Why do we sabotage love? What is the reason that although we feel like we’ve met a great potential partner, we often find ourselves sabotaging our relationship with them?
Self-sabotage is a common trait and although it may sometimes seem like there is no rhyme or reason to it, many acts of relationship sabotage have similar roots or causes.
Signs of self-sabotage
Act(s) of self-sabotage can be part of conscious and subconscious behaviour, making them hard to spot. For some, it’s so ingrained that they don’t even realise they’re doing it. Self-sabotage is often uniquely tied to an individual’s experience and upbringing.
Some of the more common signs of self-sabotage include:
- Avoiding or ignoring negative emotions (including feeling anxious, annoyed, angry or even doubtful)
- Investing time and energy in anything but the relationship
- Poor communication efforts and evading questions or conversation – this is often referred to as ‘stonewalling’
- Being overly critical of yourself (having low self-esteem) or of your partner
- Holding on to grudges
None of these signs are exclusively associated with self-sabotage but may provide you with an indication of such behaviour.
Stopping the romantic sabotage
Having identified a few signs of what self-sabotage may look like – here are some tips on how you can start creating more healthy relationships in your life.
1. Understanding your attachment style
So that you can understand why you react the way you do, knowing what your attachment style is, is a great place to start. Especially amongst those with an avoidant attachment style, you can learn to recognise unhealthy behaviours and attempt to nip them in the bud.
Attachment styles are formed during childhood, making them difficult to change. Some psychologists even believe that they can’t be changed. However, the good thing is that we can learn to identify our behaviours that may be stopping us from finding love and having a healthy relationship.
2. Communicating with your partner
By not communicating your feelings and thoughts, your partner is left to guess what is going on. Learning to open up is scary and not an easy task. However, learning to express your emotions will help you understand your feelings better and help your partner understand the situation more, too.
3. Be compassionate
Include more self-care and self-love routines in your weekly schedule, and be compassionate towards your partner who may not be able to entirely relate to your feelings of sabotage.
Increased self-love will also improve your self-esteem and have positive effects on the relationships in your life.
4. Be patient
Change doesn’t occur overnight. Even though you may have recognised your sabotaging traits and know-how to work with them, you may experience setbacks or fall back into old patterns. Be patient with yourself and trust that you are making progress. Piece by piece, you will learn to work things out.
5. Learn about your triggers
Identify what sets you off. Keep a journal or a note on your phone, where you can write down what you believe the reason for your reaction was. You could do this during an act of self-sabotage or afterwards. The important part is to recognise them and identify the “why”.
Learning to recognise that you are sabotaging your relationships is the first step. Bit by bit the other pieces and reasons may fall into place and you can begin working on them. You may find that seeking out a counsellor may also help, especially, if your self-sabotaging traits are deeply ingrained since childhood.
Whatever way you choose to go about healing, remember to have patience and be kind – to yourself and those around you.
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