Self Sabotage: How to Stop Sabotaging Yourself

What is self sabotage?

Self-sabotage is an act tending to hinder an achievement through unconscious manipulations directed towards oneself. The goal of self-sabotage is to stay within the comfort zone, within which everything is easy or, at least, predictable. It is also a type of defense mechanism through which the person tries to avoid possible challenges, future suffering, stressful or unfamiliar situations.

According to Enrique Monforte, (psychologist and Master in child clinical psychopedagogy), self-sabotage is unconscious behavior that usually appears at important moments or major changes in our lives and that prevents us from achieving our goals.

For example, when you have the opportunity to apply for a job of your dreams, but you do not even try due to fear of rejection, because you do not think you are capable. You convince yourself that it is not such a good opportunity.

Self-sabotage takes the form of doubts, thoughts, or false arguments that lead us to hinder ourselves. That is why it is so difficult to identify and overcome it because we convince ourselves of the veracity of our reasoning.

Following the previous example, you convince yourself that you did not apply for the job because it was not such a good opportunity, when, even if it is deep down, you know that you did not do it for fear of not being selected.

The goal of self-sabotage is to stay within our comfort zone, within which everything is easy, or at least predictable.

In most cases, feelings such as fear and indecision paralyze and disguise themselves as rational arguments, for example; “I’m not going into power”, “what am I going to do next”, and “if I regret it”, etc.

Although it is true that at certain times the circumstances really are not favorable to us, and therefore our ability to make decisions is compromised; which is logical but to a certain extent expected point. But there are also many occasions, in which we are the main obstacle. Since we allow our fears to grow and become eventual monsters: Monsters, that seem unbearable and insurmountable; monsters that we ourselves let grow.

Self-sabotage and all those behaviors that are related to it are unconscious acts that sometimes appear at moments that may represent a big change in our lives. These behaviors tend to hinder the achievement of goals or achievements through self-manipulations of equally unconscious.

Causes of Self sabotage:

self sabotage
self-sabotage Image from Unsplash (Susan Wilkinson)

There is a myriad of possible causes of self-sabotage. Having in count the causes, and making them more aware every day, it will be easier for you to avoid them. These causes can be:

  • Have trouble prioritizing goals
  • Lack of self-control
  • High pressures during childhood
  • Low self-esteem
  • Objectives imposed by third parties
  • Fear of failure
  • The Fear of not living up to the expectations of others
  • Fear of change and leaving the comfort zone
  • Learned hopelessness

All these signs, beliefs and traces that inhabit our mind appear suddenly and unexpectedly, gaining control over us and our behaviors.

Self-sabotage is a manifestation of all those aspects that we do not manage to accept from ourselves, all those beliefs based on fears and that, over time, by dint of not being confronted, have gained weight and power to the degree of becoming a monster.

Therefore, these obsessive thinking and harmful behaviors are just a symptom that there is something deep within us thought to be examined. Although on many occasions the rummaging in these thoughts is not pleasant, this evaluation of oneself can be an opportunity to advance and to learn to defeat the monster that we ourselves have created.

Characteristics of Self-sabotage:

There are a number of defining characteristics of self-sabotage, which encourage this behavior to appear before certain situations but not before others. That is, a person who unconsciously sabotages himself when it comes to facing a certain aspect or circumstance of your life does not have to do it in all the others.

These self-sabotaging behaviors appear above all in situations that involve great responsibility or when the person must take an important decision that implies some kind of change in your life.

The symptoms or manifestations experienced by a person who is prey to the self-sabotage include:

  • Intense fear
  • Insecurity
  • Feeling of lack of control
  • Self-suspicion
  • Perception of lack of capacity

It is perfectly normal for the person to perceive all these sensations when you are about to undergo some kind of change in your life. It is something that everything the world experiences to a lesser or greater degree.

The main difference between people who sabotage themselves and those who don’t is that those who do so are carried away by fear and their beliefs based on failure, while people are able to leave behind these fears and overcome all the thoughts that they generate.

The most important thing when facing any type of eventuality or transformation is not avoiding or shunning this fear, but being aware of it and acting consistently, without letting it invade your mind.

When we become aware of our fears and our own system beliefs, in many cases of an irrational nature, is much simpler to choose the best decisions and avoid sabotaging actions that stop or obstruct our aspirations.

