Self Sabotaging Relationships: Why It Happens and How to Stop It

Our unconscious programming plays the main role in what we think, feel and do. The powerful influence it has on our mind and actions can result in us self sabotaging our relationships. 

Relationship falling apart due to self sabotaging

Even when we consciously think and feel another way, our unconscious can sabotage our best conscious intentions. This can leave us blindsided and feeling confused as to how it all happened. The purpose of this blog post is to explain why we self sabotage relationships, the signs of self sabotage, and how to prevent it from occurring.

Why Do We Self Sabotage Our Relationships?

Approximately 95% of what we think, feel and do is conditioning from our early childhood experiences and environment, this is known as our unconscious programming. Our environment when we’re children greatly influences our thoughts, feelings, and actions as we grow older. In your childhood you download models for relationships, an example of this is your parents relationship. If these models don’t support healthy choices, such as healthy communication, interactions and expectations this affects our future relationships. It can affect us in how we make unconscious choices of a partner, how we allow ourselves to be treated in a relationship and how we treat our partner in our relationships. 

Another potential reason for self sabotage is through personal experiences of our early relationships. If we get the message that we don’t deserve a relationship, that there are no good relationships in general or for us specifically, or that relationships are too difficult, our unconscious programming sets us up to sabotage our relationships.

Signs of Self Sabotage 

Here are common signs of someone subconsciously sabotaging their relationship: 

  • Avoidance: avoiding relationship challenges such as conflict and change results in repressed emotions which will set you on a path towards anger or bitter disagreement towards fundamental issues.
  • Communication Problems: when unresolved communication issues such as passive aggressiveness and dishonesty take place, they can slowly destroy trust and a sense of safety in a relationship.
  • Lack of Self Esteem: if you’re frequently hearing thoughts such as “you’re not good enough”, you start to lose faith in yourself. The ones who are closest to you will feel a large negative impact through ways like you withdrawing from them as a result of this.
  • Jealousy: nothing is more damaging to the foundation of trust, intimacy, and relationship growth like insecurity, jealousy, and controlling behaviour.
  • Codependency: when you rely too much on each other the line between compatibility and codependency becomes blurred, which can result in your relationship becoming strained.

Relationship troubles due to self sabotaging

4 Ways to Prevent Yourself From Self Sabotaging Relationships 

Now that you know why relationships self sabotage and the signs, it’s time to learn ways to prevent self sabotage from occurring: 

1. Communicate 

Healthy communication does not happen by easily or by accident, it requires continuous work. As relationships grow, you will likely need to change the way you communicate with each other as well. The best way to foster healthy communication is to share openly and face to face.

2. Practice Self-Care

Taking care of yourself allows you to take care of others, including your partner. This means establishing healthy habits in terms of sleep, diet, exercise, and stress management. It is most effective when both partners implement these habits and help each other stay on top of them, it helps them bring out the best in each other.

3. Create Independent but Compatible Lives 

You are meant to spend time with each other but you’re not meant to spend every minute with each other. It is important that you have things you do on your own, this allows you to have space to grow as an individual and bring more to your relationship as a result.

4. Have Realistic Expectations

The relationships you see on tv or in movies are not accurate representations of the reality of relationships. Don’t compare your relationship to the ones you see on screen. Relationships are about risking imperfection and solving problems together, it is normal for them to have their ups and downs.

A happy couple who worked through relationship issues

The first step to stopping yourself from self sabotaging is recognizing the signs that you are doing so. Take the signs you learned today and reflect on your relationship to see if any are present and if they are, start implementing the ways to prevent yourself from self sabotaging. If you’re curious to learn more about relationships and how to enhance yours, read our blog post on The Signs of A Healthy Relationship and How to Improve Yours.

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