Whenever someone we’ve known for a long time lies to our face, it’s usually totally obvious for us to spot. We watch them avoid eye contact, pace, stumble over their words or make an abrupt exit. All of our senses KNOW they’ve lied and all the tiny details about their wonky behavior tell us something is definitely off.
The signs are all there and to us, it’s a no brainer.
When it comes to recognizing self-deception, however, it can feel as if we’re wandering in a pitch black cave yelling, “Hello! Is anyone there?” only to hear the echo of our own voice. Self-deception doesn’t register as easily.
Mainly, self-sabotaging behavior is hard to identify because it’s extremely sneaky. Intrinsically, we know how to lie to ourselves really well because we know what we’ll believe and what we won’t. So, all we have to do is tell ourselves the perfect little lie (I don’t need to get that done today. It’s fine how it is. I can deal with it. It’s not that bad, etc.) and BOOM we believe it. Thus, going further and further in a direction we don’t want to go. This is the sneaky monster that is commonly referred to as self-sabotage and it’s time to expose the lil’ devil.
If you’re struggling to tame your self-sabotage monster or are not sure what it even looks like, here are a few things to watch out for:
Be very alert about the things you avoid. Start by recognizing what stirs up uneasy and fearful feelings for you. Once you begin to notice what’s causing those unpleasant feelings, look at the source. Is this source a person or a situation that blocks you from where you want to be? By continuing to avoid it, are you only hurting yourself and therefore keeping self-sabotaging behavior in place?
2. Battle of Indecision
Do you find yourself in almost paralyzing moments of indecision? Moments where what you want to do and what you are actually doing clash like oil and water? This can feel like your thoughts are creating a war zone of mental refutes, each defending itself, but only succeeding in totally exhausting you.
This is what your self-sabotage monster look like with it’s boxing gloves on. Don’t try to fight it because it’s unreasonable and only has shady tricks up it’s sleeve.
There are many ways to approach it, but one way is to become the “parent” of it. Talk sternly, decisively and non-negotiable. For example, you could say, “I know you don’t want to go to the gym today and you think you deserve to stay on the couch, but you don’t and you’re not going to. Go get your water and get your shoes on because we’re leaving in the next 5 minutes whether you like it or not.”
“It’s important to take unwavering, decisive action to stop self-sabotaging behavior.“
3. Back Door Attack
The self-sabotaging monster can become even sneakier if it feels like you’re on to it. For example, let’s say you’ve decided to rule out all junk food from your life and have been doing pretty great. So when you’re out to eat with friends, you decide against ordering nachos & chili cheese fries and just order a glass of wine. Even your friends take notice and compliment you on how awesome you’re doing. Seems great, right?
Except, your self-sabotage monster knows you better than anyone else and it knows that whenever you drink wine, you also always devour a a whole bag of Doritos. So, now how likely is it that you’ll stick to your no junk food streak?