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Old 08-31-2018, 05:47 AM   #1
FergusonsFather
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Default Self Sabotage?

So Iíve been looking into self sabotage, the causes, signs etc. Things like alcohol and drug abuse, binge eating and self harm keep coming up.
This got me thinking that maybe self sabotage isnít the correct definition for the behaviour that I have in mind, and am now wondering if it may be classified as something different? Any help would be appreciated.
Iíll now give an example of the behaviour that I am talking about:

There is a person. This person has suffered with anxiety, depression and anger. They have experience some mid life trauma and have managed, with the aid of medication and therapy, to overcome these problems. The person lives a successful life (whatever that means) and for the most part functions very well. However the episodes of anxiety, stress and worry still occur occasionally, triggered by certain things. Now, this person will put their energy and time into something, be it through educating themselves in their professional field, purchasing a house, going for a promotion. Their actions thus far are relatively ďnormalĒ. But hereís the key: When something doesnít go as they had planned, say the loan didnít come through in time for the mortgage, or the deadline for the course passed unnoticed, or they didnít get the promotion, this person would then start to intentionally fail at other aspects of their life. It is very much a ďWell if I canít have this then I donít want anything attitude, and they will proceed to sabotage other goals that they have, any projects that are in progress, or at least give up on them. So if something failed, even if it was beyond their control, they would try to drag everything else down too, even if it was to their own detriment.

So you can see why Iím thinking that this is self sabotage, but I canít find reference to this behaviour and mindset anywhere in particular.

Any ideas?

Thanks
FF
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Old 09-02-2018, 05:07 PM   #2
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Well... I don't know as there is much of anything I can offer with regard to this. What I have experience with myself is having something I'm doing go wrong, getting venomously angry at myself, & then feeling the almost overwhelming urge to throw everything into the crapper!

I've been doing this for years &, although I've gotten better at resisting the urge to go there, I still have a tendency to run there when something goes array. I don't know what the reason is other than that I harbor a deep hatred for myself, which means I have no self-esteem. And so any little insult to my exquisitely fragile ego feels overwhelming. Perhaps what you're experiencing is something similar?

Here are links to some articles, from PsychCentral's archives, that hopefully may be of some interest & perhaps help:

Self-Sabotage: A Pathway to Destruction

Breaking the Link Between Low Self-Esteem and Self-Sabotage

Signs of Low Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem Struggles and Strategies That Can Help

How Does Low Self-Esteem Negatively Affect You?

https://psychcentral.com/blog/10-thi...le-depression/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/tms/2...-is-different/

I wish you well...
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:15 AM   #3
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Maladaptive coping skills? I suspect that self destructive behaviors as a symptom can be found under a slew of various MIs? Maybe they need to address this with their therapist?
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Self Sabotage?

I am very good at self sabotage, and you are right in thinking that it is not just drugs/alcohol/self harm etc. It can be anything.

I find when things are actually going ok in life I self sabotage, because I donít trust it to last so I try and force a change and feel like Iím in control of my demise rather than my mental illness. Sometimes Iíll quit taking my meds, sometimes I just start staying up stupidly late. I push people away. I isolate. I am very self destructive in a lot of ways, and yeah thatís part of my illness. People donít understand why I would deliberately try to ruin things for my self, and I totally get that. With a rational mind I can see itís stupid, but Iím not so good at staying rational.

Perhaps your friend is similar in the way that they do it so they feel more in control. Not getting a loan is out of their control so they then give up on other things for control? Just my opinion of course, and everyone is different, but thatís how it tends to work for me.
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Self Sabotage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FergusonsFather View Post
So Iíve been looking into self sabotage, the causes, signs etc. Things like alcohol and drug abuse, binge eating and self harm keep coming up.
This got me thinking that maybe self sabotage isnít the correct definition for the behaviour that I have in mind, and am now wondering if it may be classified as something different? Any help would be appreciated.
Iíll now give an example of the behaviour that I am talking about:

There is a person. This person has suffered with anxiety, depression and anger. They have experience some mid life trauma and have managed, with the aid of medication and therapy, to overcome these problems. The person lives a successful life (whatever that means) and for the most part functions very well. However the episodes of anxiety, stress and worry still occur occasionally, triggered by certain things. Now, this person will put their energy and time into something, be it through educating themselves in their professional field, purchasing a house, going for a promotion. Their actions thus far are relatively ďnormalĒ. But hereís the key: When something doesnít go as they had planned, say the loan didnít come through in time for the mortgage, or the deadline for the course passed unnoticed, or they didnít get the promotion, this person would then start to intentionally fail at other aspects of their life. It is very much a ďWell if I canít have this then I donít want anything attitude, and they will proceed to sabotage other goals that they have, any projects that are in progress, or at least give up on them. So if something failed, even if it was beyond their control, they would try to drag everything else down too, even if it was to their own detriment.

So you can see why Iím thinking that this is self sabotage, but I canít find reference to this behaviour and mindset anywhere in particular.

Any ideas?

Thanks
FF

The 'Self Sabatage' title jumped out as soon as I'd seen it. It was one of the topics of a post responding to an unrelated thread in another forum section but I'd recalled something about the nature of self-sabotage - at least its emotive characteristics as they'd left impressions on me. They're just personal anecdotal musings and not any sort of definitive reference.


Hope you find it of some value, FWIW



I'll try and post the reference here. If it breaks posting protocol or Gen Q&A isn't for these sorts of potentially far-ranging roves, feel free to remove it! I'll just quote the brief passage as it pertains to your post and give the reference posting:






Quote:
"Wanted to respond sooner but you know life gets in the way of the forums and had to put this together a minute here, 5 there - style. Which always makes for a disjointed, ramble...
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyCupofTea Self Sabotage?
He is self-sabataging...

