Q. How do we explain self defeating behaviour of a person from the humanistic perspective? 15 Marks ( CSE 2017)

8 thoughts on “Personality”

  1. Self defeating behaviour is a behavior shown by a person when s/he is stuck in a vicious cycle of low self esteem. The lowered self esteem which leads to self defeating behaviour can be explained using the concept of self actualisation and self concept in humanistic perspective.

    Self actualisation is a process by which we attempt to fully realise all our inner potentials. Self concept is the way one thinks of self and it consists of self esteem(worth of self), real self(what we are actually) and ideal self(what we would like to be). The closer our real self and ideal-self are to each other, the more consistent or congruent we are, the more we can self actualise and the higher will be our sense of self esteem. Unconditional positive regard also tend to elevate our self esteem.

    Thus it can be said that the state of incongruence and conditional regard may lead to low self esteem , due to which a person may resort to self defeating behaviour like denial, repression, avoidance, hiding etc. in order to feel less threatened by truth.

  2. SELF DEFEATING BEHAVIOR refers to any behaviour, that you engage in, is SELF SABOTAGING, i.e., that behaviour takes you away from your desired goal.
    For eg: People wish to remain physically fit and healthy. But if they do not exercise, do not take balanced diet, their behaviour is self defeating.

    Humanist theories emphasise on Personal growth. Roger says that people strive to become fully functional being . And Maslow points out that high self esteem is necessary for Self actualisation . But not all people become fully functional. The reason to this, as Roger says, is inconsistency in SELF CONCEPT and REALITY.

    With this perspective, Humanist theories can explain the causes and consequences of self defeating behaviour. Consider one such behaviour– PROCRASTINATION.
    A student who has great ambitions of being a university topper (Self concept) , frequently delays his assignments and does not sticks to his time table (Reality) . As soon as he realise that there is a gap between his concept of self and reality, he will be maladjusted. He may feel worthless . His self esteem is hurt . And Social psychologists say that THREAT TO SELF ESTEEM is prime cause of Self defeating behaviour.
    Humanist believe that ” people strive to become a best version of themselves” . But when their behaviour , like self defeating behaviour, inhibit the process of “actualising their self” , serious distortions and psychological disorders occur. And consequently person develops ways to hide from truth by not considering them worthy of rewards.

  3. Any behavior which takes you away from your goals are called as self defeating behaviors. Procrastination, assumptions, complacency etc are few examples of self defeating behaviors .

    The behavior of a person is the reflection of her self esteem .
    Humanistic perspective says that humans are always in journey to reach their full potential. In this journey of self actualizations they develope an image of ideal self . This ideal self requires regular nurturing in the terms of unconditioned positive regard to grow and get actualized.In case that regard obtained becomes conditioned , it may result into the image of ideal self getting blurred or low self worth . In turn blurring image of ideal self leads to the development of self descripancies . And this psychological descripancies developed starts getting reflected into behavior also . For example a girl who wanted to become doctor (ideal self) took maths because her parents wanted her to do and told her they would be happy this way (conditioned regard). because of her disinterest in maths her self esteem will become low and she may start procrastinating, become lazy,arrogant, hostile, secretive etc . This shows the manifestation of psychological problems into behaviors.

    So from humanistic perspective ,in clear words any conflict between ideal and real self is the mother of all self defeating behaviors.

  4. Humanistic school of thought though emphasized on the goodness and potential for growth in an individual. But at the same time, it also highlighted the contexts or conflicts due to which most of the time an individual indulge in self defeating behaviour for the sake of moral values, society, etc.

    Human behavior doesn’t occur in isolation, so is the process of self actualization and growth. Many things interferes in it, like the need for positive regard and behaving in a socially acceptable manner (idealistic way) rather than in a way governed by their real self. Due to this, there comes the incongruence between real self and ideal self. This is a kind of self defeating behaviour. For example, a person wants to eat non vegetarian food on Thursday but his or her moral obligations don’t permit to do so and as a result he or she don’t eat.

    Another kind of self defeating behaviour could be when a person got stuck in the deficiency drives ( physiological, safety, belongingness and esteem needs) and is unable to self actualise. For example, when a person don’t get respect from others as result he or she will not respect themselves (self defeating).

    The self defeating behaviour usually hampers growth of a person and the capability of self actualization. So, it should be neglected, if possible.

