Many people who are survivors of abuse or trauma find themselves self-sabotaging as a way to survive. It’s often a skill that gets developed out of necessity but can be difficult to unlearn after the danger has passed. For other people, their self-worth gets so bad, they feel like they don’t deserve any of the good things in life. In this case, self-sabotaging can a convenient way to undermine their own accomplishments. Regardless of exactly why you might find yourself self-sabotaging, I want you to know there’s hope for the future and you can break the cycle. You can stop creating your own heartbreak. You can stop violating your own boundaries. You can stop procrastinating. You can stop abandoning all the goals you set.
Here are 3 steps to help you stop self-sabotaging and start living the life you deserve:
- Identify the pattern.
- Name your inner critic.
- Respond with self-compassion.
Start by remembering the times you self-sabotaged in the past. Take note of what was taking place at those times, how you felt, and what the outcome was until you identify a general pattern. Then, listen for your inner critic, or negative voice within. This is the voice that puts the self-sabotaging thoughts in your head and makes you doubt your worth. Once you can hear it, name it. By giving a label to this voice, it’s easier to recognize when it’s happening and remind yourself it isn’t you saying those things – it’s the critic. Last but definitely not least, respond to your inner critic with self-compassion. Practice not judging yourself for the thoughts that come up, then being kind and patient with yourself as you try to stop the self-sabotaging cycle.
Arielle Saunders, LMFT