How to stop yourself from sabotaging relationships

10 strategies to scale obstacles, reach your goals, and find happiness.

Posted Sep 20, 2020

How to stop yourself from sabotaging relationships

Ever have a small setback or fall into a bad mood and throw your resolutions to the wind? Ever say to hell with it because you blew your eating plan when you polished off that chocolate bar in the morning, so you decide you might as well have dessert after dinner? Or after missing a week of exercise, you chuck the whole idea of physical fitness? Welcome to the club.

How to Lift Yourself Out of Self-Sabotage

It has been said that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster; it’s a cha-cha. When you’re grappling with changing a bad habit, relapse is often part of the deal. If you were to plot the average person’s progress, it would make an upward zigzag, not follow an ascending straight line. When you have a setback, it’s tempting to condemn yourself and give up. That impulsive reaction is an attempt to bring quick relief to your misery of failing. So you seek comfort in the very thing you’re trying to conquer. Truth be told this self-sabotage—sometimes called the what-the-hell effect—adds insult to injury and heartache on top of heartache.

Studies show that when you’re trying to break a habit, disappointment triggers a what-the-hell attitude and turns a minor slip into a major relapse. It lets you return to the bad habit, which comforted you in the first place. Dr. Janet Polivy at the University of Toronto put the what-the-hell effect under scientific scrutiny. She served dieters unusually large slices of pizza to compare with non-dieters who were served smaller slices. When a plateful of cookies came their way, dieters were inclined to eat more of the sweets than non-dieters. Turns out the dieters saw the excessive pizza that they’d already consumed as a license to pig out.

Once provoked into a bad mood, you’re more likely to give up on your goals and engage in risky behavior (alcohol, overeating, or smoking) so you don’t have to keep feeling bad about failing. The bad mood eclipses your goal of breaking the habit. And self-sabotage gives you a way out—permission to backslide with whatever behavior you’re trying to change. One of the best strategies to keep you from falling into relapse is to treat yourself with compassion after your shortcomings get the better of you.

Self-Compassion: The Prescription for Stopping Self-Sabotage

If you’re like most people, you kick yourself for your shortcomings. You probably have a deep belief that self-ridicule can help you do better. But it doesn’t. Or you might worry that giving yourself too much leeway would turn you into a total slacker. But it won’t. You don’t have to berate yourself to make successful change. When you substitute self-compassion for self-condemnation, you break the self-sabotage cycle and foster positive change in just about anything you do.

When you have a setback—whether you’re trying to taper off alcohol, stay on an exercise regimen, or stop smoking—accepting exactly where you are without criticizing yourself makes you more likely to succeed. Self-compassion allows you to deal with the painful experience, not the added bad feelings from your self-judgment. When you’re self-compassionate, you don’t deny the hardships you’re going through. You admit the frustration and disappointment while supporting instead of attacking yourself through the struggle.

10 Tips to Avoid Self-Defeat and Reach Your Goals

These steps can keep you from undermining your progress so you’re more likely to get back to your plan and meet your goals.

  1. Accept the defeat, put down your gavel, and replace the judgment with self-compassion so you can recover more quickly.
  2. Separate yourself from your shortfalls and see them for what they are: habits, old behavior patterns, or just plain mistakes that all of us make.
  3. Think of foregoing that cigarette, beer, or extra piece of cake as self-care instead of self-deprivation.
  4. Don’t get fooled into just looking at where you want to land and feeling disheartened that you haven’t reached your goal. Learn to look back and affirm how far you’ve come instead of how far you have to go. Then you get a truer picture of your map of progress.
  5. Talk yourself off the ledge with comforting self-talk after a setback. Self-soothing in the form of pep talks and supportive words (“You’ve got this!”) reduces the stress and helps you hop back in the saddle and try again.
  6. Pinpoint the challenge, solution, or opportunity in the relapse. When you look for opportunity in the difficulty (“How can I make this setback work to my advantage?”), instead of the difficulty in the opportunity, it fuels you with optimism.
  7. Think of a setback or mistake as a lesson for you to learn from instead of a failure to endure.
  8. Remind yourself of how a setback can make you stronger and more resilient and the personal resources you have to get back in the saddle.
  9. Look at the big picture. As you broaden your outlook and count all your blessings, how important is the judgment you make against yourself? Chances are when you create a wider context, your failure loses its sting, enabling you to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
  10. Remember this: Success and failure are a package deal. As long as your zigzag keeps spiraling upward, you’re “cha-cha-ing” your way to success.

