Hello everybody, welcome to episode 228 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. Today's episode is Part 2 on how to overcome self-sabotage in relationships.
I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino reminding you before we begin that if you have a question you would like help with on the show, we welcome you to email it to us at advice AT oldpodcast.com
Nice to have you guys back here after the weekend for part 2 of the question we started looking at on Friday! I hope that you’re recharged after a nice couple of days and have that last episode in memory. If you didn’t catch the first part on Friday, I recommend doing so or else this one will make very little sense to you. But if you’re ready, I’ll read the question again, and then offer our asker more feedback to compound what we talked about last time. Here we go…
QUESTION: “I am three months into a new relationship with a very lovely guy! Compassionate, understanding and level headed – awesome! However – my old trust issues have decided to come knocking again.
I stupidly clicked on his following list on instagram and BAM half naked hot chicks with tattoos everywhere! He's liked many of their pictures and even popped a few cheeky comments underneath tagging his mates… and there I go – instantly putting my guard up and starting to resent them… for what??? I have no idea….
How can I stop this self sabotaging behaviour? It’s so unhealthy and stems from old insecurities and old cheating partners. This is a behaviour that has to stop.”
The Habit of Self-Sabotaging
In part 1 of the episode, we isolated the event in question and reminded ourselves of the value in separating each event like this from your tendency to self-sabotage.
Let's talk this time about that habit of self-sabotaging and how to hopefully overcome it.
You’ve done a really good job of identifying the act of checking his following list as something that likely yields no benefits. If you do confront him about this and he admits to cheating and you break up with him and meet your future husband the next day, then yes, that’d be a benefit.
But what I mean is that it’s much more likely for you to develop irrational fears from checking that list than it is for you to find proof of something worth being concerned over.
But what else? What else are you doing to sabotage yourself? It’s really important for you to become aware of the times that you’re most likely to fall into this behavior – the other ways in which you often sabotage yourself.
Dealing with Self-Sabotage in Relationships
If you can get familiar with what self-sabotage often looks like for you – so when the feelings come up as well as what behavior you pair with them – you’ll be making progress.
If you know when it’s most likely to happen, and you identify it beforehand as usually being a form of self-sabotage, you’ll be in a position to think more clearly about it before acting, and entertaining the idea that you might be about to do more harm than good.
So take some time to reflect on other instances in which you’re riled up without justification, and how you seek them out.
A great way of doing this is to journal about such things. Not only can you start by writing down ideas based on what I just said, but you can also check in with yourself at the end of each day, reflecting on what actions you took or things you said that really just stirred the pot and don’t actually represent any evidentiary wrongdoing from your partner.
Think about what you did to self-sabotage, and the thoughts that preceded the self-sabotage, so you can watch them and recognize them as potential red flags in the future.
Seeking Help from Your Support System
I might also recommend seeking counsel from people you know who are similar to you in this way.
Do you have any girlfriends that have similar pasts or similar fears of being hurt, but are currently navigating successful relationships in spite of those feelings? Ask them to level with you.
How do they do it? What do they do when those feelings come up? What types of conversations have they maybe had with their partners that put them at ease? How can they tell the difference between their current partners who are good to them and old partners who wronged them?
Between the strategies those people have told you and any other behavior alternatives you can think of on your own, pair them together with those times that you know those old feelings are likely to come up.
For example, “I know I get angry with him (feeling) when he doesn’t compliment my outfit after I’ve spent hours getting ready for a nice event (trigger). And when I get angry about this, I compensate by telling him the reasons that he doesn’t look good, like his tie being crooked, his suit being wrinkled, or his hair being a mess (action). But the next time he doesn’t compliment me after I feel I look really nice, I’ll compliment him anyway, take a breath, and head into the bathroom to spend a minute admiring how well my look came together (healthier alternative action).”
Self-Sabotage in Relationships: Conclusion
Putting together a plan like this with action tied to it is much more directional and therefore much more effective. So think about some healthier behaviors that sound enjoyable to you and assign them to certain situations.
Make that plan. Trust in that plan. And finally, trust in yourself, too. Trust in yourself to be able to get through tough times. Trust in yourself to be ok with anxiety or, God forbid, with even more failed relationships. The more you can get comfortable with bad feelings that take place in or after a relationship, the less attachment you’ll have, and the more you’ll be able to see relationship anew.
Easier said than done, yes, but what I know from our exchanges and what you also know is that you’re capable of overcoming obstacles and developing a support system of love in your life. You’ve done it time and again, and that’s not going anywhere.
And that brings us to the end, friends. A lot has been discussed over the course of this one and Part 1 in Episode 227, and I believe all that’s left to say is thank you for sticking with me and thank you to the asker for being brave, asking tough questions like this one on self-sabotage in relationships, and continuing to come back and choose OLA for the different troubles she finds herself facing.
I really hope everyone gained something from this Q&A and you know I’ll be back again on Wednesday for more of the same. Hope you’ll be back too. Until then, everybody