Self sabotaging in relationships comes from a deep resentment towards the vulnerability required of you in a committed relationship.
Additionally, it comes from an unconscious but overwhelming feeling of unworthiness. Specifically when getting close to people.
If you’re asking why do I self sabotage my relationships, the above are the simplest answers.
But surely there’s more to this deleterious behavior than these two reasons? And there is.
But first, let’s get really clear on what self sabotaging actually is.
What Is Self-Sabotaging In a Relationship?
Self-sabotaging relationships is the act of destroying the trust, connection and love between two people in a relationship, even when you do really want that relationship in your life.
It’s often done unconsciously through embodying all the parts of yourself that are the hardest (if not impossible) for someone else to love.
You’ll subconsciously or consciously make their life difficult or even go so far as to make them despise you by being nasty, contemptuous, judgemental or just plain difficult to connect with.
Recommended: What Every Woman Ought to Know About Trusting A Man.
What Are Examples of Self-Sabotage In Relationships?
Some examples of self sabotaging behaviors include:
- Hostile body language (sneering, crossing your arms, avoiding eye contact and turning away from them)
- Judging them and pointing out their flaws for no reason (usually for the “fun” of it).
- Mocking them
- Choosing your “independence” over being intimate with them every time
- Refusing to try to trust them
- Insisting that they could never “understand” you despite evidence that they can (or at least try to)
- Pulling away with no explanation
- Thinking that people who choose to be in intimate relationships are “weak”
- Deliberately doing things someone has asked you not to do
- Any kind of gaslighting
- Prioritising Your image (how your life and your actions “look” to others) over the person you’re in a relationship with
Related: Can’t Trust Anyone? 6 Hidden Signs They’re Untrustworthy.
QUIZ TIME: Is your man serious about committing to you? CLICK HERE to find out with this specially crafted quiz! (All the answers you seek about him lie within these 8 questions.)
Why Do I Self Sabotage My Relationships?
The reasons are multi-faceted and don’t only relate to neglect in infancy or to our attachment styles, although these factors certainly are related to self sabotaging behavior.
The reasons we self sabotage are a combination of:
- Our attachment styles
- Internal stress and anxiety (which relates to our attachment style)
- Depression or just feeling dead inside
- Low self esteem
- The inability to attune to others
- Laziness; and
- You’re a small person
Several of these reasons blend into each other.
For example, low self esteem is directly related to your attachment style as well as internal stress and anxiety.
Let’s look at each of these reasons in depth right now.
1: Your Attachment Style
If you have been asking why do I self sabotage my relationships, the core reason (from which a few of the other reasons stem from) is your attachment style.
Specifically, it’s that you likely have what is called an insecure attachment style.
My husband and I prefer to call it “insecure attachment patterns”, because that’s what they are – patterns.
Patterns that are established long before you have a chance to be consciously aware of them, much less object to such an unfortunate and disadvantaged start to life.
So what are insecure attachment patterns?
Put simply, they refer to the way in which you behave when getting intimate with someone.
Now, to be clear: when I say getting intimate, I don’t mean sex, although intimacy does include sex too.
I am referring specifically to intimacy, which encompasses:
- Emotional closeness (here’s how to build an emotional connection with a man).
- Understanding of another person
- Expression of love towards yourself, another, and your ability to accept expressions of love from another
- How comfortable you are with physical and emotional closeness
- Your ability to accept someone completely (flaws, vulnerabilities and all); and
- Of course, your ability to be vulnerable
If you have insecure attachment, then you will have either:
More than likely, you’ll show signs of all of the above three types of attachment styles, but usually people classify themselves into one main “type” of attachment style.
So let’s first discover which attachment style you have – you can do that with our quick and easy (women-specific) quiz…
QUIZ TIME: Do I have secure or insecure attachment patterns? CLICK HERE to find out with our specially crafted women-specific 10 Question Quiz!
(Why is this important? It is because your core attachment style largely dictates and influences what happens in your relationship. Thus it’s imperative you understand your core attachment style!)
An insecure attachment style makes you sabotage your relationships subconsciously because you don’t feel “safe” in love and intimacy.
Essentially, love, intimacy, trust and closeness is not your equilibrium.
Instead, your equilibrium lies in:
- Avoidance; or
- A combination of those two things
Related: Dating & Disorganized Attachment: 5 Signs of It 7 FAQs.
2: Internal Stress And Anxiety
When you’re constantly anxious and stressed, you will self sabotage a lot.
But why is this?
It’s because of a few reasons:
- Getting closer to someone triggers more anxiety (anxious attachment patterns showing through), and you just can’t cope
- Being under so much stress keeps you in more of a fight or flight state, so you are more likely to perceive your friend or lover’s actions as a threat when they’re not
- You don’t want to be witnessed in this horrible state of stress (you don’t want to let people in)
- You will exhibit more self sabotaging behaviors because anxiety and stress makes you want to push people away and keep them at a distance
3: Depression Or Feeling Dead Inside
If you’re in poor mental health, you’ll be at risk of self sabotaging behaviors, because you do not want to (nor can you) make room for another person’s needs.
