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Self-Defeating Behaviours

Updated: Aug 3, 2022



Personal, Social, and Cultural Context of Self-Defeating Behaviours

Self-defeating behaviours are any behaviours that lead to a lower cost ration/ reward than expected via alternative behaviours. They include failure to reach your potential, self-handicapping, leaned helplessness, somebody's fear of success, procrastination.


In a personal context, self-defeating behaviours can occur due to failure to meet different set targets, expectations, and other issues (Twenge, Catanese, and Baumeister, 2002). Social psychologists argue that self-defeating behaviours end with an outcome that the person having the behaviour does not want to occur. Some social aspects, such as social exclusion, lead to self-defeating behaviours, but a low extent. Studies indicate that a variety of self-defeating behaviours are influenced by social exclusion. Individuals with extremely threatened social ties seem to behave in a manner that leads to adverse outcomes. An individual's failure to consider the long-term effects of social exclusion is one of the reasons for self-defeating behaviours. Bearing in mind the cognitive disorientation state that social exclusion can produce, it is clear that it might lead to a direct self-regulation impairment, leading to self-defeating behaviours without necessarily being brought about by high emotional distress.


Cultural beliefs and ties lead to self-defeating behaviours. Sometimes cultural aspects make people deliberately make decisions that will lead to self-defeating behaviours. There are cultural ideas for example what a woman and man should be in their society. These ideas would ultimately compliment the current values of that particular country and its institutions.


One type of self-defeating behaviours is counterproductive behaviours. They happen when individuals strive to get something they need, but their approach of trying to get it ends up being not a nice one. An example of counterproductive behaviour is when people try to persevere at something beyond their realistic time of achieving the desired result. An excellent example of this is a person who is doing a particular job, and he or she is performing poorly but is adamant about not seeking more training to improve. In the real sense, it may be difficult for them to play their role effectively, or it may be too late to improve the performance. The person might have aspirations of moving up the ladder into management, so refusing to take on additional training to improve poor performances is a form of self-defeating behaviour. These counterproductive behaviours occur due to the person's wrong idea, either about his personality or the situation the individual finds himself in at a particular time. In this example, the person doesn't have an accurate idea of his abilities but thinks that they can succeed, but they may not—threats to self-egos lead to self-defeating behaviours. Setting goals or people having expectations on you might lead to self-defeating behaviours to avoid social discrimination due to failure in one's objectives.


If you feel a this topic has highlighted something close to you that may need working on, why not book an initial therapy consultation using the link below.




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