What is self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage essentially refers to hindering our own success. This process can be active or inactive; conscious or unconscious. Ultimately, self-sabotage can be a way to self-destruct and can be fuelled by a myriad of negative beliefs about yourself. 

Stay Healthy

This section is two-fold. The first part is maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Proper nutrition helps with emotion regulation as does exercising. Secondly, it is important to adopt healthy habits when it comes to your mental health. The more you practice good habits when you are well, the more ingrained they would be when you need them the most (and when it’s the most difficult to use them). 

Acknowledge your tendency to self-sabotage

The first step is acknowledgement of the cycle and awareness of what triggers it. This will allow you to start working on better habits.

Reclaim your control

Keep in mind that with everything we do, we are the ones steering the wheel. As disempowering as self-sabotage may feel, and as helpless as we might think we are, we hold control over whether to engage with the repeating patterns. The unfamiliarity of different choices might make it more of a daunting process to step away from self-sabotaging cycles which tend to be familiar even if not beneficial. We might not always feel ready to take the first step; however, preparing with adequate awareness and self-reflection always facilitates the process.


This goes a long way with tendencies of self-destruction. It is also one of the hardest things to do as a human being. There seems to be a general tendency for individuals to be unable to accept that they are human too and that they are subject to mistakes and other human tendencies. The practice of self-compassion is important in the priming of oneself to work on self-sabotage. Secondly, it is a process that is beneficial when we do engage in old patterns or ‘slip-up’.

Attend therapy

With self-sabotage, there might be a lot that is unconscious. Therapy can be a good tool to start becoming aware of the patterns and to start stepping away from them. If you find yourself sabotaging consciously, further support in breaking out of the cycle can be helpful. Therapy can also help you into growing as a person to improve your habits.

Whatever you may choose to do and whichever way you may choose to support yourself, it is important to see what works for you. It is important to support yourself especially in instances where there is the tendency for negative self-talk.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Jessica Saliba Thorne is a Gestalt psychotherapist. She has experience within the mental health field and sees adults with mental health difficulties, relationship issues and trauma at Willingness.