The Relationship Trap: Why We Self-Sabotage and How to Break Free
Dating LGBTQ+ Marriage Relationship
5 minute
Dating LGBTQ+ Marriage Relationship
Read Time: 5 minute(s)

Self-sabotage is when we engage in behaviours or thoughts that undermine our own goals, success, or well-being. When it comes to relationships, self-sabotaging behaviour can take many forms. For example, it can involve pushing people away when they get too close or getting involved with people who are emotionally unavailable or toxic. Partners constantly doubting the relationship and looking for problems where there aren’t any are also how we self-sabotage our relationship. It can prevent us from achieving happiness and fulfilment in our relationships and lead to a cycle of disappointment, regret, and self-blame.

Self-sabotage in relationships can be a complex issue that requires introspection and self-awareness. Understanding the underlying reasons behind your behaviours can help you develop healthier relationship patterns.

So, why do we self-sabotage in relationships?

1. Fear of intimacy:

Fear of intimacy can manifest in several ways, such as avoiding emotional closeness, refusing to share personal information, or sabotaging a relationship as soon as it becomes serious. For example, let’s say you meet someone you like, and things are going well. You start to feel vulnerable and open up to them, but you begin to feel uneasy as the relationship progresses. As a result, you may push them away or find reasons to end the relationship, even though you want it to work.

2. Low self-esteem:

Low self-esteem can cause individuals to feel unworthy of love and affection. They may believe they are not good enough for their partner and may engage in self-sabotaging behaviours to correct their negative self-talk. For example, you may constantly compare yourself to your partner’s exes or feel insecure about your appearance. You may feel like you don’t deserve their love, so you begin to withdraw from the relationship or pick fights over small issues. You do things to seek your partner’s validation. While there is nothing wrong in seeking it occasionally, depending upon your partner’s approval entirely can sabotage your relationship.

3. Attachment issues:

Attachment issues can lead to behaviours that sabotage relationships. Individuals with anxious attachment styles may constantly worry about their partner leaving them, leading them to become clingy or jealous. Individuals with avoidant attachment styles may emotionally keep their partner at arm’s length, making it difficult to form a deep connection. For example, you may constantly need reassurance from your partner or feel uncomfortable with any amount of distance between you. You may start to become controlling or critical, driving your partner away. Your protective or caring nature may appear ‘too much’ for them, and they may drift away.

4. Unresolved past issues:

Past traumas, such as abuse or neglect, can impact a person’s ability to form healthy relationships. If these issues are not properly addressed and resolved, they may lead to self-sabotaging behaviours. For example, you may have experienced a past relationship where your partner was emotionally unavailable. As a result, you may push your current partner away whenever they try to get close to you.

5. Lack of communication skills:

Effective communication is crucial in any relationship. If people lack the necessary skills to communicate their needs and boundaries effectively, they may engage in self-sabotaging behaviours, such as passive-aggressive communication or avoiding conflict. For example, you may be afraid to speak up when your partner does something that upsets you, so you bottle up your emotions until they eventually explode in a big fight.

6. Negative patterns:

Sometimes, self-sabotaging behaviours can become ingrained habits that are difficult to break. If a person has a history of self-sabotaging relationships, they may continue to engage in these behaviours out of habit, even if they do not want to. For example, you may have a history of cheating on your partners. Even though you know it’s wrong and want to stop, you find yourself repeating the same patterns in every relationship.

Tips to avoid Self- sabotage behaviours in relationships

1. Practice self-awareness:

Self-awareness is the first step in overcoming self-sabotage. Take some time to reflect on your past relationships and identify any patterns or behaviours that may have caused problems. Then, ask yourself why you engage in these behaviours and what you can do to change them.

2. Communicate effectively:

Effective communication is essential in any relationship. Practice expressing your thoughts and feelings clearly, directly, and respectfully. Avoid passive-aggressive communication to avoid conflict altogether. Instead, express your thoughts and opinions with as much clarity as possible. It’s always best to frame your thoughts before you speak them.

3. Set healthy boundaries:

Setting healthy boundaries is an important part of any healthy relationship. Be clear about your needs and expectations, and communicate them to your partner. Then, respect your boundaries and hold your partner accountable for respecting them.

4. Address past traumas:

Unresolved past issues can impact your ability to form healthy relationships. If you have experienced past traumas, seek help from a therapist or counsellor to address them. Heal yourself by reparenting your inner child. You can refer to this guide to Self Parenting.

5. Build self-esteem:

Low self-esteem can lead to self-sabotaging behaviours. Work on building your self-esteem by engaging in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who uplift you.

6. Practice mindfulness:

Mindfulness can help you stay present in the moment and avoid self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviours. Practice mindfulness exercises such as meditation or deep breathing to help you stay grounded and focused.

7. Seek help from a therapist:

If you struggle to overcome self-sabotaging behaviours, seek help from a therapist or counsellor. They can provide the tools and support you need to break the pattern and build healthy relationships.

Remember, self-sabotage is a common issue that many people struggle with. However, with self-awareness, communication, and a willingness to seek help, you can break free from the relationship trap and create the healthy, fulfilling relationships you deserve.

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