Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Identifying “Self-defeating” Behaviors (part 7 of 12)


Self-defeating beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors create anesthetizing habit patterns that keep us stuck in the past and prevent us from living life on an integrated conscious level. We end up living life on auto-pilot and are prevented from responding to our most precious moments in life–the here and now.

We must reclaim power over our lives and stop allowing outside people, situations, and influences to have control over our lives.  Life must become a series of new moments and not a stagnate reflection of our past.  As children, we may be victims; but as adults – we are volunteers.

13)  Self-pity / Martyrdom

People who suffer from self-pity have essentially given up on changing their lot in life.  Always feeling a victim, always feeling pitiful, always putting themselves down, always beating themselves up, they feel powerless to change.  Only seeing the negatives in the world, they accept suffering as their lot in life and view life as a struggle.  They feel they have terrible luck and believe others are to blame for their plight.

They tend to worry a lot about others, discount their own accomplishments, and are willing to go without so others can have what they want.  This martyrdom, solicits compassion and sympathy form others.  They enjoy the “payoff” of their “suffering” by getting attention, compassion, and sympathy from others.  Because they feel they have no ability to affect their lot, it is easy for them to blame others, and thus, develop what is called an “avoidance of responsibility.”   Eventually, they will even come to covet their misery.

When something is running smoothly for awhile, they anticipate disaster and will self-sabotage in order to continue the “payoff.”  If they allow things to get better, there will no longer be the attention, compassion, and sympathy for being miserable.  Instead, they will be held responsible for the quality of their life and have to deal with life.

14)  Pride / Grandiosity / Omnipotence

Most people consider “pride” as a very good thing.  Well, “healthy pride” is a very good thing, but many cannot distinguish “healthy pride” from “false pride.”  “Healthy pride” tells me I’ve done something great and I should feel good about that.  “False pride,” on the other hand isn’t “I’ve done something great” it’s “I am great.”  “Healthy pride” entails a sense of humility.  “False pride, on the other hand, entails ego.

A person who suffers from “false pride,” or inflated ego, believes they are better than others and judge others harshly.  “False pride” is the ego’s defense against low self-esteem.  These individuals have been shamed somewhere along the line, and therefore, defend themselves by shaming others.  This person’s need for approval, acceptance, and admiration to make them feel worthy drives the individual to constantly put themselves above others.  This is a round-a-bout way of putting others down by making yourself appear “more than.”   This person believes no one can understand him or relate to what he says or does.  He tends to believe he is a role model or mentor to others and others are always comparing themselves to him.

Fearing others may discover that they aren’t perfect, they constantly work on their persona and refine the various roles they’ve created to mask their imperfections.   Because they fear others might discover they aren’t perfect, they subconsciously become the roles they have created and feel insulted and attacked whenever another person points out any of their flaws.  They actually believe they are humble, even when they are touting their attributes and accomplishments.  And because they know they are just an all-round great person, they also believe everyone else is always thinking about them and comparing themselves to them.

False pride is such a powerful and deceptive defense of shame, a person suffering from it will not even understand, let alone accept, when people point it out to him.  Because he is obsessed with self, he believes everyone else is also obsessed with him.  If he were to admit he suffered from false pride and grandiosity, he would have to recognize his shame.  And shame has only one fear – being exposed.

– excerpt from “Becoming Master of Your Own Destiny”

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July 13, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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