Self-Sabotaging behavior: Why You WANT to Fail

Are YOU the barrier towards your own success? Look at why you may be self-sabotaging here

I’ve recently noticed a reoccurring pattern of self-sabotaging behavior in my life.

When something seems to be going well like a blossoming relationship, a developing friendship, or landing a dream job that has me over the moon, it never lasts – not because I can’t maintain it, but because I unconsciously sabotage it.

Therefore, I end up heartbroken by my own foolish decisions.

I make no effort to maintain connections with those who were once like siblings to me.

I’ve forfeited incredible opportunities because I didn’t play by the rules, and sometimes, I wonder what I could have had.

Whatever happens, I revert to a subpar life situation – dwelling in despair and wondering how I went so wrong. However, acknowledging that a part of me wants to fail is the hardest pill to swallow, but the most important.

In this article, I’m going to lead you through my process of realization, healing, and transformation to finally put an end to self-sabotaging behavior.

You deserve to have an incredible life, you just need to stop getting in your way.

What is self-sabotaging behavior?

self-sabotaging behavior

Self-sabotaging behavior is your conscious or unconscious desire to derail a positive situation in your life.

Think of self-sabotage as getting in the way of your own success because you have unconscious fears about being successful.

Recently, I sacrificed a dream job by not abiding by the rules. Even when the people I worked for adored me and looked the other way, I made sure to be a little careless.

So once again, I gave up something truly good for me, leading me into an uncomfortable but familiar downward spiral. Over the last several months, I had to take a hard look at my shadows and make a declaration to the universe that enough is enough.

Some of the common areas of life people self-sabotage include:

  • Healthy and meaningful relationships
  • Career and good job opportunities
  • Money and finances
  • Health and wellness
  • Enriching new opportunities and life experiences

Essentially, you can sabotage anything in your life that you don’t believe you are deserving of.

My sense of comfort and familiarity is attached to struggle. Therefore, there is an unconscious compulsion to revert to the familiar, even if it causes misery. This is why I have sabotaged good things in my life because I was familiar with the pain of struggling.

Why do people self-sabotage?

People tend to self-sabotage when they feel unworthy or inadequate of the things they want.

As soon as something is going well in their lives, a little voice kicks in saying ‘Woah, woah, hold up! Your home is back here in the shadows, you don’t really want to abandon your home, do you?’

Self-sabotaging behavior has been one of the most stubborn patterns in my life, and now I realize it comes from a place of inadequacy – believing I’m not worthy of the good things life is providing.

There have been a few instances of beautiful relationships that I have sabotaged because I didn’t feel worthy – despite my partners at the time believing so.

During one blossoming relationship with a beautiful Colombian woman who I felt was way out of my league, I decided to move to another country instead of pursuing the relationship.

Years later when I was in Mexico traveling with a wonderful woman, I complicated the situation by involving an ex-girlfriend, and everything fell apart.

Another relationship with a woman who founded a successful business when I was living in the United States fell apart because my insecurities came out in full swing and got the best of me.

So… here are the common themes.

These women were beautiful and like-minded, and we had great chemistry. They were all fun and down to Earth, and I could potentially see myself settling down with either one of them.

So what on Earth happened? How did I keep screwing this up in the worst possible way?

I ended (or caused an end to) these relationships because it was easier.

It seems obvious from an outside glance, but these are unconscious patterns, meaning I didn’t think about the repercussions. These actions were out of character – leading to the dissolution of the relationship and a whole lot of pain to ensue.

How do people self-sabotage?

Certain behaviors are common among people who self-sabotage. People who self-sabotage are unconsciously looking for the consequences – meaning they’re likely to act out of line to evoke a reaction.

Some of these behaviors involve:

  • Picking fights with people when there is a clear solution
  • Exacerbating small issues into big problems
  • Neglecting health and wellness
  • Abusing substances
  • Procrastinating rather than getting the job done
  • Being a perfectionist and focusing on trivial details
  • Remaining in painful, but comfortable life situations
  • Being dishonest or lying about something that will stir the pot
  • Being avoidant and deliberately missing out on good opportunities
  • Being intentionally late to something where punctuality is necessary
  • Being unattentive or unusually forgetful
  • Making basic mistakes that are easily avoided

How to correct self-sabotaging behavior

Man doing work in office

Now that you’ve got a good grasp of what self-sabotaging behavior is and why you do it, we will look at some things you can do about it.

