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Mandy KloppersMandy Kloppers
videos concerning mental health issues

Free Yourself from Self Sabotage

Mandy Kloppers Updated: Aug 28th 2013

Here are 7 ways to free yourself from self-sabotage.

1. Recognise that you are sabotaging yourself and your happiness

hand holding stop signIn order to release a problem, we have first to be aware of it before we can deal with it effectively. Do you constantly put yourself down? Are you your own worst enemy? Deal with denial and accept that you let yourself down in some ways. Acceptance is the first step to dealing with self sabotage.

2. Identify the ways in which you self-sabotage

There is always some ‘pay off’ for the negative behaviours that we engage in. Figure out what these are. Often we engage in ‘safety behaviours’ in order to cope with stress. Examples are: gambling, overeating and withdrawing from others. We can also have thinking patterns that no longer work for us, beliefs that may have originated in childhood which are no longer valid.

3. Understand why you are sabotaging

We can change partners, jobs, where we live...but our underlying motivations, emotional patterns and behaviour may remain completely unchanged.

Get to the core dynamics of your mind that are the root cause of your pain, suffering and lack of empowerment. Learn to recognise when your inner critic is over active. Examine your attitudes; and get to the source of any fear, guilt or perception of lack. Often, if our self esteem is low, we tend to punish ourselves on an unconscious level as we don;t believe we deserve good things. The best way to deal with this is to monitor our thinking and regularly challenge our negative thinking about ourselves by asking where the evidence is for our thinking. Our thoughts are not fact and are often not in line with reality.

4. Choose to change – be willing to let go

If your happiness depends upon waiting for other people and situations to change, you could be waiting a long time, feeling unhappy, stuck, even victimised.

Change tends to be prompted by the type of self-criticism that motivates rather than traps you in feelings of guilt and helplessness.

When change is imposed we tend to resist it, but when we choose to take responsibility for changing, we step back into our own power.

5. Allow yourself to transform

Change is about doing, whereas with transformation there can be a great deal of undoing and reprogramming necessary.

Many of our unhelpful thought processes and compulsions to repeat self-destructive acts have been etched into our unconscious minds and need to be addressed at that level.

6. Live in the moment and stay alert

At times you will falter. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Figure out what led to it and get back on track.

7. Reinforce what works well for you

Mix with and continually seek out like-minded people who will support, not undermine your progress.

Examining your thinking and understanding what your safety behaviours are will help you tremendously in your quest to stop self sabotaging. When you engage in safety behaviours, you are seeking comfort. Find out why you are seeking comfort – it usually stems from underlying emotional issues or unhappiness that you have been suppressing. Confront this and you deal with the problem at the source. See a mental health professional or counsellor to help you if you find it difficult to do alone.


Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a Psychologist living in the United Kingdom. She runs a private practice (see for details) and offers regular advice and tips in her blog Thoughts on Life and Love. She specializes in working with step-families and relationships (especially relationships involving mental and emotional abuse) through online skype therapy sessions.

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