Monday, February 15, 2016

Are You Your Worst Enemy? Why We Self-Sabotage

Have you ever said to yourself; “I always attract crazies”, “I hate drama, but I’m always surrounded by it”, “I can’t seem to get my life together,” “I have to do what they say or they will not like/love me,” “I’ll never date again.”  All of these statements are self-sabotaging and can have unforeseen negative consequences on your life and mental health.   

Self-sabotage is a combination of negative feelings, negative thoughts, and self-defeating behaviors.  Self-sabotage is caused by low self-esteem and low self-worth.  So, you say you don’t have low self-esteem, well a falsely inflated sense of self-worth is also self- sabotage.  When allowed to fester and grown low self-esteem and low self-worth, initially create little speed bumps that grow into speed humps and eventually into full roadblocks in your life. 

You are engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors when you are working on achieving your goals, and suddenly come to a standstill with no apparent rational explanation, or suddenly lose momentum and seem to be stuck in a holding pattern.  This feeling of being stuck, in a rut, trapped, or walking up the down escalator is Self-sabotage at work.  Self-sabotage is not about lack of desire, skill or ability, rather something unconsciously stops you from moving forward.

Would you describe yourself as your own worst enemy? When you engage in self-sabotaging behaviors, you are your worst enemy.  Does it seem as if you are continuously working against yourself? Do you get stuck in what seems like an endless circle that goes absolutely nowhere?  Does it seem as if you continue to do the same things over and over again?  Do you continuously seek out partners that are not good for you?  Do you continuously make excuses why you can’t pursue an opportunity that interests you? 

Self-sabotaging behavior may be easier to understand once you accept that the behavior is a form of self- protection.   Self-sabotaging is rooted in fear and we unconsciously sabotage situations to protect ourselves from being emotionally hurt.  While this behavior can be common and is one way our unconscious tries to protect us, it is unhealthy and can lead to negative consequences. 
For some, self-sabotaging behavior has been repeatedly rationalized and made second nature by person engaging in it, to the point that they often don’t know that it is happening.  The subconscious nature of self-sabotage makes it dangerous.  Through rationalization we often assume that self-sabotaging behaviors are actually strengthening our position in life, or with others. 

Here is a brief list of self-sabotaging behaviors: 

  • Procrastination
  • Negative self-talk
  • Swearing off relationships
  • Talking yourself out of going to social events
  • Frequent tardiness
  • Inability to finish what is started
  • Inability to control anger
  • Seeking or staying in abusive/volatile relationships
  • Believing that failure or success can define your self-worth
  • Consistently Focusing on what others think about you
  • Impulsivity
  • Allowing yourself to be uses
  • Negative self-talk (put downs)
  • Always putting other’s needs ahead of your own
  • Ignoring your physical health
  • Procrastinating on pursuing the job or degree you want
  • Living a crisis/drama driven life

Do you engage in any of these self-sabotaging behaviors?

How can you deal with self-sabotage?  Honesty is always the best policy.  Guilt, fear, shame, and needing to be a perfectionist are all poor motivators of change.  It is important to be able to not only identify, but acknowledge and accept that you engage in self-sabotaging behaviors.

After acknowledging your self-sabotaging behaviors, it is time to rethink your approach.  Unchecked negative thinking and negative self-talk are almost always the start of self-defeating and self-sabotaging behaviors.  It is important to hear what messages your inner voice are sending.  You want to exchange your negative self-talk with positive affirming goal oriented alternatives. For example, instead of allowing fear and anxiety to sabotage your life by making excuses of why you can’t attend a social event with friends, tell yourself how much fun you will have with your friends and the intrinsic rewards of attending the event.   

Through each experience you will gain wisdom and the potential for success.  When slip-ups occur, immediately reassess the problem, modify your behavior and proceed in a different way.   It is important to be willing to give up your secondary gain of protection for a more positive gain. 

When dealing with self-sabotaging behaviors it can be very beneficial to seek the assistance of a licensed therapist, to assist in your change process. 

I would love to hear about your experiences with self-sabotaging behaviors and your journey to overcome them. 

For more information about Self-sabotaging behaviors visit Concierge & VIP Counseling.  Please find us on Facebook or Twitter for relevant material and motivation @PSYCHConcierge.  You can also access our entire gallery of FREE picture Quotes on FLICKR by clicking here please link back to our website


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