Thursday, October 26, 2006

Patterns of Self-Defeat

In the process of final editing of my recently published pop-psych book, Mom and Dad’s Pearls of Wisdom… You Gotta Love ’Em ( I vividly recalled an epiphany on behalf of one of my therapy clients. She had come to see me because of difficulties she was having with her boyfriend. Toward the end of our first session, I said to her, “So, let me see if I understand what you’re saying. Your father was an emotionally abusive alcoholic, your first husband was an emotionally abusive alcoholic, your second husband was an emotionally abusive alcoholic, and the man you’re dating now is…” The light came on – she poignantly replied, “Yeah, I guess that’s what I do – I defeat myself because I repeat myself.”

It never ceases to amaze me how frequently other people – not us of course – sabotage their own happiness by repeating self-defeating patters of behavior.

If you know of an example of “anyone else” who has done this, feel free to share it.

Thanks, Bill


Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll bite. In keeping with your “wisdom from the road of life” theme, I feel that God gives me each new day as an opportunity to drive along the road of life to influence others along my journey. Each day I make choices. If my choices are good ones, then my day goes on and all is well with my fellow travelers. If my choices are bad (I often realize this when it appears I am too late to self-correct my choice) then the day turns for a bad direction, and I find myself trying to overcorrect the next choice to make up for the previous “bad turn.” So, in answer to your sabotage question, I feel that each day I am either trying to overcorrect for my “bad driving” or to stay out of the way of my fellow travelers’ poor choices. Your thoughts, Brooke

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hello Brooke,

Thank you for your Comment – you are very self-insightful, and I am impressed by the way you tied together my “wisdom from the road of life” and “patterns of self-defeat” concepts.

Given that you embrace an “I have choices” philosophy (and thereby hold yourself responsible and accountable for your actions) and you self-monitor your decisions and their respective outcomes, I doubt that you’ll defeat yourself by repeating yourself very often. You know the cliché – if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we’re destined to repeat them.

Thanks for sharing,