You Can’t do a Good Job if Your Job is all You Do — Are you a Workaholic?

Confused about the difference between hard working and workaholism?

There are people who put in long hours, while being available for their loved ones, giving back to their communities and enjoying activities unrelated to their work. These people are considered hard workers, not workaholics and there is a very distinct difference.

When work defines you and when it is valued above all else, work becomes your addiction.  When your work negatively affects your health, your family, and the quality of your work, you might be considered a workaholic.

Is work all consuming and joyless?

If you find yourself going beyond the necessary and you have no other interests or activities, your work becomes a negative addiction. Workaholics work because they have nothing else to take its place. Their work addiction is a recurring obsession, and typically joyless.

Real workaholics let their family lives fall apart. They often have health problems and suffer from depression or deep insecurities. A workaholic is someone who constantly thinks about work, and without work feels anxious and depressed. Workaholics are difficult to get along with because they frequently push others as hard as they push themselves. Like any addiction, they repeat destructive behaviors despite knowing that they’re destructive. Many would like to stop but find it difficult or impossible to do so.

Workaholic vs hard working

Workaholics should not be confused with people who just work hard and go the extra mile to finish a project. Here are three key differences between hard workers and workaholics:

  1. Hard workers view work as a requirement or obligation. In contrast, workaholics use work to distance themselves from unwanted feelings and relationships.
  2. Where hard workers make time in their schedule for family and friends, workaholics put the utmost importance on work and use it to exclude anything else in their lives, including family and friends.
  3. While hard workers can take breaks from work, workaholics think about work regardless of what they’re doing or who they’re with.

Understanding a person’s motivation can help to determine the difference between a workaholic and a hard worker.  Identified by researchers E.J. Douglas and R.L. Morris are five reasons why people work hard.

  • Financial rewards: “material goal seekers”-working hard for financial rewards.
  • Substitution for leisure: “low leisure” -workers that get little satisfaction or joy from leisure activities.
  • Perks: “perkaholics” -working for the perks like fun co-workers, a good health plan, and prizes or trips.
  • Working to work: A “workaholic” – working to work, with no ulterior motive or outside motivation.
  • Loving your work: “love what they do” – working because their job is rewarding, important, and enjoyable.

Do these six workaholic traits apply to you?

  • Are you intense, energetic, competitive and driven, to a fault?
  • Do you work to escape self-doubt and other emotional pain?
  • Do you prefer work over leisure?
  • Do you work all the time and anywhere?
  • Do you blur the lines between business and pleasure?
  • Do you have stress related or chronic fatigue health issues?

Sometimes an obsession with work is more than just hard work, it can be a real and dangerous addiction causing serious physical and life concerns.

I have embarked on a catastrophic life-changing journey that ultimately revealed my personal purpose.  As a result, I now share a vulnerable story encouraging you to look at your own life and “lockbox” to set yourself free from the secrets that make you sick.  We all have a lockbox full of secrets, lies, negative self-talk, pain and fear.  My authentic vulnerable way of connecting with people leaves the audience in a place that removes shame and guilt and is the catalyst for personal transformation. 

Having gone through my own personal journey as a family member of a loved one who struggled with unresolved trauma, mental health, and addiction, my personal mission is to educate people, business leaders, students, and professionals to help find their way physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Contact me to speak and inspire the attendees at your event today.

The Drama Triangle – a Continuum of People Acting out their parts Perpetuating the Triangle Trap.

In 1968, Stephen Karpman, M.D., developed what he called the “drama triangle”, containing three sides which he labeled victim, rescuer, and persecutor. Karpman’s “drama triangle” model is used in Healing Springs Ranch’s substance use therapy and is as relevant today as it was 51 years ago.  The victim, rescuer, and persecutor are subconscious roles people play, to manipulate others.

Karpman describes the victim as a “poor me” character. A victim might see themselves as victimized, oppressed, powerless, helpless, hopeless, dejected, or ashamed, and can be extremely sensitive, needing extra “care” from those around him/her. A victim often denies responsibility for their circumstances and feel powerless over their ability to change those circumstances.

The rescuer, in Karpman’s model is characterized as the one that is compelled to freely “help fix” everything. A rescuer sees themselves as the caretaker of others, driven to help others feel good about themselves, often to their detriment.

Oh, the persecutor! Quick to judge and associate blame on others, a persecutor criticizes, blames, and holds others to unachievable expectations.  The persecutor is oppressive, rigid, authoritative, angry, unpleasant, controlling and bullying with threats.

Sound familiar? You might not be one of the three yourself, but I bet you can recognize the drama triangle actors in the people you know.  Understanding the propensity to go to the drama triangle is the first step.  Learning to recognize the triangle and its parts, allow you to deal with the people who regularly “live” there.

Staying in your “wise mind” allows you to see clearly the regression into these roles, either in ourselves or in others.  People fall back to what they know during times of stress or conflict and typically a person resorts to one or more parts of the drama triangle because the “roles” are familiar based on the conditioning they received from their family of origin.   A wise mind is essential to make conscious choices in our relationships and social interactions.

How does the drama triangle play out in real life?

