Self-Sabotage: What triggers this behaviour and how to stop doing it
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SNW 012: Self-Sabotage – What triggers this destructive behaviour and how to stop doing it

Self-Sabotage: What triggers this destructive behaviour and how to stop doing it

Episode Summary:
Self-sabotage not only stops us achieving what we want, it also erodes our happiness and destroys our self-esteem.
In this episode I will explain why we do sabotage our own lives and what triggers this destructive behaviour.
I also share with you a 4-step action plan you can follow to stop you from sabotaging your life anymore.
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Episode Transcript:

“I believe self-sabotage is one of the most misunderstood…”

life-constraining and damaging of all behaviours.
I also believe it is the most common.
With most people engaging with it at some stage of their lives, whether they realised it or not.
Not only does it stop us achieving what we want, but it can also steadily erode our happiness and destroy our self-esteem.
So, let’s start with the most obvious question…
Why do we sabotage our OWN lives?
What an earth is going on when we stop OURSELVES from getting what we want to have, or what we want to achieve?
What triggers this irrational, harmful behaviour?
Well, to help me explain what’s happening…
I want you to imagine you are a cow!
(Trust me… it will all make sense in a while!).
So, imagine you’re cow, growing up in this field.
And beyond your field, in every direction you look, all you can see is miles and miles of open farmland and woods, rivers and lakes.
You realise you’re too young at the moment to move away from your field to go and explore and experience everything the world has to offer.
But you believe that when you are older you’ll be free to go anywhere you want and do whatever you want.
However, the farmer has his own ideas on where you should live, what you should do and who you should see.
So he builds an electric fence around the field he wants to keep you confined in.
You, as the young cow, have no idea there are now boundaries in your life.
There are now limits on where you can go and what adventures you can have
Time passes and eventually the days comes where you feel ready to explore the world beyond your field.
You believe it’s time for you to experience the woods, the rivers and the lakes that you’ve watched from a distance for all those years.
You start walking towards the edge of your field to start your adventure and then ouch… you receive an electric shock.
It hurts and, stunned, you retreat to the safety of your field.
You’re confused. You don’t know what to make of it.
A few weeks later, the memory of the electric shock has faded and you feel confident enough to try again.
You amble up to the edge of your field and then… ouch.
It happened again… you received another electric shock.
You don’t understand why you keep getting hurt.
You can see other cows in the fields beyond, you see them having different experiences than you… but you cannot get there.
You try again and again.
You keep trying to leave your field, but you’re hurt every time you try.
Until, eventually, you give up.
You can’t face any more electric shocks. So you stop trying to leave your field.
You just accept that this is your life and you are powerless to change it.
Now let me explain what a cow in a field, with an electric fence around the perimeter, has to do with self-sabotage.
You have no beliefs when you’re born.
Your senses soaking up every new sight, sound and smell as the world unfolds before you.
Each day delivering new experiences, new adventures… new challenges.
And as each opportunity to grow and develop arises, you eagerly grab it with both hands.
With no idea of what failure is.
You want to walk.
So you’ll get up and fall flat on your face. You get up and fall, get up fall again and then roll around a bit… and despite all the failures, you will try again tomorrow.
And you’ll do this for months!
Until slowly, but surely, you learn to walk.
This stage of your life is like the young cow in the field.
He can see miles and miles of farmland and woods, rivers and streams thinking he is free to roam anywhere he likes and do whatever he likes, whenever he is ready to do so.
Just like you as a child, he has no limits on what he thinks he can do or achieve.
However as the cow waits for the right time for him to go and explore the world and have new experiences – limits are already being put in place.
Because, unknown to the cow, the farmer is building an electric fence around him.
And as a child you’re waiting for the right time to go out and explore the world and have new experiences – but limits are already being put in place in your life.
Because, unknown to you, as you grow and develop…
You start forming a belief system.
And of course, as a young child you have no pre-programmed idea on what’s possible, or not possible.
So you look to the environment around you for guidance.
Self-Sabotage, Belief System - The Super Now Wow Show | Grant J Marsh | Grant MarshYou watch and listen to your parents and absorb their beliefs.
