Your Own Worst Enemy: Understanding the Paradox of Self-Defeating Behavior

Synopsis

"From Ivan Boesky to John Belushi, from Mike Tyson to Gary Hart, the world is full of those who have had it all and have blown it. And every day, all around us, we see people sabotaging their own goals - by using alcohol or drugs, or by staying in terrible relationships. Why do they do it?" "Your Own Worst Enemy provides a probing look at what lies beneath our surprising inclination to seize defeat from the jaws of victory. The book reveals the intricate gamesmanship behind self-defeat - including self-handicapping, trade-offs, and Pyrrhic revenge - and shows what forces fuel self-destructive urges, how people become vulnerable to them, and how to minimize their ill effects. The authors challenge the conventional psychological wisdom that self-destructive behavior comes from unconscious death wishes or oedipal taboos. Instead they argue that the reasons for self-defeat are far more complex, ranging from miscalculation in bargaining to obsession with others' opinions. They show how, ironically, a history of success can distort a person's ability to assess a situation and thereby cause him or her to self-destruct on the way to the top. They also argue that sometimes self-defeat can have strategic value, saving a person from a "success" he or she can't manage." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1993