Sabotage is a word with connected emotions. Typically, the first thing a person thinks of when they hear this word is self-sabotage. Often your worst enemy is yourself; however, while many people create their own obstacles, it is important to remember that some people are determined to tear others down. Not everyone who offers advice or help is doing so to be kind. Sometimes they don’t want the best for you and are looking out for themselves—and entertainment along the way.
Sabotage comes in many forms. Do you know a person who was always there for you but suddenly dropped out of your life? Take inventory. Has this person canceled get-togethers, stopped responding to messages, or cut you off without an explanation? Be wary. Those who want to cause you to harm can do so through their silence. For example, this kind of person will agree to a time to get together and then cancel at the last minute. Sometimes they will repeat this behavior.
Be careful of those who speak about others behind their backs. People who talk about others may do the same when you’re not around. Let’s take this advice one step further. People who don’t want to see you succeed can create doubt in others. For example, this type of person may raise a concern about your commitment to sobriety or remind someone of your past. A common approach is to mention certain behaviors to those who interact with you, but they never saw those behaviors first-hand. When a person does this, they appear to defend you while they are actively casting doubt.
Sabotage is also when someone uses the term self-sabotage to judge or criticize you. Not everyone understands your commitment to your well-being; taking breaks, letting your mind wander, or practicing mindfulness can be viewed as odd behavior. Instead of asking you why you take time for yourself, they may tell others that you are lazy.
People often use the term self-sabotage without knowing what it is or means. Perhaps you heard someone misuse the term or used it vaguely. Are you unsure of the meaning, too?
The definition of self-sabotage is when you act against your self-interests. When your actions or behaviors undermine your goals, values, or beliefs, you’re self-sabotaging. There are two types of self-sabotage:
- Conscious self-sabotage: this is when you know your actions or behaviors will negatively impact your goals. Any act that goes in the opposite direction of your ideals is an act against yourself. For example, knowing you need to go to a support meeting, but instead, watching a television show.
- Unconscious self-sabotage: is trickier to spot than conscious sabotage. Have you done something and then realized what you did undermine your goal? For instance, you may not believe you can maintain your recovery, so you unconsciously return to harmful habits. However, you can’t change if you continue to hurt yourself.
Before you think everyone is out to get you, keep in mind that you simply want the best for yourself. If someone offers advice, presents the opposite to a thought, suggests you try a different method, or advises you don’t do something at all, they may be acting with love. You can let your guard down and trust those who want to see you succeed. Those who support your decision to build a healthier life may play devil’s advocate or advise against a specific action because they were in a similar position and are trying to protect you from pain. Such advice stems from love, respect, and care. Sometimes loved ones know more about you than you think. Listen to them.
When you become defensive, you limit your ability to listen and understand where a person is coming from. An alternate opinion doesn’t mean a person is against you or attempting to ruin your path. Before you become angry or dismissive, keep an open mind.
- Practice mindfulness when confronted with an unpopular opinion. After listening to a person’s thoughts, you can take the time to reflect, assess, and decide on a course of action. A few types of mindful activities are meditation, yoga, and art therapy.
- Reflect on what is said to you. Is the advice coming from a place of love? Maybe the person can see the pros and cons of your path.
- Assess the situation before you move forward. How will your decision affect your life? Perhaps you can find an activity that encourages free, focused thinking. Free-focus is opening your mind to all possibilities and categorizing those possibilities into a list of pros and cons.
- Decide. After reviewing the person’s intent and evaluating your list of pros and cons, it’s time to decide. Your decision should reflect what is suitable for you.
Sabotage isn’t always apparent. People you know or love can act against your best interest because they don’t want you to succeed. Recognizing and distancing yourself from toxic situations is vital to your well-being. What if the toxic relationship or situation stems from your behaviors? Self-sabotage occurs because of fear of what will happen if you achieve your goal. Initially, you may use a substance to cope with feelings like depression or anxiety. Despite the original effects of the substances, the long-term effects are obstacles. Ask yourself how a substance prevented you from reaching a goal. Now, imagine life without substances. A life without drugs and alcohol is only achievable when you receive comprehensive substance addiction treatment. Alta Centers provides a serene location in the Hollywood Hills, the perfect backdrop to end the cycle of self-sabotage and leave toxic relationships. Our caring staff is here to guide you to your goal of sobriety. Call us at (888) 202-2583.