You know that guy -- the one who seems to consistently have great things are on the horizon, but always does something to ensure it doesn't end up coming to fruition. Maybe you've described yourself as that person in the past? We all get in our own way occasionally and some people do it repeatedly. Self-sabotaging behavior results from the same cause, a misguided attempt to rescue ourselves.
Everyone does it sometimes. Some do it regularly—shoot themselves in the foot or put obstacles in their own chosen path. Behavior is self-sabotaging when in attempting to solve or cope with a problem, it instigates new problems, interferes with long-term goals, and unsettles relationships.
Comfort eating is a common form of self-sabotage, especially when a person has weight concerns; self-medicating with drugs or alcohol is another common form, although procrastination may be the most common of all. Less common is self-injury/cutting to escape painful emotions, or going on shopping sprees when one can't afford the merchandise.
People don't always realize they are sabotaging themselves. This is in part because the consequences of many actions are not immediate, which makes it hard to connect behavior X to bad outcome Y.
That doesn't mean self-sabotaging behavior is something innate. It is not connected to any certain personality type or individual. Self-sabotage is a learned behavior; and like any learned behavior, it can be unlearned with some effort.
Are you sabotaging yourself? Some people drink, some procrastinate, others are just way too modest. How do you get in your own way?
This blog contains excepts from published psychologist Dr. Selby, who wrote "Dodging Emotions: The Help That Harms"