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Is It Really Self-Sabotage? Four Ways We Do It

Dont-stand-in-your-own-wayGood news, bad news and “worse” news today. We will start with the bad news.

Bad: Your chronic complaints and limitations in life are 99% likely to be self-sabotage in disguise.

Worse: Because of your ego, you thoroughly trick yourself into believing that your shortcomings are NOT a result of self-sabotage, but due to something else (other people, your defective nature, outside circumstances, etc…)

This is why it is important to understand self-sabotage and learn to recognize it. Then, the good news: Once you see self-sabotage for what it is, you empower yourself to make real choices.

Here are four signs that you are sabotaging yourself. If you…

1. Refuse to speak up

Lots of people feel powerless to stand up for themselves. They go along to get along, deprive themselves of what they want, ignore their deeper sense of what is right and bow down to authority.

As a result, they get taken advantage of, feel like a martyr, become resentful and feel powerless. I’ve done my share of going along to get along and I know how it feels. You end up full of resentment and feel like victim. You think others are to blame, but it is pure self-sabotage. You ignore your own needs and hate that they are not being met.

2. Worry, obsess, or “catastrophize”

Chronic worry about things that you cannot control is commonplace, but is it really self-sabotage? Yes, if you consider how it deprives you of enjoyment. Chronic worriers cannot enjoy the moment, they feel helpless, get overly involved in others’ problems, lose sleep, and in general feel like slaves to their own mind.

The unwitting self-sabotage is self-deprivation, not allowing yourself to enjoy your life – always waiting for the other shoe to drop and things to go wrong.

3. Require perfection

Perfectionists deny themselves the satisfaction of a job well done. The self-sabotage is experienced as self-rejection. No matter how well they do, they criticize themselves. No matter how good they look, there is always a flaw. The insistence of perfection (typically undefined, always impossible) is a set up to sabotage self-respect and a sense of accomplishment.

4. Avoid your feelings

A shocking number of people go through life feeling numb. They lack passion, conviction and a strong sense of self. They are not doing what they want with their life because they have no idea what that would be. And they don’t dig in and figure it out. Living in this repressed way sabotages chances for fulfillment.

The biggest problem with all of the above is that we experience them passively, as if they are happening to us. Once we realize we are doing it to ourselves, we can get a leg up on it. Once we realize why we are doing it to ourselves, we can get beyond it.

Please watch the following free video to learn more about why we tend to be natural self-sabotagers, and good luck! Watch it here.

Is It Really Self-Sabotage? Four Ways We Do It

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2013). Is It Really Self-Sabotage? Four Ways We Do It. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 7, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Mar 2013
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