There is something that is known as self sabotage and what this actually means may not be clear to many people. So let’s look at what the word sabotage means first.
On the dictionary.com website sabotage is described as: any underhand interference with production, work, etc., in a plant, factory, etc., as by enemy agents during wartime or by employees during a trade dispute. And as - any undermining of a cause.
What is clear to see is that sabotage means to undermine; so therefore self sabotage means to undermine oneself. This might sound nonsensical; why would one undermine their own life or their own success?
In biology there is something called an autoimmune disease or reaction. And here the immune system, through having incorrect information, attacks its own cells. So then, not only can this go on at a mental or behavioural level for example, it can also happen at a biological level.
Is there a connection here? Is the mind and body connected or have they just happened to end up playing the same game?
This shows that Self sabotage is not limited to a single expression of one’s life; it can also be seen as operating in many different areas. What is also clear to see is that there is opposing factors involved and that as a result of these differing factors one is in conflict. And not only is there conflict with the outside world, there is conflict in the inner world.
On one side one might have the desire to attract the perfect mate and then as soon as this person comes along, something happens and out of the nowhere the relationship ends. Or maybe it doesn’t even go as far as that. Perhaps one says they want to achieve something, but don’t even bother to ‘show up’ or participate in the area of their pursuit.
There may be a certain point or peak that one is aiming for and just as this point is going to be achieved something happens and this moment is taken away from their grasp. And what makes this so frustrating is that this is often a constant occurrence.
How Could This Happen?
So although there is self sabotage working it might seem as though this is all going on externally and that one is at the whim of external factors. Consciously why would one ask for something and then end up behaving in ways that would sabotage the very thing they have asked for?
And this is where the importance of the ego mind comes in. Consciously there are needs and wants that one has. However these might not match up with or correspond what one feels safe with at a deeper level.
This deeper level could be classed as the unconscious or what one is simply unaware off.
And unless these two areas are in sync and with what one is going for, there is likely to be conflict and this creates the potential for self sabotage. This is where awareness comes into it. If one is not aware of the two aspects and just experiences the sabotage in their life; it is only natural to feel unlucky and that life is not on ones side.
The Hidden Parts
The parts that are in opposition to what one wants and needs on the surface are usually unknown to the person that is experiencing self sabotage; with the ego mind repressing these memories due to the pain that they initially created.
And although these past memories could be causing one to act in ways that diminish their chances of achieving what it is they want, to the ego mind they are familiar and therefore safe. The ego mind does not respond to what is functional or dysfunctional, it simple responds to what is familiar.
So if one is sabotaging an area of their life or keeps returning to an experience that one wants to evolve out of, it is probably because there is an association of being safe with that experience. This is also known as a secondary gain. What this means is that on the surface there appears to be no benefits whatsoever, but if one were to look a little deeper they would see there are benefits.
In order to do this one needs to observe the mind. Because the ego mind will always come up with an excuse and it can always defend its own position.
At the root this will be to do with feeling safe and from there it is likely to include feeling accepted and approved. And if one were too evolve and let go, it might cause one to feel that they would be rejected. And this rejection is often experienced as being equivalent to death.
These associations might have very little to do with ones current life and might be seen as inaccurate. And in ones present situation this is probably true; although the ego mind will project the past onto the present unless it has been processed. This means the past will be perceived and created through old eyes.
If one is seeing the present through the eyes of the past it shows that regression is occurring. Here one is likely to feel and behave as they did in a previous situation or how they did as a child. And these experiences now exist as the inner child.
Although one has grown physically, the inner child may be holding onto these old associations; with these old associations also coming together to form the ego mind.
Whether one calls it the inner child or prefers to just see it purely as the ego mind and conditioning does not matter; what is important is awareness. By becoming aware of these hidden and repressed parts one can begin to see why the conflict exists.
In the past there may have been good reasons to hold onto these experiences that are now causing present pain and stagnation; but now these associations and memories are no longer necessary and have become disempowering.
And unless one is aware of these patterns there will be the tendency to embody the experience again and regress to what is safe.
This is not about blaming or scolding oneself. In each moment of our lives we are doing what we are doing, because of the awareness that we have in that moment.
And our awareness can always increase and with that our life can change into what empowers us and honours our true expression.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.