7 Signs You’re Engaging in Self-Sabotaging Behavior

self-sabotaging behavior

Everyone feels down once in a while, but if you find yourself feeling constantly worthless and purposeless, you may be engaging in self-sabotaging behavior.

Here are some of the most common signs you’re self-sabotaging, and advice on how to stop.


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7 Signs You’re Engaging in Self-Sabotaging Behavior

1) You Think Failure Is Inevitable

Do you think making an effort is pointless? Are you convinced that, no matter how hard you try, you’re going to lose in life?

One of the biggest signs of self-sabotaging behavior is a lack of self-esteem.

A self-defeating attitude can often become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Instead of focusing on the negative in your life, take a look at what you’ve already achieved. While there’s always room for improvement, it’s important to set realistic goals for your future. You can’t completely overhaul your life overnight.

Instead, make a calendar or to-do list of small steps you can take everyday to get your life where you want it to be. Instead of asking yourself, “Did I achieve my goal today?” ask, “What steps did I take today to get where I want to be?”

Reframing the way you speak to yourself — and talk about yourself to others — is a huge way to improve your sense of self worth.

2) You’ve Developed A Dependency on Drugs of Alcohol

Everyone likes to let loose every once in a while. But if you can’t seem to have fun without getting blackout drunk, or feel like they only way you can have the courage to make the choices you want is by getting high, you may need to ask yourself some tough questions.

According to a recent study, over 21.5 million Americans struggle with addiction┬áper year. You’re not alone.

Relying on substances isn’t just a form of self-sabotaging behavior — it also poses a huge threat to both your overall health and your relationships with those you care about. You may even lose your job if you keep showing up with a hangover.

Try to ask yourself why you need to alter your mood in this way.

Are you avoiding addressing a conflict in your life? Are you struggling to effectively manage your anxiety? Or maybe you’ve always had addiction issues, but are embarrassed to seek help.

Remember, it is never too late to start over. If you need help stopping drinking or using drugs, be proactive. Look into local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or a list of rehabs in your area.

3) You’re Behaving In A Sexually Reckless or Risky Way

Looking for validation in the eyes of sexual or romantic partners is one of the biggest signs of self-sabotaging behavior.

If you find yourself with a different partner every night, repeatedly engaging in unsafe sexual practices, or obsessing over a crush to the point that you ignore your own needs, it’s time to put yourself first.

This may mean taking a break from dating for a while, or, if you’re married and have been unfaithful, speaking with a couples counselor.

4) You Let Opportunities Pass You By

While the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) can cause some people to make destructive and unhealthy decisions, not taking advantage of chances to improve your mood — and your life — is also a sign of self-sabotaging behavior.

There are many possible reasons why you may remain stagnant in life. You may be afraid of change, of getting outside your comfort zone, or you may simply lack the self-confidence to move forward.

Of course, the most likely reason why you’re letting your life pass you by is a fear of failure. You may see the successes of those around you and think, “Well, I could never be as good as them.”

Comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to intimidate yourself into immobility — but it’s not a good excuse. In fact, not following up on chances life throws your way will only compound your anxiety and sense of self-loathing.

Stop this self-sabotaging behavior by holding yourself accountable. Start small. Look at emails you haven’t answered and follow up on them. Consider enrolling in a continuing education class to improve your skill set and make connections. Pick up an old hobby.

Instead of being jealous of your successful friends, start a conversation and ask them for advice. Actively look for opportunities, instead of just waiting for something to come your way.

5) You’re Isolating Yourself

While everyone needs some “me time,” if you find yourself alone most of the week, you may be intentionally sealing yourself off from those around you.

This self-sabotaging behavior may come from a fear of socializing or a lack of self-esteem, but trust us when we tell you that the people you care about miss seeing you and want to spend time with you. Build your self-confidence by engaging with others.

If it makes you feel more comfortable and in control, start by inviting just one or two friends to spend time with you in your home. You’ll feel better hosting guests in a space where you feel relaxed.

6) Your Eating Habits Are Off

Whether you’re eating too much or too little, your diet and exercise routine can actually be a sign of self-sabotaging behavior.

Whether you’re eating to fill the void, acting as an emotional eater, or if you’re denying yourself nutrition as a means of control, it’s time to get back on track. Messing with your diet in a destructive way can have serious effects on your health and your mood.

Studies show working out can boost your mood, and that what you eat also makes a difference to your mental health. Take a cooking class to get out of the house, meet new people, and learn about nutrition.

7) You Tear Others Down

Whether it’s a snide comment here and there or a constant barrage of passive-aggressive insults, cruelty towards others is actually a form of self-sabotaging behavior.

You may think making others look worse makes you look better, but in reality, the opposite is true. Plus, you’ll only end up alone.

Instead, celebrate the accomplishments of your loved ones and colleagues. They’ll be more likely to help you in the future, and will value you as a friend. Soon, everyone will be celebrating your accomplishments.

Start Healing Yourself

Now that you’ve learned how to identify some of the most common signs of self-sabotaging behavior, it’s time to boost your social and self-confidence. Remember, to see changes, you have to work at it every day.

To help keep you on track, read through some of the articles on our website to learn the tools you need to grow your love for yourself. And remember — it’s always OK to reach out to us or to your friends and family if you need more personalized help.

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