Self-Sabotage: When Something Goes Wrong cos Something Went Right
Does this sound like you?
You’ve lost a couple of kilos so you eat a family block of chocolate and a mega-tub of ice-cream.
You finally reach the income bracket you always dreamed about but you keep doing dumb things with your money so you’re in a worse financial position than you were before.
Everything’s going great in your relationship (finally!) and you pick a BIG fight over nothing that makes you all scared that they’ll leave.
Or maybe it’s more subtle. You kinda know you would feel better if you actually got out of bed and did that yoga session in the morning but you just don’t do it. You tell yourself that it’s because it’s cold and you work hard and need your rest. (Hang on a second! This is me!). But there’s actually some resistance to feeling really good.
What the? Why would anyone want to resist feeling really good?
Because that would NOT fit in with the need to feel like a disappointment.
And for many of us with a good ole dose of self-sabotage going on – if we ain’t feelin’ like a disappointment we ain’t feelin’ normal.
So if you have the ole self-sabotage thing going on I bet you grew up in a household where someone was always disappointed. Maybe Mum was glass is half empty. Maybe Dad hated his job but went every day and was miserable when he left and when he got home. Maybe Mum and Dad weren’t happy together – both of them thinking about how unhappy they are but that at least they stayed together for the sake of the kids.
Maybe YOU couldn’t do anything right. You’d do this to keep Mum happy but the goal posts would change and then you’d have to do something else but that wasn’t good enough either. Or maybe you were compared to your sister or brother – the Golden Child – and always found lacking. Or maybe you were an arty little person and your parents wanted a doctor.
Whichever way it happened, there’s an air of disappointment that might be overt or maybe just a subtle waft.
In the first instance we absorb disappointment like it’s an accent. There’s so much of it that it’s like the emotional flavour of the world. So later, without it, we feel kinda weird. “What is this happiness thing?” we say when we have a disappointment free moment. “It feels so uncomfortable. Must do something to sabotage this immediately”
If it was YOU who was the disappointment then there’s much clearer messages about continuing to be a disappointment because THAT”S WHO YOU ARE. If you do something praise-worthy, successful, valuable then it just doesn’t fit with how you see yourself and you have to do something to get back to the real you. You: The Disappointment.
Try this little exercise: Stop right now and actually DO it.
Imagine yourself in your family home with whoever raised you. The way they were then. Not necessarily now cos they might have changed.
Imagine you have achieved all your wildest dreams. Get right into this – what clothes are you wearing? What car are you driving? Did you marry the man or woman of your dreams even though Mum said you’d never get a decent guy. Feel what it’s like to walk tall and proud and totally own your success.
Now imagine yourself in the same room as whoever raised you. Can you be with them AND be successful or happy or whatever it is that you want for yourself? When I first did this I couldn’t do it.
If you can’t it’s likely that you have some self-sabotage going on. If you can’t it gives some pretty strong indications that disappointment is in the culture of your family. And that you might need to feel disappointing on some level to feel normal.
For you to finally reach the heights you’ve dreamed of, to have the relationship you always wanted without slowly sabotaging it into the ground, to stick to that weight loss goal, you’re probably gonna have to overcome your need to self-sabotage.
So….. how do you overcome it?
Stay tuned for next week. I’ll have some strategies you can start to use to strip self-sabotage of its strength.