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A Self Sabotaging Society: Case Study No. 1

By Mike McCurley and Monica Cruz

The man who loses his head is usually the last one to miss it. -Author Unknown

We generally tend to think of ourselves as intelligent and self-preserving individuals. Why then do we self sabotage our lives? Looking from the outside in it may be difficult to understand why people do the ridiculous things they do to purposely cause drama in their lives. Difficult to understand, but yet we all do it. If Charles Darwin was correct with the survival of the fittest theory, should we not as a society continually strive to be the best we can be? If the outcome of our lives is a series of choices, how do we ensure that the decisions we make are the right ones? Perhaps it is true that we have to learn from our mistakes to really understand the depth and magnitude of our decisions. Even so, at one point or another we each find ourselves at a crossroads: the choice between right and wrong. It seems counterintuitive to choose the road that could potentially lead to our own demise, but it happens time and again for some. Self sabotaging behavior is more than just making a bad decision. Self sabotaging behavior is knowingly and intentionally making choices that could ruin or destroy a life.

Self sabotaging behavior can range from using and/or abusing alcohol or drugs, marrying someone for the wrong reasons, dating someone for the wrong reasons, living in a relationship with domestic violence, or having an extramarital affair. Self sabotaging behavior often has nothing to do with a person's level of intelligence. Individuals who self sabotage are intelligent individuals who go into situations knowing fully well the range of potential consequences for their actions.

The following is a hypothetical example of self sabotaging behavior:

Case Study #1:

Mrs. X1 is 42 years old. She has been married for 15 years to her loving and devoted husband Mr. X. Mr. and Mrs. X have three lovely children together. They live in a beautiful home in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city. Mrs. X is a stay at home mom by choice. She is active in her community and in the lives of her children. Mr. X is an extremely successful businessman. Mr. And Mrs. X have endured the same problems as any typical married couple. Although Mrs. X is generally content, she has come to the realization that she is bored. Lately, Mrs. X feels as though her daily routine is uneventful and monotonous. She wonders if something meaningful is missing from her life. Since these feelings first emerged, Mrs. X has entertained the notion of finding a job, losing weight and even getting Botox injections to fill this so-called void.

Mrs. X decides to get a membership at a nearby gym to try to pull herself out of this "funk." The first day at her new gym Mrs. X focuses her full attention on Mr. Personal Trainer. Mrs. X signs up for training sessions and immediately goes shopping for new gym clothes. Mrs. X quickly notes that Mr. Personal Trainer can change her body, make her laugh, and even push her to her limits. Mrs. X knows that it is inappropriate to invite Mr. Personal Trainer to her home for lunch, and yet she does it anyway. Mrs. X knows that it is inappropriate to text Mr. Personal Trainer throughout the day, and yet she does it anyway. After only three fitness sessions, Mrs. X has an extramarital affair with Mr. Personal Trainer.

Mr. X learns of the affair after he catches a sexually transmitted disease from his unfaithful wife. Still in denial, Mr. X hires a private investigator to follow his wife. Having discovered sufficient proof of the affair, Mr. X confronts his wife with the evidence. Mrs. X says the following in a desperate attempt to save her marriage: "I'm sorry." "It didn't mean anything." "It was just sex." "It kills me that I did this to you." For all intents and purposes Mrs. X is genuinely sorry. Mrs. X ends the relationship with Mr. Personal Trainer and cancels her gym membership. Mrs. X does not want to lose her husband. Mr. X has always been a wonderful husband and father. However, Mrs. X's self sabotaging behavior may cause Mr. X to file for divorce.

Why people self sabotage remains a mystery because we tend to rationalize and make excuses for our bad behavior instead of attempting to seriously analyze the underlying issues. In the case study above, it would be easy to proclaim that Mrs. X is "only human." But, I challenge you to be better than that. I challenge you to stop making excuses for the poor decisions you make. I challenge you to stop blaming your parents or friends for your behavior and take real responsibility for your life. I challenge you to take ownership of your decisions and get your life under control. I challenge you to work on the positive things in your life and to get rid of the negative.

By now you may have come to the realization that you have self sabotaged your life in one way or another. Or, maybe you are just concerned that your emotions will lead you into another bad decision for which you have no control. Perhaps therapy is not for you. You know that you do not need to sit and talk through your feelings. You know that what you really need is the proverbial kick in the pants. If so, it is time to consider personal enhancement coaching. Personal enhancement coaching focuses on self-examination, goal-setting and accountability. Personal enhancement coaching can give you the tools you need to make sensible decisions to achieve your goals. Personal enhancement training will help you recognize self sabotaging behavior and focus on the real underlying issues. I challenge you to be the best verison of yourself through personal enhancement training.

1 All characters represented in this article (Mrs. X, Mr. X, and Mr. Personal Trainer) are fictional.

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