Sun 26 May 2013, 8:54 pm
A reader asks if we can sabotage ourselves unconsciously
One of the things I like about REBT is that it helps me keep things simple. Not that depth psychology and other schools of psychology have no interest or value, but they often tend to be unnecessarily complicated.
Of course we sabotage ourselves all the time. Anytime you behave in ways which gets you more of what you don't want and less of what you want, you are sabotaging yourself. Anytime you behave in ways which act against your own best interests and at variance with your hearts desire, you are sabotaging yourself. Of course here are the "little trip-ups," daily, annoying things we do which defeat us . . . and then there are the mega-sabotage behaviors which can end us up in the hospital or jail or in divorce court . . . and all the other points along that spectrum.
There is also no mystery in the way self-sabotage lets us get out of situations, circumstances and doing something we don't want to do but are unwilling or incapable of open and honest about it, with ourselves or another.
As to drinking and using, I am old school. Drinking and using results in dysfunctional behavior on many levels to varying degrees and is expressed in behavior patters unique to each individual. In my opinion, this drug and alcohol driven dysfunctional behavior is usually irrational and impervious to or irrelevant to psychoanalysis. The way to test it is to stop drinking and using. If the dysfunctional behavior persists, then it is not alcohol/drug related.
No matter what psychological systems and theories or styles of therapy I am involved with at any given time, I always have to option to stand back and look at an "activating event," and observe what it is that I am thinking, to identify distorted thinking, irrational beliefs, unhelpful, negative automatic self-talk, to see (feel) I am disturbing myself with that thinking, to dispute the distorted thinking, and replace it with thinking that is cooler, more rational and helpful, so that I can behave in ways which are more rewarding and which brings me more of what I want and less of what I don't want.
Khon Kaen, Thailand