Friday, August 13, 2010


The following thoughts on self-destructive behavior come directly from online articles. The address is located at the end of each.

If someone told you that she had been strung out on cocaine six days last week, or that she has been binge eating and vomiting three times a day, you'd know she was caught in self destructive behavior.

Could you recognize your own self destructive behavior as easily?

We are self destructive when we spend beyond our means; when we are sexual in ways that cause us to lose self respect; when we keep ourselves in personal relationships that cause us to feel inferior, abused, or taken advantage of.

We are self destructive when we neglect our bodies and do not give them rest and exercise; we are self destructive when we drive ourselves, overworking or over exercising to please others or to make ourselves feel okay.

We are self destructive when we make others responsible for our lives,
o by blaming "them"
o by an attitude of helplessness
o by believing and behaving as if we have no capacity to change or to manage our own lives effectively and pleasurably.

As women we are especially vulnerable to self destructive behavior which has its roots in the sense of shame.

"Why try? " "I'm flawed." "I'm disgusting." "I'm worthless." I'm powerless."

Addictions, compulsions, all the forms of self destructive behavior have the perverse function to numb shame. When we are caught in self destructive tangles, we forget to feel badly about ourselves -- for the moment.

If you find yourself caught in the tangle of self destructive behavior there are many avenues to recovery and growth.

Quit blaming yourself

Begin by taking a clear-eyed look at your life, right now. What's working? What's making you happy? What's not?

Define what needs to change

Recognize that change takes time. Give yourself both emotional space and sufficient time to make the changes that will be useful to you.

Find help

(Thinking we should be able to do everything by ourselves is another self destructive behavior!) Choose friends, helpers, teachers, groups, mentors, therapists, who offer you honest feedback, new information, and useful support for becoming the best of your own kind of person.


The process of recovery from addictive, compulsive, self destructive behaviors can be overwhelming. You may be confronted by new emotions and flooded by memories. You may find yourself replacing one set of self destructive behaviors with another.

Be aware
Women seeking recovery from self destructive behaviors frequently find their progress blocked by the previously unrecognized impact of psychological trauma, loss, childhood neglect, abuse, abandonment, sexual assault, and patterns of emotional or physical abuse as well as self neglect in adult relationships.

Too often the woman trying to recover from self destructive behavior finds herself in a revolving door of treatment / self-help / relapse because the core processes of her psychological and emotional development have not been attended to.

The key elements for moving beyond self destructive behavior are self awareness, self responsibility, and a well developed process of personal choice.


Self destructive behaviors are rigid, unhealthy patterns of responding to feelings of shame and powerlessness.

Change away from self destructive behavior proceeds by gathering the skills and self awareness to move in the world with self assurance and self determination.

Seven Weapons to Slay Self-Destruction

Weapon One: Realize that life is sacred and has ultimate meaning.
Weapon Two: Admit you are out of control and ask for help.
Weapon Three: Admit that being in control is the big issue.
Weapon Four: Set your sights on realistic goals.
Weapon Five: Clean up the messes in your life.
Weapon Six: Admit and face your abuse of yourself and others.
Weapon Seven: Admit and face the issue of abandonment.

Reasons for Self Defeating Behavior:

People are more likely to behave in a self-defeating or destructive manner when either there are threats made to their ego or when they have low self-esteem.

When a person has a low self-esteem, they are more likely to be susceptible to having depression, anxiety and, emotional distress.

Highly distraught people are more likely than others to do self destructive things.

Three Models of Self-Destructive Behavior:

The first model is called, “primary self destruction.” This model includes those human beings who deliberately and intentionally hurt themselves.

A second model of self-defeating behavior is called, “tradeoff”. This behavior is done when a person literally and knowingly makes a trade-off in a situation. It is when a person chooses a certain option that has some benefit but also has the potential to cause harm to the person as well.

The third category of self-destructiveness includes “counterproductive strategies.” This type involves self defeating behaviors is one in which “the person neither desires nor foresees the harm to self. In this instance a person is pursuing a desirable outcome but chooses a strategy or approach that backfires and produces the opposite of the desired result.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Impossible

I am extremely embarrassed to admit this, but I struggled with a 5th grade math problem. It’s embarrassing because I love math and I’m pretty good at it – usually.

Here’s the problem: 2 = 140 ÷ 2 + 12 – 4 x 2. All I had to do was add parenthesis to make the statement true.

Seems easy enough, but for some reason I really struggled with it. I must have tried at least ten different combinations of parenthesis and I wasn’t getting anywhere close to the right answer.

The problem was that I was focused on the wrong thing. I kept thinking that I needed to get the last four numbers to equal 70 since 140 ÷ 70 = 2. It just wasn’t going to work.

I figured there must be a misprint, or maybe the creators wanted to include one that was impossible. I wrote “impossible” underneath the problem and turned the paper over.

In the split second that it took me to do that, the thought came to me, “Look again. It is not impossible.”

I turned the paper over again, and instantly, I saw the solution:
2 = 140 ÷ (2 + 12) – 4 x 2. It was so easy. Why didn’t I see that before? (Because I was too focused on the wrong thing).

Then another thought came to me:

Sometimes what seems impossible is really rather simple once the solution has been found. We just have to keep looking to find the solution and trust that it is there.