Yesterday I read an article that is making me think really hard. It was written by Karen Salmansohn and titled: Why Do People Self-Sabotage Their Happiness?
Here are my favorite parts…
… It’s like this: As a child you learned habits on love and happiness from your parents. If you learned that love comes with yelling and insults, then being in a relationship with too much peace and too many compliments might actually inspire anxiety. Snagging an abundance of joy might also trigger you to self-sabotage your happiness in order to maintain that “masochistic equilibrium” which you learned in your childhood. Or you might simply choose scenarios from the get-go which bring you lower levels of love and bliss.
When I married Mr. Gloom-n-Doom, that was partly self-sabotage, part rebellion. My parents hated him and I hated myself… Gloom-n-Doom is passive-aggressive exactly like my parents. I couldn’t see it then because I was young and stupid (and I hated myself — of course I did, my parents were constantly telling me how much I could be like everyone else).
…Find examples of consistently happy, loving couples, and truly happy people. Spend as much time as possible with them so you can start to shift your belief system to what “normal love” and “normal happiness” are. Over time, you will begin to view highly positive situations as examples for your new normal. The more you witness positive examples of love and joy, the more opportunity you will have to change your belief system about life—and thereby start to change your “masochistic equilibrium.”
Surrounding myself with positivity and gratitude is opening my eyes so I can finally see that the relationship I have with Mr. Gloom-n-Doom is very destructive to the both of us. I can’t help him; he can’t love himself; I can’t make him. I can see how he intentionally chooses bad things (one could say the same about me, I guess). He always has an “enterpaining” story to tell people, in which he elicits pity and drama. If he started taking care of himself and doing what the doctors tell him, he would have no such stories to tell.
…there’s an added sneaky reason why painful patterns form: a theory à la Carl Jung. He believed that our lives need meaning and purpose. If we don’t have meaning and purpose, we acquire a bad habit in order to create drama and excitement—so we feel like there’s something interesting and entertaining happening in our life—even if it’s a bad exciting thing. Jung’s name for these patterns of “enterpaining” situations was “low-level spiritual quests.”
The good news: You can more readily dump negative patterns of “low-level spiritual quests” by developing “high-level spiritual quests”—a driving positive force that drives you forward. For example, it’s easier to dump negative patterns in love (which give you drama and “enterpaining stories” to tell), if you develop an exciting hobby or passion-project to serve as your “high-level spiritual quest” (which then gives you excitement and happy entertaining stories to tell).
It is becoming easier for me to dump those negative patterns and choices because I have been finding and creating my own examples of happiness. Part of it is my relationship with Loverman (which I DO realize could just be another one of my negative patterns…), but another part is my acceptance of myself. My desire to love myself! My ability to be happy with myself. I am now proud to be me.