All You Should Know About Self-Sabotage

Self-sabotage refers to harming one’s self either consciously or unconsciously in any way. It can include physical, psychological, mental, emotional, social, or financial harm caused by one’s self rather than any other person or external factor. 

Self-sabotage can occur on both conscious and unconscious levels. So, sometimes people are going through self-sabotage without being aware of it.

Examples of Self-Sabotage

There are multiple examples of conscious or unconscious self-sabotaging behavior:

  • Drug abuse or excessive alcoholism
  • Procrastination or laziness
  • Stress eating sometimes leads to eating disorders like Bulimia Nervosa or Anorexia Nervosa
  • Gambling or betting
  • Perfectionism or obsessive-compulsive behavior

What Causes Self-Sabotage?

Self-sabotaging behavioral patterns emerge due to different factors within one’s personality or the circumstances.

  • Psychological Factors: Lack of confidence, low self-efficacy, low self-esteem, inferiority complex, depression, and anxiety are a few psychological factors causing self-sabotage.
  • Social Factors: Lack of family support, lack of guidance from the parents, broken families, and bad company are a few social factors causing self-sabotage.

Why We Develop Self-Sabotage?

Understanding the underplaying causes of self-sabotaging behavior can help us eliminate and deal with the root cause more effectively. Overcoming a self-sabotaging behavior might not feel easy as most people have adapted to those behaviors very deeply. Still, there are ways to overcome almost every self-sabotaging behavior with a little effort and commitment. 

So let’s have a look at how we develop different sorts of self-sabotaging behaviors:

  • Procrastination: People procrastinate to avoid the negative feelings they face while accomplishing a specific task. There can be multiple reasons behind this type of self-sabotage, and you can overcome it by identifying the reason and dealing with it:
    • Your goals might contradict your interest or aptitude.
    • You might find the task at hand hard to accomplish and are trying to avoid the stress of doing that work.
    • Some distractions like social media might keep you from giving enough time to your work.
    • You might not be getting enough sleep or might not be following a healthy lifestyle. So all this can certainly affect your performance, making you more inclined to procrastinate. 
  • Putting Yourself Down: Some people tend to develop a habit of putting themselves down either consciously or unconsciously and learn to live with it. As a result of this type of self-sabotage, people are assumed to be less capable than they actually are and are unable to make the progress they deserve. These are a few underlying causes that should be identified to overcome this self-sabotaging behavior:
    • Lack of confidence
    • Unnecessary humbleness
    • Low self-esteem
    • Low self-efficacy
  • Bad Eating Habits: A lot of people find themselves struggling with overcoming their bad eating habits and might end up facing health issues like obesity, heart diseases, diabetes or lack of nutrition, etc. In extreme cases, people even develop eating disorders like Bulimia Nervosa or Anorexia Nervosa, bringing them to an extremely overweight or underweight category due to some physiological factors. So multiple reasons can contribute to developing bad eating habits and eating disorders:
    • Depression, stress, or anxiety
    • Social standards of beauty and style
    • Influence of family or peer group
  • Addictions and Gambling: Additions like drug abuse or excessive alcoholism are extremely self-sabotaging behaviors and are relatively hard to overcome. Similarly, habitual gambling can also have many adverse effects. Both addictions and gambling not just affect the person involved in these activities but also their families suffer from them. These are a few major causes of these self-sabotaging behavioral patterns: 
    • An attempt to avoid responsibilities
    • Lack of capabilities to meet social expectations.
    • Social influence, or bad company, 
  • Perfectionism: Some people proudly call themselves a perfectionist, assuming it to be great quality. Perfectionism, in fact, is quite different from excellence. Pursuing excellence is a healthy behavior or habit, while perfectionism can often be self-sabotaging. So having the habit of doing our best at all times keeps us more relaxed, confident, and satisfied. On the other hand, trying to be a perfectionist can cause anxiety or distress and make you feel unhappy about yourself. It’s mainly because doing things with excellence is a desirable behavioral pattern or habit. In contrast, doing things most perfectly always leaves you with very less flexibility and leads to developing inhuman or unrealistic expectations from one’s self.

These are a few reasons for developing this self-sabotaging behavior:

    • Fear of failure
    • Fear of social disapproval
    • Past unsuccessful and stressful experiences

No matter what the reasons for self-sabotage are, it’s not impossible to deal with such behavioral patterns at all. Overcoming any type of self-sabotage can surely help a lot in bringing a positive change in anyone’s life.

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