What does it mean to self-sabotage?
In this context it means when we take actions to prevent us from reaching goals or honoring our desires and usually it comes from a subconscious and/or wounded place.
Now you may be asking, “Why the hell would I do that?!??! I know deep down I want to achieve my goals, I want my wants, desires and needs to be met and be my reality!”
This requires us to go deeper. To ask what part of us, our subconscious and/or wounded self is needing attention. What needs to be seen and heard and nurtured in new, healthy ways.
Some reasons you might self-sabotage, usually on a subconscious level
1. When you self-sabotage it gives you a sense of control.
As humans we want to feel some sort of control. We can’t control others or the external world entirely but we usually aim to feel a sense of control of self. When we feel out of control of ourselves we may attempt to control others and external circumstances rather than focus on our own inner work/world. When we can achieve a result, even if it’s negative, unpleasant or harmful, we still believe this is us being in control of our lives and the world around us.
2. It validates your negative experiences.
We love validation. It very much feeds our “I told you so” narrative. It makes us feel ‘right’. When we have a history of disappointment or negative experiences we can subconsciously become hard wired to continue living life in these experiences. In some sense it ‘feels easier’ even if in truth it doesn’t make our life easier.
3. It feeds your wounded narrative.
I’m all for a healthy ego but our super ego can be a real pill. Our super ego loves playing the role of the victim and/or hero/rescuer. We can definitely be a victim to some horrible experiences and at the hands of abuse of others. This particular usage speaks to when our super ego wants us to stay in a feeling of victimhood (feeling/thinking we are helpless, hopeless, avoiding responsibility, feeling of powerlessness and/or in a shame cycle).
4. It feeds patterns of disappointment, abandonment, rejection.
Subconscious patterns are very real and they are usually formed in childhood from our experiences. Deprogramming these patterns does require work but it’s so, so worth it! When we experiences patterns and repeated cycles and/or trauma created imprints of disappointment, abandonment and/or rejection our mind is then hard wired to keep these patterns going. Think of it like the software your inner computer is running on. It will go on autopilot either out of a sense of survival or because it’s what your subconscious mind knows. The sense of familiar creates an illusionary ‘safety’. Remember that 95% of our mind that influences our actions and behaviors, influences how we control and process our emotions is subconscious.
I hope you remember the truth: Your soul knows you can achieve your dreams, goals, wants and desires.
It can feel scary to get what we want or achieve things that feel big and/or new because a doubting voice in our head like our inner critic, which can also be the voice(s) of those in our lives who may have installed a sense of doubt in yourself, usually a projection of their own story. It can be ‘different for us and at first we may try to reject different.
What are some healthy actionable steps you can take when you notice your self-sabotaging behavior and thoughts rise up?
- Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are worthy of achieving your goals, having your needs and wants met and that your desires are valid.
- Pause and notice if that inner-critic or voice of doubt belongs to someone you’ve met or know. Remember that their story is theirs and not yours and you don’t need to live life by their experiences.
- Stretch yourself to move beyond illusionary safety.
- Remember the healing power of trying and being curious about what is possible.
- Do subconscious shadow work to understand your wounded inner child, fears and limiting beliefs.
As a shadow work guide if this post pinged you in any way I hope you take some time to explore my offering ‘The Root Shadow Work Journey’. Over 100 clients have experienced the transformational power of this work!