“The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
This popular quote, which was attributed to Albert Einstein but is likely from an unknown author, is an extremely popular way to describe a common human behavior – namely, the willingness of otherwise cognitively sound people to continue to repeat the same failed action over and over again and hope for something different.
While there is some truth to the idea that a person that frequently makes the same choices without a willingness to change may have challenges, “insanity” does not mean that a person necessarily has a pathology. So when does a problem become pathological?
How to Know When an Issue is a Pathology
There is a difference between bad decision making and a true pathology. Many people become convinced that something they have tried and failed to do before will work “this time” even if there is no evidence that it will. That does not mean they are “insane.”
But a person can have a pathology when there is subjective distress and functional impairment as a result of that behavior. The problem isn’t the action. The problem is whether or not the action has a negative effect on a person’s life, whether it’s their emotional outlook or their professional/personal one. It is a question of functional impairment, rather than a question of poor decision making.
Let a Professional Psychologist Determine Functional Impairment
It is also important to remember that there is no substitute for speaking with a professional. After all, even determining functional impairment can be challenging without first consulting a psychologist that has experience asking the right questions and determining your mental wellness from the answers.
Often a psychologist, like those at Long Island Psychology, can help you better understand yourself, make an assessment of the pathological nature of the behavior, and determine whether or not you are truly living with some type of impairment or if perhaps it is a perfectly normal and functioning response to the experiences that you’ve had.
If you feel like you may be stuck repeating the same actions over and over, please consider calling our team of psychologists today for an assessment, and let Long Island Psychology help you determine where you really are in life.