The objective of this article is to connect how Self-Defeating Behaviors, with an emphasis on Interpersonal Relationships, can be corrected through the understanding of what is both; Self-Defeating Behavior and Emotional Intelligence, and what makes up their framework, functions and what are possible outcomes. This was not created as an absolute to any of the previously mentioned, but as loose writing that should be used to allow the reader to adapt ideas, opinions, and/or tools of their own; incorporating them into their personal and/or professional life.
Healthy Interpersonal relationships are pivotal to living a happy fulfilled life, no matter who you are. This is where Emotional Intelligence (EI) comes in, Emotional Intelligence is a relatively new human realization and is still evolving in what defines its entirety. It quickly became apparent the importance of how Emotional Intelligence plays in one’s personal and professional fulfillment. On the polar end are Self-Defeating Behaviors, like Emotional Intelligence, every human possesses these. Self-Defeating Behaviors run amuck under-the-surface of one’s life, keeping one from reaching their peak potential, possibly even enlightenment. Emotional Intelligence can be increased in an individual and Self-Defeating Behaviors can be replaced in an individual, the degree to which this happens is dependent on one’s knowledge, awareness, and one’s will.
Want to improve your everyday life? If most people were asked that question a majority response would be, “Of course! Who doesn’t?”. If you were asked the follow-up question, “What’s stopping you?”. And that’s when a new mask is unveiled; it’s one of victimization. Some peoples brows will furrow, their voices will drop in tone, their speech will slow, and their head will rhythmically dance side-to-side in sync with the first syllable of the same old song that they’ve been singing for too long, “My so and so the boss doesn’t…and is keeping me from…!”, “My spouse needs to…because I’m…!”, “There’s never enough…I need more of…!”, “Once the blank blank blank…I can finally…“I have to do…so I can then…!”, or possibly they might answer with an “I’m not sure? I never put much thought into it!”. It’s easier to put the blame on someone or something else, or just brush the real issue aside then it is to confront the truth because the truth is:
You are responsible to improve your everyday life, no matter what your situation is, not someone else! You are responsible for your happiness, no matter what your situation is, not someone else! You have the power to create an amazing life, so stop Self-Defeating Behaviors for once and for all, get out of your way, allow your authentic self to grow, to be seen, only then you will unveil all your true beauty – your uniqueness!
You read that right, read it again… and once more just to give it a better chance to imprint on your cerebral cortex, better yet, write it down so you can read it every day. Seriously, start living a better life today, it beings with you, not with anyone else. No more excuses! So stop the Self- Defeating Behaviors, increase your Emotional Intelligence, make a promise, and commit to yourself that you will search for your unique true authentic self every day, until your last day.
Life is meant to be a journey: Follow your own lead, stay present in each breath, appreciate what you left behind, be excited for what lays out before you, be brave and blaze your path. Let people feel your fire. Maybe, just maybe, you will wake another from their somber just long enough for their eyes to see your enveloping flames, and maybe, just maybe they will catch a spark from you that will kindle their fire, their truth. Maybe, just maybe, when you look back you will come to understand the real power of your authenticity. Chris M. Walters
Emotional Intelligence the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically: emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success. (Cite: Dictionary)
Emotional Quotient the level of a person’s emotional intelligence, often as represented by a score on a standardized test: her emotional quotient was below average. (Cite: Dictionary)
The resilience of Emotional Intelligence
This innate intelligence can be either developed or damaged with life experiences, particularly by the emotional lessons taught by the parents, teachers, caregivers and family during childhood and adolescence. The impact of these lessons results in what I refer to as one’s level of “EQ.” in other words, as I use the term, “EQ” represents a relative measure of a person’s healthy or unhealthy development of their innate emotional intelligence…. As I see it, I believe, then, that it is possible for a person to start out with high EI, but then be emotionally damaged in early childhood, causing a low EQ later in life. On the other hand, I believe it is possible for a child to start out with relatively low EI, but receive healthy emotional modeling, nurturing etc., which will result in moderately high EQ… (Cite: Hein, S. EQI.ORG)
A deeper understanding of Emotional Intelligence
Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence:
- Social skills
A look at these five elements in more detail
Awareness is the ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, thoughts, emotions, or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of something. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human’s or an animal’s perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event. (Cite: en.wikipedia.org)
Self-awareness allows an individual to take the appropriate action to replace a behavior and monitor the effectiveness of the replacement behavior. Self-awareness should be an individual’s primary and most keen self-exploratory tool.
