Lucifer Syndrome or Inverted Self-sabotage

Lucifer Syndrome or Inverted Self-sabotage

SWe ole to believe many contradictory things and this is the result of the very nature of the human mind. Robert Kurzban

  • Robert, He is a man who has struggled to achieve success in the media. When I was a child I listened to the radio and thought that one day I could be someone very well known in the middle. Through constant effort and tireless preparation he has reached the place where he once dreamed of being. However, now that he has created his own style, which is even the envy of some of his companions, he does not need someone to put obstacles in the way putting at risk what it took him many years to build and is about to destroy it himself.
  • Daniela, She is a woman who had a childhood without economic worries, nor socialization. She was a very dear and spoiled girl by her parents and close relatives. He got used to believing that everyone has an easy life and can quickly achieve everything that is proposed. Today, you can buy the material goods you want, when you go to the mall, you like to buy bags and clothes from fashion designers, regardless of their price. His life is worry free, that causes him great satisfaction, he achieves every one of the things he proposes. And, right now, she feels paradoxically frustrated.
  • Antonio, He is a successful lawyer. It is the pride of his family. He grew up in a family where no one had achieved a university degree. Both parents were alcoholics and did not go to the best schools of the course. However, he specialized in an area of ​​his profession. Now that he has a life without financial worries or addictions, he is about to leave the office because his working life has become routine and he stopped being exciting for him.
  • Rita He always dreamed of having a career, standing out in his professional area, having children, a house, a dog, learning languages, traveling around the world and of course having a partner to love and grow old together. She has a dream family and she feels proud of herself because every goal she sets her achieves. However, today that she has achieved her own paradise she feels happy and in the paradox she feels that anyone can do it and at the same time she feels disappointed.

What do all these people have in common?. They have a very special talent to achieve what they want, either because they strive to have it or because they are naturally visionary and achieve the proposed goals or because they convert the disadvantages into advantages and are resilient. However, they also share a paradox: once they have built their paradise they unconsciously tend to sabotage it and many times to destroy it. This is what I personally call: Lucifer Syndrome (SDL) or inverted self-sabotage (AI).


Talking about Lucifer generally leads us to the idea of ​​things of the devil. However, I will briefly explain the concept to know the use related to this syndrome proposal:

Etymologically, Lucifer It comes from the Latin lux (light and fierce (porting), so it is often said that the meaning of the name is “light bearer" The name originates and has become popular from the Latin versions of the Bible. In Christian mythology, Lucifer was the brightest angel, who he rebelled against God and was expelled from paradise to become Satan or Satan (Church of Satan, S / f). According to Christian tradition, Lucifer represents the fallen angel, example of beauty and wisdom, to whom pride led to darkness (ABC, 2018).

Boris Cyrulnik (2003), in his book "The Ugly Ducklings", makes an interesting allusion about balance and Lucifer, mentioning in this regard: "For a long time I have wondered what an angel could rebel against if everything is perfect in paradise. Until the day I understood that would rebel against perfection”.

To rebel against the good, the balance of the perfect is almost inconceivable and more when we have built paradise ourselves.

In his polarized dichotomous Lucifer image, he synthesizes light, wisdom, goodness and at the same time the shadow and evil. For the pedagogical purposes of this article is the collision of Our virtues and our defects. They are our values ​​and antivalores. It is the angel and the devil who advise and discuss us. It is the struggle of our own good and our own evil. Where acts of destruction are only present where the highest scales of our own goals are reached.


  • 1 Etiology
  • 2 Lucifer Syndrome (SDL) or Inverted Self-sabotage (AI):
  • 3 Why does this happen?
  • 4 What is a syndrome? The difference between symptom and sign
  • 5 Suggestions for change


Like almost all human behaviors, it has a multifactorial origin, which is developed in parental parenting styles aimed at achieving goals and socially desirable motivators of society (being a good person, getting married, having children, a business or being successful in some area of ​​life). And, be highly resilient in some other cases.

On the one hand, in the family imprint some people are highly motivated by family members to achieve their own goals. And on the other, they are the individuals who naturally feel motivated to achieve the goals of their dreams and fight for them. Then then, you can distinguish at least two different routes that lead to the same place. Some people who are motivated by the family that serves as a model to achieve their life goals and others who are self-motivated to obtain their goals either by fleeing from a reality that they do not like and struggle to achieve their dreams and make them come true.

In both ways, some with the support of the family and others in spite of the little family support, they have social features in common, which correspond to what is known as the culture of effort, they are: persevering, tenacious, committed, disciplined, passionate and they fight full time to achieve their ideals.

What you do is a result of context, social neuroscience says that the brain influences the environment and the environment in the brain.

