Self-Sabotage Explained

Woman with disheveled hair lying face down on a bed, the feeling of self-sabotage

Self-sabotage is the “You can’t fire me, I quit!” of life.

That’s plain to see, but have you ever stopped to investigate why in the actual fuck anyone would purposefully undermine their own chances of success? Upon cursory examination, it doesn’t make any sense. But just below the surface, it makes all the sense in the world.

For Example…

Let’s say you had an abandoning parent. Maybe dad was a workaholic and was never there for you. Perhaps mom was an alcoholic and was checked out all the time. There are countless possibilities. Whatever the case, you learned at an early age that craving love and nurturance – wanting to be seen, heard, and valued by someone in this world whose job it was to do literally just that – was extremely painful.

You didn’t get the love and attention. Maybe you got breadcrumbs from time to time, but more often than not it was disappointment and heartache. Shame. Anger. Frustration. Confusion. Despair.


It became abundantly clear that wanting a healthy relationship with your parent(s) was a complete waste of time, so you told that tender child inside of you to pack it up. Sorry sweet pea, this happy, lovey, nurturey shit ain’t for you. Your best option is to not want that, need that, expect that, or feel worthy of that ever again.

It’s safer that way.

Trust me.

Good at Suffering

When young children in dysfunctional families realize that this life is full of random and senseless pain, they will often conclude that they had better get good at suffering, because apparently there’s gonna be a lot of that in their future. And the way you get good at anything is by practicing it every day.

They practice being wantless and needless – “You can’t disappoint me, because I don’t expect anything from you. Ha!”

They practice going without – “You can’t take anything from me, because I don’t have anything. Ha!”

They practice silencing themselves – “You can’t tell me to shut up, I’m wrong, my opinion is stupid, or I don’t matter, because I already tell myself that every day. Ha!”

They armor up against a cruel and thoughtless world and promise their precious baby self that they’ll never be let down ever again.

You can’t get let down if you just stay down.

You see, pain and loss are terrible when they take you by surprise. But if you surround yourself with pain and loss on purpose and grow accustomed to them, well… no more surprises! You’ll never have to experience the unspeakable horror of your shitty childhood experiences ever again.


So, as it turns out, self-sabotage is a defense mechanism that guards your deepest emotional wounds. It’s a visceral, subconscious, lizard brain, trauma response, survival tactic – which is why it’s so relentlessly compulsive. So many people can clearly see how they’re sabotaging themselves, but they literally cannot stop it.

It ruins relationships, it ruins careers, it ruins hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations of all sorts. It ruins life!

Self-sabotage exists for the sole purpose of protecting unhealed wounds and unprocessed trauma. Therefore, people generally do not escape its merciless grip until they heal the thing it was created to protect.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is self-sabotage explained.

Published by Adam

Mentor, coach, speaker and educator for over 12 years. I have recovered from and triumphed over many obstacles and afflictions. It brings me tremendous joy to help others overcome similar circumstances so they can live their best lives.

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