Self-Sabotage: When Running From Happiness Catches Up On You

Last updated by Katie M.

There was this job I've always wanted to do. A passion that has driven me since childhood. As a student, I had the chance to get an interview at a famous college that would train me for the job that I dreamed of. It was far from home, and the day before I stayed at a friend's house and to relax, we decide to have a drink. Then two, three shots afterward, you know the rest 🥴. The day of the interview, I woke up in a hurry with a dry mouth that struggled to make a sound, in short, I wasn’t admitted to this college. Self-sabotage or scuttlebutt syndrome had got me, so why do we sometimes screw things up?


Oh no, I’ve destroyed everything

Many of us have experienced this. The job interview for the job of our dreams, during which we spend our time self-deprecating. On the first date, where you talk about your ex and your toxic parents, and you order onion soup for dinner. And speaking of toxic families, self-sabotage too when we lock ourselves into all those toxic friendships or harmful relationships.

Do you recognize yourself? If so, don't worry, because it happens to all of us. There are many reasons for self-sabotage, but the common thread is always a lack of self-confidence.

Why do I sabotage myself?

This whole story of the scuttling syndrome is mostly unconscious. We are the architects of our own failures, but we don't do it consciously. This complicates things a bit because, in fact, we can't always identify and break this habit.

With self-sabotage, we are our own worst enemy

With self-sabotage, we are our own worst enemy

Unconsciously, we feel that we don't deserve that coveted job, that desirable partner, those caring friends, and sometimes even, in more extreme cases, our health or our life (missing medical appointments, having a poor lifestyle, risky behaviors, etc.) So what do we do? Faced with all of this, we feel small, not up to the task, we plan for the worst: what if I am incompetent? What if I'm an impostor? What if I don't deserve this? So, the only solution is to reduce our chances to zero. This way, we are sure not to have to face a resounding failure, our incompetence, and somewhere, we are even relieved. Dreading, foreseeing the worst, is very distressing. Once we have scuttled ourselves, phew, it's over, the tension unravels.

Success is also the unknown. If you think about it, finding love, passing your exams, or getting a new job, it's a potential life change that can be frightening, so we sometimes prefer to escape it, and complain about it. Because let's face it, for some people, self-sabotage is also about enjoying complaining.

>>> You'll also like this article: Why does complaining feel so good?

"Now that I'm on top, I can only fall ".

I’m using these words because I think they pretty much sum up the self-sabotaging behavior we can put in place when we reach the highest step of our staircase of personal success. The higher you are, the stronger the tendency to self-sabotage. It's as if we can't stand so much good fortune, and it reminds us of Will Smith, at the peak of his fame, ready to receive an Oscar and his self-sabotaging slap.

Low self-esteem can make us think that we don't deserve so many good things, we are sometimes afraid to succeed because it means risking falling from a higher place.

The role of childhood

Self-sabotage has a deep connection with childhood. Take, for example, the woman who becomes unsympathetic every time she meets a man she likes. Cold, and distant, she does everything possible to avoid succeeding in her love affairs. She avoids marital happiness, just like her mother. Her mom was very unhappy in love and was never able to find a suitable partner. By scuttling her relationships, this woman seeks not to exceed her mother, but to remain loyal to her. She does not allow herself happiness that her mother did not know.💔

But childhood is also at the origin of our scuttling syndrome. Childhood wounds, which we all encounter, at more or less different levels, creating limiting beliefs, are the breeding ground for our self-sabotaging behavior.

How do you self-sabotage, and how do you stop?

There are almost as many self-sabotaging behaviors as there are people who self-sabotage, but there are 4 that stand out. A behavior is considered self-sabotaging when it becomes repetitive:

  • Not finishing things, and more specifically, letting them fall by the wayside as they start to come together. ➡️ Never writing the last chapter of one's novel, not turning in or purposely missing the last step of an exam, etc.
  • Procrastination, often out of fear of the end result. ➡️ Always putting off meeting your dating app crush.
  • Being a perfectionist and therefore having the perfect excuse for not finishing something or not getting started on a project. ➡️ Not applying for a job because our resume doesn't perfect.
  • Making excuses for ourselves. So here's a classic self-sabotaging one ➡️ Disempowering ourselves. "I can't afford it", "I'm unlucky", and "People don't understand me".

How do you break free from self-sabotage? Gain awareness and confidence

The solution to the self-sabotage syndrome is simple, but the process is long. In a word, you have to gain confidence in yourself. The more I am aware of what I am worth, the less I will cause a fall. But foremost, you have to become aware of this self-sabotaging behavior. How can I do this? Every time a failure occurs, question yourself: did I give everything to reach my goal? Am I a victim of fate, that I am unlucky? With this introspection, you will end up identifying a recurring behavior that harms you and leads you to failure. A sabotaging behavior in short!

If the awareness can have the effect of an electroshock, it often happens that the help of a psychologist is necessary. Indeed, we must not forget that at the root of this type of behavior, there is a childhood wound that must be healed. Putting it into words with a therapist will help to understand and remedy the self-sabotage.

The editor's opinion: Understand and accept yourself to be happy!

Behind this self-sabotaging behavior, there is a lack of self-confidence, a fear of succeeding, a fear of failure, limiting beliefs, or painful experiences from childhood. Fortunately, it is possible to get out of this spiral by putting in place new habits and a new way of thinking, but for that, it is important to be accompanied by a psychologist in order to understand, accept and finally be happy! Do not hesitate to make an appointment.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... It's here and now!


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Article presented by Katie M.

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