Identifying Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

Mental health professionals have identified common ways people self-sabotage. Three easy ways to identify include procrastination, perfectionism, and self-medication. Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in daily life and interferes with long-standing goals. The most common self-sabotage behaviors include postponement, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, and forms of self-harm, such as cutting.

Self-sabotage is when we actively or passively take steps to prevent us from achieving our goals. This behavior can affect almost every aspect of our lives, whether it's a relationship, a professional goal, or a personal goal such as weight loss. Although it's very common, it's an incredibly frustrating cycle of behavior that reduces our self-confidence and leaves us stagnant. There are many reasons why someone may choose self-sabotaging behavior, but many stem from a lack of faith in oneself.

By looking at the different types of self-saboteurs, we can more clearly define what our own self-sabotage looks like. As we review these profiles, chances are that you won't fall into a single category. Most of us have several different forms of self-sabotage depending on the situation. For example, you could be a Procrastinator at work, but an Overthinker at home.

So don't feel like you need to force yourself into a single category. Read on to learn how to recognize nine types of self-sabotage behaviors (grouped into three groups) and how to overcome each of them. Self-sabotage behaviors are often deeply rooted and difficult to recognize. And once you recognize them, noticing how you hold back can be difficult to accept. Self-sabotage can be seen as a pattern of thoughts and behaviors in which you participate, often without even knowing it, that creates obstacles to achieving your goals.

Self-sabotage can manifest itself in many different behaviors, unique to each person. But there are some common and recurring examples. Self-sabotaging behaviors can emanate from childhood models and patterns, including a parent who lacks confidence to succeed. The parent who constantly warns the child to be careful on the playground can cause the child to internalize the world as unsafe and avoid exploration. Self-criticism can also cause you to ignore your achievements and lack pride.

If you become obsessed with the past or constantly tell yourself that you have not achieved enough in life, or that your success is irrelevant compared to that of others, then you will be stuck feeling that you lack as a person. The reasons for sabotaging relationships are complex, but understanding the origins of sabotage is key to change.