Self Sabotage: When Love Meets Self-Destruction

Self Sabotage

Self Sabotage: When Love Meets Self-Destruction

Self Sabotage

Self sabotage refers to conscious or unconscious behaviors, thoughts, or actions that hinder an individual's progress, well-being, or success. These self-defeating patterns often stem from past experiences or societal conditioning. For instance, repeated failures or criticism can instill a fear of rejection or a belief that one is undeserving of success. Self-sabotage can manifest in various aspects of life, including relationships, careers, personal development, and health.

Written By: Shaundtrya Ganasan, Licensed Counselor (KB11097)

Reminder: If you or your loved one are struggling with relationship issues, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at Soul Mechanics KD or Soul Mechanics Ipoh.
Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but strength!

Impact on Relationship Quality and Dynamics

Self sabotaging behaviors can profoundly affect the quality and dynamics of relationships. Common behaviors such as pushing the other person away, avoiding commitment, holding grudges, being passive-aggressive, and showing disrespect can create uncertainty, insecurity, resentment, and a lack of trust. These actions erode the foundation of a healthy relationship, making it difficult for both partners to feel safe, connected, and supported.

Pushing the Other Person Away

Creates distance and emotional detachment, hindering the relationship's growth.

Holding Grudges and Being Passive-Aggressive

This leads to constant conflict and communication breakdowns, further deteriorating the relationship.

Avoiding Commitment

Leads to a lack of stability and security in the relationship.

Overanalyzing Actions and Words

Creates unnecessary tension and misunderstandings, damaging the connection between partners.

Root Causes of Self-Sabotage in Relationships
Low Self-Esteem

Individuals with low self-esteem may engage in self sabotaging behaviors because they believe they do not deserve love or happiness. They might constantly seek validation from others or engage in self-critical thoughts and behaviors. Additionally, they may struggle with setting healthy boundaries and tolerating mistreatment in relationships, reinforcing their belief that they are unworthy of love and happiness.

Fear of Vulnerability

Fear of getting hurt or rejected can cause individuals to distance themselves emotionally or avoid deepening the relationship. This fear is often linked to past experiences of trauma or abuse, triggering self-sabotaging behaviours as a defence mechanism.

Self Sabotage
Learned Behaviors from Childhood

Witnessing unhealthy relationship dynamics or being taught that love is conditional can lead individuals to replicate these patterns in their own relationships. For example, children raised in households where love was conditional may believe they need to meet certain expectations to be loved and accepted. As adults, they might test their partner's love through self-sabotage, fearing it could be withdrawn if they make a mistake or fall short in any way.

Reminder: If you or your loved one are struggling with relationship issues, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at Soul Mechanics KD or Soul Mechanics Ipoh.
Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but strength!

Fear of Intimacy

The deep emotional connection required for intimacy can be overwhelming for some, leading them to sabotage the relationship to avoid feeling vulnerable.


Setting unrealistic standards for oneself or the relationship can create constant dissatisfaction and lead to self-sabotaging behaviours when these standards are not met.

Unresolved Past Traumas

Unresolved traumas from previous relationships can resurface in new relationships, causing individuals to act out in ways that protect themselves from perceived threats.

Addressing Self-Sabotage

Therapy can be instrumental in helping individuals recognize and address self-sabotaging behaviours. Various therapeutic approaches can assist individuals in understanding the root causes of their actions and developing healthier patterns. Here are some ways therapy can help:

Identifying Triggers: Therapists can help individuals identify the triggers that lead to self-sabotaging behaviours.

Developing Coping Strategies: Therapy provides tools and techniques to cope with negative thoughts and behaviours.

Building Self-Esteem: Therapy can help individuals build self-esteem and self-worth, which is essential for overcoming self-sabotage.

Exploring Past Experiences: Discussing past experiences and traumas in a safe environment can provide insight into current behaviours.

Creating Healthy Boundaries: Therapy can assist in establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries in relationships.


Journaling is a powerful tool for discovering patterns in self-sabotaging behaviours. By regularly writing about thoughts, feelings, and actions, individuals can gain insights into their behaviours' triggers and underlying causes. This self-awareness is crucial to breaking the cycle of self-sabotage and fostering healthier relationships. Journaling can help in the following ways:

Tracking Progress: Regular entries can help track progress over time.

Recognizing Patterns: Identifying recurring themes and patterns in behaviour.

Processing Emotions: Providing a safe space to process and understand emotions.

Setting Goals: Helping to set and achieve personal goals for growth and improvement.

Start your self-reflection journey with Soul Mechanics Journal. May your healing journey begin with us. You can purchase our SM WHO Journal here.


Healing involves self-reflection and a commitment to personal growth. Techniques such as mindfulness and self-compassion can help individuals become more aware of their self-sabotaging behaviours and develop kinder, more supportive attitudes towards themselves. Healing also includes building a support system of friends, family, or support groups who can offer encouragement and accountability. Here are some additional subpoints on healing:

Inner Child Work: Addressing and healing the wounded inner child can help resolve deep-seated issues that contribute to self-sabotage. This involves acknowledging and nurturing the parts of oneself that have been hurt or neglected.

Communication Development: Improving communication skills can help individuals express their needs and feelings more effectively, reducing relationship misunderstandings and conflicts.

Emotional Regulation: Learning techniques to manage and regulate emotions can prevent impulsive reactions that lead to self-sabotage.

Self-Compassion Practices: Cultivating self-compassion allows individuals to treat themselves with kindness and understanding, reducing self-critical thoughts and behaviours.

Mindfulness and Meditation: These practices can increase self-awareness and present-moment focus, helping individuals recognize and change self-sabotaging patterns.

Self Sabotage

Recognizing and addressing self-sabotaging behaviours is crucial for maintaining healthy and fulfilling relationships. By understanding the root causes and employing strategies such as therapy, healing practices, and journaling, individuals can break the cycle of self-sabotage and build stronger, more supportive relationships.

If you’re looking for a therapist in Kota Damansara or Ipoh area, you can click here for more information.

If you enjoyed reading this, why not broaden the horizon of knowledge by learning about "How Couple Therapy Can Create More Fulfilling Relationships?"? You can read the blog here.

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