Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Identifying “Self-defeating” Behaviors (part 9 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.

18)  Controllers

Some people have an inner “need” to feel in control.  This “need” is usually motivated by insecurity and fear.  Having anyone or anything else in control of events creates a feeling of helplessness and weakness.  Oddly enough, many controllers do not realize they are controlling.  Most believe they are helping.  Even with good intentions, and most do have good intentions, controllers will dominate others and situations.  The old adage, “Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile” is true for controllers.

Controllers tend to over-talk others, interrupt others, and have to have the last word.  They always seem to have a “better idea,” which often plays off another person’s idea.  Though they interrupt others, they hate being interrupted and feel discounted and disrespected.  They always have a “constructive” criticism about everything and everyone and are offering suggestions or advice on how others should think or behave.

Controllers tend to invade the personal space of others, making others feel uncomfortable and defensive.  They tend to subtly, and almost covertly, take the “lead” in any group.   This gives the controller a unconscious upper hand.

19)  Victimhood

Legitimate victims are people who are violated, attacked, or abused through no fault of their own.  Someone does something to them.  They don’t ask for it and they have no power or responsibility in causing it.  Children are most susceptible to being victims, simply because they are small, innocent, trusting, and have no real voice in an adult world.

Most victims, though, are adults, living in a “self-imposed victimhood.”  Most of the roles that keep people living as victims were developed in childhood and then carried on into adulthood.  This means that these adults live as victims even though they do have the power to affect their lives and their environment.  This isn’t a conscious choice, but has become an ingrained way of life.

A person living in victimhood feels helpless and wallows in self-pity.  Self-imposed victims believe events are determined by luck or fate; they live at the whim of outside forces and are incapable of affecting their life.  Driven by shame and guilt, they possess low self-esteem and feel they are basically “bad.”

Because most of these behaviors require the individual to play roles to get something from someone else, they blame others for their lot in life. And because they blame others, they feel no responsibility or accountability for their part in any situation.  They feel as though they are at the mercy of others, fate, or luck and have no control over their lives.  Sense they’ve been wronged, at least in their minds, they feel they’re always morally right and develop a sense of righteousness.

The Pay Off: The suffering and costs of living as a victim are significant; people continue to do things because they get something out of it.  The “pay off” of being a victim is mostly unconscious.  Victims get a lot of attention, sympathy, and pity.  Because life has given them such a “raw deal,” they feel justified in their moral indignation.  At the same time, they are relieved when their ‘bad self’ is punished.  Because they are entitled to sympathy, they will grow to treasure their misery and suffering and even wear it as a “badge of honor.”

Victims will remain victims as long as their behavior is rewarded or as long as the benefits outweigh the cost.

– excerpt from “Becoming Master of Your Own Destiny”

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July 15, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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