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Stop Self-Sabotaging

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Are you doing it? Are you self-sabotaging?

Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in daily life and interferes with long-standing goals.

We self-sabotage in a variety of ways:

  • We procrastinate

  • We ignore important tasks and responsibilities

  • We fill our time with empty or mindless endeavours

  • We don't assert or enforce healthy boundaries

  • We tromp over other people's boundaries

  • We indulge impulses at the expense of longer term and more important goals

  • We break commitments to ourselves and others

  • We allow people to care-take us

  • We say yes when we mean no

  • We spend time with people who don't ask that we be our best selves

  • We medicate with food, alcohol or substances

  • We engage in self-destructive coping behaviors and habits

  • We fail to ask for what we want

  • We avoid speaking our truth

  • We avoid healthy confrontation/communication

  • We choose the easy path

  • We lie to ourselves and others

  • We live in perpetual crisis or on the brink of eminent doom

  • We ignore or fail to nurture important relationships

  • We ignore our instincts

  • We don't fight for what we believe in

  • We make choices we know will offend/injure others

  • We seek vengeance to feel better

  • We become untrustworthy (because we don't trust ourselves)

  • We project our own faults, insecurities, and lack of trustworthiness onto others

Self-sabotage is typically unconscious as well as unintentional. It is driven by that critical inner voice that tells us we're not good enough, not worthy, and not lovable.

Whatever form it takes, self-sabotage is at its core a manifestation of a deep lack of self-respect, self-esteem, self-trust, and self-love. A critical inner voice typically emerges as a coping skill to navigate messages we received from our parents or primary caregivers that we were either "the golden child" who was better-than than everyone else (whoa - an impossible expectation and standard to live up to!), or the scapegoat who never quite measured up and somehow rated as less-than other family members or peers. As years go by and we synthesize these messages and the resulting critical inner voices often lead us to recreate dynamics from our early life in our adult life. We create a vicious cycle of situations or "tests" where these self-sabotaging behaviors confirm our own worst fears about ourselves.

If somehow you feel on a deep, subconscious level that you don’t deserve happiness/love/success and you engage in a pattern of self-sabotaging to keep yourself below your real potential, you will settle for a life that confirms the way you see yourself: unworthy and not good enough. Self-sabotaging is, in effect, giving up: in a really twisted way, giving up feels somehow feels easier than facing failure (and even, sometimes success!).

Our self-sabotaging loops are designed so we will fail and then we can maintain these beliefs and continue to play small.

Here's an interesting TedX talk about self-sabotage:

If you're willing to identify and explore your patterns and take an honest look at your critical inner voices, there is hope you can break the cycle of self-sabotage.


To help, I've created an exclusive, FREE worksheet including 18 steps to help you stop self-sabotaging - I'd love to send it to you!


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