Purposely Sabotaging My Life

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have severe depression and I purposely try to sabotage my life. I have been severely depressed for years. I have seen a therapist as well during that time off and on as well as having been on anti depressant medication. This helped me a great deal while I was doing both of those things however, I chose to stop them both as I made myself believe I didn’t need them.

When my life is stressful, I do not react well at all. if Im off my meds as I have been, it seems as though I purposely try to sabatoge my life knowing what I do or say in some situation will come back to bite me and I know the eventual outcome will be hurtful, which is why I do it. I think that I deserve to feel that pain.
The bigger problem is that Im married…to a wonderful, beautiful, successful woman who has done nothing but love me for years. This past episode, with work being incredibly stressful, I left a few things undone, big things which I knew would cause bad things for me at work and they did of course. My performance dropped off considerably and I knew the outcome. Same with my marriage…I started flirty by text wtih someone that I work with, with no reason or expectation other than to have my wife find out…which she did because I left those texts on my phone.

She was of course betrayed and its been miserable. All this time I only wanted to feel the pain myself and I didnt touch this woman at all but still betrayed my wife by having that discussion with this woman. I have almost lost my entire life in one foul swoop this time and I dont know how to fix it. I dont know how to explain to my wife that its just me and depression…not using that as a crutch but for her to understand the disease.

I left my home four days ago and wanted to kill myself, and almost did. My wife reached out for me and saved me…I checked into the emerg at our hospital and they kept me under observation then let me go.

I miss my wife, my life…my everything. Im broken and the worst part is, she is horribly sad, angry and betrayed. I have my meds now again and appointments to see a psychiatrist but what about her…how do I mend that? What do I do to help her through this…im lost.

A. I am sorry that you’re having a difficult time. You believe that you are engaged in self-sabotaging behavior and I would agree. Something is causing you to purposefully jeopardize your job, your marriage and ultimately your life. Suicide is the ultimate act of self-destruction.

It seems clear that you are depressed. You may be engaging in acts of self-destruction because you are unsatisfied with your life. You may not like your job. You may not be happy in your marriage. Acts of self-destruction may be your passive way of showing your dissatisfaction with your life. It is important that you re-enter therapy to examine these possibilities. Therapy was helpful to you in the past and I wonder why you stopped. Perhaps you stopped because the therapy was working. In other words, therapy may have been pushing you to face difficult aspects of your life. Instead of facing a difficult reality perhaps you stopped because avoiding it was easier. Avoidance is not the right solution but temporarily it can provide relief.

If it were true that you were unhappy with your job and marriage it would have meant that major life changes would be required. It is understandable that one would want to avoid major life changes. Depression is usually a sign that changes are needed. On the other hand, there may not need to be many changes but it’s important to be prepared for all possibilities. Don’t be frightened of the truth.

As I mentioned above, I would strongly suggest re-entering therapy. I’m especially concerned that you almost ended your life. This is another reason why it is very important that you return to therapy. It could save your life.

You asked about how you can help your wife through this process. I’m not certain how much help you could be to your wife at this point. It may be difficult to provide support to another person when you are not fully well. You are currently taking medication and that’s great but as far as I can tell from the letter, you have not re-entered therapy. You should. For your wife, I would suggest that she enter therapy as well. It could help her to better understand your depression. It may also help her to assist you in your depression recovery. You may also want to consider marriage counseling in the future, in addition to one-on-one counseling. At this point, it may be better to focus on getting yourself well.

Thank you for writing. The fact that you wrote shows that you care about the outcome of your life and that is very encouraging. I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Purposely Sabotaging My Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/07/purposely-sabotaging-my-life/