Self-Destructive Life Patterns

When one talks about the self we are actually referring to multiple aspects or dimensions of what appears to be one self- the self you recognize in the mirror each morning. In actuality we all have multiple selves. These selves generally work as a unit to address certain needs we have. For instance, we have an adult self that requires that we wake up in the morning to go to work even when we are tired and ensures that we maintain our cool when our employer unfairly criticizes us or when an inconsiderate driver cuts us off. Usually our more mature adult aspects do their job with great efficiency and go unnoticed. Problems arise, however, when our adult side is hijacked by parts of us that are much younger.

These younger, or more childish parts of ourselves generally use the language of emotions or certain behaviors to make their presence known. These emotions are often expressed in inappropriate situations and times and result in behavior that is counter-productive such as inappropriately challenging one’s boss, acting out through road rage or calling in sick for work when one’s presence in needed because you are too “tired” (depressed) to go to work. These misunderstood and usually unrecognized infantile parts are at the core of self-destructive behavior and often go unseen until the damage is done. They may manifest themselves in clear self-sabotage such as risky or additive behavior or may find more sublet expression in a pattern of relationship failures or job stagnation.

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