Self-Defeating Behavior – Why do we love to suffer?

Behavior of a person can influence their self-esteem, and it can bind that person into a vicious cycle of self-doubts. Similarly, the Behavior can help a person to feel more liberated, confident, and happier. The last post from LKKG platform was about ‘’Self-Destructive behavior’’. So now it is entirely appropriate to talk about ‘’Self-Defeating behavior’’.

Sometimes people get puzzled between these two behavioral conditions, and it is relatively normal. Self-Defeat and Self-Destructiveness are two nearly similar or interrelated human behaviors.

Today’s post will be an in-depth analysis of the behavioral issues that cause a self-defeating attitude. If you have any confusions regarding Self-Destructive Behavior then please check the last week’s post by LKKG.

Are you prone to Self-defeating Behavior?

Ask these questions to yourself or witness the symptoms of self-defeat in people around you. So, that you can identify your condition and see how can you make it better.

  • Have you find someone engaged in self-sabotaging Behavior?
  • Have you ever feel like every time you take a step forward you have to take a few steps back?
  • Do you have negative thoughts about your capabilities, and you are not sure about achieving goals?
  • Are you still engaged in unhealthy habits even though you better know that they are true hurdles in your way you from growing?

If the answers are in ‘’Yes’’ then it is the time to get proper know-how about self-defeating attitude. In this life, we are bound grapple with unavoidable difficulties and finding yourself challenged within tough situations is absolutely normal. All these worse situations of life make many of us stuck in a phase of hopelessness and failure.

Self-Defeating Behavior is about the repetition of maladaptive Behavior. This situation means getting ‘’stuck’’ into self-sabotaging Behavior.

Also Read: Borderline Personality Disorder

What does self-defeating Behavior (SDB) mean?

Vernon Howard said that all forms of self-defeating Behavior are unconscious and unseen. It is the reason why the existence of self-defeating behaviors is denied. According to the definition of Self-Defeating Behavior:

‘’The behavior or attitude of an individual that diminishes most of the possibilities of the best life for that person is called self-defeating behavior.”

It can also be defined as ‘’SDB is a behavior or thought that effects an individual’s personal growth and impacts negatively on their personal and professional relationships.’’

This Behavior protects a person against the perceived harmful stimulus from the world. Initially, this Behavior is not considered as self-defeating, but called a survival mechanism. This Behavior interferes with the true internal self of a person and the continuity of this behavior damages:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Emotional and spiritual growth
  • Financial stability
  • Interpersonal and social connections
  • Vocational and educational connections

When someone views their self in a negative light, their Behavior starts following that negative viewing pattern and promotes low self-esteem.

Self-Defeating Behavior Psychology:

In terms of psychology, self-defeating Behavior is not making mistakes or messing up. We all make bad choices, do dumb things, and learn from mistakes-this is total normal part of being human. But the self-defeating Behavior is divided into two intertwined forms:

  1. Believing in self-defeat or considering your own self as a loser.
  2. Taking conscious or subconscious actions to ensure the same outcome

It’s time to face reality. We are part of an instant gratification society, and all of us want to have our needs met instantly. With no time for frustrations, and we want them to evaporate immediately. We want results, yes quick results and we want them now. So, to some level, all of us have learned to feel better and cope with the discomfort.

Read More: Who is an introvert?

But have we learnt how to soothe ourselves?

The answer is a big ‘’NO’’. We all have learned to manage our stress, anger, and frustrations at some extinct. We have totally forgotten to find the appropriate ways to deal with these daily life issues. You can say that we all are going through self-defeating behavioral changes.

Why people do this?

This question is a matter of debate. Many believe that the roots of this self-defeating tendency stem from childhood. The early age experiences have their roots deep in disappointment. This situation creates an expectation that victory is nothing. Still, a false hope and defeat is the ultimate outcome of life.

The person with self-defeating Behavior numbs their self to the world and embraces the failure and disappointment as the actual way of life. Regardless of who they are, and with what profession they are associated with, the capacity to self-defeat can convert success into problems and accept failure as a permanent part of their life. This can be a massive trouble for people with mental health disorders.

Common types of Self-Defeating Behaviors:

Self-Defeating Behavior list is divided into many common and rare types of attitudes. Few of the prevalent defeating behavioral types are:

Aggressive Behavior:

Shouting, demeaning, bullying, and physical acts are all included in aggressive Behavior. Aggressiveness becomes a way of shielding the low self-esteem from others. As a result, the person becomes defensive and literally lashes out at others.

Attention seeking Behavior:

This is also a kind of self-defeating Behavior in which a low self-esteemed person becomes so concerned with getting appreciation or approval of others. Most of the time, these attention seekers remain seeking for the positive reaction and feedback of others. Sometimes their attitude becomes extreme, and they may act dangerously.

Avoidance Behavior:

This Behavior typically involves complete avoidance of certain situations or people in a way to avoid hurt and pain. This avoidance may also appears in a way like delaying doing things, adding minimal efforts in work, stopping an activity, or parting ways through. People with avoiding Behavior always follow the logic that, ‘’if you don’t participate, you just cannot lose’’. However, by the same token, no one can win if they don’t play.