What are the manifestations of self-sabotage?

You don’t finish things. You leave half what you start. And you drop out much earlier, using unimportant excuses.

You postpone everything until the last moment. It is something that is also known as procrastination. You delay everything and therefore, you do not finish it correctly.

You are a perfectionist. And since you want to do everything perfectly, many times, you simply don’t do it or never complete an action.

You make excuses of any kind. And you get lots of outside apologies for not achieving your goals.

You don’t keep your promises. And you set out to do something, but you end up doing the opposite.

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How to identify self-sabotage?

Let’s do an exercise before we start. Read these questions and answer with complete honesty if you have ever behaved or thought that way.

Do you worry about your problems or achieve your dream, but do not take any steps to make it come true? For example, every night, your debts keep you from sleeping, but you continue to spend to the same extent.

Do you work on low-priority tasks, but leave high-priority tasks undone? For example, you clean your desk, order your files… But you postpone that pending discussion with your partner about the future of the company.

Have you turned down opportunities because you think you are not good enough, even when other people have encouraged you?

Do you promise to change and always return to the same harmful habits?

Have you not undertaken projects or tasks because you think they are not perfect enough?

Do you start more projects than you have time to finish?

Do you embark on new tasks even knowing that you cannot handle the current ones?

Have you been complaining for years about your job, your partner or whatever, but are you still in the same situation?

According to Alice Boyes (Ph.D. Psychology), these are common self-sabotaging behaviors. That is actions where you yourself are your enemy. You yourself put your foot to achieve what you want. Did you feel identified with any of them? Today we tell you more about what self-sabotage is and why we do it.

Why do I sabotage myself?

The specific reasons depend on a person itself, and they need the help of a psychologist to get to the bottom. However, there is something common in all cases: they are the consequences of untreated matters. According to Monforte, they are negative beliefs or thoughts about ourselves that, over time, gain weight and power in our minds.

For example, if at some point we fail at work and never deal with that disappointment or defeat, over time, we will genuinely believe that it was because we were unable or the reason that you have convinced yourself in your head.

The most common reasons for self-sabotage can be:

The Fear of Failing or for Fear of Change:

Self-sabotage can function as a defense mechanism. We surround ourselves with these thoughts and feelings to avoid possible suffering, stressful or unfamiliar situations.

As we said earlier, the objective of these behaviors is to keep you in your comfort zone, because although it does not make you happy, it is what you know the most peaceful and where you feel very safe.

Because you want to be in control:

It feels better to take control of our own failure rather than being caught off by the possibilities of life or someone else doing it for us. According to Ellen Hendriksen, author of the book “How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety”.

Returning to the example of applying for a job, the self-saboteur prefers to be the one who closes the door, to have that calm of saying “I was the one who decided it,” than to let the recruiter be the one who closes the door.

Because we think we don’t deserve it:

When the impostor syndrome is present: when you doubt your achievements, you convince yourself that you do not deserve what you have, that everything you have achieved has been by mere luck when you think you are less intelligent and less competent than others do.

Do not look any further. The enemy is not outside. Your worst enemy could be very close: your own unconscious “The Self-sabotage”.

Don’t stop reading and give yourself a new chance.

Lead yourself, be happier and overcome any barrier.

Don’t keep wasting time, take control of your life now.

Recommended Books to stop self-sabotaging yourself:

The Self-Sabotage Behavior Workbook (Author: Candice Seti)

The Mountain Is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage Into… (Author: Brianna Wiest)

Stop Self-Sabotage: Six Steps to Unlock Your True Motivation… (Author: Judy Ho)

Self Sabotage: The Complete Guide to Cultivating the Life… (Author: Liam Parker)

Overcoming Self-Sabotage: How to Jumpstart Yourself… (Author: Mamiko Odegard)

Stop Doing That Sh*t: End Self-Sabotage and Demand Your Life… (Author: Gary John Bishop)

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next… (Author: Gay Hendricks)

Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior (Author: Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg)

Taming Your Outer Child: A Revolutionary Program to Overcome Self-Defeating Patterns (Author: Susan Anderson)

The Self-sabotage Cycle: Why We Repeat Behaviors that Create Hardships and Ruin Relationships (Author: Patricia Hermes and Stanley Rosner)

Do you feel that you need more courage and confidence to overcome your challenges?

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