Are You Self-Sabotaging Your Relationships?

Do you fear commitment? Have you suffered from a bad relationship and then projected that on to new dates? Are you unable to form strong bonds with a good man? Am I starting to sound like a weird PSA commercial?

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner3 min read
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If so, then you just might be self-sabotaging meaningful relationships (and I just might be on to something). 

I was the queen of self-sabotage. My fear of screwing up a relationship or getting screwed over caused me to walk away from a lot of good guys in the past. This was mainly because I was struggling to cope with all of my own issues, and you can’t have a healthy relationship until you develop healthy coping mechanisms, healthy habits, and healthy thoughts. 

What Is Self-Sabotage?

There are plenty of ways in which we work to sabotage our relationships, and just as many different reasons why we do it, but for the most part, self-sabotage is when you purposefully say or do something that will destroy your bond with the other person. A lot of times we subconsciously work to destroy our relationship due to unresolved trauma and personal issues. 

My parents had such a destructive marriage that I struggled with this on so many levels. They barely knew each other when they got married and were never good for each other. I didn’t understand that their struggles were created by that fact, so I spent a great deal of time searching for any reason to end nearly every relationship I had in high school. 

My first boyfriend was a good guy with a nice family. His parents were divorced, but it wasn’t as dramatic as my parents’ make-up/breakup behavior. I’ll never forget discussing my father’s infidelity with him. He was so shocked that my dad was a cheater that I felt like an alien. I had no interest in further opening up about his drinking binges or the abuse that sometimes followed them. It was like he was too sheltered and I couldn’t let him see how screwed up my life was. So the first chance I got, I was out. This became a repeating pattern for years. 

Checking In on Yourself

It may seem nearly impossible to avoid if self-sabotaging your relationship is subconscious. The first step to recognizing your own bad behavior is making yourself conscious of your actions and words. Really examine what you’re doing. Once you notice that something’s wrong, you can better decipher the causes. 

Once you notice that something’s wrong, you can better decipher the causes. 

When you’re a teenager just learning how to date, this may not seem like such a big deal, but this is a crucial period in life where we’re just starting to define ourselves as mature individuals. The longer we repeat a pattern, the harder it is to break it. Taking the time to really identify your own self-sabotage and then seek the root cause(s) allows us to then find healthy coping mechanisms to heal the emotional wounds that are obviously still affecting us. 

It took me a long time to fully realize my issues and cope with them. It came after I divorced my ex-husband. (Talk about a long journey.) I thought surviving an abusive relationship did it, but in reality, I just ended up marrying a man who was the opposite of guys like my dad and my abuser. My ex-husband didn’t really seem to care about anything or have any goals or ambitions. He was a “safe” guy. But in the end, even an apathetic partner isn’t a healthy choice because neglect can cause just as many problems as abuse. 

Some Common Forms of Self-Sabotage Are:

  • Picking fights over small things

  • Placing blame for no reason

  • Deflecting personal responsibility

  • Avoiding intimacy

  • Hiding important information about your life 

  • Unwarranted jealousy

  • Pretending not to care

  • Avoiding calls/texts/messages

  • Cutting dates short

  • Dating weak men

  • Dating destructive men

  • No-strings-attached sex

  • Vilifying traditional relationships

  • Mocking happiness

Ending Self-Sabotage

In order to stop sabotaging relationships with good men, I had to grow up and stop hiding from my femininity, my past, and my fears. That takes a lot nowadays – especially since victimhood culture awards sob stories and vilifies success – but it’s worth it. Sometimes you care about someone so much that you’re forced to either fix yourself or lose them.

To stop sabotaging relationships, I had to stop hiding from my femininity, my past, and my fears. 

When it’s right you know it. If you meet a guy who’s strong and sweet, someone who you know is worthy of you, then you have to become worthy of him too if the relationship is going to last. That means you have to find the maturity to call yourself out and rise above your destructive behavior. Utilizing healthy coping mechanisms to deal with your issues and your relationship concerns is essential. It won’t be an overnight decision, or just one single action, it’s a process of exploration that will likely need to be updated over time. 

Sometimes I need to get out of my own head and go hiking, fishing, swimming, or ice skating to remind myself that I can be happy on my own. Once you can make yourself happy, you aren’t as reliant on others for emotional support, and then you can grow into a relationship with love and grace. 

Healthy Coping Mechanisms To Prevent Self-Sabotage:

  • Meditation

  • Prayer

  • Counseling

  • Physical Activity

  • Arts

  • Music

  • Crafts

  • Communication

  • Honesty

  • Independence

  • Self-Worth

Closing Thoughts

How we approach our relationship sets its tone. If we want to hang on to a good man, we can’t sabotage our bonds with him. We have to work through our issues, find practical ways of coping with them to heal, and have healthier thoughts to carry out healthier actions. 

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