The Horrors of Self-sabotaging Behavior—and How to Fight It


Life can indeed be stressful. That is a well-known and inevitable fact that everyone faces in their lifetime. Now that our society has become more and more accepting of mental health issues and removing the stigma, it is crucial to take this chance to talk more openly about your struggles. Sure, everyone has different coping mechanisms. However, getting help is also the best thing to do. May it be looking for a nearby therapist or just talking it out with a friend, it is important that you should never feel alone.

At present, approximately one in every five American citizens live with a mental illness. While these illnesses have already existed for a long time, people are now only becoming more aware that they are real. Many mental illnesses remain undiagnosed because of neglect or hesitancy to seek proper help. Most people also just brush it off and continue living their lives as if nothing’s wrong at all. The most common conditions that are not properly diagnosed are:

  1. Bipolar disorder. This one also goes by the name manic depression. Bipolar disorder is characterized by quick changes of mood. People who have bipolar disorder experience an alternate shift between a state of depression and mania.
  2. Post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD can sometimes be overlooked and mistaken as a natural feeling of distress, but it is so much more than that. This condition develops after a devastating event, such as a death of a loved one. It can also be caused by assault or harassment.
  3. Borderline personality disorder. People who have this condition have difficulty regulating their emotions and behaviors properly. Borderline personality disorder also causes a good number of self-image issues. It also causes one to have difficulty in maintaining significant relationships with others.

The underlying symptom: self-sabotaging

Most mental health illnesses, especially the aforementioned three, also exhibit one particular symptom: self-sabotaging. Most people might do this knowingly, but others are quite unaware that what they are doing is self-sabotaging behavior. Let’s break it down for you:

Conscious self-sabotaging behavior is when you purposely make decisions you know will not be good for you. You are also underestimating yourself, from your skills to your goals in life. Neglecting your duties and being content with being lazy also falls under this category.

Unconscious self-sabotaging behavior, on the other hand, is—well, done unconsciously. This also exhibits the behavior of underestimating yourself. For instance, when you go to bed to rest, you stay up all night scrolling through your phone instead of sleeping. You forget and neglect the fact that your body needs rest because you are too occupied finding entertainment on your screen.

Take a stand against this toxic behavior

What people don’t realize is that their self-destructing behaviors are getting them nowhere. You must identify these behaviors as early as possible to help yourself get back up and face the challenges of the real world. Take note of the following tips:

  • Invest in self-care routines. When you look good, you will also feel good. Do not hesitate to invest in self-care routines that will help you get yourself right back on your feet. Make yourself glow by having a skincare routine that will make your face look great. Something as small as removing your blemishes and spots will help boost your confidence and self-esteem. Don’t hesitate to do things that will make you appreciate yourself more. Buy yourself scented candles, give yourself a nice warm bath, or even just take time to give yourself small tokens of appreciation for doing your best!
  • Turn your “what-ifs” into “next-times.” Self-destructing behaviors can also be created when there is that little voice in your head saying that you will never be enough. That stimulates self-doubt. You must learn how to take in these self-criticisms and view them constructively. The goal here is to build yourself up, not bring yourself down. Learn to turn your worries and what-if moments into “Next time, I’ll do better”. Never dwell on negative thoughts and take the time to think positive things about yourself.
  • Be disciplined. Easier said than done, but it is what it is! Disciplining yourself will help you drop most self-sabotaging behaviors, especially procrastination. Sure, rest is still productive, but excessive chilling sessions that provide no benefits to you at all is a form of self-sabotage. Never wait until your problem gets worse or too late before you face it. You may also try decluttering your space and decorating it in such a way that it will boost your productivity. Never underestimate the power of organizing things, even if it does take time to do so.

Be more forgiving of yourself

Do not beat yourself up over the smallest of things. Just remember to make efforts for the betterment of yourself. Self-sabotage is far from being just a harmless behavior. It also affects how you function, your relationships, and your life as a whole. It’s healthy for you to identify these behaviors and act upon them as early as you can. To say to love yourself may be a cliche, but that is true.

Getting professional help is always ideal. Do not hesitate to reach out and seek help for your traumas and toxic behaviors. The only way you can find peace in life is when you find peace within yourself. So take time to invest in practices that you know will create a better version of you!