How to Not Sabotage Your Relationship


Romantic relationships bring one of the greatest joys in life. Alas, they can also cause severe pain. When we open our soul to someone, we leave ourselves vulnerable, thereby allowing our insecurities to guide us. For many people, especially those who are coping with an old mental trauma or unstable family relationships, such vulnerability may lead to self-sabotaging behavior.

Fortunately, we have a choice. We can let the past take control over us and succumb to destructive thoughts, or we can accept the relationship as an opportunity to work on ourselves and overcome difficulties. Why do I sabotage my relationships? What can I do to save my union from destruction? If you want to know the answers to these questions, this article is just for you.

why do i sabotage my relationships

What does sabotage mean in a relationship?

Let’s start with a bit of general information. Self-sabotage is a rather complex subconscious behavioral pattern that manifests itself in a person’s resistance to action and prevents them from achieving their goals. You can easily tell if you’re prone to self-sabotage by your reactions when you’re engaged in some activity:

  • You can’t concentrate on one activity for a long time and quickly forget about your initial goal;
  • You don’t believe in your success and quit the activity, sometimes even without giving it a try;
  • You consider yourself unworthy;
  • You have a feeling that “you’re pressing the gas and the brake pedals at the same time;”
  • You want and don’t want to do what you do at the same time.

There’s another reason why this behavior is so harmful: you don’t even need to know how to sabotage a relationship to screw it up. Once you start working on improving your union, you may stall your progress subconsciously. That is, whatever you do, you don’t feel any changes.

Speaking of sabotage in relationships, its classical forms are the lack of communication or negative reaction every time one of the partners takes the initiative. Try to assess the quality of your communication with others – how much time you spend sabotaging ideas, and how many of your partner’s suggestions you actually support. You’ll probably notice a certain pattern. Your relationships with people you support are constantly evolving, while the ones with those you ignore are degrading.

Signs of relationship sabotage

We often sabotage our relationships without even noticing it. And then we begin wondering how it happened. Make sure that there are no following signs in your relationship.

You always avoid pain

If you’re afraid to discuss the relationship with your loved one and take it to a new level, you’re dealing with one of the main warning signs of self-sabotage in relationships. Such avoidance can tell a lot about you: for instance, you may be prone to creating problems from nothing or don’t want to admit to yourself that your partner isn’t the right person for you.

self sabotage in relationshipsYou deprive yourself of happiness

Many people do their best not to fall in love to save themselves from a painful breakup. Some are so attached to the psychological portrait of an ideal partner they created that they spoil their future relationships because this portrait is too perfect to be real. This type of behavior develops during the first six months of a relationship, when a person strives to control every aspect of it, considering any weakness a mistake.

You listen to your inner critic

How not to sabotage your dating life? Don’t focus on the negative sides of it. Perhaps, we all have an inner voice which reminds us that even if we hope for the best, it's time to prepare for the worst. We convince ourselves that we’re not good enough, and the romantic relationship we build won’t bring anything good. A lot of potentially happy unions ruin because of this. People don’t want to give themselves a chance to be happy because they don’t feel that they deserve it.

You’re afraid of being wrong

For some people, their own rightness is more important than a healthy relationship. Conflicts can be a great way to overcome difficulties, and if you know how to quarrel, your relationship will only get stronger. But the reluctance to admit one’s mistakes and the desire to always prove to the partner that they’re wrong become the main obstacles on the path to creating a healthy union.

You care about someone else's opinion too much

For some people, it’s more important than their own and the partners’ opinion. This puts a relationship in danger. If you prefer to answer some casual text message rather than to listen to your loved one, always cancel joint plans because of your buddies, and take care of someone's needs more often than of your partner’s ones, this is a weighty reason to think about how things look from your partner’s perspective. Once you do that, you’ll see that you sabotage your relationship.

You forget that you and your partner are different

It’s very dangerous to expect your partner to think exactly the same as you. The rejection of your loved ones’ opinions will never lead to a happy life, as it can cause stress and destroy a relationship. Understanding and accepting that your partner is an independent person with their own thoughts and goals will help you become closer and understand each other better.

Why do people self-sabotage?

Why do I sabotage relationships? That’s a tough question. If you keep asking it, you might find the answers below. Usually, we sabotage the opportunity to become happy for minor reasons, but with serious consequences. Most of us consider happiness to be the highest reward in life. We fiercely fight for it, and, no matter how short it may be, we rejoice in it. However, we often succeed in destroying this difficult-to-find state of harmony.