  5. Self defeating behaviour: any behaviour that is sabotaging to oneself or that keeps one away from his goal is self defeating behaviour. They are usually with low self esteem.
    Omen of self defeating behaviour: 1. Avoidance 2. Passive 3. Agressive 4.hiding 5. Attention seeking
    Humanistic approach : it focusses on self and treat humanbeings as unique and how they see the world as per their perception. It is driven by free will and it is believed humanbeings are innately good and they thrive for fullfilling their inner potential. As per Carl rogers’ person centred approach people try to self actualise selfmaintenance and self enhanced. While thriving for self actualisation interferences occur. Thus the idea of self concept and concept of worth emerged. Self concept is how one sees himself as per the commonly accepted values. As a child grows learning values from his parents his selfconcept devolops and his experience and feelings once seen as accepted by his parents he sees himself as more worthy. But as his experience and feelings become inconsistent with commonly accepted standard he sees himself as less worthy. Hence the concept of realself and idealself devolops. Realself is what he actually is and idealself is what he aspires to be. The less the difference the more healthy and happy the person is. When real self drifts further from ideal self anxiety and all other personality disorder devolops.
    Abraham maslow formulated the hierarchy needs. The needs are physiological needs safety needs love and belongingness needs selfesteem needs and self actualisation needs. Once the lowest needs are fullfilled people thrive towards higher needs. If one needs get unfullfilled maladjustment occurs. Like if safety needs is not fullfilled once the child grows he will always be doubtful. If needs of belongingness and love is not fullfilled he will always thrive for attention.
    Only a few people can actually fullfill selfactualisation needs.
    If a person has selfdefeating behaviour it means either of his needs are unfullfilled or his realself is farther from his idealself.
    Wayforward: humantic therapy: here the concept of unconditional positive regard is devoloped. Giving unconditional positive regard to a person having self defeating behaviour means help him achieve congruence that is merging realself and idealself and hence help him fullfill his inner potential or selfactualisation.

  6. Humanistic perspective consider’s human beings as master its own destiny, having capacities to carve out the best within.This UNIQUE striving tendency is what distinguishes it from other creatures.

    However, according to Carl roger , there are few important tools which makes this journey of within easy to traverse. One of them being the idea of SELF CONCEPT. This idea is based on the words and actions of near and dear one’s and how these words gets reflected in the image of self. This image of self is formed out of two components : REALself ( what a person actually is) and IDEAL self (what a person ideally aspires to be in future). When this two components are not in CONGRUENCE ,it results in ‘lower self esteem’ (lower worth of self) and this is the starting point of self defeating behaviour. Roger also explains the degree to which a person will engage in such defeating behaviour depends on the amount of ”unconditional positive regard” (without any strings of worth attached) he/she gets.
    for instance, especially in north indian society(parents,relatives,peers) have become such that a person’s worth is equated with whether he/she is able to clear civil services or not and accordingly positive regard is given. such conditions for gaining love and respect creates a gap between one’s real and ideal self. As a result it lowers the self esteem of individual and in extreme cases manifests in the form of depression.

    Humanist Abraham maslow has explained such opposite and self defeating behaviour in form of not able to fulfill one’s BASIC level needs that is physiological, safety, belongingness and esteem.
    For instance when a person is deprived of belongingness he/she is unable to feel love and acceptance from it’s close relations and thus the path to ”self actualisation” gets blocked. In such situation person develops maladjustment in behaviour resulting in defeating of one’s own identity.

    To a great extent ,Humanistic perspective focuses on “positive potential” of human beings but at the same time it also ‘explains why not all people succeed in attaining one’s full potential’ and thus becoming a fully functional .

  7. A self-defeating behavior is any behavior that normally ends up with a result that is something the person doing the behavior doesn’t want to happen. If one is trying to accomplish some goal, and something one do that makes it less likely that to reach that goal, then that is a self-defeating behavior.

    One example is neglecting to take care of yourself physically. When people don’t exercise, avoid to follow the doctor’s orders, they are risking their health to either avoid some short-term pain or discomfort (such as the discomfort of exercise or the anxiety that the dentist causes) which is exactly like digging grave for oneself.

    Carl Rogers of humanistic view called self/self concept as an important element of personality. It includes people’s attitudes about themselves, the way they look and act and their impact on others. The perceived traits , abilities and weaknesses constitutes the self concept / self image.

    In addition to present self which is real self, there is ideal self, which the person aspires to be like. A minimal mismatch, or incongruence is necessary for healthy development of the individual but the trouble begins when the gap widens disturbingly. There arises anxiety which a well adjusted person acknowledges and works to fill the gaps.

    But sometimes one gets stuck into vicious cycle of failure to match ideal parameters and defeat the self repeatedly due to procrastination, laziness, mental or physical incapabilities, disinterest in ideal self’s objectives.

    The ideal self is aspirational which is desirable for one to gain approval of others ( conditions of worth)
    Because we need self esteem , we may sometimes distort our perception of us in self serving ways.

    If the situation is not handled maturely ultimately leads to the behaviour which causes extreme anxiety and other pathological symptoms.
    Roger’s Person centred therapy can be useful in such cases

  8. Self-defeating behavior is a behavioral pattern involving pessimistic actions, deteriorating self -esteem, low confidence and limiting ones potential.

    this can be explained through humanistic approach as follows, self-concept in humanistic perspective is nothing but one perspective of self ( IDEAL SELF) and the real self.
    the strive is always to fill the gap between the ideal self and the real self, which is termed as self-actualized stage / fully functioning stage, wherein an individual would have accomplished his aspirations and dreams,
    but it’s not as easy as the definition, there are several distortions, limitations caused due to the situational necessity.
    example, an aspiring cricket player wants to accomplish his dream of playing for his country, but there may be situations demand he needs to look for a job to meet ends.
    this makes him limiting himself from achieving, doubts his skills, blames the situation.
    since he is not able to fill the gap between his ideal self and the real self, he is experiencing a self-defeating behavior.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.