How many times have you resolved to improve your work habits and set goals? Or how often have you promised yourself to eat healthier, lose weight or exercise more? Then a month down the road, your vows are distant memories. You’re not alone. It’s easy to let your intentions slide when you have so much on your plate.

But there’s a solution that can help you stick to your personal and professional goals. It’s called the if-then plan—a surefire strategy that keeps you from getting sidetracked and builds career habits by helping you stick to the action part of a challenging goal.

LinkedIn Image Credit: inewsfoto/Shutterstock

How to stop yourself from sabotaging relationships

How to stop yourself from sabotaging relationships

In This Article

Good question and you have come to the right place to find out. When we hear the word “sabotage” used, we usually think of spies, trench coats, sticks of TNT, international locations, or movies involving espionage and jammed guns and such. Wrong.

Self-Sabotage is when you hurt yourself usually subconsciously in various situations. It is a form of behavior people create (usually unintentionally) for themselves which interferes with their goals.

Procrastination can be a form of self-sabotage as can self-medication with drugs or alcohol. Smoking cigarettes or ingesting substances which are inherently unhealthy can also be considered self-sabotage. That pint of Ben and Jerry’s rum raisin you had for dinner after your last breakup could also be considered a type of self-sabotage.

Many people self-sabotage in their professional lives in their workplaces. They may turn down promotions or turn in sub-standard work because of the part of their personality which causes them to self-sabotage.

In a nutshell, self-sabotage is any behavior that gets in the way of your intent or goal.

So, a self-sabotaging relationship means what?

The idiomatic expression “you are shooting yourself in the foot” contains the essence of what a self-sabotaging relationship is. You are in a relationship, all is going along well, but for one reason or another, you are sabotaging it.

Maybe you are always showing up late when you know your partner is a punctuality freak. Or maybe your partner is on a fat-free diet, and you “mistakenly” add butter to a sauce for that romantic dinner you are making for the both of you. There are many ways where self-sabotage can appear in a relationship.

Are there other forms of self-sabotaging relationships?

Indeed there are. Most people do not enjoy being hurt in relationships nor in their day to day lives. Kathy Monroe, 35, has had a string of relationships in the past ten years, but all have ended rather abruptly.

Kathy told us, “I love happiness at the beginning of a relationship. I enjoy learning about my partner, going places with him, and just being with him. Usually, at about the six-month mark, I start getting nervous, afraid that my partner may dump me, so rather than being the “dumpee”, I take action and become the “dumper”. That way I never experience rejection.”

Kathy has insight into her actions, but that does not stop her from sabotaging what might have been a very fulfilling relationship. She ended by saying, “I know. I know. I am very well aware that this is probably not the healthiest way to run one’s personal life, but I just cannot handle being dumped, so I short circuit that possibility.”

How can you tell If you are self-sabotaging?

Has anyone ever said to you, “You are your own worst enemy”? If so, they may have noticed a behavior or action of yours which could be self-sabotaging in nature. Sometimes friends or family will notice it and mention it to you. Generally speaking, self-sabotage is a negative aspect of a person’s behavior. Whether or not it is a component of your personality, is up to you to realize.

As mentioned, you can ask your besties or family members if they think you have and act on this quality.

It is hard to be objective about less than positive aspects of ourselves, so asking people who are close to you may yield an answer.

Here is a quiz which will help you determine if you are sabotaging your relationship. Take it and see how you do. You may be utterly surprised by the results.

Why should you become aware of your self-sabotaging tendencies?

Generally speaking, self-sabotage is a negative aspect of a person’s behavior.

Self-sabotage can become very serious and even lead to divorce , and other serious life matters. It is difficult to maintain a relationship if you are self-sabotaging. If you are self-sabotaging in your professional life, you could find yourself looking for new jobs with a higher than average frequency.

How can you stop self-sabotaging?

This is the question. If you have become aware that you are self-sabotaging and want to stop, here are some ways that may help you to modify or stop self-sabotage all together. There is no one right way; you will have to see what works or does not work for you.

