The term sabotage means to deliberately damage, block, or impair something so that it doesn’t work as intended. Even though we really blocker so deliberately from getting what we want, we still might do or say things that get in our own way. Two others, it can’t even seem deliberate.
Self sabotage is when people do, or don’t do things that block their success, or prevent them from accomplishing their goals. It can happen consciously or unconsciously. Self sabotaging behaviors can affect our personal and professional success, as well as our mental health.
Although we usually talk about self sabotaging behavior, it is also possible to have self sabotaging, mindset and patterns. Becoming aware of what causes self sabotage is the key to breaking these patterns.
So what’s self sabotaging behavior? self sabotaging or self-destructive behaviors are biological responses. We get a boost dopamine when it’s time to complete your hour goals, the fear of failure triggers, avoidant behavior, in order to avoid the threat,we subconsciously start to shy away from our goals. This is called the approach-avoidance conflict.
Self sabotaging happens when there’s a mismatch between our values and our behaviors. It’s most likely when we have to do either something that doesn’t align with what we have to either do something that doesn’t align with what we really want. Conversely, it might be that we know what we want to do something that doesn’t help us to get there.
Here’s some examples:
- Your doctor tells you that you should start an exercise program. That’s great, but you hate going to the gym. Knowing this, you sign up for a gym membership and sessions with a trainer, figuring the extra accountability will keep you motivated. On the first day of training, you right
- You are often late for work, do you make a plan to start waking up earlier? That evening, you stay up watching television after dinner. You rationalize that whatever you haven’t finished can get done in the morning. Unfortunately, you oversleep. Waking up late. Throws off the rest of your day, you’re so groggy, then you think “See? I’m just not a morning person.”
In each of these examples, our behaviors are out of alignment with what we say we want to happen. When this kind of mismatch occurs, we have to either change our behaviors or develop greater self awareness.
Self sabotaging behaviors are also linked to cognitive dissonance – the psychological discomfort associated with internal contradictions. When we try to make ourselves do something that isn’t aligned with our beliefs or values, we feel out of balance.
Subconsciously, we often try to restore the balance by changing our behavior, or creating circumstances, no matter how sneaky, that lets us off the hook.
There are many different patterns associated with self sabotage. One of the most essential steps in identifying self sabotaging behavior is to develop self awareness. Self-awareness, or introspection, is critical, noticing unhelpful patterns, or behavior and strengthening the ability to stop them in their tracks.
A helpful way to identify form of self sabotage and to framework to do you were using the following sentence:
“ I want to achieve a goal, but I keep doing this behavior.“
For example, I might say “I want to get a passport, but I keep missing my appointment.”
Now I identified the behavior and how I keep blocking it, I can start to look for other areas where the behavior might show up. For example, I might realize that I often miss my doctors appointment as well, but never put passport appointment on my calendar.
Once you start, asking yourself, these questions, you’ll start to notice your patterns, and they might arise in more than one area of your life. Here are some of the most common patterns for defeating this behavior:
Striving to be perfect, may sound like a good thing, but it often gets in the way of being effective. Perfectionists, often struggle with getting started on projects, and when they do get started, obsession with the details keeps them from finishing.
Perfectionist auto 10 towards all, or nothing thinking. They tend to be especially hard on them selves and talk themselves Out of opportunities before they even get started.
People who struggle with moderation often have difficulties setting boundaries. This behavior might look like people pleasing, which causes them to say yes to too many things. Or it might be a lack of moderation in other areas in our lives one too many drinks on a night out.
There are other, more subtle ways of overdoing it. Are you staying up all night watching TV or working out to exhaustion at the gym. Although overcommitting and look like a strong drive to Q, often masks as a underlying fear of success.
- Running on empty
Have you ever heard the fable about the goose that laid the golden egg? Owner was getting tired of only getting one egg per day, so they cut the booth open and get them all end. It didn’t work out well. Neglecting our personal needs to try to get more done. Is it just sort sided? It’s a sneaky sign of self sabotage.
Everyone’s guilty of procrastinating now, and again, especially when it’s a project, they really don’t want to do. But putting off your responsibilities can actually indicate a lack of self-confidence. When we procrastinate, we prevent ourselves from having the time and the resources we need to do our best work.
Procrastination often goes hand-in-hand with perfectionism. Perfectionists will often delay starting a project if they feel they can’t do it perfectly.
- Lack of communication
You know you need help on the project, but you don’t reach out. You were running late, but decided not to send a text.
Communication is a regular part of our lives, both in and out of the workplace. We often resist communicating, it’s often due to self criticism. We worry that by asking for help, we are highlighting our failures.
Unfortunately, the lack of communication can be damaging our relationships. Even worse, it can be fertile ground for imposter syndrome. Because no one knows what you’re dealing with, you live, in fear of being found out.
