drug addiction.

Self-defeating behaviour is an unhelpful habit that prevents people from succeeding in their goals and achieving their dreams. This article will explore the different types of self-defeating behaviours and how to avoid them.

Self-defeating behavior is a less studied but more prevalent problem than has been acknowledged, occurring to a greater degree among those who are dependent on substances such as alcohol, cocaine or prescription drugs.

self-defeating behavior

Examples of self defeating behaviour

1. Procrastination

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task. It is one of the most common self-defeating behaviours and it’s a very emotional problem, as well as being one of the most harmful. It’s an unfortunate fact that many people suffer from procrastination, even though it actually impairs their productivity because they justify procrastinating by saying that the work is too hard or not enjoyable. In fact, the things which cause procrastination are fear and anxiety.

2. Evading responsibilities

Evading responsibilities is where a person is aware of their duties and refuses to fulfil them. It can also include running away from problems and trying to escape from situations that are uncomfortable. People tend to do this because they are scared of what will happen if they don’t take action, or are afraid of failure. One of the most significant reasons for evading responsibilities is peer pressure.

People tend to act in ways that are typical for those around them rather than for themselves. On the other hand, people who are confident and have a good sense of self-worth see their responsibilities as an opportunity to make their lives better. We serve ourselves in life by learning from our mistakes, which helps prevent future problems and situations like evading responsibilities from occurring again.

3. Avoidance

Avoidance is when someone tries to get away from a certain situation or problem or is unwilling to take an action and result in feelings of anxiety and stress. People who avoid are generally focused on avoiding the pain of a problem, rather than focusing on ideas of how to solve them. Guilt, fear and shame also cause avoidance.

Avoidance is a very common problem, especially for people who suffer from chemical dependencies such as drug addiction. In many cases, people actually punish themselves for using drugs by abusing them, so that they are dependent on these substances to avoid the pain of a situation. Over time people will build an emotional association between the use of pills and success in life, which becomes their main focus.

4. Attention-seeking

Grooming behaviour is a form of self-defeating behaviour associated with men who present themselves in a dominant, aggressive manner to others. It is sometimes referred to as “acting out” behaviour and typically occurs in the form of anger, aggression or violence. As an example, an individual may pick fights with other people or engage in risky gambling behaviors.

Attention-seeking behaviour means that an individual desires attention from others. They might be willing to engage in behaviours that may cause harm to themselves, in order to gain attention. Some examples are climbing mountains, bungee jumping and sky diving.

Attention-seeking is a very common problem among teenagers, especially with boys who want to fit in and gain the approval of other teenagers. While some may seek attention by being rebellious or by having “bad” qualities such as popularity or clothes, others are driven by the desire for respect from others.

5. Alcohol / Drug Abuse

The consumption of drugs, such as alcohol to self-medicate and achieve a certain state of being. The purpose is to avoid the symptoms of anxiety, stress and similar situations that are uncomfortable. At the beginning, drinking may seem to work. However, over time it will have a negative impact on your life. For example it can cause health problems, blackouts or memory loss and can lead to depression, relationship problems and job losses. Not to mention the high cost of alcohol to your wallet.

The first time a person tries drugs, they may find it easy to stop because they know that the consequences will be severe. However, for the addict, this is not usually the case. They may feel like their life is over and are driven by a feeling of worthlessness when they are ‘without’ drugs. A likely reason for this is that addicts have developed a strong emotional dependency on their drug of choice, which in some cases can cause addiction.

Many people today recognize that addiction is a real problem. However, some still try to ignore or deny it, because they cannot accept the notion that they are like addicts and need to change. But no matter how hard they try to fight it, in the end, they will eventually be convinced that this behaviour has become their ‘normal’ way of being.

6. Personal neglect

Self-neglect is a significant and often ignored problem. It is always the result of the person’s actions, but can be very distressing for individuals who have to live with them.

People living with mental health conditions such as mental illness, depression or anxiety are at risk of self-neglect. This can happen more often as they may also be dealing with challenges such as poverty, homelessness or social isolation. Self-neglect can be the result of physical or mental health problems and a lack of confidence or self-esteem.

Self-neglect usually occurs in the context of somatization disorder, where people try to make themselves feel better by not eating enough and not getting the proper care for wounds, broken bones etc. Another instance is obesity, where overweight people may not be eating enough or taking good care of themselves. Self-neglect can be used as an excuse for poor lifestyle habits and a lack of responsibilities. People may also neglect their hygiene, or fail to take their medication as required.

Self-neglect is not just an issue that occurs in old or older people, but individuals of all ages. The biggest challenge is when it occurs in late adulthood as many people find it very difficult to admit they have a problem.

7. Self-pity

Self-pity is a form of self-defeating behaviour that occurs when a person feels sorry for themselves and feels that they are being treated unfairly. Self-pity is often associated with depression, but it can also be a result of low self-esteem. The actions and thoughts of a person who self-pitied focus on how their life has been bad or unfair, rather than looking forward to better times.

People who feel ‘bad’ about themselves or have low self-esteem often use ‘poor me’ as an excuse for their actions. For example, a person may have lost their job and are blaming that for falling behind on the rent. There are many instances where people may not apply for a job because they do not think they are good enough. These individuals need to understand that by feeling sorry for themselves, they will never achieve anything in life and life is too short to spend it feeling sorry for yourself.

What you can do if you are presenting self defeating behaviour

Self-destructive behavior is usually a result of emotional or mental discomfort and can have serious consequences if left untreated. No matter where you live, there are options available to help. You may need to change your lifestyle or find better ways to deal with your problems. A therapist or counselor will be able to work with you and help you to find solutions that work for you.

Make an appointment with your physician or mental health professional.

Look for local support groups and meet with others to discuss issues.

Connect with other people who are in a similar situation as you are.

Be honest with yourself and discuss what you’re feeling.

Take positive steps and promote change in your life. There is a lot of help available, such as supportive workers or trainers to assist you on the way to recovery. If asked, there may be some financial help available for those who qualify.

Live life to the full

Everyone has problems and everyone has their moments where they need help. However, it is important to remember that we should never let our problems stop us from achieving our goals, or taking positive steps towards progress. We are all unique individuals, with different issues and experiences. By being true to ourselves and being open about what we are going through, we can start to overcome these issues and make positive changes in our lives that may lead us to a better and happier place.


Self-defeating behaviour can be defined by the fact that it is self-destructive and can cause harm to the individual or others. This behavior is not always obvious, but people who exhibit these tendencies will often present in a negative way. If we take time to consider this behaviour, we can start to understand some of the thoughts and emotions behind it, which can help us overcome these challenges.

By helping ourselves and others around us, we can start to focus on our strengths and work towards improving our lives. This can give us a positive outlook on life and make us feel better about ourselves, which will eventually lead to better mental health. For some people, self-defeating behavior is a result of emotional problems or depression. In such cases, treatment and support is required from family or friends.

If you think that you may be exhibiting self-defeating behavior, it’s important to look at your behaviors and thoughts in the moment they occur. If they are consistent with your past experience it is unlikely that there is an issue of concern. If the thoughts and emotions are confusing, this could indicate that you may need to work through some of your issues. It may be difficult for you to understand how your behavior may be hurting you or others around you. It can help to talk with someone who knows you or is trained in mental health. This can help you work towards a happier future and get past your problems.

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