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Dear Counsellor

Dear Counsellor

Self-Sabotage – What is it and why do we do it?

Self-Sabotage is when we deliberately take action to prevent ourselves from achieving our goals or to prevent something from being successful. It is an unconscious method we use to avoid having negative thoughts and emotions (fear, worry, sadness). It often derives from the lack of self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence and self-belief.

These are some of the most common ways we self-sabotage:

-Procrastination – Always putting this off

-Making excuses


-Checking out & Numbing – using alcohol, drugs, social media, Netflix bingeing

-Driving away/Ending Relationships-i.e. picking a fight when there is no real issue

Why we Self-Sabotage?

(1) Imposter Syndrome – We do not believe we have the potential

(2) Fear of failure/Perfectionism

(3) Feeling Unworthy – We try to destroy anything that brings happiness

(4) Emotional Masochism – Always seeking pain as this is more comfortable

How to stop:

(1) Identify our Self-Sabotaging Behaviour. Start by making a list of decisions, actions and daily choices and the consequences. For those with negative consequences try to identify what triggered that thought, feeling or behaviour.

(2) Take Responsibility – We often blame others for the things that happens to us. External forces sometimes do contribute to our failures. Nevertheless, it is our choices and actions that will determine the outcome. We need to avoid playing the victim and take control. 

(3) Change our Stories – Stop dwelling on the “if only”. We may be holding ourselves back to make up for something that happened in the past. Think about it in a different way. “I cannot change the past, but I can change the future”. “I have learned something from the past that will help me to progress in the future”

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