We work from where we are strong. Always.
So our egoic “defensive structure” is built on our strengths, in accordance with how we experienced things as small children — often under enormous pressure from those who had power over us to “give ourselves up” and lose our integrity.
So don’t look at your “self-defeating patterns” as something perverse. You created them from your genius, and you survived. Stop fighting those patterns and explore them for the talents they contain. You may very-well find that what seems to be your worst pattern turns out to contain your greatest assets when the task of “purification” has progressed. So don’t despair.
Look less at the outward behavior and more at the underlying qualities and capacities in the pattern.
There might be a hypervigilance for a certain thing in the environment, or perhaps an unwillingness to compromise something in yourself, or perhaps you’re guarding something very tender for which there historically wasn’t acceptance in the people around you.
All of what you find, when consciously engaged, can be tremendous assets in your life now.
In other words, turn it on its head; look at how it was *right* at one time, and what need it was answering — and how that may still be the case in some way.
The most difficult patterns we face were actually solutions to earlier problems. Our egos aren’t going to give them up until there’s something better to put in their place.
That “something better” can come from several directions. One direction is consciously engaging the pattern instead of judging/fighting it, and keenly observing how it works: what triggers it, what your psychodynamic process is, and deliberately acting it out so that it will disclose its intention & mechanics. In this, you’ll also regain control of the pattern and can choose or not-choose it.
Another is to do the work of expanding your felt-identity — and that’s a key phrase — so that the sensation of “you” becomes larger and larger, encompassing not only that of you which is body & mind, but which is transcendent and self-subsisting outside of time & space and which is actually existentiating the local-spacetime ‘you’ at every moment. This is the task and purpose of authentic spiritual practice, and your so-called “self-defeating pattern” will just collapse when your felt-sense of identity makes it irrelevant.