Such inexplicable, destructive behavior is caused either by a tough childhood or teenage views on life. Perhaps, because of the overly critical attitude of one of the parents to us, we never had enough love, or a harsh teacher made us feel insignificant. Or maybe, being together with a single-minded partner, we feel insecure.

As adults, having barely reached a certain level of happiness, we begin self-sabotaging relationships, trying to bring back those feelings and sensations we experienced as kids, no matter how uncomfortable and unhappy we felt at that time.

Those, who can’t cope with their life circumstances, develop a victim’s mentality. When you feel powerless, you understand that you can’t control your life, or the relationship gets out of your control, and you begin to feel like a victim. Victims feel that something bad always happens to them, and instead of acknowledging their responsibility for it, they blame the circumstances, events, or other people for their misfortunes.

This state often arises from deep insecurities and a strong need for recognition that men sabotaging relationships are trying to fulfill. Victims behave in accordance with what they think others expect from them. They feel discontent because they’re dependent and obedient, but deep inside, they’re outraged by what’s happening.

how to stop self-sabotage in relationships​Many of us disrupt our own peace of mind, constantly thinking about past events, returning to bad memories time and time again. Conflicts, misunderstandings, lack of information, and contradictions leave gaps in our knowledge and, as a result, lead to internal discomfort.

Attempts to ease these anxious feelings trigger a cycle of useless reflections. Unfortunately, this process leads to a great deal of stress and anxiety, which, in turn, makes the decision-making process even more difficult and leads to a self-sabotage behavior in relationships.

Playing out past failures and mistakes in our heads, we come to negative and initially wrong conclusions, which can undermine our self-esteem and generate self-doubt. This makes us believe that the thoughts like ‘I'm unattractive’ and ‘I'm a bad boyfriend’ are true facts; this makes us unhappy and distorts our future decisions.

How to not self-sabotage your relationship

Below are some of the ways to avoid the trap of sabotage and bring you closer to the loving relationship that you deserve.

Understand your style of attachment to your partner

When we go through difficulties, we need to understand our style of attachment to our partners. Entering into a relationship, we all form a strong bond with our loved ones in our own way. This style affects the development of relationships. People, who have experienced mental trauma or breakup in the past, tend to develop attachments in which they have problems with trust in relationships. The closer you get to the partner, the more likely that your attachment styles won’t match, revealing your worst qualities, such as jealousy and anger, often leading to emotional sabotage in relationships.

The way our parents raised us has a strong influence on how we develop, especially on how we see ourselves and people around us. The attention of parents to us in childhood might’ve been attentive at one time but much less warm at another time. Such uncertainty can affect your future relationship. For example, it can make you constantly demand evidence that from the partner loves you, which can be annoying. The good news is that you’re not doomed to spend your whole life with this problem: many people can change their attachment style and achieve success in relationships.

Identify what triggers self-sabotaging behavior

To learn how to stop self-sabotage in relationships, you need to keep track of the experiences in your relationships that lead to self-sabotage. Ask yourself what was happening at that moment, and what you felt and were afraid of. Answering these questions can help you find flaws in your behavior and begin working on your vulnerability. Understanding what motivates this behavior, you can prepare for the conflicts that will inevitably arise.

Watch your behavior

Dangerous moments in the relationship are inevitable because we all have problems that we need to work on. And you need to know what problems you have. Why do guys sabotage relationships? Well, mostly, they just don’t know what they do wrong. So, start by analyzing your behavior. If you often blame your partner for any mistake and initiate quarrels, then something is wrong. Both partners have a role in the conflict, so it's important to know what yours is.

If the conflict is inevitable – go for it

Sometimes you just don’t have a choice. If you’re about to have a fight, don’t be afraid. At the early stages, conflicts can even be useful. They allow you to identify hidden grievances and understand the issues that otherwise might not have surfaced, but most importantly, conflicts uncover problems you have and force you to discuss them. Accumulated problems can lead to more serious consequences than a small quarrel.

But don’t fight over small things. Despite all the arguments mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are moments, when it’s better to let some things slide. You don’t need to tell your partner that you’re not comfortable with them and argue for a long time about trifles. Be more tolerant and friendly.

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