The Real Reason You Self-Sabotage

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.

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Comments & Feedback

  • Linda

    I am aware that I self – sabotage my dating efforts and desire to meet a soul mate, I am aware of how afraid I am of being hurt again as I was in may 25 year marriage which ended in divorce, I am working on this in therapy as I would like to meet someone again and fall in love

    • Lisa


      I don’t believe in soul mates; I think I believe in masculine / feminine polarity, high compatibility, similar life values and uniqueness compared to other men. Different people seem to get different things about me, some who have known me longer than my husband. I’ve seen some people in a co-dependent, financially abusive relationship with their so called “soul mate ” .

      Apologies for my eccentric rant. The word “soul mate” makes me cringe a little. I believe the most important relationship we have is the one we have with ourselves. Whatever happens, I’m going to have to be married to myself for the rest of my life whether I like it or not!

  • Lisa


    Do you think money has a lot to do with happiness in a marriage? A person I know who has been a family therapist since 1983 told me that she noticed when money is bad in a relationship EVERYTHING is bad. I’m curious to know what you think. Another therapist told me that she noticed extreme chemistry overrides all problems.

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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