We all know those people who like to get away with it, whatever ‘it’ is. It is the act of not getting caught for some questionable behaviour, whether that is not paying your bill or fine; getting something for free that you should have paid for, such as with shoplifting or receiving someone else’s goods; doing something illegal on the road and not getting fined; cheating on a partner; lying; the list is endless. Let’s look at this interesting mindset that hinges on the excitement that goes with getting away with it.

The Thrill of Getting Away With It

Helen was someone who liked to get away with things. While this is not the reason for her consultation with me, it became clear that she needed this thrill of escaping consequences in order to feel a sense of control over her own life. Her behaviour was compulsive in this way, like an addiction. If she did not try and get away with something, she would simply feel defeated.

None of her career goals had come to fruition. She compared herself to others constantly, with distressing results; and at the same time, she felt as though she was owed. So while she acted out of abject disappointment, she also believed that she was entitled.

Helen would get away with driving offences, lying to family members; even manipulating a family inheritance; withholding information from her siblings such as old family photos; receiving others’ goods and not returning them; falsifying her taxation records; and the list continues. While she described some of these acts, she justified her behaviour as though she had good cause. This is because her behaviour was based on an underlying belief that she deserves more; and she felt that way because she was unhappy with herself.

The problem was that there would never be enough for Helen, because the empty void cannot be filled by taking from others, or avoiding consequences. In fact avoidance is what put Helen in this position in the first place. Rather than take responsibility for her own success, Helen blamed everyone else for the lack of it. Helen’s deep seeded disappointment in herself was perpetuating her behaviour, but she failed to recognise it because it was masked underneath the belief of entitlement.

Bonnie Gets Away with It

Bonnie was a client who came to see me, having been referred by one of her friends, a satisfied customer. The session went very well and I set out a plan for helping Bonnie to achieve her goals of quitting smoking over two following sessions. We discussed the next appointment and she left. I sent Bonnie her invoice for the package and I heard no reply. A few days later she texted to say that her son was at home with Covid and she could not plan for the next session. I said “fine, but please pay for the session already done”. She ignored my reply.

I began to feel as though Bonnie had no intention of paying for her session. I sent a reminder. Still no reply. And then I realised that Bonnie someone who needs to get away with it in order to feel good. Smoking addiction, as was Bonnie’s case, is sometimes a depression needing a quick fix. Likewise, getting away with it provides that quick, ‘upper’, fix.

It is unfortunate that I will not be seeing Bonnie again to assist her with her issues, which run far deeper than nicotine. It is only when Bonnie overcomes her depression that she will overcome her grabbing behaviour and smoking addiction. I now take payments up front.

You can understand how depression and low self-worth are often at the root of a need to get away with it. Both can be temporarily satisfied with a quick fix, by providing the person with a sense of being in control by getting away with something, in their otherwise out-of-control world.

If you are running on a feeling of being out of control, having low self-worth or any other psychologically based condition, we can help. Horizons Clinical Hypnotherapy Sunshine Coast.