As we always say, we do not have therapists here at needhelppayingbills. However we do have experience in seeing how self-destructive behaviors lead to a wide variety of problems, including job loss, poverty, and worse. We will expand on this topic below, and of course all of this is from our own experiences and not from a medical prospective. I have been exposed to this form of behavior my entire life, and have been thinking more about this lately.
There are many types of self-destructive behavior. We will try to keep the focus around the financial impacts of it as that is most relevant for the needhelppayingbills site. As there can be a direct financial impact from this behavior, such as a loss of a job, substantial debts, missed career opportunities and more. Some of this is also related to the person living so short sighted, in which they can’t do something for a short period of time in order to gain the mid to mid to long term benefits.
Self-destructive behavior includes but is not limited to substance abuse, gambling, anger, self-harm, failing to take action, prostitution, under or excessive eating, physical or mental neglect, bullying, promiscuity with random/multiple people, compulsive lying, shopping addictions or “love” of material items and many others. People can be self-destructive as it makes them “feel good” for a moment in time or a short term, but the fact is it does damage that prevents them from living a life that is satisfying and meaningful. It can prevent them from hitting their goals, dreams, and aspirations, can lead to financial hardship, relationships collapsing and worse. The behavior is a short term rush without working for or considering the long term gain or harm.
As we said, we are not psychologists, so we will only focus on the aspect that we have noticed in how self-destructive behavior impacts finances.
I grew up in a household with a self-destructive parent. My dad was an alcoholic. It lead to him eventually losing his job, his family, and his money. He ended up living in a trailer in CA, living in poverty. He could barely afford to pay his bills.
His behavior lead to mental instability and extreme poverty as well. I never heard from him after he left when I was around 13 with two exceptions; he wrote me two letters a few years before he died. The letters were all about him and his challenges. He never asked about me, never took an accountability or expressed sorrow, and he ended the letters asking me for money. His alcoholism was self-destructive.
I have had other family members (close and/or distant) with self-destructive behaviors too. Fighting, terrible explosive anger, substance abuse, risky behavior including gambling and promiscuity, etc. It has led to them losing jobs, losing some of their family, and/or losing their money among other things. It has put some into financial ruin. the anger, loss of control or self-destructive behavior they have may make them feel good for a moment, but it creates terrible damage in many ways.
Self-harm is also part of this too. One of my brothers attempted suicide many years ago. Luckily he survived, but that and of course is self-destruction. Another close family member was so involved in lying, story telling, and exaggeration that it crushed his relationships and career aspects. I remember him telling his stories when I was a kid…and his stories never stopped and he kept telling them as he aged. I think he lost track of how to even tell the truth and what the truth was.
Over my years I have worked with and/or met people that have been self-destructive as well. I have had employees who did not like a certain task at work, and one started yelling, showing his anger and in effecting ending his career. I mentored someone at SCORE who yelled at us mentors (who were just trying to help) and stormed out of the office. He blamed us for his business struggling and tried to pass accountability of his own failures to us. Even though we only met him three times and his business was in operation for 10 years. His self-destruction was failing to take action, no accountability, and his anger. These examples hurt their career prospects and therefore potential earnings.
Probably the most frequent types of self-destruction I have encountered in my life are anger, substance abuse, failure to take action, love and pursuit of material goods, lying, and fighting. I have been exposed/witnesses the most of that than anything else in my life. I have witnessed it as a kid growing up with family and today, as an adult. The results of this behaviors includes people running up their debts, job loss, financial loss, and relationships/friendships/family being torn apart. What have others witnessed in their life in regards to self-destruction. and what was the impact to the behavior?