Inspired by a repeated pattern of behaviour that I have observed of myself all of my adult life, I feel compelled to write about ‘sabotage’. Those of you who have done some work on yourself will be familiar with this terminology in relation to self-destructive behaviour, but for those of you who may be yet to explore it, allow me to offer my understanding of this.
Sabotage is born out of fear and operates so as to prevent having to deal with questions such as ‘I’m not enough’, ‘I won’t be loved’, I don’t deserve it’ or ‘what’s the point – I’ll be rejected/abandoned/fired sooner or later’.
In recovery terms, recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism, it might be that a person sabotages their recovery by continuing to go to places where they are at risk of using and then blaming the places, people or things that ‘made’ them use, rather than facing their role in that outcome.
Sabotage is not about taking responsibility. It seeks to blame other people for an outcome. For example, pushing someone away continually until they have no choice other than to actually go away and then they can be blamed as the person who was the abandoner…. In a kind of ‘see, I told you they would leave/reject me/abandon me’.
As a person who is aware of sabotaging, in particular, potential intimate relationships, I am knowledgeable and aware of this behaviour, a behaviour that I became aware of a very long time ago. But what happens when it becomes more subtle? When knowledge does not equal power? Or worse, when you can actually see yourself in the behaviour but feel powerless to stop it?
- Forgive ourselves…first and foremost
- With that comes compassion
- We then take responsibility
- With that comes repairing any damage
- And when all is said and done, sit safely and quietly in the knowledge that we have just learned a little more about ourselves that will then make the lesson next time shorter until it has been learnt and does not come again!
Self-awareness is an amazing, frustrating, liberating state of mind, body and spirit. The lessons may take longer than we would like and they may get harder and more difficult to manage than we would like. But essentially what choice do we have if we are to become the best that we can be? The personal goal in life has to be that we can become the very best that we can possibly be, so learn, grow and love yourself in the process, as you are and as you can be.