You listen to and watch your teachers and absorb their beliefs.
And as you grow up you will listen to and watch..
your friends, television, radio, neighbours, newspapers, boyfriends, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins...
and you absorb all their beliefs.
And that’s how you develop your belief system.
And to continue with the cow in the field analogy…
Everything that you believe is possible,
everything that you believe you can have,
everything you believe you can achieve…
They are all within reach, right in front of you.
All contained within YOUR field.
In contrast:
everything that you don’t believe is possible,
everything you don’t believe you can have and
everything that you don’t believe you can achieve…
They are all situated in the fields in the distance.
You can see them, but they are out of reach.
So what causes us to self-sabotage?
Let’s go back to the cow in the field again to help me explain.
The first time the cow goes of on an adventure, he doesn’t know there’s an electric fence keeping him enclosed.
So he ventures out, goes to try something new and receives an electric shock.
It hurts, he retreats.
And we do the same.
As young adults we will go and try something new.
We’re unaware that we have limiting beliefs, so we keep going and keep going right to the edge of our beliefs and ouch!
We get the equivalent of an ‘electric shock’ delivered by our subconscious mind.
In other words we ‘self-sabotage’.
Self-sabotage is our subconscious mind stopping us from achieving something that, deep down, we don’t believe we can have. Or we don’t believe is possible, or we don’t be believe we deserve.
Self-sabotage is your minds ‘electric fence’, ensuring you stay and live your life within the confines of your beliefs.
Here’s a few examples to help me show you how this works.
Let’s say your parents had a fiery relationship when you were growing up and eventually divorced.
You would have heard the arguments, felt the pain of either parent and been afraid of what the future held.
Unknown to you, these events would have created a set of beliefs about relationships, marriage, how individuals behave when sharing their life and maybe even if you should have children or not.
You grow up, you start dating, everything goes well.
Things get more serious, you fall in love.
Maybe you start talking about marriage or moving in together and then suddenly you start acting like an idiot.
You don’t even know why.
You’ll criticise everything they do, or dismiss their ideas out of hand.
Maybe argue against everything they day, or even go and have an affair or one-night stand.
This is you self-sabotaging.
Why? You’ve hit the same electric fence as the cow.
You’ve reached the limit of your beliefs.
Because you witnessed the arguing and the eventual divorce of your parents, you have formed a belief that relationships cause anger, pain, suffering and hurt.
So the moment your relationship becomes too serious – you’re subconscious mind steps in and protects you, by destroying it.
It will keep you within the limits of what you believe to be true.
Another example, money.
Your parents worked hard.
Self-Sabotage - The Super Now Wow Show | Grant J Marsh | Grant MarshThey paid their way, but it was always a struggle.
You can recall them telling you as a youngster:
“Money doesn’t grow on trees you know!”
Also your dad distrusted ‘rich’ people.
It was almost as if they must have done something dishonest to have that much wealth.
Again, growing up in this environment would have formed your beliefs about money:
“You have to work hard to earn it, money is hard to come by, rich people are dishonest and people like us will never be rich.”
If they’re your beliefs, you cannot break their boundaries.
So, the moment you can earn, or invest, or save more money than you believe is possible – you will sabotage it.
You will either fail in the job interview; or
if you run your own business, you’ll keep making mistakes to keep the profits within the limits of what you believe is possible; or
if you’re saving money, something will happen to blow it before you save more than your believe you can.
And even if it’s not you that loses the money, something will happen in your life to dispose of it for you:
Maybe your car will suddenly need £2000 spending on it; or
the roof of your house will suddenly spring a leak; or
you will receive an unexpected tax bill.
And listen, I’m not joking.
Whatever you believe to be true about money, will be true for you.
Your subconscious mind will find a way to keep you within the boundaries of what you believe you can earn, save, or be worth.
One last example, weight.
If you grew up and watched your mother struggle with her weight.
If you felt her pain when she became too self-conscious to wear summer clothes in public.
If you can remember her barely eating anything for weeks, but then sometimes binge eating for days.
Well, then you’re going to have a damaging set of beliefs on food, weight, nutrition and your overall health
So if you become overweight, you’ll decide what weight you want to be and you go on a diet.
