EPISODE 10 TRANSCRIPT
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Today I want to talk about what it’s like being your own worst enemy. There’s a few ways in which people can do this. You could take the good things in your life for granted. That’s a nice way to lose them. You could over-analyze every situation. That’s a great way to never get anything done, or maybe constantly read situations incorrectly. You could always take the easy way out. A perfect way to never achieve your goals. But I want to talk about self fulfilling prophecy. More specifically, negativistic self fulfilling prophecy.
As it’s my channel, we’ll be covering this topic through my lens as per usual. But I would love to hear any stories you’d be willing to share in the comments. When it comes to enemies, it’s not even a contest as to who my biggest would be. This isn’t an OCPD thing nor do I believe I’m in the minority on this one. I don’t think your average person spends their days making enemies and burning bridges, so I think by default for many of we are our own worst enemies. By the way, for those of you just joining this channel, OCPD stands for obsessive compulsive personality disorder. I have many videos discussing this in depth and I’ll link to some in the description. But you should still find this episode useful, as it deals in topics that affect a much broader percentage of the population.
Now I’m guilty of being bad to myself in all of the ways I mentioned and a few more I’m sure, but none so much as negativistic thinking. This type of thinking is a style of thinking that is overly pessimistic and critical, and is strongly associated with depression. It’s origins might lie in repeated exposure to failures and disappointments in life. By definition it is apparent as to how this would create a very low quality of life. It’s self perpetuating and you will find yourself in an endless cycle of bad thoughts. But how does this manifest itself and how does this tie in to my OCPD?
I’m notorious for self sabotaging. I’m sort of jumping from term to term here, so let me tighten things up before moving too far forward. Firstly, a lifetime of well intentioned but poor choices could lead to negativistic thinking. These bad outcomes are sort of just hammered into your brain as the expected result of any decision no matter which path you choose. Negativistic thinking could also be the result of clinical depression, or vice versa. So now we are at this point of constantly expecting the worst and we start to devalue ourselves or feel as though we deserve the worst possible outcome. In my case it’s not always that I feel as though I deserve it (although many times I do) it’s that I feel it’s inevitable. OK, so we’ve moved from negative experiences into negative thinking into only expecting the worst out of life.
Let’s bring in self fulfilling prophecy & self sabotage now and wrap it all up with a my own worst enemy bow. For me and my OCPD there are a few constant areas of my life in which I self sabotage. We all have a critical inner voice which is what fills us with self doubt. Self sabotaging behavior is when we listen, pay attention to and act on that self doubt. The point of this channel is to peel back the layers on the way our thoughts can negatively impact our lives, so it’s time for me to provide some examples.
Now for me, my OCPD plays a big part in egging on my self doubt and therefore bringing about the sabotaging behavior. Many, many people self sabotage though, and my reasons may not be your reasons, but I think you will see similarities in thoughts and outcomes. Let’s start with with life goals or ambitions. I believe I enjoy music more than the average person. I’ve worked in and around the music industry at various points, I’ve performed live and I’m currently a DJ. My whole life I’ve wanted to be proficient in at least one instrument. When I was young I took piano lessons. I’m sure I had a similar experience to anyone watching that was sort of forced to play an instrument they weren’t overly interested in as a kid. Now as an adult I love the piano, but I didn’t appreciate it back then. As such, I was ok as a kid, but I never excelled. Plenty of people that have gone through that exact same experience discovered another instrument later on in life, fell in love and devoted many hours to practice and became really good at their art. Not me. I took that failure and applied it across so many areas of my life and so much so, specifically with music. I took guitar lessons and drum lessons and because I assumed I could never become good enough to satisfy my unrealistic standards, I didn’t practice nearly enough. I assumed it wouldn’t make a difference and so I took the steps, or in this case didn’t take the steps needed in order to achieve my goal. As I said, this can be applied to other areas of my life as well, such as learning a foreign language. Why is this important? Well it’s important for a few reasons. It’s important to know that when facing down anxiety or depression, knowledge isn’t always helpful. Logically I know that a person gets better at something with practice. But my negativistic thinking beat out my rational thinking and does in most instances in my life. So if you’re trying to help someone overcome this particular way of thought, telling them that they are good or that they are improving might not do all the good you think it’s doing. They aren’t seeing things through a realistic perspective. Also, we have a great BS meter. So encourage the small but real progress they are making and ask them how they think you could encourage them to keep pushing towards their goals.
