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Most People Self Sabotage In Subtle Or Big Ways Let’s Take A Look

I didn’t think I engaged in any real self sabotage because I imagined self sabotaging as far more egregious than it actually has to be. I thought it was something like drinking the night before a big presentation and being too hungover to get there the next day. In reality, it can be subtle but still very damaging. There’s so much in our behaviors that qualifies as self sabotaging that it’s worth investigating what it is and why people do it.

Do you engaging in self sabotaging? Do you start climbing that stairway to heaven and trip on the third rung over and over? What about choosing friends that put you down instead of raising you up? Tripping yourself up when you want something really badly is normal, and most people engage in some form of it in their lifetime. For example do you experience fear of success or think you don’t deserve to get the brass ring? The trick is to identify that you are ambivalent or fearful or lack self-esteem just at the moment you need the confidence to shine. If you notice the behaviors and consequences, you can learn to turn your self talk around and make better choices.

Self Sabotage Meaning

Basically, it’s behavior that hurts you and subtly, or not so subtly, prevents you from reaching your goals, or attracting the things and relationships you think you want. For example, perfectionism, procrastination, self-criticism, poor self-care, and drug or alcohol abuse. These behaviors can cause trouble with family, personal relationships, work, finances, and more.

You may fight with someone or cause drama out of insecurity and in turn, it eventually causes people to get frustrated with you. Are you unaware that you’re doing it to self sabotage? Every time someone disappoints you, you may think it’s more evidence that you are unlikeable. Thus, fulfilling the cycle that you’re a mess. Maybe you don’t take good care of yourself and because of that, romantic relationships don’t work out. You don’t take care of yourself because you don’t think it will help. Then your partner leaves and you’re convinced you are not good enough, completing the self sabotage circle. Bad partner choices, picking fights, putting yourself down, these are all forms of self sabotage.

Why Do People Self-Sabotage?

In layman’s terms, because deep down you don’t think you’re good enough. You might have been raised with abuse or have low self-esteem and subconsciously engage in behaviors that will reinforce this inner belief. It comes down to distorted beliefs about yourself. If you don’t think you’re capable or worthy, then all this dysfunctional behavior at work and home will cause consequences that reinforce your beliefs.

Biggest Offenders For People Who Self Sabotage

  • Patterns learned in childhood
  • Past relationships
  • Fear of failure
  • A need to control

You Can Help Yourself By Identifying How You Trip Yourself Up

The absolute first thing you can do to help yourself stop self sabotaging behavior is to figure out which behaviors you engage in that are destructive. Information is power and once You see what you’re doing and how it affects our life, you’re more apt to stop it. So, pay attention to what makes you uncomfortable. Do you tend to leave relationships when people get too close? Are you a micromanager of everyone at work because you think you can do it better? Do you pick fights with loved ones and then feel terrible about it? Recognize the signs!

Know Your Triggers

The second thing to do once you’ve identified the behavior is to look at what sets it off. What are the triggers that make you react badly? Maybe a tone in someone’s voice triggers you back to being yelled at as a child. Maybe seeing a partner smile at their phone makes you believe they are cheating if someone has been unfaithful to you before. Boredom and discomfort are huge triggers for many people too. Try keeping a journal to see if there are patterns around the triggers or times of the year.

Do You Need Help

Next, determine if the situation requires help. There are plenty of people who seek therapy for self-sabotaging if they struggle with quitting the behaviors. Even if professional help isn’t the answer, having someone you can talk to (who understands) is incredibly helpful and will keep you from feeling alone with this. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a big part of recovery, so the sooner you start practicing sitting in those feelings, the better.

Clarify What You Want

Finally, knowing what you want in life and having clear goals and progress points will help chart the way. Sometimes vagueness in itself is a form of self-sabotage. Paint a clear picture of what you want for your career, relationships, home life, and whatever else comes up for you. To wrap-up, self-sabotage needs addressing. Examine your behavior, make changes where you can, minimize triggers and give yourself a clear pathway to follow. Good luck and go follow your friggin’ dreams.

Check out my book 100
Tips For Growing Up

100 tips for growing up woman reading in bathtub

Take this test from Psychology Today to see if you engage in any self-sabotaging behavior.

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Lindsey Glass

Lindsey Glass is the co-founder of Reach Out Recovery. Her 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World Of Recovery, has helped to lift the stigma from addiction and recovery and is used in recovery programs nationwide to show what life is like on the other side of addiction. Lindsey's teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, was distributed to PBS stations nationwide by American Public Television in 2014-15. Lindsey has written dozens of popular articles on recovery. She is a recovery advocate and frequent keynote speaker. Lindsey is the author of 100 Tips for Growing Up, My 20 Years of Recovery, 2019. Before focusing on recovery, Lindsey was a TV and screenwriter. She has worked in publishing, web development, and marketing.

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