I see that ALOT. So much, in so many areas. I've seen one of my children, over the years, attempting to break free of the repetitive mania cycle. As soon as he looks like he is going to implement some of the many techniques he's been shown, he will stop and "but wait, before I do (game changer), first let me..." which we learned, of course is some sort of delaying tactic or a touching-one-last-time of the old, unhealthy-but-comfortable thing/lifestyle/thinking process/drug - whatever it is they are trying to change.
You get to the point, I'm sure you've experienced yourself, when someone you know is going to come off the wagon or a have a significant regression of some sort. Its when they have made progress, begun to see positive things as a result of implementing techniques or they've been attending their AA/NA meetings regularly, telling everyone excitedly how well they've been doing, starting to preach the message - I think you even mentioned your husband getting to this point - and right as they reach that moment ... its almost as if they've reached a true crossroads within themselves; there's a moment of suspended animation when they are between worlds and they are truly free ... free to make a choice. They reach back.


But it seems like there are setbacks from human weakness that are too powerful to overcome at that moment and require redoubled efforts - like an army being repelled again and again from taking some objective where the overall intent to win the war is there - but then there is a kind of, I dunno - picture someone struggling to help their friend scale a rocky precipice that they've gone over, struggling through tears, exhaustion, near-slips for what must seem like an eternity to get the victim to safety - and just as he's right at the point where he's made it, he looks up at his helper's dirt-stained but joyful face, and with a smirk, just lets go of their hand.


' "What?? Was that for my benefit?!? You're so hateful that you consider yourself an expendable casualty just so you can deliver the ultimate ____ you!?!" ' The additive summation of all those relationship-sabotaging choices made over the years having that net effect, maybe."
https://forums.psychcentral.com/6255789-post8.html
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: Self Sabotage?

Oh does this ever ring out as true. I have taken this to a well developed art form.

I too have self sabotaged when all was actually good in my life. I pull the plug, so to speak, when I am so fearful of the goodness falling apart, I feel that if it must happen it should be under my control and terms.

However, I mostly sabotage myself in work situations. I perform at a very high level. Unfortunately this comes at the price of unbelievably high anxiety that I cannot maintain the pace or output. In worry that I will make a mistake, make a superior unhappy, or just plain fail, I will then flee the situation before it reaches that point. Usually it is only afterward that I recieved the positive feedback I so needed and desired. Unfortunately that comes far too late and I have moved on to another job only to create the same pattern.

I have sabotaged relationships too. The pattern is the same. I am afraid of my world falling apart so it is best to flee the situation before that happens.
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Old 09-04-2018, 04:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: Self Sabotage?

I'm not sure I like the term self sabotage much. Sabotage is intentional and meant to ruin something. Thinking one has a part of oneself that is always out there to ruin ones life isn't particularly healthy. I think most of the time other things are happening, and analyzing why they happens is more productive than calling it bad names.

I know I am a sort of perfectionist and a black and white thinker. I do sort of want it all or I don't want any of it. But in my case it is because I'm still practicing to accept things as quite good even if they are not perfect. It takes time to learn to create some kind of inner greyscale.

The problem isn't that I want to ruin what I have, it is that for me, something half good, looks just as bad as a total mess in my eyes. It's a sort of cognitive flaw not to see things for what they are. I am getting better at it though. In the past I could diss friends for just one error they made because it would break the perfection. Now I am quite allowing and accepting human nature.

The same behavior of "self sabotage" can have many different roots. Just because the behavior looks similar, doesn't mean it IS the same thing.

Some people do it because they feel they need to be punished for something that happened to them, some for feeling guilt because of something they have done.

Some do it because of pure impatience and failure might be a result of disinhibition and impulsiveness.

You have to know the reason to be able to work with it. IMHO.
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Old 09-05-2018, 04:06 AM   #8
FergusonsFather
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Default Re: Self Sabotage?

Thanks everybody for your feedback.
I get a strong theme from reading these comments of
A) a sense of control
B) a fear of failure
C) a need for perfection
I suppose theyíre all related really. A person is afraid of failure, not just afraid of it but sure of it. Because they predict this failure and it terrifies them, they intentionally ďsabotageĒ the project so it is no longer a failure, itís a choice. A choosing to give up. And sensing that anything short of perfection, or exactly what you had planned, is a potential failure.
It seems like a very relentless and cruel cycle.
Some of you have hinted at the possible causes of this, a self hatred or self punishment. I will have to try to investigate as to what that could be. The best way to prevent a cycle is to nip it at is source.
If anyone has any self analysis to give as to WHY they believe they act like this towards themselves then please feel free to comment, Iíd find it very interesting.
Thanks again for all your help,
FF
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: Self Sabotage?

Why?

I blame my mother 100%

She was a perfectionist and expected that of me. I was forced to perform at a high level; not to please, her rather to escape her wrath. if I got second, I hadn't won and was a loser. If I got 97% I had screwed up on the other three and was a failure. That sort of thing. I learned from her two things. You had to excel or not even bother. To miss that performance target or minimum standard was the worse thing you could do. I learned to forever live with the fear of failure thanks to her - and the punishment or ramifications that came as a result. Thus the pattern of unbelievable high and unrealistic standards - and quitting before failure and punishment comes as a result.
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Self Sabotage?

I've heard emotional masochist thrown around while searching the interwebs
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