You’ve probably heard about how self-sabotage can get in the way of your climb up the career ladder. It gets in the way of your success and stops you from reaching your full potential, and you feel like you only have yourself to blame.
Sometimes it’s our inner critic winning a battle, and sometimes it’s giving in to immediate gratification – eating that tub of ice cream instead of going for a run – but it’s always stopping us from reaching what we want.
For many of us, being afraid of intimacy and commitment can trigger self-sabotaging behaviour in our romantic relationships, too. Whether you’re always making up excuses to cancel a date or you’re holding back from the next stage in a relationship, it can give your potential partner mixed signals.
We’ll explore what causes self-sabotaging behaviour and how you can take steps to battle this behaviour and love your relationship.
Why do I sabotage my relationships?
Retreating from situations and avoiding confrontation means we can shield ourselves from any pain or anguish. Our subconscious is protecting us from what we think is the inevitable pain of heartbreak, but it can be detrimental to otherwise healthy and fruitful relationships.
However, this pattern of behaviour can cause issues in the long-term, leaving you unable to maintain a committed, intimate relationship. It can also cause us to feel lonely and isolated.
How can I stop self-sabotaging?
Whilst it can be easy to blame yourself for self-sabotaging behaviour, by understanding your behavioural patterns and taking responsibility for your actions, you can work on your relationships.
1. Spot the signs
The spectrum of self-sabotaging signs is vast, from jealousy to avoidance. These might seem like totally opposing and unrelated reactions, but let’s illustrate how they work with some examples.
If you’re always looking for a way out of the relationship as an ‘insurance policy’, chances are you’re avoiding bigger commitments and in some cases avoiding your partner. This can create distance and push your partner away.
On the other hand, perhaps you might be plagued with jealousy, constantly checking upon them to the point where they find it overwhelming. In this case, your need for control can push your partner away as they feel uncomfortable.
2. Communicate with your partner
Is there a confrontational situation you’re avoiding or a difficult conversation you don’t want to have? Having an upfront, open, and honest conversation with your partner about your feelings and behaviour means they may be able to support you better.
For example, if you’ve learnt to identify a trigger, perhaps you can discuss this with your partner so you can both work to avoid it or mitigate the impacts. Or, if you’ve been honest about your fears of abandonment, your partner will be able to offer genuine reassurance and compassion.
Whether it’s setting aside time for meditation or journaling at the end of your day, looking inwards to confront your emotions can help you to deal with your self-sabotaging. Be kind to yourself and focus on what you have done right, rather than what you have done wrong, even if it’s small things.
This learned behaviour won’t disappear overnight, but the more you take steps to embrace why you revert to self-sabotaging behaviour in your relationships, the easier it will become. Slowly, your self-confidence will begin to grow.
Taking these first few steps can help you on your journey to stop blaming yourself for self-sabotaging your relationship. We sometimes become complacent and forget to pause and appreciate our partners.
Having searched and found your partner, you’ll want to make sure they’re at the top of your list. Priority number one. But with life getting in the way, how can you?