self sabotage

How To Stop Self Sabotage In It’s Tracks

Ahhh, self sabotage. I’m very familiar with this particular rabbit hole. There are so many ways to engage in it, it’s mind-bending. Relationships, career, goals, are all potential targets of self-sabotaging tendencies.

Self-sabotage is a stagnation of sorts. It’s the result of telling ourselves, often unconsciously, “I’m not worth it,” or, “I can’t,” or, “Someone else might be able to achieve this, but not me.” There is no flow in sabotage, no fluidity of movement. It’s stuck, and it feels like being caught in quicksand.

While I’ve engaged in my fair share, a particularly painful memory of self-sabotage was an experience that occurred when I hadn’t been self-employed very long. Money was tight and I was doubting my ability to have my own business and my sanity in even considering it.

I attracted a new client who really liked me. Really, really liked me. She was finding her sessions with me very helpful and she was singing my praises. She came up with the idea to host a party, of sorts, in which I’d be the guest of honor, and her friends could meet me, ask questions, and do mini-sessions.

I hemmed and hawed. I asked her non-essential questions about the event. I muttered something about being an introvert and not being comfortable with groups. I told her I’d check my calendar and give her a call.

And I did not call her. I just didn’t.

She was very lovely, and continued her sessions, and didn’t bring it up again. She was much too kind to ask me what the heck my problem was.

At the time I had lots of rationalizations for not calling her. I WAS an introvert (I’m off that now, by the way); I didn’t want to be on display in that manner; it was too hard for people to understand what I did with only a mini-session; and on and on… you get the picture. It was all bs, and designed to make me feel validated in not taking her up on her awesome offer.

I was totally clueless about it at the time, but later came to see that it was a massive act of self-sabotage that led me to not follow up with her. I was seriously questioning my ability to be successful at my venture, and was exhibiting behaviors to create that reality for myself very neatly.

I’ve learned a lot about self-sabotage in the meantime, how to recognize it early, as well as how to offset it. Here are a few steps I’ve found very helpful for me to take when I recognize I’m slipping into that particular mindset or behavior.

Ask, about the goal that’s on the verge of being sabotaged, “Do I really want this?”

The answer to this can be surprising. I like to take my time. It can be difficult to separate what we really want from that internal, sabotaging influence.

If the answer is yes, ask, “what it is that’s keeping me from moving forward?”

Is it fear of exposing ourselves to the outside world? Is it some part of us that says we don’t deserve to be happy? Do we not believe we are really skilled enough to achieve the goal?

Self-sabotage is a behavior. Getting clear on the emotion that’s causing it is how we can get to the core, and stop the behavior in a more thorough way. This is much more effective then just using willpower.

If the answer is no, keep questioning.

Because self-sabotage is all about rationalizing steps we take that DON’T support our goals, a “no” could potentially be just another example of this. Plan to dig deep with questioning until you ascertain it’s a true no, versus another example of sabotage.

If the answer is truly no, figure out what you do want, and change your plans.

The key here is reminding ourselves that WE are the ones in charge. Not our emotions, not the parts of us that say we are not enough, not the voices we’ve internalized of people throughout our lives who said we couldn’t… We don’t have to wait to empower ourselves; we already are.

Share in the comments some ways that you deal with self-sabotage when it pops up!

Maria Moraca is a conscious integrated channeler. She and Zurac (her “entity dude”) work in tandem; Maria offers tools to achieve empowerment and Zurac offers insight and clarification to life path questions. Her website and blog are at mariachanneling.com.

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Maria,

    I had similar experiences in the past. Awesome share.

    I like to analyze. Usually I work through my thoughts, if I turn down opportunities. I remember a lady absolutely killing me and my articles – I ghostwrite as a prosperity channel – criticizing the hell out of me. Mean-spirited, nasty stuff. I got defensive.

    Then I went into a shell. Each opp which came my way was a poor fit. In truth, I was terrified to do a poor job, or do great job, and be criticized. This person had not shaken my confidence; she merely demonstrated my lack of clarity in self.

    By patiently analyzing my thoughts and feelings I could see why I turned down work, and I also opened up new income streams after assessing my fears.

