When he was a boy, Stan vowed he’d never be a father like his own father-aloof, critical and emotionally unavailable. Yet, 30 years later, he catches himself treating his son harshly and constantly judging him for not measuring up.
Patricia loves her job and her boss. The only thorn is that her boss prizes punctuality and Patricia just can’t seem to be on time for anything, whether it’s a team meeting or that project that was due last week. What Stan and Patricia have in common is the all-too-common disease called self- sabotage. It eats away inside, creating a cycle of self-destruction with the result that we aren’t really living the
life we want for ourselves. Self-sabotage “hides inside us and toils against our best interest. If we don’t succeed in identifying and owning this sinister part, we can never be free,” says Stanley Rosner, author of The Self-Sabotage Cycle: Why We Repeat Behaviors That Create Hardships and Ruin Relationships.
Recognizing Self-Sabotaging Behavior
Numerous studies show that women are more prone to lower self-esteem and self-doubting thoughts. This leads to self-sabotaging behavior, according to author Nancy Good. In her book Slay Your Own Dragons: How Women Can Overcome Self-Sabotage in Love and Work, she lists several signs of self-defeating behavior that women (and men) can recognize:
- Being overly passive, fearful, listless or indecisive, so that chances pass us by.
- Having a chronically chaotic financial situation.
- Being controlled by depression and anxiety.
- Being controlled by compulsive behaviors to abuse alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food, physical exercise, etc. Being compulsively late. Expressing anger inappropriately.
- Being mistreated by partners and spouses. Being stuck in an unhappy relationship but doing nothing to change the situation. Having a series of unsatisfying relationships.
Read next week for steps towards change on overcoming self-sabotage. . .