Self, Health And Wellness

5 Ways You Sabotage Yourself (And Why You Do It)

Photo: getty
5 Ways You Sabotage Yourself (And Why You Do It)

Have you ever met your inner saboteur yet? I’m sure that we’re all familiar with self-sabotaging behavior. Sometimes it’s crystal clear that we sabotage our success or love, while other times it comes in invisible ways.

A vast part of our lives, we spend living unconsciously. We respond to the situations on the auto-pilot choosing fear and weakness over love and strength. We repeat the same patterns and mistakes of our parents and end up sabotaging our chance for happiness.

RELATED: If You Do Any Of These 6 Things, You're Not Helping Your Relationship — You're Sabotaging It

I don’t think that there is anyone who would not throw away an opportunity or stay in a wrong relationship because of fear.

If we are honest, we recognize that fear is ruling our lives more than we think. Instead of reaching out, we are scared to shine, scared of what others would think about us, so we rather hide in our little protective bubble.

Here are the ways we engage in self-sabotage and why, so you can be more aware of it in your own life.

1. Not acting on your big goal.

You work hard toward your big dream. You invest mental and emotional energy in your goal, and you wish that it will work out. Both your hopes and worries flow in the direction of your dream.

Then challenges show up as you begin to make a breakthrough. Suddenly, the fears kick in, and you start to doubt whether you can make it happen. Before you know it, you question the dream and your ability to succeed.

Self-sabotaging behavior:

Your inner saboteur gets louder, and you start thinking: “I won’t succeed. Once again. I always fail. I can’t make my dreams come true. I should be more realistic.”

As you believe this inner voice in your head, you subconsciously start sabotaging your goal. You don’t give your 100%, you procrastinate, make unwise choices, or get emotionally unbalanced, all of which affect your focus.

One of the self-sabotaging behaviors is that you don’t feel good in the critical moment. When it matters the most and you should perform your best, you ruin it.


The inner saboteur gets loud whenever we’re at the edge of our comfort zone. You can be almost sure that you meet him right there. Whenever we move past our old conditioning, our subconscious mind tests us one more time.

Before we upgrade to the next level, we’re being tested whether we’ve mastered the lessons of the current level.

2. Leaving things for the last moment.

When you pay the bills late or start working on projects shortly before the deadline, you can be sure that the inner saboteur is running the show.

I don’t agree that there is not enough time for everything that matters to us. The reason why people struggle with time is that they don’t master their energy well. They invest their energy in things that serve as distractions, and then they start doing the important stuff at the last moment.

Self-sabotaging behavior: 

You procrastinate on acting on the critical projects or show-up late for meetings. You’re unreliable, and your friends would even call you irresponsible.

Postponing things creates a vicious circle. Unintentionally, you train your mind to live in constant stress and fear. Your mind expects hardships and obstacles to show up, and you manifest them by aligning yourself with that belief.


Your subconscious mind is addicted to drama. For if the things went smoothly, your mind would get bored. The mind is designed to sort out information and to solve problems. Thus it likes to recreate stressful situations in your life.

RELATED: 10 Most Common Ways We Self-Sabotage Relationships Every Single Day

3. Overthinking.

You’d love to travel the world, start a new business, meet the love of your life, but you tend to overthink any opportunity that comes your way.

Overthinking is like a slow poison cluttering your thinking.

We always know what we want. Sure, sometimes we fear to admit it to ourselves, so we play with ideas back and forth, but when we become honest with ourselves, we always know the right answer.

Self-sabotaging behavior:

Your inner saboteur makes you question your decisions. Instead of turning your attention inward and discovering what you want, you ask others. Nevertheless, you still hesitate to act while the precious time is slipping between your fingers.


The inner saboteur wants to make sure that you don’t make a mistake. In the past, you got hurt, and you fear that it would repeat if you’d be spontaneous. Although the precautious makes sense, it undermines your self-confidence and intuition.

4. Creating assumptions.

Do you often assume something and later it shows up being wrong? Most of the people develop assumptions about their abilities, intentions of others or how the things will turn out. Assumptions are reflections of the fear-based mind rather than reality. 

Self-sabotaging behavior:

You may decide for others (for instance, the weekend plans) and assume that it’s fine for them too. Or you go to a job interview and assume beforehand that you’re not the best candidate for them.


Creating assumptions is one of the ways to keep you in the realms of the familiar, so you avoid potential pain. The inner saboteur assumes that things will turn out the same way as they have always had. Thus it sends you the thoughts that block out any other evidence.

5. Putting on the armor.

Putting on the armor to protect our heart keeps us locked behind the same defensive walls too. Sure, guarding our hearts seems easier than risking to be vulnerable in relationships. Our ego likes to keep situations under its control.

However, I’ve never met anyone happy while hiding their true selves from others. Have you?

Self-sabotaging behavior:

This is inner saboteur’s favorite trick. In interactions with others, you strive to portray your best self. You have a bag of faces and put one on depending on who you talk with. When you’re in relationships, you keep beliefs, thoughts, emotions for yourself.

Sometimes the inner saboteur makes people withdraw from their partners or pretend that they’re better than they believe.

Whenever you try to get close to people, the inner saboteur rushes in to create conflict and drama.


The inner saboteur is the master of keeping our hearts safe. It wants to ensure that we don’t get hurt. Especially when it has already happened. Thus it makes up problems in relationships so that we don’t create a too intimate bond with another human being.

RELATED: Ask Yourself These 7 Questions To Determine If You're Sabotaging Your Own Relationship

Sylvia Salow is an author, public speaker, and a life coach encouraging people to grow into their potential by moving past any fears and mind limitations so they can create life which they deeply desire. You can join her Free Monthly Challenges here and watch her TEDx talk on How to Find Your Life Purpose.

This article was originally published at Sylvia Salow. Reprinted with permission from the author.