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Self Sabotaging Behaviours

Or when we mess things up for ourselves.


It is indescribably painful and frustrating when those we love engage in self sabotaging behaviours. These might include misuse of drugs and alcohol - self medicating, failure to keep ourselves safe, engaging in high risk, self harmful behaviours.


Self sabotage is when we, usually subconsciously, mess things up for ourselves.


Why would we do that?!


How we value ourselves, what we believe we deserve, how we see ourselves; all are shaped during our very early formative years. Yes, each of us is capable of change but it certainly requires more effort the more established are our negative views of ourselves, our expectations and our self worth.


What messages did we receive in early childhood? Did we feel safe? Were we secure in the unconditional love of our parents?


If we, subconsciously or otherwise, do not believe ourselves to be of value, of significance and deserving of good things we will struggle to accept good things into our lives. We will reject those who value us. We will reject positive opportunities. They do not fit our internal model. This is not who we are.


When our negative view of ourselves and our place in the world is challenged we will feel unsafe. If we are extremely fortunate we will struggle to understand a desire to embrace the negative. However, if negativity has been our earliest blue print, negativity feels safe and familiar and is what we deserve. It is all we are worth.


So, when we next encounter a young person at risk of exclusion from school or at risk of placement disruption. Are they simply making 'poor choices'? In order to make choices we have to know what the choices are.


Never try to put a bow on it. Tell your young person, 'I believe in you.' 'You're worth more than this.' You deserve better than this.''It's not your fault'. They won't believe you. It's not personal. Still tell them. Keep telling them.

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