Are you guilty of……….Self-Sabotage?

Having recently read an article on this subject, I have discovered that my husband and I are very much guilty of self-sabotage. In fact, my husband has raised this in the past knowing that he often deliberately ruins things that are going well in his life because he expects them to fall apart anyway. We are creatures of habit and naturally learn ways of life that aren’t necessarily good for us. We do them anyway because we feel that they protect us and we have grown accustomed to them.

Living with my father and receiving daily insults about my character, programmed me into thinking I was incapable of being loved. When someone showed signs of caring deeper for me, I’d usually push them away. I’d think it was a trick – a trap. A way for them to use me for their benefit. I distanced myself from them until I realised what I was doing and quickly tried to mend it yet by then it was too late. My self-sabotage would earn me a broken relationship with no respect from them or for myself. It would throw me into a vicious cycle where I’d berate myself for my actions only to act them out again as a form of self-preservation. No one else can hurt me if I hurt myself?

Both my husband and I have anxiety issues. I constantly doubt myself. I do not have an ounce of self-belief. It has not always been like this but ongoing stresses have crept in and now I am battling with my anxiety. Writing helps and as long as I have an outlet, I feel okay. I am better with self-sabotage now although some would question whether staying in my marriage in a relationship that’s had so many let downs is not another form of it. I like to think it isn’t.

I am trying to be positive. In every aspect of my life and for someone who is prone to self-sabotage, this is quite a feat. However our daily stresses remain, we feel anxious most of the time, we doubt ourselves, we argue. We are trying but not quite on the road to success.

I guess the first step in overcoming it is recognising it and we have done that. We know what triggers the self-sabotage so can anticipate it before it happens thus sometimes even stopping it. A bit of anxiety is good. We as humans find ways of protecting ourselves and being cautious about things is a part of that. It’s when it takes over your life and stops you taking a chance – you have to break it.

Get perspective.

Get focussed.

Know that good things in your life are happening and they are allowed to happen. They can continue to happen.

Just don’t sabotage it!

A Day from Hell.

Yesterday was officially the worst day of my pregnancy. I woke up throughout the night with a persistent cough, I struggled to breathe during the morning. Played it out nervously and followed Asthma UK’s instructions. By late afternoon, still tight-chested and unable to fully shake the dryness on my chest, Dave called an ambulance. Last time, they were angels. That sadly cannot be said for yesterday. I was fobbed off and mocked for calling in as I was speaking to the paramedic too “articulately”. I was given a run down on his daily statistics and that I was caller 4000 and something. I had stopped listening when he condescendingly asked me if my condition was “life-threatening?” I am horrified by his treatment. He denied me oxygen saying that I would put my baby in distress. He then proceeded to tell me to make my own way (no car) to a walk-in centre as I only had a mild chest infection. I was on the brink of tears. I knew what was wrong and what I needed but this man was not budging on his decision. He had written me off. After a wasted hour or so, he left and we headed up to the walk in centre. On arrival the receptionist was confused as to why I wasn’t taken to A&E. I explained what had happened. To my surprise, she seemed much more concerned than the paramedic. I didn’t have to wait long before seeing a nurse. She took my blood pressure, pulse, peak flow and finally checked my breathing with her stethoscope. Before I knew it, she had called the doctor in asking her to check me herself. She did and both of them nodded in agreement at the tightness and wheeziness of my chest. The doctor asked me to follow her and she led me to a nebulizer to give me oxygen. The same thing the paramedic had just told me I did not need. “You need it” she said when I asked if she was sure. I explained what I had previously been told and she was confused. I was in desperate need of a way to breathe and the oxygen was the obvious choice and it was not going to harm my unborn baby. Why did the paramedic lie?
He was adamant that I would cause my baby harm yet the doctor was adamant that I would do far more harm not treating the Asthma attack. Of course, she was right. If I cannot breathe, how an earth will baby?! After I had taken the course of oxygen and medicine, my vitals were checked again and it was clear. The oxygen had done it’s job. My chest had opened and the tightness had completely disappeared. All of that could have been done several hours back with the paramedic in my own home. Everything that I thought I needed, he had dismissed and sadly, I listened to the man, trusting him with his knowledge over mine. Next time, this will not be the case.
The doctor continued to tell me that I did not have a chest infection. Another thing that contradicted the paramedic. He insisted that was all I had. She prescribed me steroids as it was entirely Asthma related. The paramedic told me I needed antibiotics, something that could have given far more trauma to my baby and something I was trying to NOT put in my body.

How could this guy get it SO wrong?? He took one look at me and disregarded his skills. He judged me like a stranger on the street, someone who has no understanding of Asthma and how serious it can be. Just because I may be stringing a full sentence together, or as he so kindly said my “blood pressure is probably better than anyone else’s in the room,” does not mean I was not suffering.

Asthma is a silent killer and it can appear from nowhere.

Don ‘t write us off.

He didn’t even check my baby! Thankfully the doc did and baby was jumping and thumping away happily.

I guess it’s more resilient than I thought 🙂

Self-help hater.

