Sabotaging yourself - getting in your own way



A story


A client had received a diagnosis of cancer; she sought my help, in

particular to develop an eating regimen that would support her.

Working intuitively, I was getting that she had lots of self-sabotaging

patterns which ran something like this:-


  • I’m saying I want to heal yet if I do I’ll miss all the attention                                                                                                          that being ill brings me

  • I’d love to eat healthily but (here’s her control) it has to be on my                                                                                                                                  (the client’s) terms and if I don’t like what he comes up with, I’ll                                                                                                                                         just say no.

  • Better still, I don’t much fancy putting in the effort so I’ll just say                                                                                                                                   no upfront. (She had stopped before she could start)


To be fair, she wasn’t consciously aware of these thoughts but when I

raised my first few questions with her, her response did  not surprise me.


“Oh, I’m not so sure this was a good idea. I don’t really have time to do this just now. I’ll get back to you in three months.”


The truth was, she had been procrastinating all her life, putting things off, always intending to get rid of a dysfunctional relationship, to give up smoking, to eat well, to prioritise more "me" time and less work time but never did. And now cancer, the big messenger, was more or less saying, “Honey, you don’t have three months. Stop with the procrastinating. Act now!”


A definition

Self-sabotage is our capacity, often an ingrained pattern, a habit learned over time and of which we are not consciously aware, to get in our own way of our success. It is when one part of your personality acts in conflict with another part, when one side of you wants one thing and the other side of you wants something completely different.


A process


Self-defeating, self-sabotaging behaviours are serious, just as substance abuse, overeating, and even self-harm are serious. They stop you doing what you need to, often deferring to what you think you want to. They are impediments to a happy, healthy, and successful life.


The main ways we self-sabotage


Fear – we are afraid to step up to the plat, be visible, step into our greatness, we fear ridicule and humiliation, rejection  or abandonment and some of these are the biggest wounds we can carry through life


Bad habits such as negative thinking, excessive alcohol, smoking, or unaddressed negative emotions such as resentment, anger, bitterness.


Procrastination. Needing things to be just so, right, perfect and until they are

we just cannot move forward. It is the thief of time and creative health and



Unaddressed negative self-talk. “Who am I to think I could …?” "I could

never do that!" "That's way too difficult!" “What’s the point?” "If I try, I’ll

probably just fail anyway." Negative self-talk is something we have all probably

engaged in at some time. When it’s present on a regular basis, it can lead to

self-sabotage, and can stop us achieving our goals and dreams.


The mindset of 'failure'. The fact something didn’t work out in the past  is no guarantee it should fail again. The fact you live and work around 'dysfunctional people' does not mean you should continue in that way. Nor does it mean you should 'put a spanner in the works' of manifesting something positive in your life.


Negative feelings. Feelings of lack and of unworthiness will often hold us back from even attempting to try something. Low self-esteem is insidious and not just a fluffy new-age concept. If we feel we “don’t deserve” we shall hold no expectation of possibility, we shall not even attempt and our negative energy will repel the likelihood of any good.


An unconscious, sometimes conscious, need to be in control. Exerting undue influence over our lives, our environment, or the actions or behaviours of another person—is used by those who fear the uncertain and ambiguous, feel they need to prove themselves, fear losing control, or looking foolish. This can become overwhelming and exhausting, and wreak havoc on relationships, health, and well-being.  Self-sabotage means that If we feel something is bound to fail then we may behave in ways to prove the point.


Need for excitement. A relationship may be going well but one of the couple starts to pick a fight, give their partner the silent treatment, drag out the “well, you always …” card and suddenly world war III has begun. The cause was perhaps a simple desire to not be bored or for excitement, but this need can be expressed in all sorts of different and inappropriate, less than honest forms.




How do you self-sabotage – and more importantly how will you stop it, and start being and doing instead?


How do you put things off, make excuses, or let anyone or anything get in the way of your dreams, desires, and commitments? How will you change that habit?


What is your self-talk saying to yourself and your subconscious mind (which records all of your patterns) when you do stay the course and complete what is important to you?


What’s the lie you are telling yourself about yourself? That you're no good, a failure, stupid etc? When will you stop and start to honour yourself instead?


Which wounds - picked up in childhood - still run your life – rejection, abandonment, humiliation, betrayal, injustice - and how will you heal them? (You may need therapeutic help.)

What's your fear? Fear of success, your light, your brilliance, hard work, having to change habits?


Instead of offering your authentic you to the world, which masks do you wear to the world eg dependence, withdrawal, emotional or mental masochism, control, rigidity and how will you heal them? (You may need therapeutic help.)

Our masks are as a result of our wounds!


Pick a dream, a task or new habit to which you now commit. What will it take to show yourself and your inner programming (your inner voice) that you CAN follow-through and complete, and that you are serious about what you say.


Here are some ideas (not in any order of logic!)


Identify your self-sabotaging ways.


Decide how you will bring them into your heightened awareness and how they play out in your life so that you may release them


Dig deep, how does each sabotaging habit serve you? Self-sabotage is of the ego and the ego believes it has a positive intent for you. Not that it will let you get that for long.


If the way your pattern serves is not positive, how could you bring about a positive intent?




Book      Heal Your Wounds and Find Your True Self - Lise Bourbeau           

                 Ego – Lise Bourbeau



Video     Stop Sabotaging Yourself


Web        How to stop procrastinating

Creating your own storms