If your well-intentioned efforts often backfire, there could be reason: self-sabotaging behaviors. These are made up of actions and thoughts that negatively impact relationships, health, quality of life and emotional wellbeing.
Such behaviors are usually learned in childhood and passed down through generations. In the short-term, they may offer temporary relief from anxiety and stress as a means of avoidance. Long-term, they can lead to chronic depression, low self-esteem, substance abuse, poor interpersonal relationships and unfulfilled life goals.
Acknowledge self-sabotaging behaviors. This allows you to take personal responsibility so you can make lasting changes.
Identify when you self-sabotage. Write down specific situations where you recognize self-defeating thoughts. Identify the feelings you’re avoiding with these tactics.
Make a plan for challenging times. Take the time to brainstorm ways of responding to future challenging situations. Being prepared improves the likelihood of change.
Seek professional help. Self-sabotaging behaviors are complex, so making changes may require help. Exploring the underlying causes with a professional can bring about the sort of insights needed for lasting change.