• December 16, 2021

Compulsive behaviours


Globally, the increase in uncertainty, depression and anxiety has also caused increased compulsive behaviours. Compulsive behaviours are actions that are engaged in repeatedly and consistently, which become habitual especially they are associated with relief from anxiety. This implies that people indulge in certain habits to try and bring relief from anxiety which results in compulsive behaviours. Unfortunately, constantly indulging in these habits gives them control over our lives.


When I suffered from anxiety and depression, I was so easily triggered by anything. I would go into an uncontrollable rage. I had no control over my anger. This made me feel afraid because I felt like I had lost control over my life personally. So I became a control freak. I tried to control people, control things, anything and everything that could be controlled. But I failed miserably at it and watched my life spiral out of control each passing day as I struggled to have control. In the end, I was exhausted, fatigued, unhappy, anxious, and I got into compulsive behaviour to try and numb and bring relief to what I felt deep inside. I started spending hours and hours on social media trying to control the anxiety.


All of us are seeking three simple things:

  • ✅Serenity, to be able to accept the things we cannot change.
  • ✅Courage,to be able to change the things that we need to change.
  • ✅Wisdomto know the difference, to have the discernment, to be able to distinguish between these two things; ‘what we can change’ and ‘what we cannot change’.


The biggest fear we all have is to lose control. This fear makes us crave control. The number one character defect for most of us is that we are ‘control freaks’. Control freaks believe with enough effort and skill they can accomplish anything. They often say things like, “Failure isn’t an option,” and they are overly critical of themselves when things don’t go as planned.


When we feel we do not have control of everything in our lives, we feel like we’re out of control personally. This makes us crave control subconsciously desiring to dictate the behaviour of others. We start to look for control subconsciously through seeking to influence and persuade others and even manipulate them. This often leads to anxiousness and lands a person into compulsive behaviours. Such as:


  • ✅Compulsive internet use: Compulsive internet use refers to people who become so dependent on using their phones or other devices that they lose control of their behaviour and suffer negative consequences.
  • ✅Compulsive sex: Compulsive sexual behaviour involves feeling a lack of control over the ability to act on sexual fantasies and impulses, such as sending explicit texts or attempting to touch others without consent.
  • ✅Binge eating: Compulsive overeating is also called Binge-Eating Disorder. Binges are defined as eating an abnormally large amount of food in a short time, with the feeling of being unable to control how much one is eating.
  • ✅Abnormal exercising:It can be difficult to identify compulsive exercise because exercising is generally healthy, instils energy or happiness, and people are encouraged to do it.


When people engage in compulsions, they become trapped in a pattern of repetitive actions or senseless thinking from which it can be difficult to break free.


Invisible No More by Dorothy Attema

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