The title of this post is from a song lyric my brain grabbed when I heard it on the radio a few years ago. Unlike the narrator of that song, I have never woken up with my car in the front yard, my clothes on, a cigarette burning, the smoke alarm going off, after calling someone a bunch of names while drunk. However, I have noticed a couple of distinct behavior patterns in myself that cause me to give that poor fellow an understanding nod of the head. Because in my life? I think I’m one of the Bad Guys!
Examples of my self-sabotage:
1. When things get stressful, I abandon all the habits that help me. Housecleaning, reasonable meals, sufficient sleep, even some medications (since they are not life-sustaining.) Many of these things take – being honest here – 10 minutes at a time to keep up with? I have been sick with fair frequency in the past couple of years. But again, being honest, having a cough does not mean I have to stop unloading the dishwasher for days because I’m siiiiiicckkkkkk! Then I just end up sick AND cranky that the kitchen resembles a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
2. Very often, I choose anesthesia over wellness. I still remember a conversation with my wonderful friend B. in Oregon many years ago:
Me (summarized): Yeah, everything is a mess, I’m so miserable, I’m going to eat a bunch of candy.
B, gently, in her best social worker tone of voice: Some people, when they’re stressed out, try to take care of themselves by eating healthy foods.
It’s my same drug-seeking behavior from when I used to date. Anything for a quick hit! I’m lucky I never tried any actual drugs or this might be a very different kind of blog.
3. I abandon social contacts, losing social support AND the opportunity to help people. And since “helping” is one of my primary drives in life, then I also judge myself harshly for being so selfish. EVERYONE WINS. Except they don’t.
4. I pretend I can multitask, even when that’s not true. Seriously, I had to set a limit for myself that I will no longer interrupt answering an email to check my inbox and see the other email that just came in. Because seriously? YOU’RE NOT GETTING MORE DONE. And now you can’t remember what you were trying to say to that first person so actually you’re getting less done.
Having read my entire blog twice in the past year (really), I am waayyyyyy too suspicious of myself to make any grand sweeping declarations that I am going to reverse all of this nonsense! Right now! Forever! Because really, old habits are hard to break. Apparently from my track record, that’s especially true if you make grand sweeping declarations about those habits on your blog.
It’s just interesting to me how much of my unhappiness during stressful times is actually a result of self-sabotage, not the stressful times themselves. Also, I marvel at how much effort and energy it takes to train myself to do things that have a payoff on only a slightly longer time scale than “right now!”
[I wrote a draft of this post, then forgot to finish it – and I then got sick! And I have kept the kitchen clean anyway! Amazing! I CAN learn.
The only logical next step is to build myself a giant maze in the backyard with some levers that dispense cupcakes for additional desired behaviors, right?]