Thus you push them away rather than keeping them close.
On that note, if you think you push people away, here are 7 signs you’re pushing someone away (and why you do it).
Now let’s differentiate between depression and feeling dead inside. Because they can go hand in hand, but they don’t have to.
Depression is more what someone goes through when their life circumstances don’t meet their internal expectations or hopes.
Feeling dead inside can occur because you just can’t connect to any emotions and you find it difficult to feel anything, whether it be sadness or elation.
This can be caused by trauma of course, or just an avoidant attachment style.
People who feel dead inside often can’t cry and find it difficult to keep anyone close, because they don’t embody the emotion necessary to have any kind of relationship.
It’s no wonder they sabotage things, because not only can they not feel anything, they usually do not even want to – or they have learned not to for whatever reason.
Thus they do things that push others away and ruin their chances of ever building intimacy with them.
By the way, did you know that there is one specific emotional trigger within every masculine man that makes him love you deeply and want to take care of you for life?
CLICK HERE to LEARN the One Specific Emotional Trigger Within Every Masculine Man That Inspires Him to Want to Take Care of You, Worship You and Deeply Commit to You.
4: Low Self Esteem
Of course low self esteem is related to your attachment style, because if you’re insecurely attached you are so because you don’t believe you’re enough or ‘worthy’ of intimacy and closeness.
Why do people with low self esteem sabotage their relationships?
Because they never quite feel worthy enough to receive someone else’s love.
They tend to resent any genuine displays of love at worst, and shut off to them or push them away at best.
Basically, low self esteem and romantic relationships do not go together.
If you have low self esteem issues, you’ll struggle to keep a relationship together and healthy, even if you manage to get married.
The trouble with low self esteem is that it doesn’t matter how much your partner loves you, you won’t ever truly feel loved, because you don’t love yourself.
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Yes, superstition can cause you to self sabotage even the most healthy relationship.
Due to lack of knowledge about human relationships and a lack of self awareness (of your thought processes and past traumas), you may sabotage a relationship because you think that’s your destiny.
For example, perhaps you’ve had many past relationships that ended at 3 months, or even 18 months.
So even if you get into a relationship with someone who loves you, your body “remembers” the past relationship failures at that exact timeline of the relationship, and due to superstition or a belief in “bad luck”, you’ll turn on your partner and your relationship.
Because you “know what’s coming”.
You think it’s inevitable.
But what does superstition really mean?
It is defined as:
“A widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief.”
Some people just feel like they don’t have it within them to find a better meaning from past relationship failures.
Thus if they see that their relationships all end around the 18 month mark, they may end it themselves prematurely.
Sounds silly, but this is what happens when you don’t have the knowledge about how to make relationships last, or how to make a better meaning out of past breakups.
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This is the reason not many people are talking about, but some people self sabotage relationships because they feel envious.
Envy is that emotion that grates at you, reminding you of horrible things (either real of imagined), such as:
- Your lower social status than a friend
- Your lack of creativity in comparison to someone else
- A lack of opportunities
- A lack of beauty or natural goodness
- A lack of basically anything that you perceive to be of value
If you’re wondering whether someone envies you or not, here are 12 Secretive Signs Someone Envies You.
People don’t like to be repeatedly exposed to envy.
And the sad part is that instead of confronting it and dealing with it, most people prefer to push it far away from their conscious mind, making it even worse.
The more you resist envy, the more it persists.
But sometimes people get really sick of constantly envying someone.
So out of desperation, and out of being irritated with the emotion, they push people away and sabotage a relationship subconsciously (or consciously, if they happen to be more self aware.)
See, when they push the envied person away, they no longer have to feel the envy. This makes for a more comfortable life for a person who is feeling envious.
7: The Inability to Attune to Others
Attunement is your ability to be at one with another person’s thoughts, feelings and experiences.
If you can’t do that (or you don’t want to do that) in your relationships, you’re more at risk for sabotaging them.
This is because you’re so disconnected from your friends or lovers that you take drastic actions based on stories you make up in your head or sometimes even negative self-talk.
Believe it or not, some people sabotage their relationships due to laziness. Specifically, emotional laziness.
They don’t want to feel.
They want insulation from deeper, more vulnerable feelings, so they push their partner away and get hostile when things go deeper.
Recommended: is He Pushing Me Away? 13 Sad Signs He Is + What to do About It.
It seems absurd, but let me explain why laziness can make you sabotage relationships.
It’s because when your equilibrium rests more in being lazy, you won’t want to be vulnerable in a relationships.
You won’t want to do the work to open up, discover yourself and your partner, or connect deeply with them.
You’ll want the kind of relationship that’s superficial and easy, only going to it when you need something and avoiding any intimacy and extra work required of you.
The aggression you show when your lover needs or wants more of you will be more than enough to sabotage any trust and love you’ve built up together.
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9: You’re A Small Person
There’s no “nice” way to put this. But sometimes people self sabotage their relationships because they’re a small person.
But what does a “small person” even mean?
It is a term used to refer to petty, narrow-minded, entitled people who are driven by fear.
Fear of what?
