How to Stop Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

Dr. Debi Silber
3 min readJul 12, 2022

Self-sabotage is a uniquely human behavior. Many of us sabotage ourselves when we decide we want something by doing everything we can to ensure we don’t get it. Sound familiar? (I talk about it in my first TEDx: Stop Sabotaging Yourself.) Although self-sabotage is a subconscious behavior, we can get a handle on it.

There are many reasons that you might sabotage yourself and while it’s common, it’s rooted in a fear of the unknown.

Find out why you may self-sabotage:

You might self-sabotage because you have a need to be in control of your circumstances. The easiest and most certain way to stay in control is to maintain the status quo.

  • If you put your all into something, you run the risk of becoming vulnerable. Fear gets the best of you and you self-sabotage.

Low self-esteem. Do you feel unworthy of greatness?

  • For whatever reason, you may have decided that happiness is beyond your reach. I see this all the time after someone experiences betrayal. It’s common to assume we must have done something, we may have caused it, or some other disempowering idea that has us questioning our value and worth. This is a self-limiting idea, and if we don’t watch it, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Perhaps you undermine your efforts because you’re seeking excitement. You feel the need to remain in a constant state of turmoil to distract yourself from painful memories or alleviate boredom.

If you were to go down that new path, pursue that new interest ,or begin that new health journey for example, who would be impacted? Sometimes, we figure it’s best to stay the same than to create a “shake-up” that our changes may create in others.

If you see yourself in any of these descriptions, don’t worry: there are steps you can take to put yourself on the path toward self-mastery.

Consider this process for defeating your self-sabotage:

Observe your behavior. First of all, it’s essential that you begin to observe yourself. You can effectively do this by creating a self-sabotage journal. Make a journal entry every time you realize that you’ve sabotaged yourself. Describe the setting, circumstances, and end result. Avoid over-analyzing.

  • Most often, a person’s true intentions are most evident in their actions, rather than their words.
Dr. Debi Silber

Dr. Debi Silber, founder of The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute helps people heal from the trauma of betrayal.