they say the first step is acceptance, right?
there have been too many times to count when I convinced myself that something, and more specifically someone, wasn’t what/who they actually were. in the moments when my insecurities take over, it’s hard to see what I’m doing not only to myself but to the person who is simply trying to care for me. self-sabotage can be a hard thing to talk about, for a lot of us a difficult thing to even admit we habitually engage in. I’ve been with about a dozen men in my life- and it was not until my current relationship that I was honest about the ways that I self-sabotage. admittedly, it was probably one of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had with someone but I’m happy that I told him because he will call me out on my shit and bring me back down from the place my conscience has talked me into. he challenges me to really think about why I’m doing or saying the things that I am, and through that process, I’ve been able to hone in on the roots of my tendencies. I am still a work in progress, and even in the moments when I know I’m self-sabotaging, I will r e a c h for validity instead of facing the problem at hand. I am not proud to say I am a master at turning nothing into everything.
so let’s talk about it: the top five reasons I self-sabotage
1. low self-esteem
I have spent an undefinable amount of time trying to pinpoint the moment in my life when I went from this self-assured happy girl to this person whose confidence fluctuates so rapidly and constantly. my self-worth is always in question and, even though I have grown so much over the last year, I still have a ways to go. there are days when I look in the mirror & am haunted by the words from my past. those feelings of being unworthy and unappreciated completely take over, and I take those feelings out on the people who truly do value me and recognize my worth. I am terrible at taking a compliment. 98 percent of the time, I will respond with “not I’m not’ , ‘if you say so’ , and ‘I bet you always say that’. for far too long, I was brainwashed into believing I didn’t deserve more than the measley scraps that had been handed to me in past relationships. their words shaped the image I had for myself and I treated everyone as if they saw me the same way.
2. ending it before it’s over
confession: I am a runner! when I start overthinking and psych myself into believing someone is on the brink of breaking things off, I will do everything I can to take control of the situation and call it quits myself. someone doesn’t text me back in a timely manner, they’re not interested. we argue or disagree, they’re annoyed and they’re going to leave. basically, if I don’t feel like the center of attention, something is wrong and I need to get out. for as long as I can remember, I have almost always been the one that’s been left. I’ve been cheated on and blamed for the cheating. I’ve been dumped because I wouldn’t have sex. in high school, my first ‘boyfriend’ (I use that term very loosely because I was the only one committed) slept with five of my friends and random people from other schools. **one time a girl pulled me into a bathroom at a party to tell me about them sleeping together after him and I showed up to a party together** . so yeah, my innate behavior is to run at the first sign of shit emploding. I’m tired of being that is left, so I will be the one that leaves.
3. affection redirection
oh boy, this is a big one! like I said before, I’m not great at taking compliments, but it’s much deeper than that. even in my current relationship, in the beginning I would always say ‘don’t kiss/hug/touch/hold me like you like me!’. my history had a stronghold on me and I had walls built so high I never actually let anyone in. it was hard for me to believe that someone was genuinely interested in me so I had a tendency to redirect any affection shown to me. when I started dating after the birth of little A in 2018, I had a ‘you don’t like me, you like the idea of me’ mentality and it was 100 percent the driving force behind the way I acted and reacted in relationships.
4. attention seeking
at one point or another, I think we’ve all been here, some of us just hold onto to these bad habits longer than others. one of my go-to methods of attention seeking was posting cute pics and videos on all my socials when I felt like I was being ignored. nothing makes a person slide into DMs quicker than when I looked like I was happy living life without them. even in more serious situations, if we argued or fought and took a couple of days to cool off, I gave off a very ‘I’m doing just fine‘ impression. taking it a step further, I’d make it a point to ignore a text from someone but post on socials just so they would feel the need to double text me asking if I saw their message. I know, I know, that shit is toxic as fuck. like I said before, #growth. I promise I’ve been working hard not to be that person anymore.
5. never apologizing
I am a stubborn bitch, okay. I will go on a whole spiel about what I did wrong or could have done better without actually saying the words I’m sorry, but I will adamantly argue that someone who has wronged me should apologize to me. I used to spend a lot of time apologizing for things I shouldn’t have been apologizing for, and people would always say, ‘why are you apologizing, you have nothing to be sorry for’. the upside was that I stopped apologizing to people who didn’t deserve my apologies, but I became so stubborn to saying the words that I somehow twisted it into this belief that I didn’t have to apologize for anything because anything I did I had a reason for it. I literally went from one extreme to the other and it took some time to find a medium. I still have my days when I recognize my wrong-doings but want to be apologized to first before saying sorry myself. it’s one of the most terrible habits I developed and by far one of the hardest to kick.
the thing about it is, self-sabotaging is a super-hyper defense mechanism. for most of us, we are so focused on protecting ourselves that we are often blind to how we are potentially hurting others. we go to extremes to take care of ourselves and prevent ourselves from falling back into bad habits, and when there is no healthy conversation (with yourself in a journal or with others) it is harder to see the error in our ways. it took a very close friend telling me I had a habit of self-sabotaging and offering to help me confront my demons for me to realize what I was doing, especially to those who had good intentions. like I said, I am a work in progress, and being with someone I don’t want to see leave has given me the strength and confidence to do and be better.
amber mark sums up self-sabotage better than anyone else, click the video and check it out!