- Symptoms I will self sabotage
The signs of self sabotage can be very subtle. Here are some common way people self sabotage – both at work and elsewhere:
- Refusing to ask for help
- Controlling or micromanaging behavior
- Picking fights are starting conflicts with colleagues, or loved ones
- Setting goals that are too low or too high
- Avoiding or withdrawing from others
- Negative self talk and extreme self criticism
- Making excuses or blame shifting
- Substance abuse, overspending, or overdoing it
- undermining your goals and values
- Constantly seeking approval
- Reluctant to speak up for yourself
The psychological impact of a self sabotage
When we are not aware of our negative thought patterns, and how they affect our behavior, self sabotage and run our daily lives. We might feel hopeless about the future or achieving our goals. You may think that there’s something wrong with us, and that we’re just not capable of success.
When this happens, these negative behaviors can become ingrained in us. They can amplify our insecurity. Self sabotaging behaviors drains our motivation, enthusiasm and self-esteem. Because the evidence of our failures start to pile up, we no longer think we are good enough.
This self-doubt begins to perpetuate a cycle. When we are inevitably pushed to do something outside of our comfort zone, we panic. Uncomfortable feelings and scared inner voices lead us to act against our own best interests. And when it causes us to burn a bridge that really matters to us, it’s heartbreaking.
How to stop sabotaging yourself
Learning to recognize and stop self sabotaging behavior can help rebuild our self image. Here are five ways to stop self sabotaging yourself:
1. Develop self awareness. What does self-sabotage look like for you! Do you wait until the last minute to start projects? Do you pick fights with others or run away from challenges?
Start your inquiry with the sentence reframed earlier. I want to achieve a goal, but I keep doing this. Once you have identify their goal and their behavior, that’s blocking you, you can start to understand what the negative behavior is actually telling you.
In many cases, self-destructive behavior is rooted in anxiety. Our anxious behaviors can cause us to avoid doing what we need to do to reach our goals. In this case, we’re not avoiding the goal just the perceived negative consequences of it. That includes the negative emotions that come along with it.
Let’s look at the example above.
I want to get a passport, but I keep missing my appointment.
Digging a little deeper and helpless pinpoint what the negative feeling are trying to say. What happened? Well, I say I want to get a passport, but I never put the appointment on my calendar. That’s a good place to start, why wouldn’t I put an important appointment on my schedule?
Paying attention to this behavior might help me notice that when I make the appointment on my calendar. That’s a good place to start, why wouldn’t I put an important appointment on my schedule?
Pay attention to this behavior might help me notice that when I make the appointment, I follow it by doing something counterproductive. Paying attention to my inner voice, I hear myself say “there’s no point in getting a passport, you’ll never get time off to go anywhere. besides, it’s too expensive.”
That’s just an example. But if we slow down the thought loop, we often find out that’s a sneaky thought that happens between making progress and the unproductive action. In this case, it’s my fear, and I won’t have any money or time to travel. Instead of addressing that, I just avoid getting the password.
2. Write it out. If you’re having a problem, I cannot find your patterns, start by keeping a journal. As you continue to write about your goals, you may start to notice yourself complaining about the same things over and over. Share the thoughts with the nether person who you trust. They may be able to help you find ways to overcome them.
Sometimes, self sabotaging behavior is a result of the past or childhood trauma. We might develop survival strategies that keep us from further harm. Unfortunately, when the strategy outlive their usefulness, it becomes difficult to break them. Working with a counselor can help resolve the underlying emotional pain. From experience, I would advise you to be completely honest stop hiding the pain. I did not start healing until I poured my heart out.
3. Create a plan and do it. when you pinpoint the behavior patterns, you want to break, create a plan for how you will address them. For example, if you know that your self sabotaging thoughts sneak up before you put an appointment on the calendar, decide to put it on anyway. You can make it a personal rule for yourself: “ all of my appointments, go on my schedule, no matter what.”
By making it a personal rule, you allow the power of the habit to take over. This increases the chances that you will actually make it to the appointment. But it also gives you a chance to see what else might be in the way for you emotionally.
4. Practice mindfulness. Self-defeating behavior patterns are often painful to break. They may be coping mechanisms to help you deal with past traumas. Or they may have prevented you from achieving your goals that meant a lot to you. Once you start unpacking them, you will see the impact of the pattern on your life.
It’s important to learn and sit with these difficult feelings, and be gentle with yourself as they come up. Practicing mindful breathing and meditation is a great idea. Not only can help you develop self compassion, but it can also help you break down the patterns faster. Breath work directions are ability to stay present, which will help you notice when your inner critic pipes up.
5. Communicate. In some ways, the last step is both the simplest and the scariest. People who self sabotage will paradoxically do just about anything to avoid drawing attention to their insecurities. Telling people what you were afraid of my scene by jumping out of a pan into the fire.
But communicating can have several benefits, )even it’s if it’s just a little bit of Your Mental Health journey,) can have several benefits. For one, voicing a fear often makes it seem less frightening For one, voicing a fear often makes it seem less frightening. For another, sharing your goals, help you build accountability and support.
If your group of friends is anything like mine, telling them that you want to get a passport is bound to generate excitement. Even if you don’t tell them that you are worried about time or money, you get flooded the cheap weekend getaways. Sometimes, creating a new emotional context, or ourselves, is just what we need to move forward.