We all deal with a little negative self talk from time-to-time, but fighting that battle regularly can lead to self-sabotaging behavior. It’s easy to spot our self-sabotaging cycles, but it can be harder to stop them. Just because you realize that you’re messing up and selling yourself short don’t mean you know how to fix it.
It takes some serious self-reflection and a deep understanding of ourselves to silence that inner saboteur once and for all. If you want to stop blowing it, then you’ve got to get to the root of your issues and embrace them as facets of yourself. Only when you embrace what you are can you change it, after all, but it takes time and commitment to get there.
What is self-sabotage?
Self-sabotage occurs when our conscious mind is at odds with our unconscious self. More simply, this is when we commit to actions that seem helpful in the moment, but which ultimately undermine our confidence, strength and relationships. They’re the kind of actions or behaviors that create problems in our lives and interferes with our long-standing goals. We all self-sabotage at some point, but some of us are repeat offenders of the epic sort.
Why we engage in self-sabotage.
The roots of self-sabotage run deep and they stem from places that can be challenging or painful to visit. You have to get to the root of your past and present issues in order to end your sabotaging-streak, however. There is no one that can face your problems but you, and there’s no one who can deal with them but you either.
Past experiences and childhood trauma.
Our inner voice is formed during our early childhood experiences. Though we don’t realize it, we internalize all the attitudes that get directed at us by our parents and caregivers and form them into a sense of self, a sort of reflection.
If a parent frequently made comments about a child being “lazy” or “useless”, that child might grow up to engage in self-sabotaging thoughts like, “Why bother? You’ll just fail anyway.”
As children, we also internalize the negative thoughts that our caregivers have about themselves. Growing up with a self-hating parent can lead the child to grow up believing that they are also weak or a failure. If a parent is overly critical about their appearance, their child may take on similar insecurities.
Low opinion of self-worth.
When you feel undeserving of success or happiness (and idea that often develops in childhood) you often engage in behavior that is self-defeating or undermining — often without even realizing it.
This all comes from a little thing called cognitive dissonance. As humans, we like to be consistent. If our actions don’t feel in line with our beliefs and values, we’ll do what we can (subconsciously) to get them in line once again. Racking up a sea of awards and victories when you feel like a failure will lead to you pulling the plug; ending the good thing you had going and sabotaging you and the happiness you didn’t feel worthy enough to have.
Need to reclaim control over our lives.
Feeling like life is spinning out of control can drive you to some strange places. When you feel like you’ve lost the plot, you’ll do almost anything to get it back again — including failing yourself before anyone else can do it for you.
Feeling like a fraud.
Imposter syndrome is nasty and its suffering is one of the most common causes of self-sabotage. Doing well in life — especially when you suffer from low self-esteem — can make you feel like you only have further to fall. Panicked by your triumphs, you start to believe you’ll be seen as a fake and this can lead you to procrastinate, leave things unfinished or quit and run altogether.
Those with chronically low self-worth often let their inner saboteur take the wheel because it’s more comfortable than the other option. As humans, we’ll take familiarity over almost anything else. Being overlooked, mistreated or exploited can feel strangely comforting when that’s all you’ve ever known or the only treatment that you find to be in line with your self-worth.
Signs your inner-saboteur is in control.
Realizing that you’re your own worst enemy takes a keen emotional awareness of self that takes time to develop. There are, however, some major red flags that might be a sign you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
There’s a lot more to grief than the loss of a loved one… by: E.B. Johnson When we hear the word “grief” we traditionally associate it with death. Grief, however, comes in many different forms and strikes for many different reasons.