Develop awareness of the pattern

As with any painful reoccurring pattern, awareness is the first step towards true change. Without recognizing when you are self-sabotaging, you’re bound to continue doing it.

Think back to the different themes in your life where you could have prevented something good from falling apart. Where did you let yourself down, and how often has this happened?

What exactly did you do, and has it happened before?

Use the previous list of common self-sabotaging behaviors to identify if any of them seem familiar. Perhaps with awareness, you will notice when you’re slipping into this painful pattern, to deter it.

Developing awareness of self-sabotage requires taking accountability for your mistakes. If you’re caught in a victim loop or deferred responsibility by pointing the finger, these painful situations will keep happening.

So be honest with yourself to know what exactly you’re looking for.

Reflect on the patterns

Reflection tends to move the needle because it encourages insights that you may have previously brushed over.

By spending time thinking about why you did what you did and how you could act differently, you’re more likely to catch the pattern if it begins to reoccur. Essentially, you want to get to the roots of it. What is causing you to sabotage yourself? Does it come from a place of:

  • Self-hate
  • Low self-esteem
  • Inadequacy
  • Fear

Do any of these reasons ring true to you? If not, what do you think could be the root cause of this painful pattern? Reflecting on these patterns can hurt because you will confront aspects of yourself you wish you could avoid.

Perhaps you will encounter guilt or shame from a previous experience. Maybe you will see that you are the reason you’re failing, which is difficult.

But it is progress.

The more you think back to these patterns and reflect, the more this pattern will start to make sense.

Forgive yourself for being human

The hardest part about self-sabotage is the feeling of guilt that ensues after realizing I’ve (deliberately) let myself down. That guilt haunts me. In particular cases I carried that emotional baggage for years – the icing on the cake.

But I realized that I don’t need to add insult to injury. Sure, it’s important to learn from the situation to better recognize when I self-sabotage. But forgiveness is also important because guilt only adds fuel to the issue that caused self-sabotage.

See how you can get caught in a spiral?

Learn to forgive yourself for times when you’ve blown a good situation. You are only human, so don’t judge yourself for making these mistakes.

Make sure that you learn from your mistakes and move forward, otherwise let the past be the past.

Heal the underlying wound

A trauma response can drive self-sabotaging behavior. If you have an unhealed wound relating to a particular experience, you may sabotage related future experiences.

For example, if you went on a date and it went horribly, you may avoid other opportunities for dates because you don’t want to relive the previous experience. Even though you could be passing wonderful opportunities with incredible people, the negative experience influences you.

As the desire to self-sabotage comes from a wound, you’re bound to continue doing it if that wound is still open. That’s why it’s important to sink into the feelings associated with the wound and do the healing.

Another common wound that causes self-sabotaging behavior is feeling inadequate. Likely due to childhood experiences, you developed an inferiority complex.

Your lack of self-worth makes you believe that you cannot have good things when they come to you. If someone good does come to you, you push it away because unconsciously you believe you’re undeserving.

Now that you’ve identified the pattern, you’ve discovered the wound, you need to heal. Work on the root cause of this problem, and heal the darkness causing this behavior. You can get started with the article below:

Stop identifying as a failure

Your identity drives your behavior.

If you identify as a victim, guess what you’ll do to reinforce that image?

That’s right, you’ll look for ways to be a victim because it reinforces your sense of self. But this sense of self is fundamentally broken which is why you need to change it.

Changing your identity can take time, but you want to continuously reinforce patterns and behaviors that align with a happier perception of self. Here you can utilize techniques such as affirmations or practice letting go techniques to remove an identity that doesn’t serve you.

When you form a healthier identity that inspires hope, motivation, and inspiration, you’re less likely to self-sabotage because you want to be congruent with this new identity.

Make a declaration

Now I want you to genuinely declare your intention to stop self-sabotaging once and for all.

Say it to the universe, god, Jesus, Buddha, whatever your faith is tied to, and say it from the heart. You need to affirm that you’re going to stop self-sabotaging because it’s within your power.

There is a lot of power behind declaring an end to something, but say it with heart. You need to feel it here and truly make this declaration. It should be a powerful energy that you bring into your life.

Scream it out or speak it through prayer, just make sure you say it.

You are deserving

Couple living a happy life

You are worthy of having a good life. Having a wonderful life is your birthright, so don’t be afraid to take what is inherently yours.

By stopping self-sabotaging behavior, you set yourself on a better course of prosperity and happiness that you are deserving of. Be the best person you can be, but realize that you have earned a good life.

Enjoy your life and stop blowing the opportunities.

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