How do you change self-defeating behaviour when you don't know what it is? Simple really, when you know how. It's a bit like quantum physics (I think, but I could be wrong here). In quantum science they have had to test for things by assuming they are there and then working from that assumption. Its the same with patterns of behaviour. If you assume there is one and act to change it, you'll soon find out if it existed or not.
People often say that they 'won't give in'. They come up with all sorts of reasons. The problem can be that sometimes we need to placate the other person before we can have a proper discussion that will lead to understanding. By contrast, it's also common to overuse placation to keep the peace. This is a short term strategy that creates two losers.
Lamenting your lack of progress can become a pattern, to a point where you give up. Stick to the steps you know you must take.
If a conversation is stuck in a well-worn groove it might be time to give it a nudge. While it's polite to listen, it helps no-one to keep going over the same old ground.