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    98. The psychology of self sabotage

    enJune 13, 2023

    About this Episode

    Sometimes our biggest enemy isn't others, it's ourselves. Self sabotage is a complicated psychological experience whereby we unconsciously undermine our own goals and wellbeing because of an implicit belief that we don't deserve our success, are afraid of failure, or cannot allow ourselves to be happy. From dating people we shouldn't, to procrastination, indecision, doom scrolling and self destructive behaviours, it all comes down to our unconscious beliefs about our self worth. Today we explore the origins and causes of self sabotage, from Freud's ideas of the 'death drive' and 'anti-self', coping mechanisms, to the impact of unresolved emotional trauma and self punishment to understand why it is we self sabotage, and how we can get out of our own way. Listen now. 

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    ūüĒĎ Key Takeaways

    • Self-sabotage can be due to unresolved emotional pain and low self-esteem. We can combat it by recognizing its signs and cultivating healthier habits and patterns, breaking the cycle and increasing our well-being.
    • Self-sabotage is a destructive behaviour that stems from our beliefs and distorted self-worth. Recognizing these patterns and unlearning them can lead to personal growth and fulfilling life.
    • Recognize self-sabotaging behaviors and take responsibility for our decisions to lead a happier and more fulfilling life. Blaming others denies us agency over our lives and prevents personal growth.
    • Overcoming self-sabotage requires recognizing and addressing destructive behavioural patterns, committing to personal growth, and learning to disengage from stressful situations in a positive way. This strengthens mental resilience and emotional well-being, and helps achieve goals.
    • To conquer the habit of self-sabotage, it's essential to identify its origins, including the fear of failure and unconscious behaviors. Breaking this pattern early on can be vital to future success.
    • Childhood experiences can lead to self-destructive behaviors in adulthood due to lower self-esteem, negative core beliefs, and the subconscious need for chaos. Healing through therapy and self-awareness can help break free from destructive patterns and promote growth.
    • Self-sabotage can be caused by fear, learned helplessness, or conflicting desires. Recognize your unconscious desires and pursue the outcomes you truly want, rather than societal expectations. Overcome self-sabotage habits by facing novel and uncertain situations without relying on self-destructive tendencies like procrastination.
    • Become self-aware by identifying triggers, thoughts, and emotions. Use CBT to challenge negative beliefs and build healthy coping strategies. Seek out support and accountability to break patterns of self-sabotage.
    • Reflection, accountability and speaking to others with honesty & compassion can help identify self-sabotage patterns and work towards a fulfilling life aligned with our goals and emotional wellbeing.

    ūüďĚ Podcast Summary

    Understanding and Countering the Negative Effects of Self-Sabotage

    Self-sabotage is a harmful pattern of habits and actions driven by unresolved emotional pain, low self-esteem, and a sense of unworthiness. It can be a coping mechanism to numb or distract ourselves from psychological distress, and it undermines our goals, well-being, and happiness. Everyone engages in such behavior at some point in their lives, especially in their 20s when they are vulnerable and lack experience. The reasons for self-sabotage can be linked to childhood, trauma, fear of success, and more. However, we can cultivate healthier habits and patterns and let go of negative beliefs to break the cycle of self-sabotage. It is important to recognize the signs of self-sabotage and take steps to overcome it.

    Understanding Self-Sabotage and Overcoming It

    Self-sabotage is an unconscious psychological urge towards self-destruction, rooted in our ego, beliefs and childhood development. It occurs in any domain of life and can be conscious or unconscious. Self-sabotaging behaviours stem from our belief system around what we deserve in life, and the distorted sense of self-worth. Recognising self-destructive patterns can be difficult as they are often socially acceptable. Habits like overworking, excessive busyness and alcohol consumption can also contribute to self-sabotage. Being aware of the root causes of self-sabotage and unlearning those patterns can lead to personal growth and fulfilment.

