Self-sabotaging behaviour is extremely damaging and can stop you moving forward in life. The scary part is that we are completely unaware of the fact that we are doing it to ourselves.
Achieving Our Dreams is what gives us purpose, and motivates us into action every morning, adding that little bounce to our step as we go about our day, and the lilt in our voice as we talk about our ambitions.
We all have dreams and desires, like owning a business, having a start up, finding that perfect partner, living a luxurious life in a mansion and driving a Bugatti, going for that cruise we’ve fantasised about…. And so many more.
we’ve lived these moments over and over again in our head and frankly they keep our mental batteries charged & jiving. But what if it will all just stay just that: a fantasy.
it’s quite possible. because when we look back we realise that everytime just as we got close, really close to finally getting there …. “Something Happens” and like a game of snakes and ladders, we slide back to the very bottom each time. We end up blaming our stars, our parents, our finances, our in laws, neighbours, someone else, everyone else. Never does it once occur to us that it is WE who have this blueprint in our subconscious that acts like a thermostat and will not allow us to grow beyond a preset point.welcome to the horror of Self-sabotage :
the subconscious programming or patterns that drive our daily actions and decisions. Minute by minute. second by second. 24/7/365. Self-sabotage will crawl into our relationships, academic success, professional growth, self-development , happiness, wealth creation … to name a few areas. it’s our own creation, and serves the purpose of keeping us safe and out of harm. but rather than allowing it to run wild and do its own thing, it needs to be understood, acknowledged, and tamed. if we wish to regain control over our life, we need to understand that we are our biggest obstacle, and it’s time to learn how to get out of our own way.
Why do we self-sabotage?
At first, self-sabotage might seem like the greatest paradox. One wants something so much and works towards it, only then to allow the subconscious to work against it. The self-saboteur will, just when he/she is about to cross the finish line, end up doing something, or something gets “done” to them … that does not allow them to finish. They will fall ill, they will get into accidents, They will lose money, they will have a break up , they will get betrayed by their business partner …anything that stops them from going forward and reaching their goal.
It’s a pattern that repeats over and over, like a loop robbing the person of their enthusiasm, with no answers in sight. The individual is left exhausted, confused, and beaten from repeated failed attempts.
the sadly funny part is that A self-saboteur is actually highly successful on a subconscious level, but in realising the secret of not succeeding at something. If you’ve met some of those people who really want something and have a list of 5000 reasons why they can’t achieve it? Yeah that’s them!
Why do we do this? Here are a few possible explanations of limiting self-sabotaging behaviours.
1. Partial Evolution of the brain.
Interestingly, self-sabotage is embedded into our genes. Seeking pleasure and avoiding harm are, in a way, two sides of a coin and are built into our DNA like a software programme. In simplest terms, they both trigger dopamine secretion that make us feel good , therefore the brain chooses to fire up it’s circuits to activate the pleasure and survival loops most of the times because it feels good. This adaptive mechanism was necessary during the evolution of humankind, during the good old days when lions and bears were roaming free right outside our front door and we had to avoid being eaten by them every time we stepped out of our cave.
When we self-sabotage, it’s not conscious and we don’t even know that we are operating out of a primitive jungle mode that was built into our DNA millions of years ago. We actually seek the pleasure we get from avoiding harm, or (here’s the catch) what our subconscious mind INTERPRETS as harm.
2. “Playing” the victim
self-sabotage has been a subject of psychological research for decades. Most of the studies were to find the reasons embedded deep in our subconscious minds. Research showed that these behaviours are rooted in one’s ingrained beliefs about our unworthiness, and our conditioning that wants us to be a “victim” to gain affection or sympathy to feel worthy , even at the cost of causing harm to the self!
Bizarre but true!
