how to stop self sabotage

How to Stop Self-Sabotage From Ruining Your Life

Are you one of those people who find yourself self-sabotaging everything you do? You are in a relationship and things seem to be going great and then you deliberately do something to mess it up. Or you have been given the opportunity of a lifetime and you choose not to take it. Oh, and of course you have lost that stone you have desperately wanted to lose and then you got and eat everything in sight. If this is you then let’s talk about how to stop self-sabotage from ruining your life.

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Definition of Self-Sabotage

Self-sabotage is when we consciously or unconsciously do something to stop us from reaching our goals. That means sometimes we are deliberately aware we are doing something unhelpful whilst other times what we are doing doesn’t make any sense. Either way whatever act we take has an impact on our work, our relationships, our weight loss goals and so much more.

Self-sabotage by its very nature is a negative trait. Of course, you are not going to be happy that you have done something to make yourself worse off but at the same time, you were responsible for putting yourself in that position. The question is why are you doing it and what can you do to stop? Learning how to stop self-sabotage is an important skill as without challenging the behaviour it can impact everything we do.

Why do People Self-Sabotage?

Most of the time our self-sabotaging behaviours are learned when we are children. We create a belief about ourselves or we find a coping mechanism and we keep on using it again and again. The problem is that this way of dealing with people or situations may have been helpful when we were younger but no longer serves a purpose when we get older.

Here are some of the typical reasons why you might find yourself indulging in destructive of self-defeating behaviour.

Fear of Failure

Imagine at one point in your life you failed at something and it felt horrible, like the worst thing you have ever experienced. You flunked an important test, you didn’t get picked for the sports team or you last in a race. The embarrassment, upset or humiliation stays with you and a part of you resolves that from that point on you do not want to fail again. So when things are going your way years later you say to yourself what if this all goes wrong again? Rather than deal with the imagined future consequences, you decide it is easier not to bother because you are only going to fail anyway.

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The need for control can also be linked to self-sabotage. Some people have a desperate need to call the shots and hate the idea of others being able to impact their life. So as a form of control you decide to break up with your partner because if they were to do it to you first you would feel dreadful.

Fear of Not Being Good Enough

Worries about not being good enough can also create self-sabotage. This is linked to feelings of low self-esteem and low self-worth. A part of you believes that you don’t deserve that good job, or that perfect relationship, to look good or whatever else your genuinely deserve. Therefore as a form of self-punishment you stop yourself getting the good things in life. The reality is that everyone is deserving of happiness but until your mind rationalises this then you will continue to stop yourself getting what you want.

Protection Mechanism

Self-sabotage can also be a protection mechanism from a part of your mind. Let’s imagine that you are trying to lose weight and you have done really well and then suddenly you want to eat everything and can’t seem to stop ruining your diet. When you were a young child you were abused by a relative or a friend of the family.  A part of your mind may want you to eat because it thinks if you are overweight nobody would abuse you again because you would be unattractive.

In a less extreme case, your mind wants to make you feel happy. It learned that when you were young cakes and biscuits helped when you were sad at school or bullied. You are on a diet going and it is really going well until your manager at work starts to critique some of your work. The subconscious part of your mind that so desperately wants to make you feel happy again makes you reach for you sweet treats just like you did as a child even though consciously you absolutely don’t want to eat them. Discovering how to stop self-sabotage for eating can make a big difference to your health.

Overcoming Self-Sabotage

Understanding why you are self-sabotaging yourself should be the first thing on your agenda. Without knowing why you are doing it is going to make it hard for you to take positive action to create change. A simple way of doing this is writing down when you are doing it and in what situations to see if there is a pattern. Does it only apply to relationships or elsewhere? Are you ok with everything apart from when it comes to your food choices? Do you only self-sabotage at work? Identifying your patterns helps you to learn how to stop self-sabotage.

If you are unable to work out the patterns for yourself then the next thing you should do it see a therapist to help. A therapist is often able to help you see the bigger picture which you may not notice yourself. Therapy for self-sabotage can reveal patterns or behaviours or underlying emotions that you may find it difficult to see.

Be aware that fear is behind much self-defeating behaviour. Fear of getting things wrong, a fear of failing, a fear of not being loved. Anxiety is often the root of our difficulties because our minds don’t want to experience similar incidents to ones that have upset us before. Getting help to understand that your adult coping mechanisms are significantly better than those you had when you were younger can make a big difference.

Get out of Your Own Way – Overcoming Self Defeating Behaviour by Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg is a fascinating book on the topic and a useful self-help aid.

Hypnosis for Self-Sabotage

Hypnosis for self-sabotage comes into its own when the patterns of behaviour are hidden away in your subconscious. That means a traditional therapist may not be able to discover what the problems are because you are not consciously aware of them or able to discuss them in a therapy session. Hypnotherapy for self-sabotage, however, can reveal hidden thought patterns and emotions during analytical hypnosis.

During an analytical hypnosis session, your therapist is able to relax your mind into a trance-like state. Whilst you are in this trance it is possible to ask you questions and get answers that are hidden at the back of your mind simply because you are more relaxed. A number of sessions may be needed to reveal exactly what is bothering you and why. Once a hypnotherapist has that information it is possible to aim therapy at the actual problem instead of using guesswork. This form of help is incredibly useful when you don’t know how to stop self-sabotage by yourself.

Self-Hypnosis for Self-Defeating Behaviour

Self-hypnosis for self-sabotage can also be helpful in changing subconscious thought patterns. Hypnosis can be aimed at the subconscious mind to suggest alternative behaviours and actions. When suggestions are repeated over a series of days and weeks they can start to form new positive patterns.

We often give our clients self-hypnosis downloads to listen to as part of their therapy programs. For example, where self-sabotage is concerned, we may use a self-confidence self-hypnosis download. Self-hypnosis for confidence can help to increase self-esteem and self-worth.  Alternatively, we use our positive thinking audio to help them change how they think about particular situations or people.

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Self-Sabotage and Weight Loss 

Addressing self-sabotage when working with weight loss is an important area where we regularly see self-defeating behaviour. If our clients feel they are unable to achieve their goals in the first place then we are going to have difficulty helping them lose any weight at all. If they achieve their goal and immediately start eating again all their hard work will have been for nothing.

Where weight is concerned there are two things we have to tackle. Do our clients have any safety behaviours or use food to manage anxiety or stress? If they do then we need to look at helping them overcome their fear and find better-coping mechanisms to address the real underlying issues.

Secondly, we need to make sure that they have confidence and belief in their abilities to take action. That means boosting their willpower and motivation. When both these areas are tackled it becomes so much easier to address portion sizes or tackle cravings.

Our Ultimate self-hypnosis for weight loss program teaches how to change mindset, involves deep relaxation and anxiety reduction as well as help for emotional eating.

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Therapy for Self-Sabotage

If you are finding it difficult to find out how to stop self-sabotage by yourself then therapy can make a difference. There is never any need to put up with the same self-defeating behaviours over and over again when there is a possible way forward. Therapy for self-sabotage can help to change the way you think and behave. It can identify unhelpful triggers and emotions and help you address unresolved anxieties or worries. To get help simply fill out the contact form below to book on to our four-session program to help.

You Might Also Want to Read:

How to Develop Self-Belief

Atychiphobia: How to Overcome a Fear of Failure

How to Stop Anxious Thoughts

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Martina McKeough
How to Stop Self-Sabotage Ruining your life
Article Name
How to Stop Self-Sabotage Ruining your life
Discover what causes self-sabotage and how you can prevent it from ruining your life.
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Rewire The Mind
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