Think about it. Aren’t all acts of self-sabotage really misguided attempts at self-protection? Though very few see it that way.
Countless women come to me, chiding themselves unmercifully for sabotaging their success by making foolish decisions. Maybe you’ve done it too.
Spending more than you have. Avoiding what you know is important. Deferring decisions to another. Giving generously while depriving yourself.
Most of my adulthood was one giant act of financial self-sabotage. I avoided anything to do with money, giving my husband control, while I spent freely and gave generously.
Even after my divorce, I continued to ignore money. Until I got tax bills for over a million dollars…for back taxes my ex didn’t pay, illegal deals he got us in.
I was furious at my ex, who quickly left the country. Furious at my dad, who wouldn’t lend me the money. But most of all, furious at myself for being so irresponsible.
It was during a therapy session that I finally understood why I sabotaged myself like I did. Explicitly told that managing money was a man’s job, I was sure I’d screw up and lose everything. I was also terrified of my family’s disapproval of me changing. And I knew that if I became financially savvy, a man wouldn’t love me!
“No wonder you’re afraid to get smart,” my therapist exclaimed. “Staying stupid is an act of self-protection.”
I got it! What I thought would keep me safe actually put me in greater danger. I knew exactly what I needed to do—take financial control, not matter how scary.
To this day, whenever I’m scared, I know I have two choices: Self-Protection or Self-Sabotage. Either I go where I fear and eventually succeed. Or avoid the fear and make things worse.
What are you calling self-protection that may, in reality, be self-sabotage? Leave a comment below.