The Art of Self-Sabotage

The Art of Self-Sabotage
Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen. ~ Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby
Self-sabotage is a subsidiary of the bigger umbrella of ‘self-harm’. When you say self-harm many automatically think of things like suicidal ideation, cutting or drug/alcohol addiction, but that’s only part of the story.
  1.       Avoidance
  2.       Create Conflict
  3.       Abandonment
  4.       Half-Assedry
  5.       Addiction
Also known as ‘procrastination’, avoidance is the typical ostrich with its head in the sand approach. “If I ignore it, it will fix itself.” While some things will indeed ‘work themselves out’, they NEVER do that without some sort of energetic effort from us!  We cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend things better, nor can we continue to put things off to a ‘tomorrow’ that never comes. We MUST step up and make an energetic effort, no matter how small, towards the solution. This and only this will bring about a desired result.
The important thing to remember about avoidance is that not making a decision is -in fact- making a decision. You are empowered at all times. While it might feel like you are powerless, you are really feeling the paralysis of your own making. This paralysis stems from negative self-talk: “I’m not good enough”; “It doesn’t matter”; “Its too late”. These are all justifications to not take action. Even something as simple as “I’ll start my diet on Monday” is avoidance. These need to act as your red flags that you are in self-sabotaging mode and for you to turn that thinking around!
Create Conflict
Most often associated with the term self-sabotage, creating conflict presents in a wide assortment of ways. The basic premise though, is that where there is no real problem, a problem is created, evidenced by lashing out, imagining problems, blowing little things up into big issues and talking yourself out of something by saying it is ‘too good to be true’.
I also call this the ‘escape hatch’. These are justifications that something great, really isn’t that great. In personal relationships, where we feel the most vulnerable, we look for ways to justify our need to ‘stay safe’ and not reveal anything more than we already have. In essence, we are just looking for a way out. You’ll note these thoughts often come up just when we are beginning to develop deeper feelings. It may even happen several times in a relationship if you manage to pursue past the first escape hatch! Your red flag here to indicate self-sabotage is that it comes up just as you are beginning to open yourself up to a deeper level.
On the heels of the escape hatch is the actual escape. Many call this ‘running away’, but here’s the thing. Most people ‘run away’ because they have this old hurt they are holding onto. This old hurt is often associated with being abandoned by someone they loved and trusted. So, as a method of self-protection, they develop a ‘survival skill’ that allows them to leave before they are left behind. What people fail to realize, however, is that by doing so you are actually abandoning another, thus being the perpetrator of the very behavior that caused you so much pain. You have now inflicted that same pain onto someone else, that did not warrant such treatment…just as YOU did not warrant being abandoned earlier. Do you really want to be part of that cycle? 
Important to note is that it is never wise to stay in a relationship (romantic or pleutonic) that doesn’t serve you. That’s called responsible relationshipping and it is done out of love for self. When we talk about abandonment, we are talking about leaving to avoid intimacy, and it is done out of fear.
But relationships aren’t the only place we can abandon.
Ever work really hard on a goal, achieve some success and then suddenly ABANDON it? Yup. Exercise is a very typical one, weight loss is another and fiscal responsibility is yet another. You make a committement, you set a strategy, the strategy works and you begin to see some desired results!! YAY!! Then you begin to talk yourself into slacking off a bit, “I’ve been so good, I deserve this…”, and the “this” you are referencing is a day of binge eating, or spending or not exercising. These are not rewards! This is your self-sabotage at work! Rewards would be something like putting more money in savings, a different type of workout to change it up, or perhaps a more luxurious healthy meal. Rewards are things that propel you forward, NOT set you back!
Also known as passive-aggressiveness…the art of doing just enough to look like you tried, but never really giving it your all. The key component to success is go big or go home. You need be all in to meet your goals. To not go ‘all in’, might as well be not in at all. Half-assedry allows you a ‘release of responsibility’. You can justify yourself by saying you tried but it didn’t work and throw your hands up. In fact, you didn’t try for success at all. To drive half way to your destination is not trying…it is trying to fail. If you don’t want to do something, make THAT choice. Don’t be passive-aggressive about it, by saying you ‘tried’.
Make a decision about what you want and then pursue making it happen (the very opposite of the opening quote) by going ALL IN on it. Don’t pretend you want it and then half-ass it. If you don’t want it, be honest with yourself about that upfront because all you will do is give yourself more ammunition for your future self-sabotaging self to use against you.
While drug and alcohol are the most recognizable addictions, they are far from the only ones. Anything can be an addiction if you are doing it INSTEAD of dealing with your underlying feelings. Here are just a few: shopping/spending money, sex, relationships, marijuana, prescribed medication, exercise, sleeping, any eating disorder, depression, working, sugar, socializing.
You might be questioning how some of these things can be an addiction. IF you are doing them INSTEAD of dealing with underlying feelings in order to escape the discomfort of those feelings, it is an addiction. IF you are using them in order to more effectively deal with the underlying feelings, then it is not. This means, that you will actually work yourself past the point of needing the particular thing. Addiction is one form of an escape hatch, one could say, except that what you are trying to escape is yourself.
How can relationships be addictive? This is what the mental health community calls being co-dependent. However, I say, call a spade a spade. You are not ‘co’ dependent, you are dependent on a person. That person doesn’t even have to be dependent on a substance, although quite often they are, but there is always some sort of drama in the relationship that the ‘co-dependent’ person is using to avoid dealing with their own fear of being alone. So, as Iyanla VanZant would say, call a thing a thing. A person addicted to relationships is an addict.
This goes for those who take certain prescription drugs too. Just because you have a prescription in your name and you get it from a reputable doctor does not mean you aren’t an addict.

