Self-sabotage and self-destructive behavior: The anatomy of a symptom

Self-sabotage and self-destructive behavior can be puzzling. The column below, by Washington DC Psychologist, Dr. Lynn Friedman, addresses the reasons why people engage in these behaviors. It was originally published in Washingtonjobs, a subsidiary of the Washington Post, and on the DC Web Women site

Ever wonder why people engage in seemingly self-destructive behavior? That is, why do people do things that appear to be against their best interests? Why do they continue to engage in troublesome behavior even though it consistently leads them into a state of utter misery? We've all seen this in our friends and even, regrettably, in ourselves.

For example, consider the following scenarios:

  • The friend who always chooses dead-beat partners
  • Your colleague toils long hours for low pay while the boss is out establishing his consulting business
  • You've been wanting to lose 20 pounds for 10 years, to no avail.
  • You are chronically late with your taxes.
  • You can't say "no".
  • You are an inveterate procrastinator.
  • You have difficulty effectively setting and achieving work-life goals.

Why do people engage in self-destructive behavior?

Seeking a consultation with Washington DC psychologist Dr. Friedman? Feel free to give her a call at: 301.656.9650

5480 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD, 20815
(1/2 block from the redline, Friendship Heights Metro)

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