Eliminate Self-Defeating Behaviors

Eliminate Self-Defeating Behaviors

Eliminate Self-Defeating Behaviors
Promote Healthy Life Giving Behaviors
Using Your Personality Strengths

What Are Self-Defeating Behaviors 

Self-defeating behaviors are on-going unhealthy negative patterns of behaviors such as the following:  stress reactions, negative binge thinking, smoking, self-medicating, substance abuse, poor nutrition, overweight, inactive lifestyle, emotional eating, poor sleep hygiene, toxic relationships, co-dependency, anger, perfectionism, Type A personality, AND not caring for one’s mental and physical health.   

Positive behavioral changes are possible and the benefits result in healthy functioning brain, calm mind, emotional stability, healthy relationships, and body longevity. 

The Key Aspects of Any Self Defeating Behavior

Self-defeating behaviors (SDB) become engrained and part of the hardwiring of the brain-cognitive-behavioral-emotional-body system.  Self-defeating behaviors includes faulty conclusions, self-limiting beliefs, fears, choices, techniques, prices, minimizers, and disowning. These factors generate SDB that limit healthy, productive behavioral-emotional-physiological responses in new moments of life. 

Every day, people unwittingly choose actions and attitudes that are not aligned with mental health and physical health. They end up working  against themselves and what they really want from life. These actions and attitudes reinforce self-defeating behaviors (or SDBs). We develop them at low points in our lives and continue to use them long after it stops being appropriate to do so.  Self-Defeating Behaviors are Self-Sabotage. 

Self-Defeating Behaviors are Misguided Attempts to Deal with Stressors. 

Life can be viewed as a line with various high and low points, representing a variety of experiences—some positive, some negative, or some challenging. Positive experiences develop healthy behaviors. Negative or challenging experiences (including being held to the unrealistic expectations, work stress, relationship stress, social rejection, being bullied,) can breed SDBs, as we strive to cope with the stresses in our life. 

Life today can be stressful on all fronts. We live in a modern society of Stress. Stress is an epidemic of modern society.  Stress itself is not a disease, but it is disease causing.  Check out my publication:  3 Types of Stress and Health Hazards.  

You may be working with all your time and effort to balance a marriage, a family, a career, and social life, while trying to maintain a home and pay the bills. Alternatively, you may be trying to cope with social isolation, loneliness—the lack of marriage and family—or unemployment and the inability to pay your bills. You may have feelings of inadequacy when you can’t have—or give your children—the kind of life that others seem to have. 

All of these situations and challenges can lead to stress, which in turn lead to the development of Self Defeating Behaviors (SBD). SDBs are a significant problem for people with chronic health conditions.

The average person practices at least six Self Defeating Behaviors on an on-going basis. 

The goal of my work with you is to help you Eliminate your Self Defeating Behaviors by Capitalizing on Your Personality Strengths and Life Giving ~ Life Promoting Behaviors. 

I am so excited to offer this package to you. So, that you are living a physically and mentally healthier life.  Let’s work together.  Here is just a sneak peak of our flow.  

Replacing Self Defeating Behaviors by Using Your Personality Strengths

I utilize a Strength-Based orientation.  I am PhD expert at assessment of personality.  I assess your personality for your Strengths. Your unique individual personality strengths can be used to eliminate Self-Defeating Behaviors and create a more healthy life.

Unfortunately, many therapists are not trained and PhD experts in personality evaluation. They often are identifying and treating what is “wrong” with the individual rather than looking at the individual’s character strengths. Focusing on the negative will leave the individual feeling ‘stuck’ and defective.  Discovering ‘what is right with you’ is an essential part of positive growth and is the first step in being the BEST version of yourself.

My passion in life is helping patients and clients recognize and utilize their character strengths. Once a person has discovered their strengths and how to use them, they can improve their quality of life. We work together to establish insight and an accurate lens of what’s going on in your life.  From this vantage point of self-awareness, we can determine goals and areas for growth moving forward to the next stage of the process.

Key Point: Simply eliminating Self-Defeating Behaviors can leave you with a void. By knowing your personality strengths gives you the leverage to replace SDBs with healthy, life-giving~life positive, and promoting health actions and attitudes, you’ll be better prepared to deal with whatever life throws your way.  As you know, life can be abundant with challenges. 


Once we identified your personality strengths and narrowed down the areas of focus (e.g. SDB), we create a custom therapeutic approach utilizing evidenced based practices. Your role will be proactive as you will be challenged and encouraged to explore areas of growth. My strengths-based approach allows you to gain maximum benefit by using techniques or tools from an array of therapies; using what works best at that moment. The practice of these therapeutic techniques will help you build the skills needed for being a better version of you.

Capitalizing on Your Personality Strengths will help you Identifying Your Self-Defeating Behaviors 

We will take a look at what SDBs are and how to identify yours. Once you understand what they are, take an honest look at yourself and you’ll probably identify at least a few you use either daily or in specific circumstances. If not, I will offer several other methods of uncovering your SDBs. The first step in doing that is to know what they are. You must identify specifically the behavior you want to change. There are a number of ways to do this. I will be your guide.

Key point: One thing all self-defeating behaviors have in common is they are originally learned and practiced in stressful situations. The greater your perception is of a stressful the situation, the more intense the self-defeating behavior. 

Using Your Character Strengths helps you Analyze Your Self Defeating Behaviors 

If SDBs were practiced only once and then forgotten, they might serve as an expedient and effective way of dealing with a stressful situation. But when practiced repeatedly they can lead to negative, harmful patterns.  By better understanding SDBs, why and when you practice them, and how, they can lead to the very consequences you’re trying to avoid, you can begin the transition to healthy, positive (what I call ~Life-giving) choices for your life.