Written by Jude Klemos

Self-Sabotage Antidote

 Please email me, with ‘self-sabotage anti-dote’ in the subject line at [email protected] to receive your self-sabotage antidote!
Find me at The Sentient Soul

— Share —

— About the Author —


Leave a Reply

— Follow Us —

Up Next

Unveiling the Truth: The Dark Side of Societal Expectations on Life’s Milestones

Unveiling the Truth

Societal pressures dictate specific timelines for achieving milestones like graduating college, getting married, having children, and buying a house. However, these deadlines are often arbitrary and can change with advancements in technology, the economy, and societal norms. It is important to understand where these expectations come from and create personal milestones that are meaningful rather than clinging to outdated societal norms.

What is the societal clock and how does it impact our lives?

The social clock is a cultural timeline that dictates important milestones in a person’s life. These milestones, such as getting a job, getting married, or having children, create societal pressures for individuals to achieve them. Failure to meet these expectations can lead to

Up Next

Letting Go: How Detachment Can Help You Heal Toxic Relationships

How Detachment Can Help You Heal Toxic Relationships

Many individuals in the self-help and dating advice community often emphasize the importance of independence, but there is a disconnect between societal norms and scientific evidence. Building strong emotional connections with others has been shown to result in increased levels of happiness, success, and overall well-being in individuals’ lives. Some individuals offer self-help and dating advice and believe in the importance of being independent, but there is a disconnect between societal norms and scientific research. Building strong emotional connections with others has been shown to increase happiness, effectiveness, and overall stability in life.

Throughout evolution, the survival of infants and young children needed to have protection from potential dangers provided by a stronger or wiser figure. To guarantee that they received adequate care and safety, natural selection led to the development of an inna

Up Next

Forgiveness After The Storm

Forgiveness After The Storm

The muse of poetry in its depths stalls the ensue of thee,Drowning in the sparse spectacle of hope left, one dives into the waters of misery.Triabilsing in the painful stance of existence, death in its allure creeps behind,To be or not be in the bane of tormenting breaths, in their truth one seems to find,

The hostility that binds, convulsion in its gloating flair laughs hysterically at the corpse of being,Dreariness to live in its slow burn writhes the only ounce of light left to see.The void of embracing the freshness of unadulterated air forges to question the beauty,Of living a life that could lead in the lightness of radiance and the smiles of unbridled glee.

The trueness of being lapses in the oscillation of turbulence and the sea of calm,Yet the tides of uncertain syllables that breed animosity render the sou

Up Next

Beyond Materialism: The Psychological Motivations Behind Retail Therapy

Beyond Materialism

Most people can understand the happiness that comes from purchasing something for oneself when we talk about needing some retail therapy. Can shopping truly improve our mood? Clinical psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD, affirms that shopping can have psychological and therapeutic benefits as long as it is done in moderation, according to research. Engaging in shopping activities, whether online or in person, can provide a psychological and emotional boost. Even just browsing can bring happiness, but it’s important to be mindful of your spending habits. Dr. Bea outlines various explanations for the phenomenon.

Shopping helps to regain a feeling of power or authority

Research demonstrates that engaging in shopping activities can help individuals feel more in control of their

Up Next

Mind Over Met Gala: Analyzing the Intersection of Fashion and Mental Health in 2024

Mind Over Met Gala

The most confidential information about the 2024 Met Gala, which will take place on the first Monday in May, is now known. A total of 250 objects, many of which have never been seen in public before, will be on display in the Costume Institute’s “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2024. Before the much-awaited event, Vogue is compiling all of the information we currently know.

What theme will the 2024 Met Gala have?

The official dress code for the 2024 Met Gala is “The Garden of Time,” in honour of the Costume Institute’s upcoming exhibition, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” About 250 rare objects from the Costume Institute’s permanent collection will be on display. The designs, which span more than 400 years of f

Up Next

The Aesthetic Epidemic: Understanding the Roots of Lookism

The Aesthetic Epidemic

We care about more than just ourselves – we care about our loved ones, our communities, and the world around us. We are affected by tragic events, especially when a child is murdered, regardless of where it happens. It deeply impacts us and makes us feel disheartened. Moral evils raise doubts about the goodness of the world and the value of existence, especially for those who believe in a benevolent deity. However, anyone can contemplate the purpose and value of the universe in light of such evils. We may not need to worry about the value of the Universe and instead focus on finding value in our own lives or the lives of our loved ones. The concept of value is subjective and can be created by us.

The important question is what we should value or find pleasure in. Some people may try to ignore moral evil by focusing only on their own lives and loved ones, but this narrow perspective is unsatisfying for most. I

Up Next

An Open Letter To The Hustlers

An Open Letter To The Hustlers

To be or not to be, to go all in or to unwind and relax, we question our dreams, running in constant chase of our quests to come true, we are the ones who never sleep. Dreamers we are called, the ones who passionately strive in the endeavours of the best they could ever be, here is a letter to me, a letter to you. In the stride of embracing the best you have ever been, nurture your soul before the onset of the abundance in you that lies unseen.

Too bold, too much for your age, you are doing too much, how often have you heard these notions been used to describe you? As we tirelessly strive to achieve the next goal we have in our mind, we are often told that we are being hard on ourselves, to enjoy life a little. Life in its entirety passes by us in its dynamic flair, and the existence we envisage holds unique individuality to each one of us. The choices one makes for themselves belies them and them only, and t