The more important reason that this matters is that, as mentioned, it can drastically lower a person’s quality of life. You might be thinking “big deal”, you didn’t learn to play the guitar, move onto something else (and thanks for that by the way). But I and others like me will continue to apply this thought process to everything in our lives. Maybe you think that my life being impacted horribly by not learning an instrument is stupid. Fair enough. But how about living in a foreign country for years on end, not being able to learn the language and slowly over time becoming more and more isolated and lonely. Does that sound pleasant? Does that sound like a way in which you would want to live. It’s a big deal and not just because I say it’s a big deal. You wake up feeling like a failure and you go to bed feeling like failure and even if you possess the tools to fix it, you don’t believe that you would be able to.
Now maybe everything I’ve talked about seems familiar, but not my choice of vocabulary. If you’ve ever heard the expression biting off your nose to spite your face, well we’re talking about the same thing. I’m aware a picture is worth a thousand words, so I have a video clip I’d like to share to illustrate the pain one feels when consciously crossing over into self destructive territory. In this clip Elijah Wood’s character has just had his apartment completely destroyed by some people that broke in. Everything he loves is destroyed and during the attack he clings to his guitar, one of his prized possessions. His character is self loathing and his decisions always lead to the worst possible outcome. He wants more, but doesn’t feel he deserves it. So this is how he reacts after the intruders leave.
I don’t think I have to say much. The pain on his face illustrates the desperation one feels when all you do is make decisions to the detriment of oneself, over and over and over.
The title of this video is self fulfilling prophecy. What I’ve talked about so far falls into this category and I hope at this point you can see how this way of thinking ruins lives. But before I wrap up this video I really want to drive the point home and talk about the true and lasting impact this can have on a life. In every relationship I’ve ever been in since as far back as I can remember, I’ve assumed the worst. Once I’ve entered into a relationship with someone, start to develop feelings and things start moving forward, I have only one thought. How will this end? When will they break up with me? This is the reason for this video. This is the perfect example of how self fulfilling prophecy works. So I’ll take you through the steps as best as I can. To start out, I’m with someone. I care about them. I believe they care about me. But then I start thinking, oh wait, why would they care about me. I’m a crap person. Every other person I’ve been with has thought so, or why would they have broken up with me? What is this person going to notice first? I should tell them. Hey, I just wanted to let you know I’m sort of a crap person and you’re going to find out one way or another, so here’s a warning. Now, you’ve taken a perfectly good relationship and taken the unfounded doubt you’re suffering and planted it into the other persons head. Now that alone might not be enough to destroy things. Especially if there are strong feelings involved. So now onto step two. I do something inadvertently that upsets the other person. I think that’s the end. I panic and shut down and stop talking to the other person. All they wanted was a quick apology and to move on, but instead they find themselves ignored for varying lengths of time. After a few rounds of this, the other person is starting to take notice and is wondering if there isn’t a bigger problem in the relationship.
What I’m describing is what happens when you enter into a relationship assuming it’s doomed from the start, and some of the things a person might do consciously or subconsciously to ensure that “said” relationship never stands a chance. There are other ways I’ve done this and there are countless ways you might be doing it. What we need to do is recognize that this self doubt isn’t real. That this voice in our head doesn’t have our best interests at heart. In this situation for example, your anti-self is trying to protect you. Trying to gear you up for this break up. Trying to soften the blow. But the reality is, maybe this person is a person you could spend the rest of your life with. Maybe they would really like to spend the rest of their life with you. But for reasons that are completely illogical, you take that away from both of you.