Steps to Burnout

Some more insight from Driscoll:

Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger and his colleague Gail North have
divided the path to burnout into twelve steps. These steps do not
necessarily follow one another in order. Some people skip some steps,
go through several at the same time, or experience them in various

  1. A compulsion to prove oneself (commitment to win no matter what)
  2. Working harder (feeling irreplaceable they buckle down, raise personal expectations, and take on more and more responsibility)
  3. Neglecting their needs (eating, sleeping, playing are sacrificed for performance)
  4. Displacement of conflicts (something is wrong but I’m unsure what)
  5. Revision of values (friends, hobbies, and fun are dismissed)
  6. Denial of emerging problems (cynism, anger, and despising of others for being stupid, lazy, demanding, and undisciplined)
  7. Withdrawal (socially withdrawn, loss of hope and direction, pursuit of sinful relief such as drugs, sex, or alcohol)
  8. Obvious behavior changes (shy, apathetic, depressed, haggard)
  9. Depersonalization (lose contact with self, life becomes meaningless and mechanical)
  10. Inner emptiness (often overcompensated for with oversexing, overeating, drug and alcohol abuse in place of leisure time)
  11. Depression (indifferent, hopeless, exhausted, life loses meaning and everything from agitation to apathy sets in)
  12. Burnout (suicidal thoughts and/or obsession with heaven, physical and mental collapse, need for medical help)

Dr. Tim Spivey is Pastor of New Vintage Church in Escondido, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on numerous websites, including:, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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