It goes well. Week after week you lose weight right until the brink of reaching your ideal weight and then… bang!
You suddenly start binge eating junk food.
Or, you suddenly have many excuses for not exercising and your weight will start to climb.
That’s self-sabotage.
That’s your subconscious keeping you within the boundaries of what you believe to be true for you.
Now, you would have thought – since we’re the most intelligent species ever to grace this planet – that one self-sabotage experience would be enough to teach us to do things differently next time.
But no.
We don’t learn our lesson and we keep repeating the behaviour.
If we self-sabotage one relationship.
We’ll learn nothing and go and start another one.
We get close, fall in love… everything is perfect and – wham – you’ll suddenly find a way to destroy that relationship.
And you’ll do it again and again.
Or, if you put on weight, you’ll go on a diet.
You’ll lose weight right up to within a few pounds of what you want to weigh… and then – wham – you put the weight back on again.
So you find another diet to go on and start losing weight.
Once again you nearly reach your target and then, for reasons you cannot explain, you eat your body weight in Mars bars.
And so the cycle continues.
You keep sabotaging, sabotaging and sabotaging you life, until eventually…
You give up even trying.
Just like the cow who stops trying to leave his field because he cannot face another electric shock.
Sooner or later, you’ll do the same.
If your relationships keep ending badly, one day you’ll think
“honestly, relationships aren’t worth it.
I keep hurting the other person, I keep making the same mistakes, I’m just not cut out for being in a relationship.
I’m not going through all the hassle any more.
I’m not going through this pain any more.”
Or, if you never reach the ideal weight you want to be, sooner or later you’ll give up.
You’ve kept trying. Diet, after diet, after diet… but you’d always go back to the weight you were.
You can’t face going through the pain anymore.
You can’t face going through that torment any more…
So you give up trying.
Ok, so let’s quickly recap why we self-sabotage…
First, you form your beliefs through the opinions of others.
Second, you live most of your life within the limits of your beliefs.
But when you do occasionally try to do something beyond the confines of your beliefs, your subconscious mind acts like an electric fence.
Keeping you within the boundaries of your beliefs by self-sabotage your efforts.
Third, you’ll continue to self-sabotage until eventually you give up trying at all.
Now I know that must all sound depressing, but actually I have some good news for you.
Once you realise that you sabotage some areas of your life, it is a behaviour that is quite easy to stop.
And here’s a 4 Step Action Plan to help you achieve just that.
Step 1. Try to uncover any areas of your life where you suspect you have been sabotaging.
To help you do that, focus on any areas of your life that repeatedly go wrong.
Also, take notice of your own negatively commentary.
If you ever think:
‘I’m no good with money’; or
‘I’d never be able to start that business’; or
‘I’m no good at relationship’
Then the chances are you would have been sabotaging those areas of your life.
Of course, some episodes of self-sabotage may be massive, obvious ones.
For instance, every time I’m engaged I freak out and emigrate!
But many will be far more subtle.
So subtle in fact, that you may have never been aware of what you were doing before now.
Ask yourself:
“Why have I got the life I have now?
What’s great and what would I like to change?
And with the areas of my life that I would like to change…
how long have I been trying to change them?”
Because if there’s parts of your life that you’ve been trying to change for years and you haven’t managed to do it, the chances are you’re, subconsciously, sabotaging your own efforts.
Step 2. Try to understand where your limiting belief came from
A self-limiting belief is the cause of all self-sabotaging behaviour.
And if you know what happened in your life to form that belief, it will be far easier for you to challenge it and change it.
To help you unearth the cause of the limiting belief, I would suggest looking back at your childhood:
Your parents, your neighbours, schools friends or any traumatic periods of your young life.
The cause of your belief will be in there somewhere.
Step 3. Change the limiting belief
A deep-rooted belief that you may have held for 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years – is going to take some effort from you to change it.
I’ll share with you the two things I did to change my beliefs.
Maybe they would work for you as well.
First, I studied the brain.
I wanted to de-mystify my thoughts, beliefs, memories and cognitive functions.