Lucifer Syndrome (SDL) or Inverted Self-sabotage (AI):

  • It is not the existential void, where there is that feeling that something is always needed,
  • Nor is the impostor syndrome, where the person feels the inability to enjoy or believe their own achievements,
  • It is not self-deception, where we appear one thing, but we are another,
  • Nor is it self-sabotage, where:
    • people act more for fear of failure coupled with ridicule,
    • or the negative internal dialogue, aimed at boycotting any attempt at success,
    • neither are the destructive self-criticisms that prevent reaching the goals,
    • not even the inability to be illiterate or ignorant in emotional intelligence.

People with Lucifer Syndrome (SDL) or Inverted Self-sabotage (AI): they live with the duality of creating for themselves: a cosmos and then a chaos, enthalpy and once achieved the entropy balance, a paradise and then a hell. In the paradox it is as if we get tired of such perfection. That is why I call it Inverted Self-sabotage, because right at the moment of achieving all the ideals or goals big or small, they tend to destroy them, abort them or discard them, but they are stopped in time.

We are more angel than demon. However, only when our maximum ideals are reached, does our own demon make himself throw everything away.

Why does this happen?

The brain has paradoxes, the Evolutionary Psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania Robert Kurzban, has studied brain modularity, and concludes that mutually incompatible beliefs coexist in our brain. The same brain can harbor two contradictory beliefs on the same issue and this is because the mind is composed of different parts (Punset, 2012).

What is a syndrome? The difference between symptom and sign

Psychology studies behaviors, in human beings are all things that a person does: sleep, laugh, walk, dream, build, destroy, in short, the universe of activities is very, very wide.

An official definition of the Syndrome concept, brings along other concepts such as the symptoms and the signs. However, it is also related to other concepts such as disease and disorder. By the way, in their colloquial use in general they are associated as synonyms and they are not.

Let's analyze the following:

  • Syndrome: set symptoms and signs that are usually due to a single cause (or set of related causes) and together indicate a particular physical or mental illness or disorder. Also called symptom complex (APA, 2010). A syndrome is a set of symptoms that occur together and that has been previously studied and, therefore, has been identified as a clinical picture linked to one or several health problems. So that, in a syndrome there are a number of symptoms that occur together very frequently. However, the symptoms that make up a syndrome can vary over time and therefore it can disappear (Torres, 2019). Although a syndrome presents a set of symptoms which describe a clinical picture, not all symptoms are always present in all patients and some of these symptoms can occur acutely, chronically or even sometimes they can reach disappear.
  • Symptom: is any deviation from normal functioning that is considered an indicator of a physical or mental disorder. A recognized pattern of symptoms constitutes a syndrome (APA, 2010). The concept allows you to name the signal or indication of something that is happening or will happen in the future. In the field of medicine, a symptom is a phenomenon that reveals a disease. The symptom is referred in a subjective way by the patient when he perceives something abnormal in his body. Nausea, dizziness, dystermia and drowsiness are symptoms of different conditions (, 2019).
  • Sign: objective and observable indicator of a disorder or disease (APA, 2010).

Nevertheless, the presence of a symptom does not necessarily mean having a disease.

In the paradox the symptoms present in people with Lucifer Syndrome (SDL) are a mixture of basically positive behaviors, but when they reach their goals or ideals they can self-sabotage them:

  • They are positive people who believe in themselves.
  • They have high self-esteem.
  • They see the best of themselves and, therefore, of others.
  • Come opportunities instead of obstacles.
  • They focus on solutions.
  • They are generally obsequious.
  • They seek to learn from everything and everyone.
  • They are persistent, capable, tenacious, visionary, committed, disciplined, passionate and fight for their ideals.
  • They seek support whenever they need it.
  • In general they know their virtues and their defects.
  • They are aware that nothing in life is permanent, everything happens.
  • They learn from mistakes.
  • They set goals, seek coherence and measure their progress.
  • Against obstacles they look for alternative solutions, they are resilient.
  • In the great paradox when they achieve their highest ideals, they can try to sabotage them themselves

Suggestions for change

  • Parenting styles have great influence for later development to achieve success or failure in life, but the context and personal motivations transcend them and are able to achieve the highest aspirations of the subjects.
  • Integrating and knowing our virtues and defects are a task that cannot be left aside. From Jung's point of view it is to make our shadow conscious so that we are not reverted
  • If you have built your own Paradise and have the fear of turning it into hell, consult your trusted therapist.


ABC (2018) The darkest myths of Satan, the fallen angel that does not reign in hell, accessed July 7, 2019, online: // satanas-angel-fallen-not-queen-hell-201703280058_noticia.html

APA (2010) Concise Dictionary of Psychology, Editorial el Manual Moderno, México.

Cyrulnik B. (2003) Ugly ducklings (Resilience: an unhappy childhood does not determine life), Editorial Gedisa, Mexico

Definition of (2019) Definition of disorder, accessed on February 17, 2019, online: //

Church of Satan (s / f) Who is Lucifer ?, accessed July 7, 2019, online: //

Punset E. (2012) Punset explores the functioning of the mind Language is designed to confuse us, rtve, accessed July 7, 2019, online: // -to-confuse us / 508771.shtml

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