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Are You a Self Saboteur? – 12 Signs You May Be

Updated on April 22, 2013
Do you have a chaotic lifestyle?
Do you have a chaotic lifestyle? | Source

Self Sabotage is quite common; most people do it from time to time. However, some people almost make a career out of it. Self saboteurs will mess up by doing alcohol, drugs, participating in risky behaviour, disastrous relationships and friendships. They will invariably blame the disaster on someone or something else and never take responsibility for their own actions.

Risky behaviour - Drugs, Weapons
Risky behaviour - Drugs, Weapons | Source
Not letting people get too close
Not letting people get too close | Source
Binge eating
Binge eating | Source
Procrastinating
Procrastinating | Source

12 Signs you may be a Self Saboteur


  1. You probably don’t let people get too close to you. If they seem to be getting closer you tend to push them away. Do you find that you are over-critical of others? Do people never quite come up to the mark or is there always something that is not quite right in your relationships?
  2. You probably have feelings of inadequacy.
  3. Self saboteurs take drugs, drink to excess or binge eat to make themselves feel better.
  4. You may be lacking in self-confidence
  5. People may say that you are negative and always look on the downside
  6. You will more than likely be a chronic procrastinator who can never get organised until the eleventh hour. Consequently any projects undertaken will be substandard.
  7. A self saboteur will stay stuck in unsuitable relationships and lifestyles because they lack the confidence to move on.
  8. Generally you will be an underachiever who quits before finishing a project
  9. You will find it almost impossible to escape from a destructive lifestyle; you may take a few steps and then backslide.
  10. You may be stuck and feel powerless to make changes because you are afraid; although you would never admit to feeling fear.
  11. You will blame other people and external factors for your misfortune even though it is probably down to you.
  12. Often self saboteurs will have anger issues and sabotage their relationships, friendships and employment prospects by being unable to handle conflict effectively.

Take a good long look at yourself or at the person in your life you think may be a self saboteur

Could the above description be you, or them? If so, there are things you can do or encourage them to do.

Welcome fear with open arms
Welcome fear with open arms | Source
Observing one's behaviour
Observing one's behaviour | Source
Look to your past for clues
Look to your past for clues | Source
Don't rain on my picnic!
Don't rain on my picnic! | Source
Fictional Excuses
Fictional Excuses | Source

18 Steps you can take to overcome Self Sabotage


  1. Welcome fear and failure with open arms; fear is your friend, failure your ally. If you never fail or are never afraid how will you succeed at anything with no yardstick to go by? People learn by their mistakes remember.
  2. Stop blaming other people and things for the way your life is. If it isn’t your fault you won’t need to change anything will you? This is victim mentality at its worst.
  3. Watch yourself closely and pay careful attention to what is really happening when things go wrong or don’t work out as well as could be expected.
  4. Whilst you are observing yourself; take a good hard look at your past. Do you see the same things repeating over and over again? Is there a pattern? Try to work out at what point things changed and what caused them to change. Maybe a teacher or peer mocked one of your attempts at something and this took your confidence to try something new away.
  5. Identify what the payoff’s are for all of your self sabotage. Do people take more notice of you when disasters are happening in your life? Eventually even the best of friends run out of patience.
  6. If you find yourself in a situation where things are going wrong, ask yourself if it’s something within your control. If the cause is environmental then there won’t be much you can do so there is little point in apologising or getting mad. If however, you have done something to upset someone you would be justified in offering an apology and putting things right. Just don’t sweat over the small stuff.
  7. Don’t dream up fictional reasons for not doing a thing. If you are offered an anger management course or drug program and you turn it down because you would have to take two buses to get there or because you ‘know’ you won’t get on with the provider - this is inventing fictional excuses for not doing something. Instead admit that you just don’t want to do it because you are afraid of change.
  8. Stop going into self destruct mode if something goes wrong. Often self saboteurs will create mayhem if just one small thing goes wrong in their lives. They will assume (wrongly) that they have blown everything and make absolutely sure that this is exactly what they do.
  9. Realise that self saboteurs are in fact selfish! Their actions are not purely harmful to themselves; they often have a far reaching effect that cause distress and upset for many people. Think about the ill mother who is made more ill because her son will not address his anger issues and drug usage. She has to bear his anger being turned on her when he is in a drug fuelled rage and this does her health condition no good. The rest of the family will be affected by this too.
  10. Keep away from people and situations that upset you or provoke a major violent or emotional outburst. These kinds of encounters will just send you sliding right back to exactly where you were.
  11. Focus instead on what went right, rather than what went wrong. It is extremely rare for EVERYTHING to go wrong. This is all about changing your thoughts from the negative to the positive so stop with the negativity already!
  12. Not everyone who has lived the life that you have got through it but you have done thus far. Use this as your strength and kick the victim mentality for once and for all. Victims don’t survive; survivors do.
  13. If you are going to compare yourself to others don’t compare with people who have it better than you have. Instead compare your life to the life of someone who has little or nothing. Watch a documentary or two about third world countries, for a great eye opener.
  14. Take a reality check on the meaning of success. Nothing is successful all of the time; there are times when you won’t see eye to eye with people. There will be friction in friendships from time to time. Nothing is perfect but you can be successful without being perfect.
  15. Consider getting a sponsor or some kind of professional help. Often, when you try to evaluate what in a particular situation went wrong or made you upset you will identify a false trigger. Acting on this trigger can provoke you to self destruct. A professional can help you identify what the real trigger was and help you to develop calmer strategies to cope in the future.
  16. Stop leaving things until the last minute. Schedule tasks for earlier than you need them to be completed and break them down into manageable chunks rather than trying to tackle everything all at once.
  17. Yes, you may well want to be left alone! You will need to face the fact that if you begin to be successful, people will always want more from you. Eventually you will feel a sense of pride and not fear and trepidation when that happens. Even if you don’t do things well you won’t be left alone because there will always be someone there trying to chivvy you along; certainly your parent, partner or friend.
  18. A final question to ask yourself: Is it time to stop the pain or are you prepared to go on stumbling from crisis to crisis?

© Susan Bailey 2013 All Rights Reserved

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    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 

      20 months ago from Port Elizabeth

      I so agree with you Sue. I have found that especially alcoholics are very self destructive. People generally feel sorry for them but the fact remains that they destroy or try to destroy those that love them. They do not care what damage they do to their children and family. Even after death you sometimes still have to endure the consequences of their behavior.

    • Sue Bailey profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Bailey 

      5 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      I also have family who act this way Jeannie but unfortunately much as I try I can't limit contact enough. I usually end up enabling them to continue in this destructive way. Thanks for the 'UP'

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 

      5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is a really interesting hub. I find that sometimes I can be a bit guilty of this behavior myself, but I do work each day to get out of the pattern. I have friends and family members that always allow themselves to act this way and never acknowledge that they bring much of it on themselves. I now try to limit my contact with people like this because we don't help each other break these habits.

      Thanks for sharing this interesting hub. Voted up!

    • Sue Bailey profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Bailey 

      5 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Thank you writershirley. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • writershirley profile image

      writershirley 

      5 years ago

      This hub was well written and complete it is an excellent piece.

    • Sue Bailey profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Bailey 

      5 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Nice of you to comment Keeley, I hope it helps someone. Thank you.

    • Keeley Shea profile image

      Keeley Shea 

      5 years ago from Norwich, CT

      I think this is a very thorough and well written hub! I have many people in my life that fit a lot of these descriptions. This hub gives me a lot to think about and I will pass this on to some who may really need to read this! Thanks!

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