Hiding behavior:

Hiding is a kind of reaction that appears when a person is ashamed or embarrassed to be their real self. They might try to cover up real features of their identity, such as appearance, sexuality, personality traits, thoughts, likes, and dislikes. Their low self-esteem encourages them to adopt hiding behavior to be like everyone else, and become able to fit in.

Passive Behavior:

People with passive Behavior don’t stand up for their rights. They believe that others are somehow more worthy than they are. These people are hunched in the corner of the room with head down, arms crossed, and tapping their feet. Staying quiet even you have so much to stay, agreeing with others even when you don’t want to, apologizing for no reason are few typical passive behavioral issues.

Perfectionist Behavior:

As name indicates that the Behavior in which a person tries to do things perfectly. It is just impossible to be a 100% right every time. The low self-esteem of a person insists on showing some perfectionist behavior, as it becomes their belief that being perfect will make everything okay. Trying to do things perfectly is a good habit. But making it an extreme wish can cause enormous amounts of stress and anxiety, is too bad for self-esteem in long-term.

What is wrong with Self-Defeating behaviors?

Self-Defeating behavior patterns are damaging not only to their own self, but to other people as well. These behaviors may seem beneficial in the short term. But they impact adversely on the self-esteem and well being of a person.

These behaviors offer you to take advantage of being a kind of handicap. This condition generates an illusion of success without having any risk to lose or defeat. It is a false way to protect self-esteem by guaranteeing no criticism or blame for failure.

How to identify being engaged in self-defeating Behavior?

Try to identify your behaviors in life to feel the seriousness of the issue. Try to self analyze your personality first. You can also get help from people closer to you to get an idea an out your behavioral flaws and about self-defeating symptoms. There is no need to get down on yourself and don’t be overly critical to create a worse self-concept.

A Journey to overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior:

Never pretend that improvement is impossible. Breaking the cycle of self-defeat can be difficult, but you must have to start this journey to recovery. You need to remember the following points to overcome this Behavior and also have to get treatment for your mental health disorders if any:

1. Identify repetitive thoughts and behaviors:

“Thoughts are not facts, they can always be changed. The same is true for attitudes and behaviors’’.

Be aware of your problem and pay keen attention to recognize and acknowledge any repetitive behavioral patterns. Similarly, defeating attitude and negative self-narrative should be taken care of. It is necessary to challenge your negative self-talk. Your Behavior is not your boss, it has no right to control and define you. You have the courage and power to change your actions at any time. So, empower yourself with clear decisions and commitment.

2. Maintain focus on your goals and work hard to achieve:

Focusing on the goals of your life is something that encourages you to move forward. It is the best aid in altering whatever negative self-talk presents itself. Achieving your goals strongly influence positive versus negative self-talk. Your aims and goals keep you focused and also emphasize ongoing improvement over perfection. Never forget of your mastery goals to reinforce positive traits that will lead you toward your ideal outcomes.

Also Read: Disorganized Attachment Style

3. Welcome new thoughts and narratives into your life:

Don’t always try to be right, sometimes it more suitable to be happy. Work on yourself Behavior and replace your behavioral patterns, negative self-talk, and attitudes with focused narrative, positivity, and self-empowering. Start taking responsibilities of your personal mental and emotional conditioning. Never remain with your real personality that you are always struggling with, but be a person you would love to be.

4. Simply get out of limited perceptions:

Come out of the utopia created by your own self. You are not the only one with sufferings, issues, problems, and miseries. This self-centered thinking is the root cause of self-defeating Behavior. So, try to have a fresh look at the situations, challenges, and issues as a whole.

Never attach your opinion to a single viewpoint. Only without the emotional prejudice, you can see the clear solution. In this way, only you can become hassle fixing from a caring, altruistic and impartial perspective, and more likely to provide helpful insights and answers to the dilemma.

5. Bring your true self in your every idea:

No doubt a shinny smile is always appropriate. Still, a joyful and kind inner disposition can remain for a much longer time with you. Try to learn how to revel and rejoice a newly developed idea or Behavior and stick it to your pleasant emotions. There is no need to keep everyone happy, and it is also not practical. Be yourself and make it realize to others too.

Self-Defeating behaviors are potent lines that people pick to live their life. Many times people simply cannot recognize the strength and extreme of these behaviors and emotions. And ultimately become individuals striving to survive and cope with the dangerous world that they envision around them.

Also Read: Phone Anxiety and ways to deal with it


“Those who say life is knocking them down and giving them a tough time are usually the first to beat themselves up. Be on your own side.”

Self-defeating patterns are the hurdles and rolling stones in your path that move us away from the goals that we have set for your life. Self-defeating behaviors are distracting and self-sabotaging. These behaviors make us feel exhausted, our soul gets suffocated, and these behaviors cause us to feel exhausted about ourselves.

It is essential to face life’s challenges vigorously to get self-acceptance. Numbing yourself to the difficulties of life and building mental walls around you to remain protected from the pains of life is not the solution of any problem. Escaping from the issues and difficulties makes you coward and gives just a regret and overwhelming burden of negative thoughts. So, confront your questions courageously as this is the only way to get peace of mind.

We hope this post will be so much helpful for you. So, share your thoughts and views about this article in the comment section.

Log Kya Kahein Gay: Log Kya Kahein Gay provides a platform to discuss ideas and opinions about the culture and social ethics of our society.
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