My sister Kelley came to stay with me a few weeks ago.
Late one night, we fought about parenting stuff – we clearly didn’t agree on how to approach a situation with one of our kiddos. Words were exchanged. It turned into an ugly spat.
I walked away from our exchange hurt. I felt disrespected and undervalued by my sister. I was also ashamed for letting myself walk into an unkempt, fiery version of me. Although I told myself to walk away several times, that the argument was better served with my best self… I didn’t. I stayed for the fight and escalated it.
The next morning, I could still feel the emotions of the spat with me. I went to the bathroom mirror looking for a pimple or blackhead. Having sensitive skin and acne scars from my old picking-and-popping days, I knew to leave the extractions to the estheticians. But it was too tempting… I wanted a distraction.
I leaned toward the mirror and squinted, finally finding a blackhead at the crease of my nose. I dug and squeezed, pressed and pinched until that blackhead was no more.
Ugh Danielle. Don’t do this. You know it’s not good for your skin.
But what did I do?
More picking and squeezing until I finally leaned away from the mirror to witness a face full of red splotches. I looked like Hellboy with chickenpox! Why, Danielle? You know this happens every time!
I knew my face picking would cause more harm than good. I knew I’d end up with inflamed spots around my nose, cheeks and chin. But I did it anyways.
That morning when my sister woke up, we said our “I’m sorry’s”. While there was still awkwardness in the air, the tension dissipated. And as the day progressed and I started feeling better, I regretted my blackhead binging episode even more.
So why did I do it? Why did I self-sabotage?
- Because I was feeling low, and like attracts like. I felt in good company doing a low-vibing task (like messing up my face). And perhaps, without being conscious of it, it was also a way to punish myself for the shame I felt for not holding more grace during Kelley and I’s quarrel.
- My self-sabotage was also my own form of escapism. I couldn’t focus on my negative feelings about the fight because I was too busy causing another problem for myself.
I’m aware that I’ve been down this road before and I need to be more careful. I have a long history of self-sabotage; of making a good scenario bad and making a bad scenario worse because I perceive a lack in some way. I’m not good enough, smart enough, caring enough…
If you self-sabotage, there are a few important things I want you to know…
- You’re not alone. If you go to the gym and then binge eat before bed. Or if you keep racking up your credit card debt even though you don’t have the means to pay it off. There’s many of us in the same boat and with knowing that, I hope you’re kinder and gentler the next time you hurt yourself.
- Spending time in reflection can help you better understand why you hurt yourself and why you add more stress and challenges to yourself. This will help you pinpoint where you need more _______ (fill in the blank. Self-love. Discipline. Healing). Hint: Oftentimes, self-sabotage is a result of unresolved trauma.
- Your awareness can lead to a change in behavior. Knowing your triggers and your self-sabotaging go-to’s (blackhead picking, for instance) will allow you to better cope and create a strategy that ensures your actions stay positive, or at least neutral during hard situations.
The next time I get the urge to pinch and pick, I’ll think of this blog and grab a stress ball, not my face.
Here’s a few articles I found on self-sabotage that may help you (and will definitely help me).
- What is self-sabotage? How to help stop the vicious cycle
- 30 types of self-sabotage (and what to do about it)
Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this blog to a few family members and friends. The greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.
PS – Here’s an affirmation to use after you self-sabotage, ‘I send love, grace and understanding to my destructive patterns. I can’t change the past, but I will change the future.’
PPS – Grab a pen and your journal. Spend a few minutes thinking about what areas in your life you self-sabotage. Is it with money? Time? Relationships? Health? What’s the one area you want to work on improving now? Next, identify some of your limiting beliefs around the topic at hand which may contribute to your self-destructive patterns. Do you believe it’s not possible to get out of debt? Do you believe you’re not worthy of love? Do you think you’ll be unattractive regardless if you lose the 50lbs or not? Once you have a grasp on your limiting beliefs, write positive affirmations for each of them and use them every day for the next month to build up your internal power and to help retrain your brain.