  • Seek help from a counselor or therapist who specializes in self-sabotage. Call professionals in your area, ask questions and inquire about rates before you commit to this sort of therapy.
  • If there are no counselors or therapists in your area, you should look at the option of seeking help online. As with face to face counseling, be sure that the person you choose has experience in helping people who self-sabotage.
  • Look for patterns in your own behavior and identify events in the past which you would deem “self-sabotage”. If you are self-aware , you can try and go forward with past knowledge and aim for a different outcome.
  • Ask your family and friends to point out anytime they see you starting to self-sabotage. This can be very difficult for both parties–having a thick skin helps! Nobody likes to hear criticism about their behavior, so proceed with caution if you choose to help yourself by having friends and families comment.
  • Take time every day to reflect upon what happened that day and your reaction to the events of the day. Try to become more self-aware. Consistently focus on your daily goals. Ultimately, you are accountable to yourself.
  • Some people find journaling helpful in helping them to focus on their self-sabotaging behaviors. By having themselves write down and reflect on these behaviors, they may notice patterns emerging after a while, and with that knowledge, begin to change any self-sabotaging tendencies.

These tips should be able to help you get through your self-sabotaging tendencies.

Do you self-sabotage and get in the way of your own happiness?

Self-sabotaging means engaging in negative self-talk and doubting yourself. Furthermore, it means that you often get in the way of your own happiness as you miss important opportunities because you lack confidence in your abilities. Negative self-talk and self-sabotage can sound like:

  • I am not good enough to/for …
  • I cannot …
  • I lack the skills to/for …
  • I do not deserve to …

Thinking that you cannot do something or that you do not deserve something can stop you from taking opportunities which would otherwise greatly contribute to your happiness. For example, you might miss out on landing the perfect job because you think that you are not qualified enough or that you lack the skills needed for the position. To ensure that you do not get in the way of your own happiness, you need to learn how to stop self-sabotaging.

There are 5 things you should do to stop self-sabotaging.

1. Understand that you self-sabotage

Many people are unaware of their negative self-talk and therefore, they do not even know that they are self-sabotaging. For this reason, the first (and most important) step to stopping your inner critic is to notice it. Some people self-sabotage as their self-talk mimics the ‘tough love’ which they have experienced as children. However, there is a fine line between ‘tough love’ and self-destruction. Being too critical of yourself and your abilities can limit you and ultimately cause you pain.

2. Recognize self-sabotaging habits

Once you acknowledge that you self-sabotage, try to recognize the various ways in which you do so. Do you procrastinate? Do you engage in critical, negative self-talk? Do you consciously (or unconsciously) sabotage and ruin your relationships? Do you abuse food or drugs? Understanding that these actions are self-sabotaging habits will make them an active choice rather than something you are unaware of doing. By being aware that you have a choice, you become more in control.

3. Notice what triggers you

If you notice a sudden dip in your mood, pause and reflect. Ask yourself why you have suddenly started feeling so upset. If nothing external has happened, your mood has most likely been affected by something internal (namely, your inner critic). Try to trace back your thoughts to figure out what particular thought triggered and upset you. It is worth noting that negative self-talk can be influenced by external factors. For instance, your mood might have changed after your boss, your father, or your partner said something that triggered negative thoughts.

4. Find your voice

When you know who you are, what you value, and what you want in life, you will find your voice. Finding your voice means being able to stand up and speak up for the things you believe in. When you are confident in your voice, you trust yourself and know your potential. Therefore, you are less prone to believing the harsh words of your inner critic and saboteur.

5. Replace negative self-talk with positive words

Reframe your thoughts and change the way you speak to yourself. By replacing the negative words of your inner critic with positive self-talk, you eliminate your triggers. Subsequently, you ensure that you do not suffer from ‘inexplicable’ dips in your mood. While changing the way you think and talk about yourself will undoubtedly be difficult, it will make all the difference. Positive self-talk has the power to motivate you and give you the strength that you need to seize the opportunities which present themselves.

How to stop yourself from sabotaging relationships

Trust issues are just one of the few things that damage relationships.

Whether you have them from a past relationship or they are a new thing for you, they are harmful to all relationships.

Unfortunately, most of us can sabotage things in our lives without even realizing it.

You can learn how to stop your trust issues from sabotaging your relationships.

Trust in a relationship is the most important thing. Without it, the relationship will eventually crumble.

If you don’t fully trust the person, you can’t fully love them, either.

Trust and love go hand in hand.

If you’re having trust issues, the first thing you need to do is look at the root.

Did you have them before this relationship? Is this because of your lack of self-esteem or confidence? Did your partner do something that made you lose that trust?

Really look deep and find the root. You can’t fix it if you don’t know the root.

This can be tricky, because some people — without realizing it — may be blaming someone else for their trust issues, when it’s really due to their own low self-esteem or something created from past relationships.

So, be sure you know the root of the issues first and foremost. And be honest with yourself.

On the other side of your relationship, if your partner doesn’t trust you, look deep into that, as well.

