We never intend to sabotage ourselves. We don’t intentionally set out to do or achieve something and then purposely blow it. Self-sabotage lies in that murky area of subconsciousness.
There are three main reasons why we self-sabotage--none of which are conscious to us.
1) WE HAVE A PATTERN OF PLAYING THE VICTIM
I was doing so well with my new diet and exercise routine, and then my in-laws came to town.
My career was on the up and up and then I got a new boss and she was a total nightmare.
He was such a great guy, and then I don’t know what happened. He was too great.
Many victims don’t realize that they are playing the victim, but they are. They are always blaming their lack of success on someone else. It’s always someone else’s fault.
It’s hard to comprehend, but this victimhood is actually benefitting them. It gives them attention. They might not realize the benefit, but it’s there and is fueling the habit of playing the victim. It feels good to be coddled and supported and pumped up again and again. (The immediacy of social media actually makes the attention seeking behavior even worse.)
2) WE DON’T ACTUALLY WANT WHAT WE THINK WE WANT
We live in a world of shoulds. Whether it be from the media, our politics, our parents, or even our friends, it’s hard to turn around without someone “shoulding” you. As a result, we often feel compelled to take on goals, or projects, or jobs that don’t really fit with who we are or what we want.
We work to lose the extra pounds because society says we will be happier and more confident, but we are actually pretty happy at our current weight.
We take a job because it’s a good opportunity, even though the golden-handcuffs aren’t actually all the pretty close up.
We stay in relationships because our friends convince us it’s a good fit, but they don’t really see what we see, or feel what we feel.
In the end, we self-sabotage because we don’t really want what we think we “should” want. It’s not such a bad thing, actually.
3) WE FEAR FAILURE
This is often the crux of self-sabotage.
What happens if you put in all this time and effort and you don’t get the results you anticipated? What does that mean about you?
Many times it’s hard to separate “I failed” from “I am a failure.” We often confuse the two without realizing it, but “I failed” is about a single incident, whereas “I am a failure” is about who you are as a person.
Instead of walking that thin line between the two, we either don’t start at all, or we self-sabotage before the going gets tough.
It’s easier to fail to try, than to try and fail.