A self-defeating behaviour is any behaviour that normally ends up with a result that is something the person exhibiting the behaviour doesn’t want to happen. If you are trying to accomplish some goal, and something you do makes it less likely that you will reach that goal, then that is a self-defeating behaviour. If the goal is reached, but the ways you used to reach the goal cause more bad things to happen than the positive things you get from achieving the goal, that is also self-defeating behaviour.

Self-defeating behaviours might give you instant rewards that might relieve some of the tension you are feeling in the moment.  Often people have developed negative coping strategies to get them through the times when they are struggling with their behaviour.

Negative Coping Strategies

Below is a list of some negative coping strategies that you might use:

  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Shouting at others
  • Overeating/Undereating
  • Alcohol or substance misuse
  • Smoking
  • Kicking and throwing (Inc. kicking pets)
  • Driving too fast
  • Pacing up and down
  • Biting nails
  • Avoiding people
  • Isolation
  • Overthinking
  • Gambling
  • Overuse of social media, computer games
  • Excessive exercise
  • Adrenaline sports

When you reflect on your behaviour how are you left feeling? Some people will say they feel guilty or ashamed, that they have let themselves down or let their family down, that they can’t face people because they are embarrassed.  How do you then cope with those feelings?  Talking openly and honestly, with the aim to bring them into conscious awareness, so that we can examine them and choose how best to deal with them.  Understanding yourself is an important part of the change process.  Once you are able to understand the reasons for your behaviours, you can begin to move forward.  To have the confidence to set your goals, to recognise your qualities, to empower yourself and take control of your life.  Releasing yourself from the shackles that have been pulling you down and keeping you in a never-ending cycle of negativity, suffocating you, hiding the true you. The wonderfully unique you.