How to stop digging myself unnecessary holes?
June 27, 2011 7:40 PM Subscribe
Mildly self-destructive behavior: why do I do this and how do I stop?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 86 users marked this as a favorite
I don't do the big self-destructive things. I don't drink too much or take drugs or cut myself or quit jobs for no
reason or commit crimes or acquire eating disorders or sleep all day.
But. When I have things I need to get done, which is pretty much all the time, I will sabotage myself
juuuuuust enough so that doing the thing is much harder and more stressful than it needs to be. For example,
if I have something simple to do for work that's due Friday, I will sit around until Thursday before I start. Even if I have nothing at all to do on Monday and Tuesday, I just won't work on it. That makes Thursday more stressful than the project demands, and also makes it so that if I happen to get assigned more work on Thursday, I can't do it. (Or I can do it, but I have to cram and freak out.) Another example: I have to lose weight. I'll think to myself, "well I don't really have to start watching what I eat until next week, because if I start next week that still leaves me enough time to fit into my dress by the date of that wedding." So then I lose a good week of progress, during which I could have lost 3 lbs and felt better about myself, and sometimes it stretches into two weeks. And then I feel like a sloth and have that much further to go. And if I get invited to a party three weeks before that wedding, I don't want to go because I'm fat.
I always hand in my work on time. I always eventually get the personal stuff done, but it can take months or years
instead of the weeks I know I could do it in. And none of these things are particularly difficult or unpleasant or
challenging for me. I really like most of what I have to do for work, genuinely enjoy it, but I can't do it when it would be easier. I'm very prepared, motivated, and ready to lose weight, and I actually sort of like counting calories and eating healthy foods, I just...don't do it until I HAVE TO. That goes for other personal improvement type actions too. I do not like stress and I do not thrive under pressure. I can cope with those things, but I'm by no means an adrenaline junkie trying to get some excitement into my life this way.
I am a procrastinator, and this is maybe part procrastination, but it feels different. It feels like there's some negative impulse that's making me make stuff harder for myself, and that feels different from my usual "Whatever, I'll do it later" procrastination. I'm quite organized and I never lose track of when things are due or scheduled to happen, so it's not like I'm bad with time. I'm pretty content with my day to day life, I'm not depressed or sad. I feel like I'm making myself problems just in case I don't have enough already. And though I'm pretty content, it's not like I don't have any problems. I don't need to make my life harder out of guilt or anything, is what I mean. If I wanted to dwell on the hard parts, life is hard enough.
This behavior is not new, but it feels like I do it more in the past year or so than I used to. (I'm in my early 30s,
female if it matters.) Usually I'm very self-aware and know why I do the strange things I do, but in this case, I'm
Has anyone dealt with this in your own life? What did you do? And please don't say therapy. I can and do function with this annoying habit, I just feel like I could function better. Though suggestions of therapy-like books or techniques are fine. As are any experiences you've had, changes you've made in this regard, or anything else you think would be helpful.