I confess it. I am a self-help hater. I have never been a fan of being given “advice” on how to be a better me. I prefer to analyse myself and be the one who gives the guidance. It stems from my father’s love of self-help books (a point I have blogged about previously). He needed instruction on how to live his life, without these books’ direction, he would not have been able to make decisions or create values. They were fundamental to who he was and detrimental to the power he possessed. It was a source of control. He used the messages in these books to dictate and order me around, to degrade my life choices and look down his nose at me. He would see it as “knowledge”. I can’t tell you how many clichés he threw at me. His favourite was “knowledge is power”. I read. Just not enough and I certainly did not read the books he was recommending. I did not want to “improve” myself. As a young adult, I was only discovering who I was. He hated that and attempted to crush and contain any self-exploration that I tried to seek.

It’s not that I am unwilling to look deeper into the depths of my character; I am. I just want to do it on my terms. I have sought out help before but through a legitimate path by seeing a counsellor. She gave me questions and ideas to think about so that I could journey through the past and present consciously to improve and develop my future.

Self-help books and ideas aid many people. I can understand that. However, I choose not to follow my life by what someone else is telling me to do.

Today, I was subjected to a little self-help. In a discussion, comments were made about regret. Someone noted a quote that spoke of how we tend to regret the things we haven’t done and not the things we have. True. Sometimes. This is a very general and broad statement. One that many people seemed to agree with. I can’t.

I don’t totally disagree of course, but life isn’t that black and white. Some of my biggest regrets in life are the big choices I have made. The biggest regret being my foolish decision to live with my father aged sixteen. The choice that upturned and capsized my life. The choice that handed my abusive parent the reins to control and mentally torture me. I regret staying with him for so long. Twelve years! I regret not fighting sooner and accepting my pathetic life. I regret so much that I chose to do.

I am not a risk taker.

I can’t imagine doing some of the things I long to do. I believe in responsibilities. I am not frivolous. Perhaps that is a bad thing. Perhaps I should be more spontaneous. Except I hate surprises. In twenty years time, I am certain I will have regrets. Not huge, life-changing ones but ones where I should have taken that holiday to the Caribbean or treated myself to that expensive bag I had been lusting after. I do not mind those regrets, they are the regrets that keep us human.

Life cannot be so straightforward nor can it be peaceful and effortless at all times. I am not saying I want a depressing and bumpy journey! I just understand that shit happens and we need to be ready to face it when it comes our way.

I have many regrets, and I’m sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret… if you have any sense, and if you don’t regret them, maybe you’re stupid.
Katharine Hepburn

Too right! How anyone can say they do not regret a choice they have made is beyond me. How an earth can you ever repent, learn or forgive?

What are you afraid of?

I fear many things. I wish I was more daring and able to take more risks. I used to be able to especially as a child. Fear was something I lacked. I spoke my mind and challenged bad things, I defended myself and took emotional risks. I let myself fail believing that there was a lesson to learn from it. 

Fear grew quite quickly. By my teenage years I was becoming more afraid. I had been criticized by my mother and sister for being selfish and self-centered as a young child. The world revolved around me apparently. I was a confident child being punished for living life. Soon, the fear came. 

During the divorce and the pressures of choice, I feared everything. Outwardly, my family saw a show. I appeared to be calm and in control but mentally I was failing. I knew I was about to make the wrong decision but in fear of becoming targeted and bullied for even thinking it, I went with my father. It was, in my mind, the easiest thing to do. I had backed myself into a corner that could not be further from my mother and sister; we were practically strangers. I had to go with him and I was scared to do it. I did not know that he would be the man they said he was but I had my doubts. I had the fear. There was the possibility. 

My fears magnified when living with my father. they became embedded in me. Not only was I clearly petrified of him, I became a shadow of the girl I once was. To me, I was no longer myself. I was a nobody. 

Rejection.

I fear this still as an adult. I am married and I don’t feel it with my husband luckily. I do feel it in most walks of life especially with friends. I try to avoid it when I can, rarely asking anything of anyone. I thought I could depend on my father, he always told me I could but each time I confided in him or asked for anything, my request was rejected and berated. I have been rejected recently by some people, people I still see. One in particular I took as being a close friend but she has recently, within the last year, decided I am not worth her time. I do not know what happened as there was no explanation yet she continues to smile and play nice. I allow her to do it. I refuse to “chase” her and mend what was clearly already a broken friendship.

Criticism.

I often wait to be critiqued and devalued by people. I expect criticism. I fear it immensely. It is my biggest insecurity yet something I cannot confront.

Tempers.

I fear fights and aggression, I try to stay out of it but sometimes it cannot be avoided. I cannot stand someone raising their voice at me, it frightens me. I hate it. It only brings back every time my father did it. How he used his volume to belittle and demean me. 

Death.

Unbelievably, not my own. I often think about dying. I don’t think I am going to live very long. David hates it when I talk like that but to me it’s a matter of fact. I fear my mother dying. It is, at the moment, my greatest fear. I think about it a lot. She is 70 now and I have begun predicting how long I will have her for. When I speak to her I worry it’ll be the last time. I cry nearly every time after the phone has been put down. It took us so long to get a normal, loving relationship, I feel as though all those years fighting a pointless battle were wasted. Time has disappeared and I may not have her for long. I am angry at my sister for what she has done to her. My mother is a shell of the woman she once was. I know in many ways she resents her life. I hate that she feels like that. I fear the day when I won’t be able to hug my mother. Her touch immediately soothes me, her voice calms me, her little idiosyncrasies make me laugh. I don’t want them to be memories yet.

Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.
Charles Stanley