Did you do something to cause that lack of trust? Is it coming from their own insecurities?

Knowing the truth is the first step to healing your trust issues.

The ironic thing is that in some relationships, even if both parties can be trusted the couple’s bond can be completely ruined because of trust issues for no reason.

So, it’s important to hone in on any trust issues and work on them. After you look deep and find the root, if the root stemmed from actions your partner took, you need to make a decision.

If they did something to make you lose trust, you need to decide if you can fully forgive them or not. If you can’t forgive them, you need to let that relationship go.

You can never have a truly healthy relationship if you’re always holding that over them, or always wondering about it in your mind. You either need to forgive them and completely let it go, or end the relationship.

If you want to forgive them and let it go, really look at their actions since then.

Are they really sorry? Have they made changes since? Have they tried their best to prove it to you?

Don’t just forgive them if you don’t feel things have changed — that will only prolong your pain.

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You want a stable foundation to grow on, not one that could crumble at any time.

Unfortunately, many people stay in these situations way longer than they should and waste their time. They end up more hurt in the long run.

Decide if you truly can forgive and be honest with yourself. Lying to yourself about it will only cause you more pain down the road.

Remember, you need to fully forgive and erase it from memory completely or end it. Those are the only two ways to have a healthy relationship.

If you did something, yourself, to cause the trust issues, look at the actions you’ve taken since.

Have you proven your trust? Can you regain that trust back? What can you do to help heal things?

Again, if you feel they will never trust you again no matter what, then it’s time to move on and make those changes in your next relationship to stop that pattern.

Really communicate with your partner and gauge whether that trust can ever be restored or not.

After looking deep and realizing those trust issues are stemming from yourself and your own insecurities, then it’s important to work on that. If you don’t, you’ll only push your partner away, and I don’t want that for you!

Too many good relationships end because of unfounded trust issues.

Really get to the core and focus on what caused you to have these issues in the first place.

Is it a past relationship? If so, really try to clear the slate and let that go. Don’t punish your partner for things someone else did, that’s not fair.

Is it stemming from your lack of self-esteem and confidence? This is a very common issue.

If this is the case, really put work into that and into yourself. We should all be confident in ourselves and when we aren’t there are issues we need to work on.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

Look at yourself and all your great qualities and focus on creating a happy life for yourself. Focusing on your purpose will help your confidence!

So no matter what the root is, trust issues will always destroy a relationship — it’s only a matter of time.

Find the root and really work through them so you can move forward and be happy! You deserve to be happy and can be!

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How to stop yourself from sabotaging relationships

When you unconsciously contribute to everything going wrong, it’s called self-sabotaging. Today we’ll show you how to stop yourself from self-sabotaging.

Self-sabotaging is a personal phenomenon that happens when we create obstacles and more obstacles – mainly unconsciously – that prevent us to accomplish tasks and achieve our goals.

How many times did you know you had to do something important, but you ended up procrastinating and doing nothing? Do your relationships always fail? And the diet you try to follow, but you always end up eating something you shouldn’t and thinking and thinking “tomorrow I’ll start”? If any of these situations are familiar to you, you must know that you are sabotaging yourself.

How to stop yourself from self-sabotaging: 4 steps to work on

1. You jump out when the relationship starts to get serious

There are many ways to ruin your own relationship, including without even realizing that you are experiencing this behavior. Most of the time this happens because the you are afraid of being hurt. Usually when the relationship begins to take on a more serious tone, some people find some reason to fight or end it. And, of course, perhaps because you prefer to end the relationship before you begin to become more vulnerable and get profoundly heartbroken.

Remember: Although relationships may have similar patterns, no relationship is exactly the same as the others, so the experience of each will always be different. You can’t think that every single relationship is doomed to failure.

2. You are always procrastinating

A classic sign of self-sabotaging is procrastination. Procrastinating may seem like just laziness, but it’s more than that, and usually points to some question behind it: it can be a tremendous and unconsciousness fear of failure or making mistakes. There are several reasons behind procrastination, however, it’s important to understand why you are always acting this way.

Why are you really putting off or avoiding that situation? Think deeper and see beyond laziness. For example, if you are delaying applying for an out-of-college job, you may be trying to avoid taking the responsibilities behind your financial independence or probably the fear of leaving your comfort zone.

Once you understand what is bothering you, you can try to challenge these hidden beliefs and fears. Take small steps to complete tasks and visualize a great end result, while allowing yourself to make mistakes along the way. Making mistakes is natural, nobody’s perfect.

