STRUGGLING with DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, or BIPOLARITY? LEARNING can really HELP. Start with ARTICLES above or Topics below. Ty! Bill

15 Self-Defeating Behaviors That’ll Knock You to the Canvas

Panic Attack Symptoms

Seasonal depression, panic attack symptoms, obsessions and compulsions, stress definition: you? Doesn’t matter what’s going-on, the last thing we need is to be our own worst enemy. So let’s take a look at some common self-defeating behaviors that’ll “K.O.” us every time…

Yep, time and again we’re not very self-friendly. Dang, we human-types may be atop the animal kingdom’s smarts-scale; however, it’s that same smarts that often creates so much trouble for us.


Do I have to tell you? Living with mood or anxiety ick is dicey business. I mean, think about how frequently we take life’s jabs, uppercuts, and crosses – and get knocked to the canvas. Well, it’s one thing taking the blows from daily living. It’s another thing entirely when they’re self-inflicted.

15 Self-Defeating Behaviors

So, let’s get after it. Here are those common self-defeating behaviors I promised…

  1. Procrastinating: Standing alone or as a manifestation of, say, depression, the nasty habit of putting things off can cost you plenty.
  2. Getting involved with the wrong people: How can you expect to grow and heal if those you hang with only bring you down?
  3. Saying “yes” when we really meant “no”: Opt for assertive behavior over people-pleasing. All parties involved will more than survive.
  4. Playing it safe: Nothing wrong with being careful, but healing involves risk-taking. You can do it!
  5. Always having to be right: That’s a bit unrealistic, don’t you think? Your world won’t fold if you’re wrong on occasion.
  6. Focusing on what others are doing wrong: What a way to live. Don’t we have enough to tend to within?
  7. Not learning from our mistakes: With all the boo-boos we’re bound to make, what a shame to waste them by not claiming positive take-away.
  8. Taking things too personally: Does everything have to come back on us? How long must our insecurity, sensitivity, guilt, and shame go on? 
  9. Having unrealistic expectations: How could I expect to play Beethoven when I can’t even play “Chopsticks?” Need I say more?
  10. Trying to take care of everybody: It’s so role-driven. Step-out of the past and be who you are in the present. They’ll all be A-OK.
  11. Being envious of others: Again, we have plenty to tend to within. Why waste energy on how good (so we think) others have it?
  12. Quitting too soon: What if, after all the work we’ve done, we were just about to be set free – but we threw in the towel? Can you even imagine?
  13. Letting fear run our lives: I know it’s hard – very hard. But we have to take a stance. Fear ain’t the boss (reference #4).
  14. Not moving on after a loss: No matter the intensity of the loss, mustering the will to maintain forward motion – even mini-baby-steps – is everything.
  15. Not asking for what we need: This is often so hard for so many. Kind of ties in with #3. What could possibly be wrong with asking for what we need? Seriously, how else would we expect to get it?

It’s a Wrap

Hmmm, my money says you identified with several of the above (all of them?). But that only makes sense, because that’s what folks mired in mood or anxiety ick do. And that’s why the misery perpetuates.

But now that we’ve handled some identity and insight work, we can move on to intervention. And I’ll tell ya’, it’s all about moving forward with great determination – and learning to catch the behaviors just as they commence. And then it’s on to pausing – even for a moment – as we choose another way to go.

Seasonal depression, panic attack symptoms, stress definition: you? Doesn’t matter what we’re experiencing. We just need to use our human-type brains and sidestep self-defeating behaviors. We don’t need to be our own worst enemy.

(And let’s stay off the canvas, k?)


Thanks to Jeff Vankooten for the resource material.

Nothing self-defeating about eyeballing some Chipur titles. So, don’t waste any more time!

  • Great list here, Bill. I definitely could relate to some of those behaviors. We are human, so our work is continual to let go of those things that hold us back. This is one to keep and reread as a reminder of what not to do! Thank you!

    • More than welcome, Cathy. Keeping a few reminders in our back pockets is always a good thing, Appreciate your visit and comment,..

  • Leslie Ferris

    Whoa!!! Boy can I ever relate to some of those! That is a good list you’ve got there – plenty enough for me to work on…. :) Thanks again Bill!

    • Whoa!!! Plenty for all of us to work on, I’d say. Always glad you check-in, Leslie. Thank you…

  • Oh my gosh, Bill – so many of these struck a cord with me – #s 1, 4, 8 and 13, especially! It was interesting to understand that by not trying I didn’t fail – one of the many things I’ve learned through my recovery from secondhand drinking impacts. This post will be a huge help to so many – will definitely be sharing!!

    • Well, I’m thinkin’ all of us can lock-in on many of the above. Question is, if they’re life-intrusive, what are we willing to do about it? Identification and insight are only the first steps. You’re so good about visiting and participating, Lisa. And it’s appreciated…