Most of life is filled with two-choice dilemmas. For the most part, which of the two choices we pick will actualize who we are, as we go. Our choices—all of them—begin to define us as people. A creative person may cobble together a combination of parts of those two choices or sometimes compromise parts of those two choices, to achieve a later higher goal, but he (or she) will still reckon with the two choices, i.e. deal with the parameters of reality as is. In other words, a mentally healthy individual won’t try to defy gravity, moonlight, or sunlight. He/she lives in the light of such immovables.
Conversely, your tell-tale sign of dealing with a person who routinely escapes reality will be to note that that person will not reckon with boundaries, at all. He/she will attempt to finagle his/her way around them, live as if they didn’t exist, or delay his/her confrontation with them on purpose, indefinitely. Often this sort prefers to run—either psychologically, physically, or both. Leaving town might be his/her answer to everything—or leaving relationships might do it for him/her, too. If he/she is out of control financially he/she may hurry to take bankruptcy as the path of least personal pain.
He/she is a master at washing his/her hands of any implications or any nod toward even his/her own future. In other words, he/she will not submit to life as it is. His/her bolder methods of escape may include any number of options: drinking, self-sabotage, delay, drugs. (His/her ultimate way of escape, of course, is suicide. For many, though, the self-love is so strong that that avenue of problem-solving is not seriously entertained in his/her arsenal of defenses, except to feign it to exert a manipulation, if needed. For others it is a real option.)
If you know of someone who seems eel-like to deal with, or who flairs (i.e. goes ballistic, or punishes you someway) when coming under real parameters or having to face real boundaries, you no doubt have some of this going on. The best solution is to pit his/her outcomes against himself/herself. Alcoholics may find their last hope in an outside intervention. For other types of humans’ problems, the routes back to health aren’t so clean and obvious. Nonetheless, one thing is for sure: he/she will not deal with himself to please you. It has to sting and sting badly in his/her own psyche to be of any value for a turn-around. Therefore, hunt for nailing those issues and having those discussions. Remove yourself from the middle of their equation; you’ll have more peace of mind and the other person will be forced to face his/her own dilemma sooner.