8 Signs of Self Sabotage


If you were raised in a home where there was disappointment- your parents were disappointed with each other; or, your parents were disappointed with you; or, you were disappointed in your parents- you may be a person who engages in self sabotage. When we are raised in an environment with disappointment, it becomes a ‘normal’ feeling.

When you are self sabotaging you tend to do it as you  get close to achieving your goals. Why? You become uncomfortable with the feeling of possible success and so you self sabotage to get back to that familiar feeling of disappointment. Disappointment might be uncomfortable too, but it is the discomfort with which you are accustomed.

Success can be scary! Imagine the pressure and fear of the foreign feeling of success, in addition to increased expectations. Even though you honestly do want to be successful in achieving your goal, it makes sense if you choose to relieve that anxiety, pressure through self sabotage.

We sabotage ourselves in a variety of ways:

  1.  Self- criticism.  That voice in your head fills us with self-doubt, making you think you are not good enough and crushes your belief in yourself. This also occurs when you compare yourself to others.
  2.  Negativity.  You don’t see the beauty in the world and constantly make negative comments. We all have an inherent negativity bias, but those who self sabotage tend to express negativity more often.
  3.  Procrastination.  One sign of fear or anxiety is avoidance.
  4.  Disorganization.  This may create or perpetuate your anxiety, it then becomes an excuse for your lack of progress toward your commitments.
  5.  Imposter syndrome.  You don’t believe in your capabilities and fear that you will be discovered as a fraud.
  6.  Overindulgence.  Overeating, substance abuse, binge watching, etc. – anything you do is in excess to avoid your unpleasant feelings.
  7. Initiating conflicts.  Conflicts may be a way to release the tension from anxiety, but also can lead to regrets, which leads to disappointment in yourself, which leads to familiar discomfort (notice the cycle here?)
  8.  Questioning your purpose.  People who self sabotage tend to question your purpose in life. You feel worthless and inadequate, so your self esteem suffers.

How can you stop self sabotage?  You can start by identifying the behavior and when/where it shows up the most.  You can also identify your strengths and spend time with people or participate in activities that support and grow your strengths. Self care, such as exercise and meditation, is always beneficial. Talk to a therapist. A therapist can help you with these self sabotaging behaviors and more. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.


Love yourself, you deserve it!
Tina Gray-Siebers, MS, LPC, CCATP