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Self-Defeating Behaviors: Free Yourself from the Habits, Compulsions, Feelings, and Attitudes That Hold You Back Paperback – March 2, 2010

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Self-Defeating Behaviors: Free Yourself from the Habits, Compulsions, Feelings, and Attitudes That Hold You Back + Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior (Perigee) + When Am I Going to Be Happy?: How to Break the Emotional Bad Habits That Make You Miserable
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062501976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062501974
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Cudney (counseling, Western Michigan Univ.) and Hardy, a practicing psychologist, offer a thorough investigation into the psyche by explaining those attitudes or actions that may have worked at one time, but ultimately cycle into adult behaviors that backfire. Self-defeatists, they claim, harbor mythical fears that stifle creative thought patterns, causing faulty conclusions which perpetuate the destructive cycle. The authors outline steps to work toward a breakthrough, although they caution that counseling may be necessary to stop the self-defeating cycle. This guide is recommended for self-help and therapy collections.
- Lisa Wise, Steele Memorial Lib., Elmira,
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Some of my patients would not need therapy if they would read this book." -- --Dr. Alan Loy McGinnis, author of The Power of Optimism

"The most detailed examinations of self-defeating behavior I have ever read. Contains some very useful methods of defeating self-defeatism." -- --Albert Ellis, PH.D., President, Institute of Rational-emotive therapy, and author of A New Guide To Rational Living

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Customer Reviews

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Easy to read and makes good sense.
maryrita weiss
I also believe that SDB's are ultimately stemmed from the INFERIORITY COMPLEX, and after your done with this book should read up on this strangely obscure subject .
C (anam7814@aol.com )
I keep this book handy so I can refresh myself about some of the self-defeating behaviors and how they are associated with other things or beliefs.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By William on November 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this book based on the other reviews which were mostly positive and I have to say that I was very disappointed. I know reading a negative review isn't as appealing as a positive one, but I think pause should be taken before ordering this book. Self Defeating Behaviors is a great title with little content. As the other reviewers have noted, it does nothing but describe the problem with little practical insight as to how to address it. The description of the problem is also very dry and lengthy. It could have been done in 10 pages, the authors do it in 200 pages so you have to hear the same thing over and over and over again. I found that of little value, especially in light of the fact that there was almost nothing in regards to correcting such behavior.

I'm guessing most people read self help books for the purpose of betterment. They want to improve their lives, not just read something 20 times over and over again about what the problem is. The authors simply believe that the problem is that the process of decision making becomes relegated to the subconscious mind over time and that the subconscious can make negative decisions instead of positive ones. There, that one sentence, gives you the whole gist of this book. They give no practical insight as to how to solve this problem, they merely describe it in dull, psychological text type writing. I was very disappointed. I am writing this review for the next person who might be tempted by the title, not realizing it has nothing to offer in terms of personal growth, merely description of a problem and a psychological description.
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74 of 82 people found the following review helpful By STALLEN on May 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book forces you to see how you think negatively about yourself and how that is deeply affecting our lives. You can call it anxiety, inferiority, insecurity, or low self-esteem, it's really one big thing in our mind saying "I am not good enough and people won't accept me unless I am better." But we misunderstand what "better" means. It's not getting an "A" in school or getting a promotion at work or being Mr. Right or being smart enough to make fun of others. It's your own attitude! And if you don't understand that it turns into a vicious negative cycle that you can't stop. But it has to stop and the only person that can stop it is you yourself! Thanks to this book, I figured this out and I finally feel like I am on a road to recovery rather than a road to hell on earth. Another book that really explains this so well is called the "Ever-transcending spirit" by Toru Sato. It is one of the best books on life and human nature that I have ever read. If you read it you will know what I mean. But this book by Cudney was what started this. It is sooooo helpful!
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114 of 131 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
What is your life like? Is it a relentless procession of empty days, an endless cycle of meaningless, frustrating work and unrelaxing sleep? Do you repeat the same pattern of joyless days and empty nights ad nauseam? Do you bounce out of bed eager to face another exciting day filled with opportunities for enjoyment, human contact and personal growth? Has the memory of the irrepressible you faded into dust? Has your life become an arduous and repetitive ordeal? Do you keep hurting yourself, and does this recognition keep haunting you, day and night? Are you acting on misguided choices, doing and saying things that virtually guarantee dissatisfaction and unhapppiness? If you answered "Yes" (or even "Maybe") to any of those questions, have I got good news for you!

The best book I have seen that specifically addresses how we can reclaim our mental, emotional and spiritual power from the traps we ourselves have built and continue to nourish is "Self-Defeating Behaviors" by Cudney and Hardy. On second reading, it is a truly phenomenal work. I have already purchased and distributed over two dozen copies. It provides a dynamic model of the way we construct, defend and nurture our self-defeating behaviors, while we simultaneously minimize the real pain heaped upon us and the people around us, and abdicate responsibility for the whole thing!

We are each of us presented with a continuous stream of new moments of life, in which we exercise choices. Each of these choices can lead either to a self-defeating behavior or to a behavior that affirms and honors life. At certain times, we "learn" (i.e. we make an invalid association) that we can avoid work/pain/criticism or other fear by choosing a certain escapist behaviors or thoughts.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By John H. Prin on February 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
From John Howard Prin, author of STOLEN HOURS: Breaking Free From Secret Addictions, Syren Books 2004

This book made a major difference in my life. We all have many kinds of relationships and roles to play in life, and one of those relationships lasts the longest -- from cradle to grave. That's the relationship I have with myself. In my case, that means John Prin's relationship with John Prin. I can be my worst enemy or my best friend. What the authors showed me was that it is my choice. I choose how I relate to me, whether I acknowledge it or not.

The main theme? When unhealthy choices are made, we choose self-defeating behaviors that separate us from our core attitudes, beliefs, feelings and values. When healthy choices are made, we choose "life-enhancing behaviors" that fit or strengthen our core being. Over time, depending on the mix of choices, our lives are either headed for breakdowns or breakthroughs. Thanks to the wisdom and clarity in this book, along with the easy-to-understand charts and diagrams, breakthroughs in my life are happening on a scale I never dreamed possible.

The pace is methodical but not plodding. Every sentence and paragraph makes sense as you read it. The authors strive to help readers to define and to behave in ways that serve their own best interests, and to create better selves from the inside out -- as I have learned to do and described in my book STOLEN HOURS. For anyone who has dealt with puzzling failures or intense negative emotions, including addictions and crippling moods, the information and encouragement in this book are a godsend.
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