I found that when I stripped my brain down to a functioning organ, that on it’s own – doesn’t have any limiting beliefs, or negative thoughts, or harmful memories – it made it far easier for me to alter, or swap the beliefs I wanted to.
And Second, I became an expert on the areas of life I was sabotaging.
You know, whatever area of your life you’re sabotaging, there will be resources available for you to learn how to do it properly.
There’s thousands of books on how to increase self-esteem.
There’s thousands of books on how to have successful relationships
There’s thousands of books on how to make, save or invest money.
There’s thousands of books on diet, nutrition, health and fitness.
My advice is to commit to learning as much as you possible can, about the area of your life you’re continually struggling to be successful in.
Say to yourself….
“I know I keep failing this part of my life, and I refuse to put up with it anymore.
But I’m not just going to learn the basics.
I’m going to learn so much, I’m going to become a leading expert on the subject”
And finally…
Step #4 Become More Self-Aware
Hopefully, the previous three steps will stop you from ever sabotaging your life again.
But you need to keep watch.
You need to be aware just in case you start sabotaging again in the future.
I would suggest that you write down what you actually do when you sabotage at the moment.
Do you argue? Do you become withdrawn? Do you procrastinate? Do you get depressed?
Clearly define what actions or feelings you have when you self-sabotage.
Once you know what you do, or how you feel when you sabotage – you’ll be aware of it if it happening again in the future.
Giving you the opportunity to stop yourself sabotaging your life BEFORE any damage has been done.
Ok, so they are the four steps you can take to stop self-sabotaging behaviour.
But what if  maybe you can’t correct the behaviour on your own?
What if you know what you sabotage, you know how you sabotage and you know what causes you to sabotage… but you still keep doing it anyway?
My advice is simple:
Go and seek professional help.
If you’re at this stage, you’ve done 90% of the work needed to stop it.
You just need a little help and guidance with the final 10%.
And believe me, it will be far easier getting the right help when you have the clarity to go somewhere, sit in front of them and say:
“I keep self-sabotaging my happiness.
I know it’s because of a self-limiting belief I developed when I was growing up with my dad who suffered from severe depression.
As soon as I have a prolonged period of happiness I start searching for things to be negative about.
I intentionally look for problems to worry about.
I know I sabotage my own happiness, because I feel guilty about being happy.
I believe it’s wrong to be too happy.
Could you help me please?”
You see… you’ve done the hard work, you’ve diagnosed the problem.
You just need a little help and support with the cure, that’s all.
And if you’re in that situation, I hope this episode has inspired you enough to get the help you need.
I also hope this episode has inspired you to evaluate your own life and motivated you enough to challenge your beliefs.
Because, we all think we’re are own person.
We all believe we have free choice, free will.
But ask yourself this:
Who are you?
Honestly, think about it.
Who are you… REALLY?
You are only your mind.
And within the depths of your mind are your beliefs.
And you can never be more successful than your beliefs allow.
You will never be able to outperform your beliefs.
And we live our lives with this internal battle going on between our conscious and subconscious mind.
Consciously we’re continuously trying to better ourselves:
gain a promotion, start a business, earn more money, get fitter, lose weight and create a better life for our families and us.
But if our subconscious doesn’t believe it is possible, a battle begins.
A battle that our subconscious mind always… always wins.
Don’t fight your beliefs, change them.
And you have every right to change them, they weren’t even your beliefs in the first place!
Make a promise to yourself right now that you will stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
Because the more you keep doing it, the harder it’s going to be for you to change.
The longer it goes on, the more damage you’re going to inflict on your life and the lives of the people you love.
The longer it goes on, the less time you’ll have left in your life to achieve everything you want to achieve.
And of course, it’s your choice.
But I believe in you. I believe this is your time.
Go out now and free yourself  from the self-imposed boundaries you’re living in and free yourself from the torment and frustration that brings.
Go out now and, for the first time, feel confident enough to explore and experience everything life has to offer beyond the confines of your existing beliefs.
Because this week, these day this ‘NOW’ is going to pass anyway.
So why not make this ‘Now’ a ‘Super Now’
A Super Now that makes you go ‘WOW!’

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