Facebook stalking and phone spying: When self-sabotage becomes a quiet addiction

By Susan Moskop
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Alice Boyes, author of the new book “The Healthy Mind Toolkit” recommends a multi-prong approach to encourage healthy behavior in a relationship.

Chicago Tribune

Some behaviors make us our own worst enemy: snooping through a partner’s phone, obsessing over Facebook photos of an event you weren’t invited to, or digging for information online about an ex.

Some people run from their problems, hoping they will disappear. Or some might even think about a problem so much, they become too paralyzed to make decisions.

“People tell themselves they are just going to think and think until they reach a conclusion,” says Alice Boyes, author of the new book “The Healthy Mind Toolkit.” But too often we get in our own way. “You’ve got to learn to disrupt that,” she says.

Her book presents an argument for a quieter addiction, unlike overeating or gambling, but seemingly harmless actions that lead to a downward spiral of self-sabotage. She says self-sabotage comes from a lack of insight, poor problem-solving, or sometimes it’s just out of habit and comfort.

Relationships add a new dimension, and finding a balance between being vulnerable and protecting yourself can be hard.

What if an unfamiliar name comes up on the phone of someone you’re dating and your first thought is, “Is he cheating?” And your first reaction is to play detective and go through his phone?

Boyes says the addictive nature of these behaviors is best described as compulsive, the irresistible urge to do something, even if you know it’s not a good idea.

“It’s a downward spiral because people feel bad and then do behaviors that make them feel worse,” she says. “They get into this self-sabotaging cycle.”

Be aware of larger emotions, like anxiety or depression, that will make you more vulnerable to that cycle, she says.

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