We all do it at some point in our lives – we sabotage ourselves. I remember falling to the ground on the rare occasions I got the ball in backyard games of footy with my brothers – better to fall than be tackled. It’s a defence strategy to give up before being beaten. Subconsciously, we feel more in control if we self-sabotage rather than fail at something.
But the strategy can be very problematic. Look at these common examples of self-sabotaging:
- Threatening to end a relationship in order to gain reassurance that you are loved
- Leaving an assignment until the last minute to give yourself a reason to fail
- Staying up really late before a big race, game, or exam – again to give yourself a reason not to perform well
- Starting a fight with your partner before bed to avoid intimacy
- Having an affair to avoid commitment
- Choosing unavailable people – again to avoid commitment
- Setting unrealistic goals that you know you’ll never reach
- Planning to start a diet every Monday morning & binge eating and drinking all weekend
Recognising ways in which you might be self-sabotaging is a great first step. Learning other strategies to confront your fear of failure, rejection or commitment comes next. Setting realistic goals, confronting issues in your relationship as they arise, and knowing that you’d survive a break-up all help to combat self-sabotaging behaviours.