    The Dangers of Alcohol and Self-Sabotage

    Alcohol is a drug that causes intergenerational trauma and it's the best example of a socially acceptable behaviour that contains an element of self-sabotage. Coping mechanisms can be maladaptive and recognizing signs of self-sabotage helps overcome self-defeating behaviours. Blaming others demonstrates a lack of self-awareness and attribution theory externalizes the cause of events and outcomes to protect our self-image, denying us agency over our lives. It's important to take responsibility for our decisions and how they contribute to our overall happiness and satisfaction in life.

    Overcoming Self-Sabotage: Identifying and Confronting Behavioural Patterns

    Self-sabotaging behaviour can manifest in various ways, such as blaming others for our actions, walking away when things get hard, creating problems or conflicts in relationships, engaging in negative self-talk and being unable to follow through on our goals. These behaviours are often rooted in learned helplessness, a fear of failure, insecurities, a fear of intimacy and difficulties with control. Overcoming self-sabotage requires us to identify and confront these behaviours and beliefs, demonstrate commitment to our growth, and learn to disengage from stressful situations in a positive way. By doing so, we can strengthen our mental resilience and emotional well-being, and achieve our goals.

    Understanding the Roots of Self-Sabotage for Success

    Understanding the origins of self-sabotage is crucial in conquering this tendency. Factors such as fear of failure and success, as well as unconscious behaviors contribute to this pattern of behavior. It's important to recognize that giving up is easy but to break this habit early on, we need to understand why we do this. Self-sabotage could be detrimental to our success and future. It's best to address this behavior early in our twenties. Gaining insight into the reasoning and causes of self-sabotage is the first step towards conquering it.

    Understanding Childhood Experiences and their impact on Self-Destructive Behaviors

    Childhood experiences, including trauma, abuse, and neglect, can significantly impact the development of self-destructive behaviors in adulthood. Lower self-esteem, negative core beliefs, and a subconscious need for familiarity in chaos and uncertainty can all contribute to self-sabotage. These behaviors can also be used as coping mechanisms, but ultimately, they reinforce negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Addressing the underlying emotional, cognitive, and behavioral processes through therapy and healing can be a crucial step in breaking free from self-destructive patterns. By identifying the cause of the problem, we can work towards treating it, just as with any disease. Understanding the impacts of childhood experiences on adult behaviors can help us be more compassionate with ourselves and others as we navigate healing and growth.

    Understanding self-sabotage habits and how to overcome them

    Self-sabotage habits often stem from fear of failure, fear of success, learned helplessness, or unconscious desires that conflict with our conscious goals. Individuals may engage in self-sabotage to protect themselves from negative feelings, such as discomfort or injuring self-esteem, or as a way of punishing themselves for their perceived wrongdoings. Self-destructive tendencies such as procrastination can be a crutch that people rely on to avoid novel and uncertain situations. Every person's individual profile, experiences, and history shape their reaction to self-sabotage. It is crucial for people in their 20s to recognize their unconscious desires and pursue the outcome that they truly want, rather than adhering to societal expectations.

    Steps to Overcoming Self-Sabotage

    Self-awareness is the first step in addressing self-sabotaging behaviors. Identifying triggers, thoughts, and emotions that precede these behaviors and addressing underlying beliefs about ourselves is crucial. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help challenge negative beliefs and replace them with positive and realistic ones. Building healthy coping strategies, such as exercise, mindfulness, journaling, and engaging in hobbies, can replace self-destructive behaviors with ones that improve emotional wellbeing. Lastly, accountability is essential. Friends, family, or a therapist who can provide support, guidance, and constructive criticism can help identify and break patterns of self-sabotage.

    Recognizing Self-Sabotage and Finding Support for Personal Growth

    Self-sabotage is a common behavior that goes unnoticed, and it's important to reflect on our decisions consciously to identify patterns that don't align with our goals. Having honest and caring people around us who will keep us accountable can be really valuable for our personal growth. Speaking to someone in an honest and compassionate manner can be more helpful than criticizing. It's okay to face setbacks and parts of ourselves that we don't love, but being conscious of them is a step in the right direction towards achieving a fulfilling life. It's important to be mindful of our behaviors and actions that reflect our long-term goals and emotional well-being.

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