The Cycle Of Self-Sabotage




When you begin to feel threatened.

 When the you that isn’t you shows up.

 When the you that isn’t you is too afraid.

 When the you that isn’t you has to win or escape.

 When the you that isn’t you is trapped.

 When the you that isn’t you is defeated.

 When the you that isn’t you gives in and YOU become the you that isn’t.

People who are successful, entrepreneurs on the rise and celebrities are especially vulnerable but everyone does it. Their train wrecks make the front page news of the tabloids; yours are noticed by those closest around you. You undermine yourself, and you do it regularly.

Your personal train wreck is as silent and hidden as an underground subway moving at lighting speed.

It is like getting on a roller coaster and not being able to get off until you are at the end, which you describe as having a bad day, a bad month or year, or a bad break.

It is the beginning of when you start not to be yourself.

Everyone does it to some degree, unless we have learned how to recognize and change the process.

This dizzying ride is your self-sabotage process that waits until the conditions are just right.

It will wait while you learn to be more positive, mindful, sober, and empowered by self-compassion.

You will never know when it starts to roll, but one day you will realize that a slow erosion has taken you from the practices and learning that seemed so profound.

The erosion is unnoticeable at first, but you are diverted an hour at a time and a day at a time, and life speeds by while you try to find the time when you used to be mindful and remember the exercises that made you so significantly more positive.

It can often seem as though you never learned to meditate, and that being positive really is unrealistic.

Meditation, mindfulness, and stress reduction will keep you from getting on the ride, but they do not change the reality of its existence.  It will idle and wait as long as it takes for just the right circumstances to start moving.

Your process of self sabotage has to be recognized and disassembled.  It also has to be replaced, and everything you have learned will help you create the new meaning making system that is the only thing that will replace it.

But you have to know what the loops of your this ride of sabotage are, and you have to replace them.

They are the remnants of old ways of trying to find meaning in your life that never worked.






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© Dr. William K. Larkin 




About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Dr. gloria wright

    It’s interesting to consider the cycle of self-sabotage. We all engage in self-sabotage on a continuum from a little to a lot and from unconsciously to consciously. The first step may
    be to become conscious of when we are not true to ourselves and begin to derail
    our success. It can help to have a spotter (like in gymnastics) to let us know when we don’t seem like ourselves or are becoming negative. But be mindful to choose someone that is caring and honest and has your best interest at heart. Jealous nay-sayers aren’t helpful.
    So how do you know when you are getting in your way? Two aspects come to mind: you’re not being your best authentic self; you’re backsliding into a negative frame. One
    of the triggers for me is when I get negative feedback or someone is not “approving”
    of me or what I think, or misunderstands me, etc. It’s harder for me to like myself and stay positive when I get those negative projections.
    Another aid for prevention is to be conscientious and consistent with practicing
    loving-kindness meditation. For me it means to focus on staying positive – with
    my thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Several times daily (more when negativity
    creeps in) I slowly and intently chant and feel: gratitude, love, joy, peace and love. I also go over my loving-kindness meditation: may you feel safe, may you be happy and joyful, may you be strong and healthy. I add: may you be loving and feel loved.
    One thing is for sure, we need to be on our side at all times and not let those negative
    habits take control. A dear friend of mine says, “a friend is someone you can
    be your favorite self with.” Remember that as you choose the company you keep!

  • Mary Garvey Horst

    Continuous and rigorous “work” on the process of self-sabotage within each of us does pave the way for creating a new meaning-making system. I have been involved myself in a process of disassembling a long standing rollercoaster known as “the dizzying ride of self-sabotage” within a NeuroPositive coaching process. The benefits from these efforts at “taming the saboteur” are showing up increasingly more each day in my life, although I am not yet complete with the process. It is so curious to see how these life patterns have been formed early on in my development (as with every individual) and to explore further the deeper truth of the “me that isn’t me”. I am not the reactive, threatened, defeated, trapped or fearful person who unconsciously falls into patterns of response. I am so much MORE!

  • Deborah Logan

    Thank you to all who shared / commented. This article really drove home the down spiral feeling – or that’s how I felt in reading it. Mary – I resonate with your idea of ‘work’ the process. As I am able to better recognize the triggers, I then reel myself back to center, or closer to that and refocus emotionally on a better feeling thought/outcome. I think this is really the personal work we are all faced with.

  • Dr. gloria wright

    Self-sabotage is so insidious. It just permeates without much notice until it builds up to
    disappointment in ourselves – our true selves. Not being true to ourselves is
    often engrained from the early stages of wanting to be accepted and approved
    of. It starts with learning to be socially “artificially pleasant.” We twist
    and turn to please others, and they are never satisfied. It’s just one
    criticism and judgement at a time that leads to our inhibition. We buy their
    version that something is wrong with us. Then we learn it’s all a projection.
    I was a grown woman when I realized that when my oldest sister called me selfish, she
    was really wanting me to do or think or say what she wanted me to. So I bought
    into her projection of my being selfish – the pot calling the kettle black.
    Underneath that was the subtle but powerful message that something was wrong
    with me – and I have to watch that self-sabotage carrier very carefully. When I
    go to explain my side of the story, it is dismissed as defending myself.
    Having to defend and honor who I am is a constant battle with people who don’t believe me
    – but believe their interpretation of me. It makes me want to drink Clorox to
    flush it out (not literally). But it doesn’t serve my highest good and isn’t
    good for me. Loving, honest feedback is one thing; judging and projection is
    only harmful. Checking something out with an attitude of “innocent until proven
    guilty” can open the door to understanding for both parties.
    “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and
    night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which
    any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” ― e.e. cummings

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute