Self Sabotaging Behaviour

by Andrea M. Darcy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Has someone accused you of sabotaging good things? Uncertain if it’s true or not?

Ask yourself the following nine questions to know if you are addicted to self-sabotaging behaviour.

How to know you are using self-sabotaging behaviours

So how to know if you are self-sabotaging? Ask yourself the following questions.

1. Always change your mind at the last minute?

On your way to a dream job interview in PR, you suddenly decide that, actually, you want to go back to school to be a teacher. You skip the interview and go home to apply to schools.

Self-sabotage is about working against ourselves. And often that manifests as impulsive, last minute decisions where you change directions completely, moving away from a goal you really wanted.

2. Are you often defensive?

When your friend questions your reason for skipping your interview, you protest they don't know what you want, you do. And then list every single reason why you should be a teacher.

On a certain level we know we’ve sabotaged, but shame makes us anxious to cover our tracks. We protest we want what we don’t, even if a little voice inside screams at us to stop.

3. Do you always find the flaw?

You meet someone who seems the partner you were waiting for, and spend weeks hoping they ask you out. But when they finally do you decide they wear awful shoes so it will never work.

If you are an expert at self-sabotage? Your mind will be like a heat-seeking missile with the single goal of finding ways to block your happiness, no matter how small or trivial.

4. Do things have to be ‘just so’?

You can’t go to a party because your outfit isn’t working and it’s the only outfit you want to wear. So you stay home and miss the party.

Perfectionism is often a self-sabotaging behaviour in disguise. Nothing and nobody is perfect, so you end up pushing everything, and everybody, away.

5. When faced with a choice, do you get so overwhelmed you don’t choose at all?

The classic scenario is the restaurant. You are asked to decide between two, but can’t. You get so frustrated that you snap and say you don’t want to eat anymore, but are going home.

Self-sabotage stems from low self-esteem. We don’t feel worthy of good things, or are sure that we do nothing right, which means decisions can be scary. What if we make the wrong decision, and everyone blames us?

6. Do you always see what will go wrong?

You are asked to speak at an event, a great way to promote your new business. But you decide it will cost too much to get there, the audience is not quite right for your service, and you are not really a public speaker so could make a fool of yourself.

Self-sabotaging behaviour happens because our comfort zone is failure. If success comes our way it can feel so uncomfortable we have to knock it down.

7. Do you put things off to the last minute?

You say yes to the presentation after all. But then you get so busy, that you suddenly find it’s the night before and you haven’t planned what you are going to say.

Procrastination is self-sabotage's best friend. When we leave things to the last minute we ensure we don't have time to do our best.

8. Do you resort to self-destructive habits?

The night before you are going to meet your partner's parents for the first time, you go out on a bender and wake up very hungover. He’s furious, and goes without you.

The insecurity that drives sabotage leads us to destroy moments that could lead to what we really want, like acceptance, love, and success.

9. Do you always decide you can't?

You are asked to be a candidate for a promotion at work but decide you aren't experienced enough for it, so don't apply. The job goes to someone with far less experience than you.

Listen to the thoughts running through your head when you are about to say no to an opportunity. If your mind is full of self-criticism, you are probably sabotaging.

What should I do if I'm always self-sabotaging?

It’s unfortunately not a question of just saying you'll stop.

We are saboteurs for a reason. And usually that reason runs deep. Our childhood didn’t instill us with the self belief we needed to grow into a confident adult. Perhaps we didn’t have a caregiver that was truly there for us, we were constantly criticised, or even experienced childhood trauma.

Whatever the reason you’ve ended up an adult who drives away happiness, love, and success? Therapy can help. A counsellor or psychotherapist creates a safe environment for you to face up to your negative self beliefs. You can learn to finally make steps toward letting good things happen.

Ready to end self sabotaging behaviours for good? Book a therapist you like now, at a price you can afford, and get started.

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