How to stop yourself from sabotaging relationships

3. You try to hide your true emotions by using alcohol and other drugs

With alcohol and drugs readily available, many people resort to these substances to lessen and avoid unpleasant feelings. Getting into the habit of using mind-altering substances is really dangerous and can lead you to an addiction.

Try not to see your feelings as negative. Having feelings is healthy, but running away from them is not. By changing your mood to avoid thinking about your problems, you may end up postponing a negative situation that will ends appearing in some point of your life.

Instead of keeping your feelings “stuck” and avoiding thinking about problems, allow yourself to experience emotions – even negative ones. If you feel your habit has become an addiction, seek help from a friend, familiar or professional.

4. You have the Impostor Syndrome

The Impostor Syndrome is a psychological disorder in which a person does not accept or admit their achievements because they do not believe they deserve them; a fraud, whose success is due to luck and at any moment someone can clear it.

Do the following exercise: take a pen and paper and write down all your achievements, even small ones. Fight the negative voice inside your head and believe that you are able to do a great job. You are worthy of your success and your happiness. It takes time to break negative thought patterns, but with persistence, you can get out of them.

Now, after reading this, you know better how to stop yourself from self-sabotaging. Be aware that this behavior may be more common than you think, but it can be stopped. Challenge your thinking and behaviors and be kind to yourself. Instead of being your worst enemy, why don’t you try to be your best friend?

How to stop yourself from sabotaging relationships

If every relationship you’ve had ended the same way and caused you to become anxious about being left again, this can be a sign that you’re sabotaging your relationships.

If you’re in a relationship but still struggling to find love or feel loved and are afraid of rejection, then your fears could be pushing your partner away.

And, this could be preventing you from forming a healthy relationship with your partner that is fulfilling and lasting.

So, how do you sabotage your relationships — without realizing — and destroy your chances of finding true love?

If you find yourself to be a naturally loving person and cannot understand why someone doesn’t love you back, then there may be a reason for this.

A relationship self-saboteur finds ways to protect themselves from feelings of abandonment or feeling not good enough, in ways that push their partner away.

You can push love away by protecting yourself from feeling rejected and you can sabotage yourself from getting the love you want, preventing you from having healthy relationships.

Here are the 7 ways you subconsciously sabotage your relationship without realizing it.

1. You feel jealous or insecure for no real reason

Maybe deep down, insecurities are controlling your relationship because you do not feel good enough and fear your partner leaving you.

It’s hard to connect with you if you’re anxious about your partner leaving you, fearing that they will find someone better.

If you accuse them of not wanting you, you might be driving them away.

Unknowingly, you may believe you do not deserve to be loved, despite the fact that you want so much to be loved.

You can become threatened by another woman or man who you feel will steal your loved one, because somehow you feel not good enough, waiting for them to leave you.

So, you sabotage your relationship to prevent them from leaving you.

You can accuse them of cheating or wanting someone else, when there is no real evidence, except your own fears of abandonment driving your thought processes.

2. You think your partner is causing your feelings of abandonment, instead of looking within

If you have a fear of abandonment, you blame your partner or accuse them of causing you to feel abandoned when they trigger your feelings deep within yourself.

When these feelings of being not good enough, or feeling abandoned, are outside of your awareness, you think that it is your partner causing you to feel this way.

You end up blaming your partner for how you feel, thinking that they’re abandoning you or rejecting you, by displacing your fears of abandonment onto them.

You think they’re the person rejecting you, by reading into things that are not there, to prevent yourself from feeling abandoned

3. You blame your partner and accuse them of things they haven’t even done, instead of being open and curious

Your fears of losing your partner drive you into reading into things that do not exist when you blame them and accuse them of things they haven’t even done.

You become paranoid or suspicious that they will leave or cheat on you, so you question them or monitor them.

4. You find fault in your partner to escape feeling like you’re not good enough

You can protect yourself from how you feel by finding fault in the other person.

Instead of locating these feelings deep within yourself, which stem from repressed childhood abandonment, you end up blaming them for how you feel.

5. You attack your partner’s character

You accuse them of not caring about you when they forgot to call.

You make your partner responsible for changing how you feel by changing their behavior, instead of identifying your own triggers.

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6. You attempt to change your partner, fix them, or get them to be more loving towards you

You can end up projecting your past wounds onto your partner and want them to pay for the hurt that past caregivers have caused you, even hurting them back.

This is an attempt to make them responsible for hurting you and getting them to make up for it, as if they’re responsible for the pain that was done to you.

