Self Defeating Personality Disorder: Understanding The Impact

History of the Disorder:

Since first appearing in the DSM in 1987, this "disorder" has changed names and definitions several times. While its criterion has been altered through time, there are shared concepts regarding the forms of the disorder. Characteristics central to it include negative self-references, a need for abasement, cognitive patterns of finding oneself undesirable, and over-expectation of rejection or failure.

Critics of self defeating personality disorder claim that it shouldn't in all cases be labeled as a disorder, as it is often found in disproportionate numbers in victims of abuse. This is an indicator that these symptoms may arise from individuals who are conditioning their behavior, which have left them trained to subordinate themselves for the needs of others.

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Self Defeating Personality Disorder

Those that fit the criterion for this personality pattern may be appropriately described as "self-sacrificing altruists." They find satisfaction in serving others, viewing life as unfair but feel that they are tasked with helping those less fortunate than them, even if the disparity is contrived. It isn't uncommon for these people to give their all in the workplace while failing to climb higher than a middle-management position.

The laziness or incompetence of their co-workers can lead these people to expect (internally that is) that their peers adopt the same work ethic as themselves. Engaging in excessive or unsolicited self-sacrifice does not occur exclusively in people who have been sexually, physically and psychologically abused, neither is it exclusive to those who are not victims of abuse.

Speaking With a Professional

If these symptoms or behavior patterns sound familiar to you, whether they be your own or of someone close to you, recognizing this can be an important step towards living a more satisfying and functional life. Talking with a therapist is a good way to identify these behavior patterns and work to establish healthier habits. Online sites like BetterHelp make this possible remotely, connecting with those in need of affordable mental health care through one on one therapy built around their needs. One of the basic methods of breaking out of this cognitive pattern is to implement small self-care techniques into your routine, slowly but surely growing towards a stronger and healthier you.


A Few Ways to Get Started

Implementing more physical exercise, sticking to a healthier diet, and working towards a stable sleep schedule are a few basic ways to start towards a better you. Get to know yourself. Loving yourself is the first step to developing healthy relationships with others. Surround yourself with positivity. Get into the sunshine, hydrate with a tasty but low-sugar drink. Connect with someone that makes you feel good about being alive. There are many things that make living life worthwhile. Take steps today to notice these things and make them more central in your focus.

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