3. Boosting Self Esteem
Self-sabotage is believed to be a subconscious manifestation of low self-esteem. Whether it’s masked or conscious, low self-esteem causes us to be overly sensitive to the prospect of failing. Which is why we procrastinate, come up with excuses, stop trying, attract misfortune, and employ all sorts of rationalisations of why we “can’t do it”. Instead of trying and persisting, our brain helps us “cook up” reasons why we can’t do something. You see, I didn’t really fail, I couldn’t do it because my dad was poor, or my mother scolded me, or I was rejected because I am a woman, or my teachers didn’t encourage me, or because I have this or that limitation…… and so it goes on and on playing like a tape in our heads till we actually believe it…. and manifest it.
4. We are Control Freaks
Although it may sound illogical at first, when we sabotage our success, we actually gain a misdirected sense of control. It ‘s a form of controlled failure. Repeated patterns of failed relationships are the perfect example of this. Love ( in the eyes of the self saboteur) is potentially painful, unpredictable, and difficult (or impossible) as it makes us vulnerable. Which is why we choose to demolish the relationship ourselves rather than risk being hurt in the future – in this way, we maintain control over what’s happening to us, who we let in, and who we throw out of our hearts. We get to control our hurt, not THEM.
Aah the games People play … and lose every time anyway!
5. Success is So Scary
Although we rarely recognise it, many of us are petrified of success. The reason? Success often means getting out of the comfort zone and having to face new challenges, demands, and commitments. It means showing up relentlessly, consistently , and performing to certain standards, and this scares us. There’s also a more subtle reason – If you are not on a pedestal you cannot fall, but if you are on a pedestal, you have to be constantly worried about falling down from it. People with a shaky identity avoid achieving a goal that comes with new roles, as it might be too much pressure and associated anxiety of losing what you’ve gained…. And Falling.
How to stop self-sabotage: 4 proven techniques
Self-sabotage can range from falling ill, addictions, accidents, procrastination, denial, and much much more.
Here are four ways we can learn to stop the pain of self-sabotaging behaviour.
1. Becoming aware of self-sabotage
As with other matters of the human psyche, recognising the devil inside is the first step. Even when it’s obvious to those around you, you might not be aware of what you’ve been doing to yourself. Examine your behaviour. Analyse your past actions. Understand your patterns and inner conversations. Acquire a habit of awareness. Have you been preventing yourself from realising your full potential? Have you been receiving any payback from being a victim? Do you think of more ways of “not doing” something rather than “doing” it?
Developing and practising conscious focus on such behaviours is an essential tool towards defeating the underlying cause that has been defeating you.
2. Truth. do you REALLY want it?
You need to dig deep and understand why it is that you, personally, do it. Be painfully honest to yourself without judging yourself. You need to be true about your desires and goals. Do they belong to you? Do you really want that promotion, or to get married, to start that business? and do you want it for the right reasons? Do you desire something just because it will sound cool when you talk about it? What is it that you’re truly seeking in your goals? Ask as many questions as you can around it. Unless you do so, you’ll be a puppet of your subconscious strivings and desires , failing each time and never really know what kept you spinning all your life and reaching nowhere.
3. Face your fears
As you now know, most self-sabotaging behaviour comes from some shade of fear , and believe me, fear can show up in many sneaky ways. Be it fear of losing control, shaking one’s identity up, not being up to a challenge, or ready for responsibility or a change , rejecting love and caring – fears drive us to self-destruct. Instead of being inert, take a moment each day to look your demon in the eye. With time, you’ll realise that the only thing you need to fear is spending your life being chased around by your fears, instead of breaking free and moving towards your freedom.
4. Practise self-compassion
Self-saboteurs often feel that they need to linger in a state of constant hurt and failure. They don’t think very highly of themselves. They feel that they deserve failure because they are unworthy of anything else. I am worthless so how can I succeed? If you think such belief is in the roots of your self-defeating behaviour, explore ways to introduce self compassion into your life . self love is a complete therapy in itself and the healing effects are far reaching. meditation, mindfulness, introspection, or simply rethinking your embedded convictions about who you are, can liberate you from constant self-destruction. , and turn self sabotage into self empowerment.