Self-sabotage is when you act in ways that unconsciously move you farther away from an intimate connection with your partner. One or both partners could be doing it. Let’s talk about the common ways people self-sabotage their relationships and why they do it.
Reasons why people self-sabotage
Trauma: trauma from childhood and past relationships can have an effect on how people conduct their present relationships. Trauma can cause issues with trust, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, abandonment, and rejection all of which influence your actions.
Fear: fear of getting hurt can make you act in ways that risk your relationships. It can make it difficult to open up when relationships require openness and trust to survive. Fear of rejection and fear of intimacy are also common fears.
Self-esteem: a low opinion of yourself can make you feel undeserving of love and the relationship making you push your partner away. Poor self-esteem can also make it difficult overall to meet someone.
Ways people self-sabotage
Criticism: constantly criticizing your partner. If all you ever talk about it what the other is doing wrong, you may be self-sabotaging the relationship.
Blaming: constant blaming creates emotional distance with the person feeling inadequate.
Defensiveness: out of self-defence, you can be defensive when your partner raises an issue instead of being open to hearing them out and fixing it.
Ghosting: cutting off all communication and leaving the other party unclear about where things stand is an act of self-sabotage.
Infidelity: unfaithfulness is one of the most common ways people self-sabotage their relationships.
Co-dependency: this is an unhealthy relationship where you desperately need the other person, and they need to be needed is co-dependent. You each need to have your own separate lives and be individuals.
Mind games: using mind games to constantly test your partner is a recipe for disaster. For example, things like trying to make your partner jealous.
Withdrawing: instead of addressing any problems that arise you pull away and distance yourself or ignore the problem or hide your emotions or ignore your partner altogether. You just give up on fixing things, for example, because of a tendency to be conflict avoidant.
Comparing your relationship with others: no one likes being compared to other people. Comparing your partner or relationship to others can be beneficial in exposing things like key red flags and negative if you’re doing things like comparing your partner’s appearance to other people.
Still in touch with exes: staying involved with exes who you still hold a torch for especially if you’re doing so in secret, is classic self-sabotage.
Insecurity: anxiety, possessiveness, and jealousy fuelled by insecurity jeopardize a relationship, especially where there’s no reason to worry about infidelity.
Controlling: for a variety of reasons including fear, you may feel the need to be in control of the relationship to avoid being hurt or being the one who’s being controlled. No one likes to be controlled.
Unrealistic expectations: it’s reasonable to expect good things from your relationship and partner, however, it’s important to make sure you’re not setting unattainable standards secretly hoping they will fail thus proving you right in your scepticism of the relationship and your partner. This is closely linked to perfectionism.
Some examples of how people self-sabotage include
- Not discussing your feelings
- Poor communication about your needs
- Saying yes when you want to say no
- Not setting boundaries
- Using criticism or contempt
- Creating a lot of conflicts
- Giving the silent treatment
- Ghosting the other person
- Lying or cheating
- Talking negatively about yourself to your partner
- Abusing substances
- Isolating yourself
- Being controlling
- Being extremely jealous
- Looking for a flaw in your partner and focusing on it
- Not being committed
- Withholding sex and touch
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