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Bringing Down My Own Self!

Think about a time that you had an important task to do. Did you ever find an excuse to not work on your task while the deadline is coming? For instance, cleaning your house or rearranging your closet one hour before the deadline. If your answer is yes, you probably sabotaged yourself!

Understanding self-sabotage: Why do we undermine ourselves? (2014). [Painting]. Allangois.

Self-Sabotage and Its Types

Sometimes, we consciously or not, take action to keep ourselves from achieving our aims. This means we are engaging in self-sabotage. Self-sabotage behavior can affect most areas of life. For instance, relationships, career goals, or personal goals like losing weight.

Individuals may experience self-sabotage in different ways. One of them is procrastination. Individuals can procrastinate their tasks by making self-imposed rules. These rules are mostly related to encouraging procrastination. For instance, not starting to do your task unless you have time for your daily sport.

In addition, there are other types of self-sabotage that occurs in relationships or work. Relationship-related self-sabotage is to concentrate too much on reducing negative interactions in our relationship, and not concentrating enough on increasing positive interactions and experiences with our significant other. For the work-related type, creating stressful occasions for us is an example. For instance, starting another project at work while you already have too much on your plate.

7 sinais de auto-sabotagem e o que pode ser feito para impedir a autodestruição. (n.d.). [Illustration]. Pinterest.

Self-sabotage’s Reasons

What could be the reason for sabotaging ourselves? There are more than one reason to engage in self-sabotage behaviors. One of the main reasons for self-sabotage is a lack of self-esteem. Feeling worthless, assuming that you do not deserve to succeed, or even hating yourself. Feeling worthless results in putting an obstacle in front of you. But what is the reason for doing this while you are succeeding? Believing in ourselves is an important concept related to this issue. Self-worth is related to self-confidence. Low self-confidence can lead to convincing ourselves repeatedly that we are not enough. Believing that we are not good enough makes us act accordingly.

The other factor that result in self-sabotage is fearing failure. We are mostly afraid of committing everything we have to a goal. The reason for this is the possibility of not being enough. We tend to give ourselves reasons for failing rather than giving all we got. In this way, we give ourselves a reason to fail.

Another factor is the need to be in control. Think and compare the times when you are in control and not. If you feel better while thinking about the time that you were in control, this factor can be valid for you. Accepting the negative outcome gives us the illusion of being in control. Thus, we feel like we are in control of our possible failure.

What is the Effect of Self-Esteem?

Mainly, self-esteem is to have confidence about your own self-worth. Appreciating yourself is important in the sense of making decisions and relationships with others. So then, how do self-esteem and self-sabotage is related? Lacking in self-esteem is one of the main reasons of self-sabotage. Not being aware of your self-worth and assuming you do not deserve the place or success that you have are reasons of the connection.

Scarfi, L. (n.d.). Self Sabotage [Illustration]. Fine Art America.

Overcoming Self-Sabotage

First of all, it is important for you to be aware of the time you are displaying self-sabotaging behaviors. For relationship-related self-sabotage behaviors, exploring our childhood relationships would be a good starting point. In this way, we could understand what triggers us in our present relationships. Keeping a journal and writing down trigger points after an argument with our significant other can be a solution. Also, clear communication is what makes our both romantic relationships and friendships free from self-sabotaging behaviors.

If we have time, it will not take too much, we can also make a list of specific things. For instance, a list of things that prevents us from succeeding, getting what we want, or hold us back. We can even write the times when we just complain about your task. While making a list, we can also think about our emotions related to our behavior. Self-sabotage reveals emotions as anxiety, fear, and feeling worthless. In this way, it will be easier for us to manage our emotions. In addition, making a list of our achievements will make us remember the times we have succeeded.

It is not possible for a human being to always be successful. Try to remember that failing is very natural and acceptable in most cases. We cannot always be perfect because all of us have our limits. Finally, do not forget that you are precious, and you can do whatever you aim to do if you try to stop sabotaging yourself!


  • How to Stop Sabotaging Yourself. (n.d.). Greater Good. Retrieved May 26, 2021, from

  • Jeffs, L. (2018, September 30). Self Sabotaging Behavior & Thoughts: What Causes It and How to Rise Above It. Lisa Jeffs. it/#:%7E:text=What%20is%20self%20sabotage%3F,goal%20such%20as%20weight%20loss.

  • Self-Sabotage: Overcoming Self-Harming Behavior. (n.d.). Mind Tools. Retrieved May 26, 2021, from

  • Self-Sabotage. (n.d.). Psychology Today. Retrieved May 26, 2021, from


Author Photo

Ülfet İpek Eral

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