Understanding the Enemy Within: Why we Self-Sabotage

We are own worst enemy sometimes, when we do things which go against us. This self-sabotage can be in the form of procrastinating, undervaluing ourselves, negative thoughts about ourselves, over-eating, and undermining our desires. We become paranoid and suspicious, and do not meet our goals or hold back. Our negative feelings about ourselves cause us to self-destruct. Our acts of self-sabotage can be small and we may think nothing of them, but unknowingly we dig for ourselves a pit which is difficult to climb out of. Read on to find out why we self-sabotage:

Where do our self-destructive thoughts originate

Our self-sabotaging thoughts come from the experiences of our early life. We don’t realize it at the time, but we internalize the attitudes that our parents or influential adults had towards us, during our childhood. If we were viewed as lazy, we might have feelings of being ineffective or useless in adulthood. We are prone to having thoughts like “Why bother? You can’t succeed anyway. “

Similarly, we internalize the beahivior that our parents had towards themselves. If we had a self-hating parent who viewed themselves as a failure, we may have similar self-hatred towards ourselves when we grow up. We may become over-critical of our appearance or be conscious about ourselves in public or social situations.

The past can’t be changed but we can start indentifying our self-destructive thoughts and consciously act against them. We can consciously activate positive thoughts till we stop sabotaging ourselves.


Procrastination is one of the major ways in which we harm ourselves. This is because it is the gap between action and intention. When we do not close the gap, we procrastinate. Putting off things means that we are sabotaging our intention to do something for our good, and make excuses to ourselves, justifying our behavior.

Disappearing self – being too modest

Disappearing self – being too modest

When we are too modest or self-effacing to the point of being invisible, we are sabotaging ourselves. Self-effacing behavior means that we downplay ourselves so much that other begin to see us as being less competent, and sometimes people may asses us less favorably. Humility is a fine trait, but we should not let it be self-defeating.

Feeling inadequate

Many achievers work hard to cover up their inefficiency.  But when they’re just getting to the top, they self-destruct, in the sense that they try to act according to what they believe, which is not being adequate enough, and spiral downwards towards failure. This is because, within themselves, they feel more comfortable with failure rather than success.

Why we sabotage our relationships


The emoitions we felt when we were children still carries over to us as adults. If we had a feeling of being abandoned when we were children, we may be insecure adults. We may face trust issues, stopping us from trusting those are close to us or try to get close to us. We may push people away, mistakenly identifying them as being too needy, or that they can leave you alone, or that you’re better off on your won. Knowing about our patterns helps us avoid sabotaging behavior in our relationships, consciously making an effort to stop old, repetitive behavior which harm our relationships. We can be more in control of our relationships by understanding our past relationships and analyzing them.

Why we become addicts

Self-sabotage doesn’t happen in one day, it’s a long process. It makes people go against their own better judgement and a person who self-sabotages keeps harming himself with more bad decisions. Addicts are a prime example who harm themselves by continuing the same self-damaging behavior, even though they know they should stop or get help. There are many instance when talented people who attained success in their chosen fields, allowed alcohol and drugs to ruin their lives.

Dodging our emotions

When we try to escape facing our intense negative experiences, we may be harming ourselves. Comfort eating, retail therapy are all ways in which we try to feel better, but these behaviors create more problems instead. 

To win over the enemy within you, try to face analyze which behaviors you carried on from childhood and face up to your fears/experiences/attitudes which leads you to self-sabotage.

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