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Self-sabotaging refers to behaviours that may keep a person from working towards their own goals or engaging in activities that negatively affect their daily life. In most situations, many are not even aware that their actions may lower their chances of being successful. As a result, they act similarly repeatedly, which becomes a cycle. It is common to consider certain self-sabotaging behaviours like procrastination as trivial issues. You may not think your habit of delaying plans or involving yourself in seemingly ‘feel-good; activities such as frequently drinking can lead to self-defeating outcomes. In reality, these very habits may be the culprit behind you ruining your relationships, career, and other aspects of life. Even if you can link a specific behaviour to negative consequences, chances are you will not be able to make any improvement.

According to the latest sources, people cannot comprehend what makes them sabotage their lives in most cases. They are often misguided by others or unreliable sources that make them believe self-sabotaging is a part of their personality. This is far from the truth, and you can successfully stop acting this way with effort and time. Taking particular measures can help to overcome these behaviours gradually. For instance, one crucial step is to learn about what factors or situations make you act in a harmful way. It is a long process and may take several weeks. Professional help from certified specialists can make a big difference in this journey. Continue reading this article to learn more about self-sabotage and stop self-destructive behaviour.

 It is normal to get confused when it comes to finding self-sabotaging meaning. There is a range of self-destructive actions, and each person may behave differently. You may see other people achieving their goals even if they are lazy and procrastinate now and then. Why is procrastination only affecting your career or relationships, then? Just because something works for another person does not mean it will work for you. Comparing yourself and your progress to others is another damaging behaviour. Though there are some known types of self-sabotage, it differs among people. Sometimes, you may even be surprised after identifying how you sabotage yourself. Typically, you need professional help in recognising such behaviours. Some initial and common forms that you can look out for yourself are:

Perfectionism 

Setting big goals and having high expectations from life is common, especially for younger people. If you work on them, you may also ultimately achieve your dream. However, it only becomes a problem when even the slightest inconvenience causes you to undermine yourself and question your expectations. The consistent urge to have the ‘perfect’ life almost always results in disappointment. Setting unrealistic standards and always being unhappy with your success may encourage you to engage in damaging actions. Furthermore, it may also lead to depression and anxiety.

Procrastination 

Procrastination refers to delaying tasks or plans consistently. Contrary to popular assumptions, procrastination is not just a sign of being lazy. People may not follow their own schedule because of anxiety and fear of not being good enough. Do you avoid a particular task because you will like you will not be good at it? Or do you feel you will disappoint your loved ones or friends? If yes, it is most likely a form of self-sabotaging behaviour that may worsen over time if you do not control it.

Self-Medication 

Having high expectations but believing that you cannot achieve your goals simultaneously causes an internal conflict. This is a constant battle in people’s minds during the self-sabotage cycle. Drinking alcohol or using drugs are some ways that many use to take their minds off this conflict. It usually starts with one drink every other day and slowly leads to consuming high amounts of alcohol daily. Another form of self-medication is self-injury; some people may physically harm themselves to soothe themselves. In severe cases, self-medication may cause addiction and life-threatening situations.

There are multiple reasons for self-destructive behaviours. Each person may have different reasons for getting themselves into damaging situations, whether they do it consciously or unconsciously. Following are some causes of self-sabotage:

Low Self-Esteem 

A negative self-image can significantly affect a person’s work performance and ability to form relationships. If you believe you are not worthy of success or you have been told you will fail, you are likely to self-sabotage, and you will likely act in a way that will confirm your belief. A primary sign of low self-esteem is feeling uncomfortable with success. You have a negative self-image if you are not happy when you are close to achieving your goal and are thinking about how you may still fail.

Childhood Problems 

Tough childhoods have long-lasting effects on people’s behaviours and mental health. Lack of connection with primary caregivers affects the ability to socialise and form relationships in adult life. You may develop an avoidant attachment style due to a difficult childhood. Additionally, if you were consistently discouraged and told that you are not enough during childhood, you may develop low self-esteem.

Past Relationship Experiences 

Abusive relationships and marriages can also affect a person’s self-image leading to self-sabotage. Being constantly downgraded in any of your relationships may cause problems in your new ones. You may sabotage yourself and your relationship by fighting, cheating, or breaking up for no reason.

Cognitive Dissonance 

Having two conflicting ideas simultaneously or cognitive dissonance causes self-destructive behaviours. For instance, if you have a healthy relationship and are planning to get married, but you keep thinking about a loved one who had an abusive marriage. You did not believe in marriage because you have witnessed a bad one, but you continue to plan yours. These two conflicting ideas may encourage you to make bad decisions affecting your wedding planning. As a result, you may end up sabotaging your relationship entirely and breaking up.

Self-sabotaging can affect the quality of life to a great extent. In the beginning, the effects do not come right after. So, it may not seem like a big deal at first. However, it starts to affect every aspect of life as time passes. You may begin to ignore your family, friends, and office. Secondly, you may neglect your basic needs such as showering, eating, etc. At this point, it becomes a cycle that is difficult to end. To avoid such a situation, get help on time and visit a counsellor or a therapist.

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