A victim always searches for a rescuer in their life.  The victim seeks someone to save them and if that rescuer fails, the victim will quickly redefine them as a “persecutor’.  A victim typically cannot make decisions, solve problems, feel joy, or understand that they are responsible for their sabotaging behaviors.

The victim stance is a powerful one. The victim is always morally right, neither responsible not accountable, and forever entitled to sympathy.”-unknown

A rescuer is a classic co-dependent or enabler and must “help” their victim while diligently working to ensure they fail on their own. Often a rescuer will use guilt to keep a victim dependent and are often unsettled when they are not in the act of “rescuing”.  Rescuers appear harried, overworked, and tired, acting as a martyr with loads of resentment towards their “victim” and life in general.

“A rescuer isn’t always a person. Addictions to alcohol or drugs, sexual addiction, workaholism- all the ways we numb out- can rescue the victim for feeling his or her own feelings”- David Emerald Womeldorff

Persecutors are inflexible and inhumane.  Unable to be vulnerable, their biggest fear is becoming a victim themselves. Although persecutors yell, point fingers, and criticize, they never actually solve their problems.

Martyrs and persecutors are the same type of man. As to which is the persecutor and which the martyr, this is only a question of transient power.”- Elbert Hubbard

Why is the drama triangle so powerful?

In life you will recognize that people (and maybe yourself) will cycle between all three drama roles, never stepping outside the of triangle. Victims must be “rescued”; rescuers must “save”; persecutors must “blame”.  You may recognize these extreme versions or encounter milder versions of the drama triangle.  Whether extreme or mild, the drama triangle becomes a continuum of people acting out their parts, unable to take responsibility of their part in perpetuating the triangle trap.

Healing Springs Ranch (HSR) uses the drama triangle model as well as many others in their recovery treatment. HSR wants you to experience holistic recovery and places an emphasis on getting to the underlying issues that led you to substance use in the first place. We’ll work with you to understand the “why” behind your addiction to help you overcome it.

The Hero’s Journey

An author and a scholar, Joseph Campbell created what he referred to as “The Hero’s Journey”.  Campbell described the developmental cycle of mankind as an inner transformative journey, a myth that transcends time and place; a path that leads all humans through movements of separation, descent, and challenge-while circling back to do it all over again.

There are twelve points of decision that Campbell identifies on “The Hero’s Journey”-

1. the Ordinary World is what Campbell describes as the starting point.  A world that allows us to know ourselves (the hero) before the journey begins. This is a time of discovery, where you learn about the Hero’s hopes, desires, and challenges.

Every life, story, or myth experiences a challenge that disrupts the Ordinary World, and to restore balance, one seeks to find a resolution to the challenge. The Ordinary World (the hero’s home) and the Special World represent contrast.

2. The Special World signifies a call to adventure.  The call to adventure represents a challenge or a quest that one must experience.  Most people resist the call to adventure but there are consequences of rejection. The Special World is one of uncertainty and unbalance, the unknown.  The Hero may reject several calls but the only way to escape is to meet the challenge.  There are times when the Hero must choose between two Conflicting Calls.

3. It is human nature to resist what we fear, the unknown, and facing our insecurities. Campbell calls this the Refusal of the Call to Adventure. The safety of the Ordinary World without risks, danger, or failure is preferred but with each Refused Call, the stakes increase until the Hero has no choice but to accept the Call.

4. Your Mentor is someone that helps navigate your journey and is not always someone you meet in person. A Mentor guides The Hero towards confidence and insight, offering advice and training, to overcome fears of the adventure. The Mentor may be a person, an object, or an inner strength and has the experience and wisdom to survive the challenges of the Special World.

5. When the Hero accepts the journey, he has Crossed the Threshold between the Ordinary World and the Special World. This phase is about confronting fears and challenges. Facing fears and accepting challenges force the Hero into acting.

6. The Hero is tested in the Threshold phase, by learning how conditions and people change. The Hero is challenged to identify who and what can be trusted. The Hero prepares for the what is yet to come is this stage.

7. The inner conflict with the treasure payoff as The Hero breaks through to the other side.  The Inner conflict stage is what The Hero fears most.  This stage, The Hero utilizes all that he has learned to overcome his greatest fear within the Special World.

8. This stage is when The Hero engages in the Ordeal, the life-or-death crisis, facing his greatest fears and confronting his biggest challenges. The Ordeal is central and essential to any Journey.

9. The Reward can be physical, knowledge or love, it is achieving inner change. Whatever the treasure, the Hero has earned the right to celebrate.

10. The road back and the decision to return to the ordinary world. A Hero’s success in the Special World may make it difficult to return to the Ordinary World. Like Crossing the Threshold, The Road Back, needs an event that will push the Hero through the Threshold, back into the Ordinary World. The Event may be an internal decision that must be made by the Hero

11. Resurrection- death and darkness are addressed one more time. Transformation. Enlightening experience.

12. Return with the treasure with a new understanding. The Hero uses the lessons learned in his adventure; personal growth, love, wisdom, freedom or knowledge. 

Overcoming this final challenge shows The Hero what he must know and do to survive, and he takes that back with him when he returns to the Ordinary World. The Hero’s Journey repeats until he has what it takes to overcome any challenge. 

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