I hate change. The idea that change is the only thing that is constant in our life is a universal truth. Yet, I still don’t want it. Because there are always voices in my head warning me about change anytime I go through it. However, after I discovered the word self-sabotage, everything suddenly made sense to me. I realized that I self-sabotage. But, what is it?
Self-sabotage refers to actions or ways of thinking that hold you back from achieving your goals. Self-sabotage may have a negative connotation. But, the word sabotage is a bit of a misnomer. It doesn’t actually mean what it seems to be saying. Shirani Patak asserts that self-sabotage isn’t really sabotaging at all.
It’s actually a protective mechanism created by your psyche in order to keep you safe from any potential danger or harm. What’s familiar to us is what our psyche considers safe.Shirani Patak, Licensed Psychotherapist
After reading that, the mystery of my fear of change was answered. All this time, what I am doing is self-sabotaging. Since then, I read a lot about it and tried to stop the cycle of it since it causes me problems. I will be sharing with you the signs of my self-sabotage and how I am trying to stop the cycle.
6 Signs Of My Self-Sabotage
After learning that I have been self-sabotaging, I tried to list down the signs that I notice about myself. When I do this, it helps me to control my thoughts and avoid doing it.
Disclaimer: The following signs I will discuss are the signs that I experienced. There are other signs of self-sabotage that are not included here.
We all procrastinate from time to time. But, when it becomes a habit, I understood that it was a type of self-sabotage for me. More importantly, I would become stuck whenever I had an important task to complete. I decide to carry out other tasks instead of accomplishing them straight away. I came to understand that it’s because I’m doubting myself and feeling overwhelmed by all I have to do. Since procrastination by definition involves postponing something even if we are aware that it would be preferable not to, it is one of the most prevalent types of self-sabotage.
When I procrastinate, even though I’m doing something like watching a movie, or browsing on social media, I’m also worrying. It assures me in a way that even though I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, I still have control and certainty over the situation since I’m thinking about it. Worrying also gives me the impression that I can take action when I’m feeling uncertain. But it just wastes my time and makes me feel more worried.
AVOIDING RESPONSIBILITIES AND COMMITMENTS
My freshman-year classmates asked me to join student organizations so I could gain experience and make connections. I didn’t try to do this, though, because I was afraid of disappointing others and facing rejection. I came to understand that I avoid responsibilities in order to prevent feeling defeated, under pressure, and uncomfortable.
MISALIGNMENT BETWEEN MY DESIRES AND ACTIONS
My behaviors and desires are out of sync. This is the toughest for me to avoid of all the signs because it’s what I do the most frequently. Every day and every week, I manage my time. It’s how I regain control over my entire life. However, I often feel defeated and frightened when things don’t go as expected or according to plan. Anyhow, I frequently fail to follow through on plans, usually because of procrastinating. I worry and feel down instantly when the things I plan don’t happen. It proves that my greatest enemy is myself.
BEING A QUITTER
I am easily discouraged when people don’t like something I write. I start coming up with new ideas right away or just give up. Also, I easily feel defeated when I encounter a minor problem while completing something. I already lack the energy to solve it or just change everything. Even in my everyday life, whenever I experience even a minor inconvenience, my fears and despair come flooding back. I realized my fear of criticism and conflict. It’s challenging because when things go wrong, I find it difficult to get up and try to find solutions. I find it tough to go past my fears and despair.
DIFFICULTIES EXPRESSING MY NEEDS
I find it challenging to speak for myself. I always struggle to satisfy all of my needs. Within my family and among my friends, things like this can always happen. I often suppress my feelings and wants because I believe that doing so will bother other people. Additionally, I constantly worry that people won’t pay attention to me or reject me.
4 Ways To Stop The Cycle Of Self-Sabotage
As I become more conscious of my tendencies to self-sabotage, I am better able to prevent it. It will take time, but the main point is to make a small attempt to break self-sabotage tendencies. These are the ways I’m doing to avoid self-sabotage. There might be other ways that may be applicable to you. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
OBSERVE THE PATTERNS
Recognizing the signs and the causes of my self-sabotage is one thing I do to stop it. I accomplish this by documenting everything in my mobile journal. I listed the reasons, the situation, and my reaction. After then, contemplate the situations that persist. The most important action here is to assess my reasons. Finding the underlying reason enables me to offer a solution and/or suggest an alternative.
CREATE ALTERNATIVE ACTIONS
I experience uncomfortable emotions like fear, pressure, rejection, and discontent when I self-sabotage. It’s important to pay attention to how triggers make you feel. Consider strategies to change those reactions after that.
In addition, I practice becoming comfortable with pressure, anxiety, failure, and rejection. I concentrate on accepting the truths of failure and pain in order to control this anxiety. This is a challenging task for me, so it won’t be done right away. I try to start small by trying to see how I might fail at my next task or assignment.
PRACTICE POSITIVE SELF-TALK
I recognize my negative self-talk and replace it with more positive thoughts. I find it helpful if I keep track of any negative ideas I experience throughout the day. Also, I added it to my mobile journal. I then come up with a replacement thought that is more in line with the feelings I want to experience. Your external reality might start to change when you change your internal story.
REACH OUT FOR SUPPORT
Thankfully, my self-sabotage doesn’t interfere with my life too much. It causes extra delays in getting things done. Self-sabotage, however, can be complicated, and we don’t have to accomplish this by ourselves. You can examine your thought processes and learn how they affect your behavior with the assistance of mental health professional. I advise you to seek professional assistance if you find it difficult to do the things I suggest or if nothing changes at all.
No one should feel ashamed of needing professional assistance. Therapy is especially beneficial for self-sabotage because, at some point, you may start unintentionally sabotaging the therapy process. An excellent therapist will notice this and assist in bringing the problem to the surface that you probably weren’t aware of.
Self-sabotage is often deeply ingrained and hard to recognize. But once you do recognize them, noticing how you hold yourself back can be hard to come to terms with. However, keep in mind that by recognizing these behaviors, you’ve taken the first step toward changing them. And you don’t have to do it alone. Friends loved ones, and trained therapists can all offer support.