- Of expending energy
- Of standing out
- Of being vulnerable
- Of having their true colors revealed
- Of not being enough
So often, small people cannot understand others who are capable of vulnerability for example.
They do not know how to meet you at your level if you live a joyful, infinite life.
If you’re a person of integrity, faith and hope, they won’t “get” you.
If a small person is with someone who doesn’t dull their brilliance or radiance, often they’ll refuse to meet them at their “higher” level because they’re driven primarily by fear.
This refusal means that they will sabotage the relationship.
To explain it deeper, a small person simply doesn’t want to have to believe in something more for themselves, for their life, or for their relationship.
Small people don’t feel much hope, faith, love or appreciation.
They tend to not believe in making themselves vulnerable, and they’re resistant to new ideas and learning new things.
This makes for some interesting behavior, especially at work or in social groups.
Instead of being a person of integrity, instead of working hard or believing in themselves, they may instead choose to suck up to others to gain approval or success in any realm.
In other words, they prefer the “slimy” route to getting anything of perceived value.
And they may actually enjoy this, as they know no other way.
Because they’re small! Therefore they’re unresourceful.
They’re never vulnerable enough to truly connect and build trust with others.
If this sounds like they might be a narcissist, they could be, but some people aren’t narcissists, they’re just small people.
Small people will sabotage almost anything important in their lives, simply because they cannot bring themselves to:
- To be courageous
- To think deeper; or
- To be vulnerable
What’s more is that they are:
- Easily triggered
- Highly prone to envy
- Feel more hatred; and
- Cannot cope with as much as a bigger person can
Self-sabotaging in relationships is common among small people because not only do they have less to give inside of a relationship, they simply can’t handle facing themselves.
(…Which is always required inside of a strong committed relationship.)
As such, small people will invariably self-sabotage their closest and most emotionally demanding relationships, especially if those relationships are with a securely attached, highly esteemed and successful (read: threatening) individual.
So hopefully you’ve got a solid answer to the question of why do I self sabotage my relationships. Now let’s work on how to stop this damaging behavior.
How Do I Stop Self Sabotage In My Relationships?
1: List Down The Reasons Why You Self Sabotage
Firstly, address the most likely reasons why you self sabotage.
Try to narrow the reasons down to 2 or 3. Be very honest with yourself here.
If it’s your attachment style causing you to be insecure, then try to work towards what is called earned secure attachment.
And if you haven’t taken our quiz to discover your specific, core attachment style, then CLICK here to take our free quiz. Once you’ve completed the quiz, you will then be given:
- A detailed explanation for your specific attachment patterns
- Why you have that attachment style
- And what you can do to heal right now
If you self sabotage because of another reason, such as superstition, then find a better meaning for what has happened in your past.
List down which reasons out of the 9 reasons above most apply to you and that’s the best place to start.
2: Allow Yourself to be More Vulnerable!
Secondly, allow yourself to be more vulnerable to men and to the right people, so that you can make connection your new equilibrium.
Being vulnerable is a key ingredient in all healthy relationships. In romantic relationships, of course being vulnerable can be extra hard.
By the way, here’s an article I wrote on How to be Vulnerable to Men Without Being NEEDY.
And here’s a video I made on How to be Vulnerable to A Man.
But when it comes to being vulnerable to men, there’s one key concept I want you to become familiar with, and that’s high value vulnerability.
High value vulnerability is your ability to be vulnerable in a way that men see as high value.
It’s the type of vulnerability that inspires deep connection and deep emotional commitment from a man.
It’s also something you can feel safe embodying, because it is authentic and true to you.
If you would like to learn how to master this concept of high value vulnerability, we have something special for you: CLICK HERE to LEARN why High Value Vulnerability Works on Every Masculine Man And Inspires Him to Want to Take Care of You, Worship You and Deeply Commit to You.
3: Remember Not to Blame Yourself
Most of all, the thing you MUST remember is to not blame yourself.
Sure, you self sabotage, sure you put walls up, and sure you may act in ways which have caused men to hate you in the past.
But you cannot blame yourself for it, because these are just patterns that you’ve picked up or ingrained into yourself from your past.
You did it because you didn’t know any other way.
Remember, these patterns of self sabotage were likely formed way before you became consciously able to look at yourself and be aware of what you were doing.
They started when you were a child.
And no one really stopped you in your tracks. Perhaps they never cared enough to help you develop some healthier patterns of relating to other humans.
Whatever it is, now you are self aware, and that’s what matters.
Now you can take responsibility, and part of taking repsonsibility is to not get stuck in self blame, because you’ll exhaust yourself with that nonsense and veer off course.
You’ll never get to your final destination which is: connection.
Always keep your final destination at the forefront of your mind.
Because not only is it important, it’s exactly what you deserved all along.
Renee is the founder of The Feminine Woman & co-founder of Shen Wade Media where we teach women how to show up as a high value high status woman whom easily inspires a deep sense of emotional commitment from her chosen man. Together with her husband D. Shen at Commitment Triggers blog, they have positively influenced the lives of over 15 million women through their free articles and videos as well as 10’s of thousands through paid programs through the Shen Wade Media platform.
Connect deeper with her work through the social media links below.