Putting your unmet needs of love onto your partner is an attempt to get them to make you feel better or feel loved.

But, often this is too much for a partner to deal with, and pushes them away from loving you.

You perceive that it is your partner causing you to feel abandoned or unwanted when they focus on their own lives and don’t focus on you.

If you prevent them from being themselves, they will become pushed away because they can’t be themselves around you or walk on eggshells around your feelings because they have to cater to your needs to avoid you feeling abandoned.

Eventually, they may feel controlled and want out of the relationship.

7. You threaten to leave to avoid feeling abandoned

If you feel abandonment is imminent, you can threaten to leave, as a protest to bid for their attention.

This may be a last attempt to escape feeling abandoned in order to get your partner back.

If the fear of abandonment is so pervasive, you can threaten to leave, before they can leave you.

If you leave the relationship, then you don’t have to worry about them leaving you, so you kill the relationship.

Do you identify with these signs of relationship sabotaging behaviors?

Ask yourself: Is this fear of abandonment real or imagined? Are you sabotaging love because of your fear of abandonment?

Are you looking into things that are not really there and accusing your partner of things they haven’t even done?

Or, do you sabotage the relationship using these self-saboteur tactics, causing them to leave you, or push them away to the point they cheat on you?

Why would you re-create the same destructive pathway all over again?

The more you externalize your feelings as being caused by someone else, by blaming your partner for how you feel, the more you do not address the feelings deep within yourself.

You continue to repeat the pattern of abandonment in relationships.

When the other person feels accused of things or attacked for things they haven’t done, you drive them away.

This self-sabotaging tactic will destroy your relationship, even though you think it protects your feelings or protects your relationship.

These patterns enact the original pain and repeat the pattern of feeling abandoned, until you acknowledge the feelings, deal with the pain and become unstuck from these destructive patterns that push love away.

Overcome the relationship self-saboteur and transform your relationships.

Nancy Carbone is a relationship therapist who trained in relational trauma from the International Masterson Institute in NY. She overcomes stuck relationship patterns. If you want to break the cycle of sabotaging relationships contact Nancy at Counselling Service Melbourne for an appointment.

How to stop yourself from sabotaging relationships

“Jealousy is nothing more than a fear of abandonment.”

My biggest relationship fear used to be getting dumped for another woman.

If it actually happened, it was going to be the ultimate proof of my worthlessness.

It wasn’t easy to live with that fear. When it came to conjuring up scenarios of loss and pain, I was like a rag doll in the hands of my imagination.

Even if my partner did not leave me or intend to cheat on me, the fear of being abandoned turned me into a person the man I was with no longer recognized.

It was almost as if the woman he’d met and was attracted to, who’d responded to him with passion, interest, and adoration, had turned into the nightmare girlfriend that he had read about in men’s community forums.

My fear, hiding in the closet like an imaginary monster, made me extremely jealous, paranoid, manipulative, and controlling.

It was limiting my experience of life and preventing me from truly opening my heart to my partner.

I didn’t like who I had become, and the less I liked myself the more I would depend on my partner to feel good about myself. He would energetically feel this pressure and withdraw, which then would trigger my fear of abandonment even more. It was a vicious cycle that I could not end.

I was aware of these side effects but I didn’t have the courage to face it. I had underestimated the magnetic energy of my fear.

I was a walking self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe it was just dumb luck that I attracted men who would help me work through my biggest fear. Or we can call it perfect divine timing and order. I personally choose the latter.

The men I attracted were intelligent, creative, talented, fun, and sexy. I wasn’t the only one who saw those qualities. Other women were drawn to them like bees to honey.

It would not have been a problem if these men had confidence and didn’t feed off the energy coming from these women. I was tortured with suspicion. I cried, screamed, yelled, threatened, and did whatever I could, but I was unable to change the men.

These relationships turned into a huge source of stress—for me and for them.

I knew I couldn’t live like that anymore. I wanted to stare the fear in the eye and feel its cold breath on my face so that it would not have control over me anymore.

Once I recognized what I was doing, I began identifying outdated perspectives and beliefs that didn’t contribute to healthy relationships. Reviewing this short list may lead you to your own a-ha moments.

1. Be willing to be honest with yourself.

I could have avoided so much stress if I was willing to face my fear of abandonment. Instead, I shoved it into the back of my subconscious and pretended it was all my partner’s fault.

Eventually, it got too big to keep it under wraps. What we don’t know—or don’t want to know—can actually hurt us.