Every emotion has a function, decoding those emotions are very important. The first step to managing one’s emotions is to be aware of what emotion is being felt at that specific moment. There are four types of emotions one can experience anxiety, sadness, anger, and happiness.
Questions to ask that will assist in clarifying the root of the emotion that is being felt and/or the motivator in the originating behavior.
Anxiety: What am I afraid of?
Sadness: What have I lost?
Anger: How have I or my values been attacked?
Happiness: What have I gained?
Knowing what the motivation is that drives or triggers a certain behavior sometimes is all that is needed to allow one to correct that self-defeating behavior. In interpersonal relationships, the motivation for self-defeating behaviors will most likely be of a fear-based self-judgment.
Understanding the motivator allows, If needed, for a plan of action to be developed and implemented at the root source, the root source being the motivator. The more clearer that the understanding of the behavior is, the more effective that behavior can be monitored, further allowing for more accurate adjustment of the action plan when and where needed with the intention to meet a specified intended result.
To summarize: Knowing the motivation for the original behavior allows for that behavior to be replaced by implementing a new habit. Understanding and altering motivation is only possible through self-awareness.
Unless an individual has suffered brain trauma or has a personality disorder that has crippled their ability to empathize; showing empathy, for an otherwise healthy person, is a choice. It is possible to increase one’s capacity to empathize by developing a higher sensitivity for empathy. Self-awareness and the understanding of one’s motivation behind a specific behavior allow for this to happen. Self-Defeating
Behavior example: If little Joey drops his freshly scooped ice cream cone on the ground and you notice through his verbal and/or non-verbal cues that he’s upset, you show him empathy by consoling him (verbally and/or nonverbally), you don’t make a passive-aggressive comment or give him a look of disappointment. Empathy is a human choice.
5. Social Skill:
Any skill that facilitates interaction and communication with others in verbal or nonverbal ways is social skills. If it has a heartbeat, it is communicating either verbally or nonverbally, an individual just needs to understand how to interpret what is being communicated.
A few types of Verbal and Nonverbal communication:
Verbal: Tone of voice, the volume of voice, tone of voice, rhythm of speech and word choice
Nonverbal: Facial expression, eye contact, eye position or movement, body language, and hand gestures
Self-Defeating habit example:
You could be walking around all day with a scowl expression plastered on your face, but in truth feel just fine, but you can tell something is off because everyone, even people you have good relations with, and normally interact with, are avoiding you, or even possibly asking you if something is wrong. You get frustrated and are unsure why until this unpleasant expression that you’ve unknowingly have been brandishing has been brought to your attention. Now you are aware of this self-defeating habit, and awareness is the first step to correcting it.
Using other peoples reactions as feedback
Not being aware of how one behaves or how one’s actions are/might be perceived by someone else, can lead to conflict and instability within interpersonal relationships. This in turn could trigger oneself feelings of anxiety, sadness, or anger. If this lack of awareness persisted, and the self-defeating behaviors were left uncorrected, one would most likely struggle with personal and professional relationships, keeping one from reaching maximum potential in those areas and possibly other areas of one’s life, most likely leading to a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration.
Emphasis should not be put on the assumption of someone else’s perception, the assumption being key since unless an individual is directly asked what they feel about a specific situation, one is relying on one’s social skills, beliefs, values, etc to interpret a response. That response could be easily misinterpreted by other factors that have nothing to do about that specific situation or personal relationship.
How one relates to others, an individual can adjust their behavior so that they can relate to someone how they choose to. Person “A” is feeling “W”, Person “B” intention is “X”, Person “B” should do “Y” to get “Z”. Though people can be unpredictable and what one believes doing “Y” should elicit in Person “B” as a response “Z”, response “Z” is more or less a wildcard.
The Four Cycles of self-defeating behavior; hypothesized
If this self-defeating behavior is in a habitual regressive cycle it could wreak havoc on one’s life until it is ultimately rectified. There are Four hypothesized cycle scenarios. First, the self-defeating behavior either remains unchanged, keeping one from growth with the possibility of a decline in one’s sense of life fulfillment. Second, the self-defeating behavior could manifest a completely new self-defeating behavior, continuing in this regressive cycle until the cycle steadies. Third, self-defeating behavior manifests a new self-defeating behavior. Strengthening the regressive cycle. These new self-defeating behaviors then repeat one of the four cycles. Fourth, the self-defeating behavior is replaced by a new habit that serves the individual for the greater good of their true authentic self. Thus stopping the regressive cycle, turning it into a progressive cycle.
Importance of values, beliefs and emotional intelligence
Values, beliefs, and emotional intelligence are at minimum the three areas where one should have a strong understanding of oneself. If one needs to clarify in any of these areas it’s most important to clarify as soon as possible. These serve at a core level how one acts and reacts, how one behaves.
Want to know how Emotional Intelligent you are?
Below are a few questions that will help give you a better understanding of where you stand. Take a second to think about each question and truthfully answer them with a “yes” or “no”.
- Can I always explain my actions?
- Do others see me as I see myself?
- Do I stay calm amid the chaos?
- Do I get easily irritated?
- Do I genuinely care about how others feel?
- Do I get along well with all of my co-workers?
- Do I often get stressed?
If you’ve answered “no” to any of the above questions, most likely you have a deficit in one or more of the 5 core elements that are the framework for Emotional Intelligence. The great news is, you can always increase your Emotional Intelligence. Sounds like a great topic to work on with your Coach.
Interpersonal Self-Defeating Behavior
of or relating to relationships or communication between people: you will need good interpersonal skills. (Cite: Dictionary)
self-defeating behavior is the idea that sometimes people knowingly do things that will cause them to fail or bring them trouble. It is defined as
any deliberate or intentional behavior that has clear, definitely or probably negative effects on the self or on the self’s projects. (Cite: Psych Wiki. psychwiki.com)
A look at the three models of Self-Defeating Behavior
Three Models of Self-Destructiveness:
Three models represent self-defeating behaviors based on “intentionality”, they are:
- Primary self-destruction
- Counterproductive Strategies
A look at these models in more detail.
The first model is called, “primary self destruction.” This model includes those human beings who deliberately and intentionally hurt themselves. Those in this group, usually intentionally choose an action that they know will bring harm to them. “One example of this type of behavior is called, “masochism” (Beaumeister & Scher 1988 via: Cite: Psych Wiki. psychwiki.com).
A second “conceptual model” of self-defeating behavior is called, “tradeoff”. This behavior is done when a person literally and knowingly makes a tradeoff 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. A good example of this would be when a person chooses to take up smoking. In a tradeoff, the “harm or risk to the self is accepted as a necessary accompaniment to achieving some other goal”. In this tradeoff model, “the individual has multiple goals and desires, but the situation sets two of them in opposition. One type of tradeoff is known as, “selfhandicapping”. In the tradeoff, people will deliberately choose to do something that they know will harm them, so that if they fail later they are able to blame their failure on the bad choice they previously made. (Beaumeister & Scher 1988 via: Cite: Psych Wiki. psychwiki.com)
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. Thus, the person is pursuing a positive goal, but the person’s method of pursuing.” This type of behavior is very common among young adults and usually results in some kind of “self-harmful outcomes” (Beaumeister & Scher 1988 via: Cite: Psych Wiki. psychwiki.com).
Examples of Interpersonal Self-Defeating Behavior
Want to know how Self-Defeating Behaviors can show up in one’s interpersonal relationships? Listed below are a few examples…
- Presenting oneself as someone other than their true authentic self. Denying authentic self.
- Uninterested in people who consistently treat them well.
- Rejects or renders ineffective the attempts of others to help them.
- Focus on what other people need to do rather than on what they need to do.
- Abusing drugs, alcohol or continuing some other form of unhealthy addiction.
- Choosing career for fame, money, power or love while adding no intrinsic value to ones life.
- Worrying about what other people think of them while allowing it to affect their daily life.
- Engage in excessive self-sacrifice that is unsolicited by the intended recipient of the sacrifice.
- Belief that they lack in a certain skill set so they either give minimum or no effort to succeed at the related task.
- Regular interpersonal conflicts at work or in personal life, where blame is regularly put on someone other then oneself.
- Maintains emotional, mental or physical unhealthy relationships with friends, family and/or romantic partners.
- Chooses people and situations that lead to disappointment, failure, or mistreatment even when better options are clearly available. Drawn to situations or relationships which cause suffering.
The habit of Self-Defeating Behaviors
A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up: this can develop into a bad habit | we stayed together out of habit.
- informal an addictive practice, especially one of taking drugs:
- Psychology an automatic reaction to a specific situation. (Cite: Dictionary)
People are creatures of habit. If that habit is one that elicits negative results and it is consistently repeated as a reaction to a certain situation or “trigger”, then that habit isn’t serving for the greater good or higher purpose of that individual, thus resulting in that individual getting “stuck”. This Self-Defeating Behavior habit, if significant enough could cause the person to fail in personal, professional, and romantic relationships; causing varying levels of anxiety, sadness, and/or anger, possibly leading to physical or mental ailments or even suicide. At the very minimum, it is keeping one from reaching one’s maximum potential in life.
A simple metaphysical analogy
There is little that can be argued against that; awareness is the key to unlock the “personal development” door leading to one’s true authentic self. And if awareness is the key, then Emotional Intelligence is the door. Imagine if everything that stood in your way to being your true authentic self were Self-Defeating Behaviors? Yes, a person’s values and beliefs are at the foundation of how that individual shows up in this world. Though those values and beliefs are what forms behaviors, unless those behaviors are already a habit, they can be easily shaped into behavior that reflects one’s values and beliefs. So If awareness is the key, Emotional Intelligence is the door, the hinges and doorknob must be one’s values and beliefs. A key is worthless without a doorknob to put the key in, a doorknob serves little purpose without a door and a door only functions as a door once it has hinges. The key, door, doorknob, and hinges are all created to make up a functioning unit, this is similar to awareness, emotional intelligence, values, and beliefs.
1how one acts or conducts oneself, especially toward others: good behavior | his insulting behavior toward me.
- the way in which an animal or person acts in response to a particular situation or stimulus: the feeding behavior of predators. (Cite: Dictionary)
a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life: they internalize their parents’ rules and values. (Cite: Dictionary)
An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists: his belief in the value of hard work | a belief that solitude nourishes creativity.
- something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction: contrary to popular belief, Aramaic is a living language | we're prepared to fight for our beliefs.
- a religious conviction: Christian beliefs | I'm afraid to say belief has gone | local beliefs and customs.
2 (belief in) trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something: a belief in democratic politics | I’ve still got belief in myself. (Cite: Dictionary)
Sum it up
In short, Interpersonal Self-Defeating Behaviors are; “something” we consciously or subconsciously “do” or “don’t do” that causes a negative effect in one’s personal or professional relationships. “Something” could be a physical and/or verbal action, while “do” can be just as negative as “don’t do”, since choosing “don’t do” is a choice, it is an action, the action of “don’t do” “something”. Awareness of this self-defeating behavior is the first step to replacing it with a self-fulfilling behavior.
Self-Defeating Behavior is doing something knowingly or unknowingly that moves one’s self-interest to an inferior state. I believe this is inevitable when one is not functioning as their true authentic self. Self-defeating behaviors must not be looked at with a negative connotation, for this just feeds the negative momentum, but should be viewed as alerts sent from self, alerting that one is not in alignment with one’s true authentic self. This hypothesis goes beyond the scope of Interpersonal Self-Defeating Behaviors, this includes Self-Defeating Behaviors as a whole. If one is doing or not doing something that ultimately hurts one’s self, this is further denying one of one’s true authentic self. Each Self-Defeating Behavior is an endless cycle, or habit until that cycle is broken and permanently replaced with a new habit. Once a new habit is formed, new possibilities are present and self-development has been achieved. This new habit should be monitored and when or if needed to be modified for the greater good of oneself.
Emotional Intelligence – Products and Services
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