    Thanks,

    Ryan

    • Mariachanneling

      That’s a great, patient way to work through what you realized was a stopping point for you – that is awesome! Thanks for sharing your personal experience Ryan :-)

  • kenja

    “You’re off that” re being an introvert? I didn’t think it was a bad thing.

    • Mariachanneling

      I don’t think it is either. For me, I was allowing myself to use it as an excuse to hold me back, so I choose to no longer hold myself to that particular label. :-)

      • Kara

        Maybe you meant to say shy/socially anxious and lacking confidence, because I’m not sure you can stop being an introvert. Maybe you don’t understand the difference or what being an introvert vs extrovert really means.

        • Tony

          Someone explained to me that an extrovert is energized by being with people, to an introvert, being with people actually drains their energy. So an introvert is energized by being alone. As an introvert, this made perfect sense to me!

  • jjsabird

    This is great advice and is extremely helpful to me. I self sabotage romantic relationships because of fear, and I love how you said “it can be difficult to separate what we really want from a sabotaging influence.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself “how do I know I really don’t want this or if I’m just telling myself I don’t?”

    This article has been very helpful. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Mariachanneling

      You’re very welcome, I’m glad it was helpful!

  • Martha Bean

    Thank you, Maria, great article. It’s good to be reminded we aren’t alone in this experience – certainly not something I want to bring up in the pub and bring everyone down on a low!

    I’m finding myself in a self-sabotaging situation at present – also due to recently going self employed. I’m very self critical, and although I can be ambitious, I’m putting off the things that really matter (in my case, recording an album) because I’m scared of it being a failure, before I’ve even started.

    I was given some very good advice recently – it might not apply to all circumstances, but certainly with the arts (music, writing, art, etc)
    - Remember why you ever got interested in it in the first place.
    - Don’t put so much pressure on yourself, you have nothing to lose in trying.
    - EVEN if it is the biggest failure ever, you’ll have learnt something.
    - If it’s something you’ve done before, see if you can relight what was ‘fun’ about it last time.

    Will I regret not having done it in 5 or 10 years time? Probably. I think that’s my ‘no’ becoming a ‘yes’…

    • Mariachanneling

      Great advice, and it sounds like you’re working through that self-sabotage, yahoo! Thanks for taking your time to read and comment!

  • didntwanna

    I still need to learn how to deal with self-sabotage. The world is in a bad place, really bad shape. This may be our last chance to turn that around, I can’t afford to let myself sabotage myself when so much is on the line.

  • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare

    If anyone is self sabotaging, Man’s Search for Meaning is a really good book to read — written by a psychiatrist who was trapped in a concentration camp during WW2. It’s not preachy or self help like — it’s just one man observing humanity and sharing what he discovered.

    • Mariachanneling

      This is a great suggestion, thanks for it!

      • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare

        No problem — it’s not too long either so you can probs read it in a day or two.

  • emcmike

    thanks for this- I use and teach about allowing our values to be the filter to guide decision making- should I do it? if it aligns with what I value than yes, if not no- this also allows us that we stay focused on happiness, – I have simplified the process- but loved the article thanks

    • Mariachanneling

      thanks for commenting on it!

  • growthguided

    This is brilliant!

    Thank you for this great reminder!

    Let me know if you would like to do a guest post on GrowthGuided

    • Mariachanneling

      Thanks gg!

  • Monymoon

    I love this, self sabotage is very real and destructive to ones quality of life. When I asked which of the questions was my problem “Is it fear of exposing ourselves to the outside world? Is it some part of us that says we don’t deserve to be happy? Do we not believe we are really skilled enough to achieve the goal?”
    It was pretty much a big bowl off everything…Too many negative questions and not enough positive answers….so I switched it up and for every negative question I try to find more then one positive answer, It not only completely switched your mood but gives you solutions..next step..APPLY THE SOLUTIONS. Then you forget the questions and get caught up in the flow of positivity and how awesome your becoming!

    • Mariachanneling

      I love the “how awesome your becoming” part, right on! Thanks for commenting!

  • Bethany @ Journey to Ithaca

    Great article! I have recently gotten rid of everything and moved across the country, and I found that actually making the change was easy. The difficulty was in realizing that I deserved a better life than what I had, and that I was good enough. It’s amazing how much we get in our own way.

    Here is a short post I wrote, while I was in the thick of self-sabotage: http://myjourneytoithaca.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/get-out-of-your-own-way/