If you have experienced any sort of trauma or just made it into your latetwenties, I have a feeling we have been in a long term relationship with thesame toxic obsession: Self-sabotage.
You know him. He comes around right when things start getting good. As soon as you think you’re over him - he pops up like you never left him. He’s like the abusive boyfriend you just can’t get rid of, the one who only disappears until you have moved on and are finally finding joy. Yeah that one. I can’t get rid of him either.
You are not alone.
Now, I am no therapist or counselor. Hell! I haven't even graduated high school but my lack of book knowledge has not hindered my master’s degree in self-development. I have spent countless hours digging deep into my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual self to unwind, understand, re-wire and develop attributes and qualities I’ve adopted since I came out of the womb. If there is one that is prevalent, it is self sabotage.
"He’s like the abusive boyfriend you just can’t get rid of"
I was not aware I carried this quality until about a year ago, even though everyone was always pointing it out. I couldn't understand or grasp it and honestly I couldn't admit I would intentionally mess up everything good coming my way. Who does that? Apparently, I do and so do a lot of people I know and love.
Where does this stem from?
What person in their right mind, prays and asks for things to get better in life yet as soon as they do, seeks every way possible to destroy it or lose it? Answer: A person who has dealt with a lot of disappointment, instability, low self-esteem, heartbreak, loss, and pain. Someone who has poured their all into this life and felt like they have never received anything in return. The one who has invested their whole mind, body, and soul into another person and yet ended up abandoned and destroyed. So why have hope?
The one who has dealt with people trying to break them down, torment them, hurt them and use them for their own selfish desires for the majority of their life. The one who has gotten so used to losing everything they would rather take it away them-self then have someone else steal it from them. The one who has never felt the warmth of stability under their feet and is always in a state of survival, anxiously anticipating the next opportunity to jump ship and start completely over again.
That is who.
...and you know what? Those are my favorite kind of people. Not only am I one of them, but I’ve made it a point to surround myself with these self-sabotaging individuals because you know what else they are? Strong.Resilient. They are powerful and innovative. They are survivalist. They are open-minded and refuse to conform to the norm. They are opinionated and out to win. They are loving and accepting. They are the leaders of this world and they… are the ones who will create everlasting change because they have experienced first-hand what needs to be changed. I love these people.
But now what?
Great. Now we know we purposely mess good things up. We know why but how do we stop it? Good news! You’re already halfway there! Recognizing the fact you self-sabotage is half of the battle. Once I realized this was a pattern within me, I was able to work it out in my head with my support system. Let me give you a very transparent example.
"Not only am I one of them, but I’ve made it a point to surround myself with these self-sabotaging individuals"
Three years ago when I was still out in the streets hoin’ it up, I used to pray for many things. I used to pray to get out of the streets, pray to be out of the hotel room, pray to not have to turn tricks, pray to be a mother full-time. I used to pray for a purpose, pray for a home of my own, pray for a car and a valid license with no warrants or records. I also prayed for healthy relationships.
Guess what? As of last week, I have all of those things . ...and what was my mind set? To fuck it all up! My plan was to isolate myself. Go back to my toxic relationship with my son’s dad. Get high. Ignore the world and quit my job. How irrational is that? But, in my lovely romance with ‘self-sabotage’ it seemed perfectly normal. Thank God I am in a space where I can finally hold myself accountable and be real with myself when I’m messing up. Also, I’m more thankful I have healthy relationships with amazing people who I can turn to, who God will send into my life even when I’m not seeking to rationalize my thoughts through conversation.
It just so happened a friend of mine (Anny) reached out to talk. We ended up benefiting from the conversation we had which in itself was amazing because before I never valued friendships or relationships. Now, I thrive and depend on them for my recovery and journey. Anny said something which made complete sense when I confided in her. I told her I was scared of having all the things I used to pray for. She responded: "You have been programmed to believe you can’t do this which is why it doesn't make sense. You want to sabotage this because a life within your subconscious is rejecting it. Your conscious mind says this is right but then you start beating yourself up because you just can’t figure out the conflicting contradiction.”
Regardless of what we’ve gone through, self-sabotage has to stem from somewhere. It could be one or another of the areas mentioned above but the beauty in all of it is it’s an attribute we have complete control over. Again, I am no trained therapist or life coach. I just live this shit. But, I want to leave you with a list of things I do now when I recognize I’m dancing with this toxic relationship which is so hard to get out of.
"She responded: You have been programmed to believe you can’t do this.."
1. Self-check - Recognize you are regressing into old patterns. Be honest with yourself and check any destructive behaviors or patterns you’re fantasizing about.
2. Hold yourself accountable - If you mess up, don't use it as an excuse to keep messing up! One bad decision doesn't have to lead to full self-destruction. Even if you don't bring it up with someone else, hold yourself responsible and accountable. Address the behavior and shift it.
3. Check-in & don't isolate - Check-in with at least one person in your support system. Let them know how you’re truly feeling and the thoughts you’re having. Speak about what you want to truly do and lean on them for support.Allow them to be a non-judgmental ear and support for you. If you don't have this, please email or call me! I’ll be that person! Sometimes, saying things out loud or typing your thoughts up in a text conversation helps us truly rationalize them rather than letting them mingle and fester in our mind until they blow up.
4. Catch it. Correct it. Change it - Just like that! If you see it, you can correct it.If you can correct it, you can change it. Do you see the power in that last step? They all have you. You hold the power to shift your life trajectory which means you hold the power to create your destiny!
With all that said, I want to remind you: You are never alone. This battle and journey maybe a solo trip at times but could also be a group endeavor. You’ll always have someone, even though they may not fully understand, willing to listen and be there for you. Utilize this new power you just learned of and decide today self-sabotage will no longer come and spend the night. No! You may not keep him as an acquaintance or else he’ll still pop-up like that one ex whose trying to see if they still have a chance with you.
Today is the day you slam the door on his face and say: We. Are. Over.
Be love and be light. You are loved and valued. <3