Updated: Aug 30
Relationships are complex, beautiful, and sometimes, baffling facets of our lives. They have the potential to bring us immense joy, support, and love. However, they can also be sources of frustration, pain, and confusion. What's interesting is that sometimes, we ourselves become the architects of our relationship misfortunes. We sabotage our own chances at happiness and fulfillment. In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons why we self-sabotage in our relationships and how to break free from these patterns.
1. Seeking Validation in Unhealthy Relationships
One common way people self-sabotage in relationships is by remaining in unhealthy ones to gain a sense of validation from their partner. This often happens when someone lacks self-esteem or self-worth and subconsciously believes that their partner's approval is the way to feel good about themselves - even if they know this logically does not make sense, they have become well practiced in doing so to gain validation.
It's important to remember that validation from others should complement your own self-worth, not replace it. Staying in an unhealthy relationship to seek validation is a short-term fix that ultimately damages your long-term emotional well-being.
Solution: Work on building your self-esteem and self-worth independently of your relationship. Seeking and grounding validation from within, and remember that a healthy relationship should enhance your sense of self, not define it.
2. Bending or Ignoring Boundaries
Another self-sabotaging behaviour in relationships is acting in a way that bends or ignores your boundaries. Boundaries are essential for maintaining a healthy relationship. They provide a sense of safety and emotional space for both partners. When you constantly disregard boundaries, you risk causing emotional harm to yourself and your partner.
This self-sabotage behaviour often stems from a fear of confrontation, a desire to please others at any cost, or a belief that bending your own boundaries will make you more lovable.
Solution: Recognize the importance of boundaries in a relationship. Communicate openly with your partner about your needs and limits. Understand that healthy boundaries are a sign of self-respect and respect for your partner.
3. Seeking Love and Approval Externally
Many people self-sabotage by seeking love and approval externally when it should be internally driven. This means relying on your partner or external sources for your emotional well-being rather than cultivating self-love and self-approval. This self-sabotaging behaviour can lead to a rollercoaster of emotions because external love and approval can fluctuate.
It's important to understand that your partner cannot be solely responsible for your happiness. Relationships thrive when both individuals bring their own happiness and fulfillment to the table.
Solution: Invest time in self-care, self-compassion, and personal growth. Cultivate a strong sense of self-love and approval, so you can bring a happier, more stable self to your relationship.
4. Ask yourself, "what will it be like in 5 years... 10 years... 20 years?"
Self-sabotage can also occur when you prioritize temporary love and approval over long-term fulfillment. This can manifest as staying in a toxic relationship because it provides momentary comfort or excitement, even though it's detrimental in the long run.
It's essential to recognize that sacrificing your long-term happiness for short-term gratification is not a sustainable or healthy approach to relationships.
Solution: Focus on your long-term happiness and well-being. Consider what you truly want in a relationship and work towards those goals, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.
Self-sabotaging behaviour in relationships can be a complex and deeply ingrained pattern of behaviour. However, with self-awareness and a commitment to personal growth, it is possible to break free from these destructive habits. Remember that a healthy, fulfilling relationship starts with a healthy, fulfilled you. Seek validation from within, set and respect boundaries, cultivate self-love, and prioritize long-term happiness over temporary satisfaction. By doing so, you'll pave the way for more fulfilling and sustainable relationships in your life. If you found this useful, please do me 2 favours. Please have a look at my free e-book here which can help you improve your relationship and heal trauma bonding. Second, please share with other people who you feel would benefit from this - because the more people supported, the better our community can survive and heal.
As always, if you ever want to connect and gain support - I'm here.
All my love, Dr Sarah