Self-Sabotaging Relationships

Self-sabotage is a silent yet formidable adversary that can wreak havoc on our personal growth and relationships. Often, it operates in the shadows, subtly undermining our efforts and leaving us puzzled about why things aren’t working out as we hoped. In this blog, we will explore self-sabotage, what it looks like in relationships, why people engage in it, the signs to watch for, and most importantly, how to stop the self-sabotaging cycle.

What Self-Sabotage Looks Like in Relationships

  • Pushing People Away: One common manifestation of self-sabotage in relationships is the tendency to push people away, especially when they start getting close. This might involve picking fights over trivial matters, creating emotional distance, or even ending a promising relationship prematurely.
  • Jealousy and Insecurity: Self-sabotage often breeds jealousy and insecurity. People who sabotage themselves in relationships may find it challenging to trust their partners, leading to unnecessary doubts and conflicts. This can strain the relationship and create a self-fulfilling prophecy of betrayal or abandonment.
  • Setting Unrealistic Expectations: Another way self-sabotage can manifest is by setting unrealistic expectations for your partner or the relationship itself. When these expectations inevitably go unmet, disappointment and resentment can poison the relationship.

Why People Engage in Self-Sabotage

  • Fear of Vulnerability: A fear of vulnerability can drive individuals to self-sabotage. They may believe that by pushing their partner away or creating problems in the relationship, they are protecting themselves from potential hurt or rejection.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Low self-esteem can lead to self-sabotage as people may not believe they are deserving of love and happiness. Subconsciously, they may sabotage their relationships as a way of confirming their negative self-image.
  • Past Trauma: Unresolved past traumas can haunt us in our present relationships. People who have experienced betrayal, abandonment, or abuse may engage in self-sabotage as a way of protecting themselves from experiencing similar pain again.

Signs of Self-Sabotage in Relationships

Recognizing the signs of self-sabotage is the first step toward breaking free from its destructive cycle. Here are some common signs to watch for:

  1. Consistent Negative Thought Patterns: Frequent negative thoughts about the relationship or your partner that may be unwarranted or blown out of proportion.
  2. Overanalysing and Overthinking: Constantly overanalysing your partner’s actions or the state of the relationship can create unnecessary stress and tension.
  3. Avoidance of Commitment: If you find yourself avoiding commitment or sabotaging potential long-term relationships, it may be a sign of fear of intimacy.
  4. Self-Criticism: Excessive self-criticism can lead to feelings of inadequacy and a belief that you don’t deserve a healthy, loving relationship.
  5. Difficulty Trusting: If trust issues persist despite your partner’s trustworthiness, it might indicate self-sabotage.

How to Stop Self-Sabotage in Relationships

Breaking free from self-sabotage requires self-awareness, introspection, and a commitment to personal growth. Here’s how you can start:

  1. Self-Reflection: Begin by examining your past relationships and identifying patterns of self-sabotage. What triggers these behaviours? Understanding the root causes is essential.
  2. Practice Self-Compassion: Learn to be kinder to yourself. Challenge negative self-talk and replace it with self-affirming thoughts.
  3. Communicate: Open and honest communication with your partner is key. Share your fears and concerns, and work together to create a supportive environment.
  4. Set Realistic Expectations: Replace unrealistic expectations with realistic ones. Understand that no relationship is perfect, and both partners will make mistakes.
  5. Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Instead of sabotaging, develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, fear, or insecurity. This might include meditation, exercise, or journaling.


Self-sabotage in relationships can be insidious, but it is not insurmountable. By recognising the signs, understanding the underlying causes, and taking proactive steps to change your behaviours, you can break free from the cycle of self-sabotage and cultivate healthier, more fulfilling relationships. Remember, you deserve love, happiness, and the chance to build meaningful connections.

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