Psychology

How self-fulfilling prophecies are ruining people’s lives (including yours)


There is one particular phenomenon that saddens me personally, but fascinates me profesionally. It happens when people experience failure as a result of their own mistake or series of mistakes, but think that the cause of this failure lies somewhere else entirely.

I’ve seen many situations (in professional, social, and romantic contexts) in which someone is abandoned simply because he was treating other people badly. However, very rarely does such an individual realize this. More often he believes the complete opposite: that he trusted the wrong people, that he didn’t control them enough, that he was too caring, or that he should have lied to them more. And from now on (unfortunately for his new friends), he’s going to behave as he “should have.” It’s also common that the individual ignores feedback from others and thinks that he understands the causes of his failure better than they do.

I’ve seen individuals in dependent relationships whose partners left them precisely because they were too dependent—they didn’t have their own opinions and were no longer attractive to their partners as they were always adjusting to what the other person wanted. Instead of recognizing this, they think, “how did I disappoint my partner with my egoism?” In future relationships, they try to accommodate their partners even more.

I’ve seen people with masochistic traits who always place the blame on themselves. When someone ruthlessly uses them, instead of ending this toxic relationship, they still take on the full blame for the situation.

This is profoundly sad. But it is also thought-provoking.

The human personality is an exceptionally complex mechanism that creates its own reality through a string of self-fulfilling prophecies and by filtering experiences to confirm what the individual thinks.

Sometimes I wonder through what miracle people can change themselves. And how can I, being human myself, fall into this self-fulfilling prophecy trap as rarely as possible.

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