Key point: Self-defeating behaviors are negative patterns of thinking, behavioral actions, emotional reactions. What are your responses to stressful situations?  The way you respond to one stressful situation can become a negative pattern of responses to future stressors. 

Discovering Trigger Patterns of Self-Defeating Behaviors. 

If you observe other people—or yourself—you’ll see SDBs are not used all the time, but under particular (perceived stressful, as we’ve established) circumstances. The circumstances under which you perform an SDB form the trigger pattern for the SDB. A trigger pattern typically has three dimensions:
1)  When — A particular time of day, week, month or year you are most likely to practice the behavior.

2)  Where — A particular situation or location in which you are most likely to practice the behavior.

3)  With whom — A particular person or group of persons with whom you are most likely to practice the behavior.

Healthy Choices – Recognize Self-defeating Behaviors Before They Occur

Although SDBs are negative patterns developed over time and triggered by circumstances that may seem out of your control, each time you practice an SDB you make a new choice to do so. And once you make that choice—which I call recreating the SDB—an outward manifestation of that attitude or behavior follows. This concept can be pretty difficult to understand if you feel your actions are out of your control. However, thinking your actions are not in your control is a faulty belief.  Let’s say, for example, you (like some of my clients) smoke and feel powerless to stop doing so. Certainly, smoking may seem like an automatic response to a stressful situation. But when you really analyze what’s involved in smoking, you’ll see choices are involved.


What Fuels Self-Defeating Behaviors 

SDB patterns are formed and/or repeated when faulty conclusions are used as guidelines for subsequent thoughts and actions. Such conclusions are the basis for all SDBs. They are composed of incorrect or incomplete evaluations about a situation and promises about what will happen if an SDB is practiced. 

How Your Subconscious Can Control Your Behavior 

Like eating processed and fatty foods or smoking when you know it’s not healthful, an SDB, today, seems irrational. Why you engage in such irrational behavior is rooted in your history and stored in the inner, unaware area of your mind~the subconscious. The human mind complexity: The conscious mind is where people abstract and think; the place where their thoughts are in full awareness. The subconscious mind is where ideas and thoughts can be quite unclear or foggy. Many people are unaware of the operations of this area of the mind, and this is where our SDB conclusions are stored. Our SDBs are largely dictated by the subconscious area of the mind, until we learn to make the subconscious thoughts Conscious thoughts.

Key point: If you want to change a negative behavior, you must understand—become aware of—the conclusion that drives the behavior. 

Consequences and Prices of Self-Defeating Behaviors.

For every SDB, there are inevitable consequences, or prices. The prices you pay for overeating, for example, might include such physical prices as excess weight, lack of energy, and cardiovascular disease. The prices for alcohol and drug abuse could include hangovers and liver damage. But physical prices are only part of the problem. SDBs can lead to high mental consequences,  including depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness, and loss of self-respect. I once saw a bumper sticker that read “Every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness!” SDBs cost us many prices—not the least of which is our happiness. 

Life-Promoting Behaviors 

Life-promoting behaviors contribute to personal development, allow us to benefit from our experiences and help us to operate consistently with how we are designed as human beings. They open the door to harmoniously fitting into the larger scheme of things in the universe. Life-giving behaviors, as the name suggests, create life in us and in those with whom we come into contact. 

Life-Giving Alternatives 

In virtually all situations, there are two general alternatives to practicing an Self-Defeating Behavior (SDB). You must either substitute another SDB for your old SDB or make a healthy choice that will improve your life. Your reality-based conclusion will tell you that the first of the alternatives is both illogical and counter-productive. Your only alternative, then, is to put a ~Life-giving behavior into practice. 

Do You Want to Be Happy ? Do You Want Healthy Functioning Emotions-Brain-Mind-Body?  

However difficult it may seem, it is possible to achieve your goals of eliminating self-defeating behaviors and promoting ~Life giving behaviors. 
Do you want a fulfilling life?

** Doing so largely comes down to first making a conscious choice to eliminate Self Defeating Behaviors from your life. However, you know it is not that simple. right?  That is where I step in.  I am an expert in getting people unstuck from self-defeating and self-sabotage behaviors.  I am an expert at ~Life Giving ~ Life Promoting behaviors.  I use a Strength-Based approach to therapy, counseling, and coaching. 

We are all in the human condition together and we rise when we help others rise.  Let’s work together. 

Eliminating self-defeating actions, at first, takes an on-going efforts to identify and then make appropriate choices, but the process gets easier with time—if you work at it.  Anything worth having requires effort and learning new skills that are ~Life positive ~Life giving.  

PUREscriptions with, 

Dr. Shawna 

Shawna Freshwater, PhD

Shawna Freshwater, PhD

Hi, I am Dr. Shawna Freshwater, a PhD licensed Clinical Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, and Holistic Practitioner. ** I provide Psychotherapy, Coaching, Healing, Diagnostic testing & Mental Health Check-ups. ** I meet the needs of my patients and clients that are confidential and convenient to their schedule. ** I offer Remote / Online secure interactive video conferencing to USA residents and International clients. ** I also provide Concierge services at your home, office, or private location of your choice if you reside in South Florida Major Cities. ***Please see my website for more information about my credentials and areas of expertise. www.SpaciousTherapy.com Thank you. Dr. Freshwater


  1. Lloyd B. on October 10, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    I’m surprised by how one’s subconscious can control their behaviors, where it is clockwork. My daughter often puts herself down and I wish for this to change. I’ll look into therapy to assist her in her time of need.

Leave a Comment