When you combine RCP (relationship control phobia), self-image distortion, and stress hypersensitivity you create a swirling mixture of inconsistent actions. Low self-esteem, self-hatred, and hair-trigger anger (and panic) which can lead you to develop the final behavior in the Borderline Zone: an excessive need for impulsive gratification, i.e, the gratification that is obtained through overindulgence in pleasure or pain.
Are acts of impulsive gratification really the best way to soothe your agony? Perhaps, but your feelings and needs can drive you hard. You may feel cheated by your childhood, tormented by your life. You seek instant relief. You have learned that immediate actions can be effective soothers in the short term. Nevertheless, you will find out later that it is a double-edged sword that becomes both the cause and consequence of many of your daily struggles.
Impulsiveness is doing something without taking the time to think through the consequences of your actions and how those consequences will affect you and your lifestyle.
Impulsiveness occurs when you choose to do something that promises an immediate reward, relief, pleasure, or distraction over something that requires sustained effort in order to attain an equal or larger reward or pleasure. The thoughtless action also exemplifies your choice to escape a problem through the indulgence of pleasure or painful activities without taking the time to address the larger issue at hand.
Gratification is the procurement of satisfaction or relief. It can take the form of pleasurable or painful (this includes fearful) activities.
Examples of impulsive gratification include getting drunk to avoid dealing with the loss of a job, then as a result you crash your car and are arrested for drunk driving. Making purchases with money you need to pay basic expenses such as rent or food and later, overwhelmed by your thoughts and feelings, become hospitalized.
In each of these examples, a distraction in the form of pleasure or pain was used to either avoid an unpleasant situation or set of feelings or to satisfy an urge for an immediate release.
Important Questions to Consider:
- What is the underlying cause for impulsive gratification? It is most commonly caused by poor decision-making skills and an attitude of neediness.
- How/when are effective decision-making skills developed? Said skills are learned during the early years of development. If childhood needs are reasonably satisfied, those children do not become excessively needy adults. Children who learn how to delay gratification by making planned-out choices can become fairly successful students, athletes, parents, employees, professionals, or business owners.
- In what ways may children be hindered in their ability to delay gratification as adults? The more demanding the goal, the more success depends on being able to work long hours for very little immediate reward. Children whose basic psychological needs have not been met will, as adults, experience an overwhelming and poorly defined sense of emptiness.
- What occurs years after when a child’s needs are unsatisfied? Dr. Carl Jung (1953) once wrote, “A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one.” The childhood emptiness expresses constant satisfaction and encourages kids to make impulsive decisions in order to meet a perpetual need for unmet attention. These instant decisions make success in life an impossible fantasy.
If any of these four questions sound familiar to you, take the opportunity to speak with a BlueSky Behavioral Health expert today. Let it be known that how you are feeling is experienced by countless others, and there is no reason for you to continue to live your life in a heightened state of frustration.
If you would like to further your education on Impulsive Gratification check out part 2 of this article on the final stage of the Borderline Zone.