2. Recognize your love script.

We all have a love script ingrained in us that we unconsciously follow. If this script keeps bringing us pain and disappointment, we may have to pay more attention to what we’re doing and why.

Do you always go for women who have a lingering interest in another person?

Do you pick the guy who has a fun personality but still lives with his parents and can’t take care of himself financially?

Now look for other constants and pull from your family history to make connections. Your love script will reveal itself. Once you see it, it will all make sense.

3. Know that your expectations, not other people, cause disappointment.

Some of our expectations are not realistic, and in some cases, it isn’t our partner’s job to meet them.

Not knowing our expectations is a deadly trap that creates tension and resentment.

I felt shame when I tried to say, “But you didn’t call me after work before you went off to have drinks with your co-workers.” So instead, I would do the same to him in order to give him a taste of his own medicine.

He had no idea that I expected that from him. He would have, if I had known it myself and communicated it. But I didn’t. Instead, I reacted. Deep inside I knew that it was an act of control and it was childish. My hidden expectations slowly pulled us apart.

4. Realize you’re not the center of your partner’s world.

It sucks to find out that the world doesn’t revolve around you, doesn’t it? I used to think, “You mean, you don’t think of me all the time, fantasize about me, hang onto my every word, and see eye to eye with me on all areas of life? Wow, I thought you loved me.”

The truth is, they are their own person and they are having their own life experience. No matter how much they love us, we are still playing a role in their life, and aren’t their whole life.

For how long and how well we play that role is up to how each person does the relationship and lets the other person be themselves without trying to control or change them.

If we are unable to look at ourselves and be honest about our pain and how that fuels our behavior, we will keep repeating the same patterns.

I don’t know about you, but that got old for me, and I had to own my own fear of abandonment in order to untangle myself from this pattern. I am glad that I did.

Now, if I feel insecure in a relationship, I just think, “Oh, it’s that old fear again” and stay present. Now I feel like an adult most of the time instead of like a child who fears abandonment. It has made a whole world of difference for me, and it could for you as well.

How to stop yourself from sabotaging relationships

About Banu Sekendur

Banu is an intuitive coach and a healer. Her passion is removing emotional, mental, and energetic splinters that create blocks to joy. You can connect with her on her website and her budding Facebook group Heart Alchemy Crusaders.

Are you having trouble maintaining relationships because you have a habit of self sabotaging? Many people suffer from the same problem, and lots of potentially great relationships have been destroyed because of it. Why is that? Why do we self sabotage?

The truth is, there are a million reasons why people self sabotage. They could be suffering from a mental health condition that perpetuates feelings of worthlessness or low self-esteem, or some past relationship trauma could keep them from wanting to get too close to someone new.

Why do you think you self sabotage? In this article, we’ll cover some common reasons why people do it, how you can stop it, and why you should focus on fixing the issue. After all, relationships are a huge part of our lives, whether they’re romantic, platonic, or family relationships.

Why Do People Do It?

So, why do people self sabotage? Self destructive behaviors come in many forms, from drug or alcohol abuse to lying and more, and in relationships, the breakdown of a fundamental piece of any relationship: trust.

Self sabotage usually occurs when a person has a poor self-image. They don’t believe they deserve a happy, healthy relationship, and so, they work to destroy it. Sometimes, people do it completely subconsciously, not even aware that they’re destroying the very thing they love.

Others self sabotage as a way to get to other people, but this is much more uncommon and can be the result of significant trauma or severe mental illness.

How Can You Stop?

If you’re continuously self sabotaging your relationships, is there any way to stop? The good news is that there are habits you can adopt and resources you can take advantage of to get to the root of the problem and improve your self image.

Mental Health Resources: If you’re suffering from a crippling mental health issue, it’s time to take advantage of some of the mental health resources available on and offline. There are anonymous online chat rooms you can turn to for a sense of community, and even online therapists available so you don’t have to visit an office.

Practice Self Love: While it sounds cliche, the fact is, self love can be programmed into your mind just like self loathing has been. Think about it; does a child come into the world hating themselves, or are they taught low self-esteem by those around them? The whole nurture vs. nature argument is another topic entirely, but you can change the way you view yourself.

More often than not, poor self-image comes from external factors that compound and become internal issues. You’d be amazed by how effective practicing self love can be at changing your mindset and helping you discontinue your habit of self sabotage.

