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Self-Sabotage: Why You Do It and How to Stop for Good

Self-sabotage and its causes

Studies revealed two main causes of self-sabotage:

  • modeling: individuals tend to self-sabotage as they grew up seeing this in their parents' behavior
  • power: persons may tend to self-sabotage by entering into relationships with people who are, one way or another, inferior to them

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Self-Sabotage: Why You Do It and How to Stop for Good

Self-Sabotage: Why You Do It and How to Stop for Good

https://nickwignall.com/self-sabotage/

nickwignall.com

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Key Ideas

Self-sabotage

Self-sabotage can be defined as the action through which you undermine your worth and goals. Even though you want something, you do actions that are contrary to achieving your target. There are mainly two types of self-sabotaging behaviors, as follows:

  • conscious self-sabotage: you do the actions that will end up undermining your goals consciously.
  • unconscious self-sabotage: you do actions that will end up undermining your goals without being aware of this.

Self-sabotage and its diversity

Self-sabotage can appear in our lives under many shapes:

  • procrastination: putting off what we should be doing now
  • substance abuse: consuming alcohol and drug often leads to us not reaching our goals
  • chronic lateness: this will usually result in you being perceived as a not so trustworthy person
  • stress eating: we all know the end of this one- poor diet or even illness
  • intimacy and commitment issues: the negative consequence refers to you ending up alone.

Self-sabotage and its causes

Studies revealed two main causes of self-sabotage:

  • modeling: individuals tend to self-sabotage as they grew up seeing this in their parents' behavior
  • power: persons may tend to self-sabotage by entering into relationships with people who are, one way or another, inferior to them

Avoid self-sabotage

In order to stop the self-sabotage, have a look at the below four steps:

  • get to know and understand why you feel the need to self-sabotage
  • once you have identified that need, check out ways you can fill it without having to involve self-sabotage
  • if you have already found the proper alternative, think about ways to identify and overcome possible obstacles
  • build up tolerance when dealing with unpleasant feelings
  • make sure you really know your values and goals

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Why You Self-Sabotage

For many people, the fear of rejection and the fear of engulfment keep them out of relationships.

These fears are based on false beliefs, such as success or failure defines my worth as...

How You Self-Sabotage

Relationships:

  • You keep yourself isolated.
  • You make so many demands on your partner that he or she feels smothered and ends the relationship.
  • You judge everyone you meet as not being good enough for you.

Work:

  • You keep putting off looking for the kind of job you want.
  • You are able to work, and say you want to, but keep living off other means.
  • You stay in a job that you hate.
  • You keep yourself uneducated regarding doing what you really want to do.
Healing Your Self-Sabotaging Behavior
  • Notice self-judgments.
  • Shift your definition of your worth, from outcomes to effort. Decide that you will define your worth by the loving actions you take for yourself and others.
  • Consciously see mistakes and failure as stepping stones to success, rather than as definitions of your worth. 
  • Learn to be kind and compassionate toward your own feelings
  • Make a decision that you are willing to lose another person rather than lose yourself. 
Sabotaging yourself

Sabotaging yourself and your relationships create unnecessary pain and self-generated stress.

To stop sabotaging yourself, you must first recognize when you’re getting in your own way....

Know your typical thinking patterns

Our personality and life experiences predispose us to dominant modes of thinking, but these can be biased in ways that are unhelpful in the majority of situations.

Maybe you tend to worry people are angry at you when usually this isn’t the case. Or you tend to hesitate too much in making decisions.

When you thoroughly understand your personal thinking errors, you’ll be able to correct these, and this will become easier and almost automatic with practice.            

Prioritize one-time behaviors that reduce stress

Streamline your workflow so you can get simple things done without significant willpower.

For example, instead of having a container for pens and scissors in only one room of the house, have these in three different rooms to ensure better tidying.

Strategies like these save time and, more importantly, help free you up mentally.

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Self-sabotage
Self-sabotage occurs when your logical, conscious mind (the side of you that says you need to eat healthily and save money) is at odds with your subconscious mind (the side of you that stress-eats cho...
Understand self-sabotage

Self-destructive behaviors can become habits and can continually undermine your success and happiness.

Self-sabotage is when we want something, but somehow we never accomplish it, because somewhere deep in our subconscious we’re fighting against that goal:

  • Our disorganization distracts us.
  • We’re constantly overthinking all of our decisions.
Recognize self-sabotaging habits
  • Procrastination. Start setting deadlines and mini-deadlines to work toward your objective.
  • Negative self-talk/negative thinking. Be patient with yourself; be kind to yourself. Work to build yourself up.
  • Perfectionism. It is an impossible standard that keeps you from moving forward.

