Do you find that many of your relationships have been unsatisfying? Are you unsure why your relationships fizzle out or why they always seem to end in a lot of pain? You could be self sabotaging your relationships.
If you find yourself engaging in behaviors and actions that either consciously or unconsciously lead to the end of your relationship, then you could be self sabotaging. This could happen for a number of reasons, which often stem from your family of origin, past relationships, and even the people you unknowingly attract to you.
So, why do we self sabotage, and what are the signs that you are sabotaging your relationship?
Why Do We Self Sabotage?
If you find yourself in the same kinds of relationships over and over again, it may be time to take a step back and ask yourself why. What is it about these relationships that appeals to you? Do they make you feel safe and secure, or are they exciting and unpredictable? Are you drawn to people who are emotionally unavailable, or do you always end up being the shoulder to cry on?
There are many different reasons you could self sabotage your own relationship. This could be due to fear, or poor self-esteem, as you could be subconsciously nervous that your partner will leave you, or find someone else. This can make you panic, and want to end the relationship first to spare your own feelings. Or it can cause mistrust and avoidance in the relationship that ends up inadvertently causing the very thing you are trying to avoid – your relationship ending.
In a similar way, people often sabotage their own relationships to avoid getting hurt. This could be by withdrawing from their partner, being defensive or attacking their partners as a way to avoid emotional vulnerability or the perceived weakness of needing and caring about how others view us.
Other reasons could be trust issues, high expectations, or if someone is lacking in relationship or social skills. Some may sabotage their relationships out of fear of commitment, or as a means of keeping themselves feeling safe instead of vulnerable.
For the most part, the most common reason people self sabotage is because of poor self-esteem and negative self image. They may feel inferior to their partner and therefore fear becoming abandoned or rejected. Others may do this because they fear betrayal, failure, loneliness, or intimacy.
Signs You Are Sabotaging Your Relationship
There are various signs that you could be sabotaging your relationship. For instance, if you are always looking for a way out, then you’re likely afraid of commitment and trying to find a way to remove yourself from the relationship when things get too tough. This is a form of avoidance, and you may start withdrawing from your partner to avoid committing fully.
It may be that your relationships tend to follow the same patterns. They often start out great, with both parties feeling excited and hopeful about the future. However, over time, things begin to change. The other person may start to withdraw or become critical, and you may find yourself feeling frustrated and misunderstood. If this sounds familiar, it may be because you’re stuck in a self sabotaging relationship pattern
Other signs may be if you are very critical of your partner, always finding fault in things they do, you could be pushing them to break things off with you. On the other hand, if you are a serial dater, and always have a new partner, you could also be fearful of commitment and looking for the next person over and over to “level up” or find someone “better” to fulfil your own feelings of low self esteem.
In other cases, if you have negative thoughts about yourself constantly, you may feel you are not good enough. Or, if you are always holding a grudge against your partner, avoiding them, or trying to control them, you may be forcing them to end things with you to sabotage the relationship.
What To Do If You’re Sabotaging Your Relationship
To stop self sabotage, it is important to evaluate yourself and your behavior. Be honest with yourself and face your faults and what you are doing wrong in the relationships, or you are likely to repeat the same cycle in your next relationship. Are you choosing unavailable people who frustrate you and end up dodging your calls and texts? Or maybe you are seeking out people who meet an external list of criteria like type of employment or physical appearance, only to find you don’t enjoy their company in the long run?
In order to address these issues it can be helpful to speak to a therapist, who can help identify your unconscious forms of self sabotage, why you developed them in the first place, and help you develop the insight you need to create more fulfilling and lasting relationships.
If you feel like you may be sabotaging your relationships and would like to explore therapy with me (California and Illinois only), please feel free to book a free initial consultation here.