Recognize Your Sabotage For What It Is: Don’t make excuses for yourself. If you’re self sabotaging, no one but you can change it. It’s your responsibility, not only for yourself, but for your current and future relationships. Think about how self sabotage affects those you love. Would you be eager to jump into a relationship with someone who’s always self sabotaging?

Think of the pain it causes on both ends of the spectrum. You further hurt yourself by destroying good relationships, and there’s plenty of collateral damage along the way as you burn bridges.

Start Small: If you try to jump in all at once and change your entire behavior pattern, you’re going to fall short. It’s best to start small, addressing one component of your self sabotage at a time. Do you lie to your partner? Start there. Think of why you always lie. Is it to protect your feelings, cover up your guilt, or manipulate people? Practice telling the truth daily, and it will become a new habit.

Look Inward: You can’t exactly solve a problem if you don’t know what it is or what’s causing it. Self reflection is the best path to improvement, so you’re going to have to face some potentially ugly truths. You might not like what you find, but rather than letting that hold you back, let it push you towards a better future.

Remember that relationships fill a great part of our lives, and it’s important that we respect the people we choose to include in our lives. If you don’t respect yourself, you’ll have trouble respecting others. It’s that simple.


Self sabotage is a habit that can be addressed and corrected. Whether it’s because of trauma, mental health conditions, or some other reason, you don’t have to be a victim of your self sabotage anymore. Take control, utilize resources and practice healthy habits of self love for better relationships. Once you improve the relationship you have with yourself, everything else will follow suit.

“Who am I Kidding?”

“Who am I to do this?”

“What am I thinking?”

“I’m not (fill in the blank) enough.”

These are questions creative people in the visual and performing arts ask themselves every day. They are the questions that stop an artist from starting a project. Stop an actor from . “Who am I Kidding?”

“Who am I to do this?”

“What am I thinking?”

“I’m not (fill in the blank) enough.”

These are questions creative people in the visual and performing arts ask themselves every day. They are the questions that stop an artist from starting a project. Stop an actor from going out for a major audition. Stop a musician from completing a score.

A creative person doesn’t like to be stopped so she Finds Excuses And Reasons (F.E.A.R.) to justify the stoppage and make herself feel better, even if only for a moment.

“The secret of success in life is to be ready when your opportunity comes.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Yes, when you are finding excuses and reasons to say no to the work, say no to the opportunity, say no to your desires, you are in fear. The fear could be rooted in many misguided beliefs. You could fear failure, not believing that failure is a stepping stone to success. You could fear judgment, not able to separate yourself from the work . You could fear rejection, not centered in the truth of who you are.

Surprisingly what most creative people fear is the fear of Success. Fear of success can be just as paralyzing as fear of failure. Success is scary because it involves change. It is a move beyond the current comfort zone, a move into a vulnerable unknown territory. With success comes more challenges and responsibilities – and that can be threatening.

Even if Success is achieved, many people succumb to their fear of success and self-sabotage. You see examples of this type of self-sabotage nearly daily in the tabloids. Celebrities, politicians, business tycoons caught in the act of doing something that publicly damages their business , reputation and career.

“Who am I Kidding?”

“Who am I to do this?”

“What am I thinking?”

“I’m not (fill in the blank) enough.”

And, if successful; “It’s only a matter of time before they find out that I’m not really enough.”

And that’s where the self-sabotaging behavior comes in.

People fear that they may not be able to live up to their achievements. They’re afraid of tasting success and then losing it. They’re afraid of the humiliation that can come with such a loss. So, they find excuses and reasons not to move forward on the path to success in the first place. If they manage to achieve success, they will create some drama – an event – that will prove to their inner critic that the belief is true, they are not enough.

The Inner Critic loves to be right. It loves to be safe in the current comfort zone. It works hard to prove it’s rightness and stay safe. If you are procrastinating or finding excuses and reasons then you are a victim to your own Inner Critic.

The good news is that once you’ve noticed your self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors you can do something about them. You can make different choices. When you hear that Inner Critic voice reminding you that you are not enough you can just stop thank it for ‘sharing’, and take a breath. With your next breath, ask yourself the following questions:

Not Enough? According to whom?

Is that true? How can I know this is absolutely true?

Are there any examples of when I have been enough? (Find examples. There are plenty of times in your life when you have been good enough. If you’re reading this article you’re reading skills are good enough!)

Who would I be, what would I do and what would I have if I was successful? Imagine that lifestyle vividly. In great detail. Feel it. Hold this vision of your life as a successful artist with you as you go about your life and your work.

And, most importantly, put one foot in front of the other and say yes to your work. Say yes to yourself as a creative being.