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Self-sabotaging Behavior

Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals.

Avoid self-sabotaging
  • Don't let others dictate your behavior. Choose your responses to situations rather than reacting to them.
  • Don't let others dictate your attitude. You can control your attitudes, responses and actions, but little else.
  • Don't let others devalue your sense of self. The act of comparison can lead to internal conflict and lack of self-confidence.
Sneaky Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

Fight other sneaky self-sabotaging behaviors by owning your impact. Don't hand over the control of your behaviors, attitudes and sense of self-worth to other people without thinking.

Stop entering relationships

... that you know are doomed.  We should not be pursuing every relationship that comes our way, but only those relationships that have the potential to work.

Get curious about how you act

... when you’re in a relationship. Think about those four horsemen of the relationships apocalypse: criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling and how often do you exhibit any of them.

Try to observe your actions and strive to understand the reasons behind them.

Relationship as a partnership

It helps to view your relationship as a “work of art” that you two are co-creating together, in real-time.

The work-of-art mindset can help counter that pessimistic self-narrative. Instead, you get to stop thinking about yourself and what you’re gaining or losing in your relationship, and you get to start thinking about what you have to offer.

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Understand your attachment style

We come out of our family of origin with a blueprint of how we attach to others. The closer someone is to another person, the greater the likelihood that their attachment style can becom...

Identify your triggers

Journal about the experiences in your relationship that trigger behaviors you experience as self-sabotaging. Ask yourself: What was happening? What did you feel at the time? What were you afraid of? How likely is it that the outcome you feared would happen?

Having an awareness of what triggers these behaviors can prepare us for the inevitable conflicts that arise.

Be mindful of your behavior

Insecurity in relationships is inevitable because everybody has issues to work on.

It’s critical to know what yours are. With this insight, a person can then stop negative behaviors, learn to tolerate the discomfort, and engage in alternative and more healthy behavior.

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What causes bad habits

Most of the time, bad habits are simply a way of dealing with stress and boredom.

Everything from biting your nails to overspending on a shopping spree to drinking every weekend to ...

"Benefits" of bad habits

All of the habits that you have right now — good or bad — are in your life because they provide a benefit to you, even if they are bad for you in other ways.

And because bad habits provide some type of benefit in your life, it's very difficult to simply eliminate them. Instead, you need to replace a bad habit with a new habit that provides a similar benefit.

How to break a bad habit
  • Choose a substitute for your bad habit
  • Cut out as many triggers as possible. 
  • Surround yourself with people who live the way you want to live.
  • Visualize yourself succeeding and avoid negative self-talk.
  • Plan for failure and find things that can help you bounce back when you make a mistake.
How To Choose Good Habits
  • Envision your ideal end result. What are you going to achieve?
  • Write it down. It will serve as a powerful motivation, especially if you include why you want it.
Good Habits For Health and Fitness
  • Regular Aerobic Exercise: Great for both your physical and mental health. Increases the production of dopamine and boosts creativity.
  • Preparing Your Own Meals. It’ll take some getting used to, but it’s a habit that’ll boost your health, wealth and productivity. 
Good Habits For Finance and Wealth
  • Create a Household Budget: the best habit to help you save money. A household budget helps to encourage frugality and discourage impulse spending. You’ll feel more motivated to engage in other good financial habits once you’ve got this in place.
  • Financial Audits. This involves frequent checks as to whether you’re spending your money as wisely as possible.

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Why food

Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. 

Food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “

Emotional vs. true hunger

Physical hunger

  • It develops slowly over time.
  • You desire a variety of food groups.
  • You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating.
  • You have no negative feelings about eating.

Emotional hunger

  • It comes about suddenly or abruptly.
  • You crave only certain foods.
  • You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness.
  • You feel guilt or shame about eating.
Emotional hunger isn’t easily quelled

While filling up could work in the moment, eating because of negative emotions often leaves people feeling more upset than before.

This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses emotional needs head-on.

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Sabotaging behaviors
  • You are controlling and rigid in the way that others should treat you and are easily disappointed. 
  • You have issues with real intimacy. 
  • You tell yoursel...
Examine your history

This goes back to your childhood. 

For example: if you’re drawn to the excitement of meeting and starting a relationship with someone who has a lack of morals, character and is untrustworthy, try to find out about how your parents’ unhealthy habits have affected your choice in partners.

You are part of the problem

If you have a fear of abandonment and rejection and you are constantly ‘setting’ up scenarios that lead to your disappointment, you are the puppeteer controlling this. 

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