Author Topic: How to deal with self sabotage  (Read 6320 times)

Trying to get this right

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How to deal with self sabotage
« on: June 13, 2013, 10:08:45 PM »
Hi everyone!

I've been a reader of MMM for some time and have peered through the forums.  I could really use the help and advice of the awesome community here.  I absolutely stand for the same views of living a life that is wonderfully full and abundant through mustachian ways. 
However, I've been doing some self reflecting and noticed that I sabotage my own efforts.  While I've been processing these thoughts and emotions (mostly embarrassment and anger towards my own actions because I know better) I’ve noted that the root of this issue may come from my father.  He is super consumerist (if there is such a notion) with hundred of thousands of dollars of debt- through multiple mortgages, credit cards etc.  We have a terrible relationship due to his harsh words throughout my childhood and I’ve noticed that some powerful words and ways have attached themselves to my inner being and perhaps my subconscious self believes that I cannot get ahead.  And if I do, and be wealthy and retired, I would be “better” than dad.  Only to drum up more commentary from him and the rest of my family.  (I really, really don’t like being talked about- another issue in itself)

Perhaps I should consider therapy, but I consider this a “first world” issue- in my dad’s words “poor little rich girl” and I may be able to solve this with wise words and self reflection. 

I welcome any thoughts or questions.  I would really like to get past this roadblock in my life and move beyond the negativity that I grew up with and all that has stuck with me. 

Thank you for your words and advice, in advance. 

Adventine

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2013, 12:14:04 AM »
Hello and welcome to the forums :)

I think the first step is to distance yourself from the family members who have a negative impact on your life. Move to another city. Minimize telephone calls and emails. Disconnect yourself from social media networks where they can follow you. Or edit the settings so that you don't have to deal with the "commentary" that seems to weigh on you so much.

Once you can get rid of the external voices that are criticizing your life choices, you can concentrate on dealing with the inner voice and you tendency to sabotage yourself.

BTW, are you still dependent on your parents for financial support?

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2013, 01:09:14 AM »
I second Adventine. It's time to move on, and that means distancing yourself somewhat from negative people.

Distancing can also mean: stop having certain conversations with certain people. Accept your dad is more of a "carpe diem" type of guy, in itself nothing wrong with that. Another strategy is not to take life so seriously; just laugh at this incompatibility between you and your dad, and make a joke whenever you feel that he says something disrespectful.

Trying to get this right

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2013, 03:23:26 AM »
Thank you for your replies and support!

No, I don't rely on my dad (or mom) for financial support, but I do live with grandma (mom's mom) as housing is extremely expensive and I wouldn't be able to afford that on my own.  Grandma is wonderful but since she is family, that means that everyone else comes to visit. 

I will work on distancing myself from the voices that are still around and will avoid dad but remain lighthearted about the facts of the situation.  I try not to let it bother me, but it is heartbreaking to hear such non-encouraging garbage come from someone I wish I could look up to.  The self sabotage comes in the form of stupid purchasing- the same behavior I witnessed most of my life.  But I know better and I want better for my future- and future generations.  I feel like this mental block is a huge hurdle that is difficult to overcome. 

I welcome any additional advice and commentary.  Thank you all!

footenote

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2013, 06:34:40 AM »
Kabocha - You need help with getting past your childhood. Spending issues are just the cover story - it really wouldn't matter what he was ripping into you about (money, your looks, your intelligence, your academic achievement level). 

I had a very similarly abusive dad and it took me years to work past my childhood. I don't know you, so I don't know what will work best for you (talk therapy, group therapy). (Meditation and an awesome husband helped me work through it over many years.) But regardless, find and stick with help that works for you. Getting past an abusive parent is a long-term project. But each step along the way will lead to a vastly superior life.

I also second the posters who recommend moving as far away as you possibly can. It sounds as though this unacceptable behavior is a family tradition not limited to dad. If housing is expensive where you are currently, move somewhere cheaper. I moved halfway across the US and the move helped tremendously. 

Kabocha, I'm extremely impressed that you have identified all the negative "garbage" behaviors you grew up with and are getting past.   Good luck and keep us posted.

Adventine

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2013, 07:26:10 AM »
Since you're already financially independent from your dad, do find a less expensive city to live in, and start building your own life away from the people who have made you miserable for so long. You can create the life you want for yourself.

Good luck and check back in the forums soon!

happy

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2013, 08:00:14 AM »
One strategy that I find works with people who affect you badly is to say to oneself...."ah well, there's Dad doing that thing again. Yes thats Dad, he's doing Dad again.  Yes Dad is just being Dad etc".  Said to oneself with a light hearted tone.  this sounds bit dorky written down, but I use it to deal with a couple of people who could potentially bring me down. Really you are identifying the particular behaviours and just accepting that its part of who they are, very neutrally. Of course they won't change, they will just keep being who they are.  By just observing their behaviour in a detached but slightly amused fashion, seems to stop some of the hurt, negativity, irritation etc. They can keep on being who they are, but that doesn't mean you have to buy into it.

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2013, 08:33:08 AM »
One strategy that I find works with people who affect you badly is to say to oneself...."ah well, there's Dad doing that thing again. Yes thats Dad, he's doing Dad again.  Yes Dad is just being Dad etc".  Said to oneself with a light hearted tone.  this sounds bit dorky written down, but I use it to deal with a couple of people who could potentially bring me down. Really you are identifying the particular behaviours and just accepting that its part of who they are, very neutrally. Of course they won't change, they will just keep being who they are.  By just observing their behaviour in a detached but slightly amused fashion, seems to stop some of the hurt, negativity, irritation etc. They can keep on being who they are, but that doesn't mean you have to buy into it.

+1

I will disagree with the above posters, however, about limiting your relationship with your family -- unless there is ongoing abuse or a history of abuse that makes you 100% not want to associate with your family. My dad is emotionally / verbally abusive and controlling, but that is one side of him. Using essentially the technique happy posted, I have been able to limit his negative impact on my adult life while still enjoying my relationship with my mom and fostering a healthy relationship between my parents and my son. It's very important to me that my son feels connected to his family. Because I don't see the abusive behaviors repeating as my dad relates to my son, I continue to prioritize that relationship.

Regarding his comments about your financial choices, you might want to keep financial choices as a topic that is off limits with your family. Just don't bring those things up and hopefully it will minimize the comments. If they come up, try to change the subject or meet it head on with "I would prefer not to discuss that with you," "I feel like you're putting me down and I don't appreciate it," or something along those lines -- depending on the communication style you're familiar with. With my dad, if I meet it head on by saying how his comments make me feel, it can backfire or it can work; I never know. So, I change the subject.  (it took me some attempts at this type of direct communication to figure that out, so it got worse before it got better in this area).

totoro

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2013, 09:23:18 AM »
I also disagree with distance unless there is ongoing abuse.  Stay with your grandma.  I lived with mine and I was happy to have had that time with her.

I would treat this as the equivalent of credit card debt.  This is an emotional emergency.  Stop feeling guilty about first world problems and focus on happiness: it is a worthy goal.  It will affect those close to you a lot.

Emotional emergencies can be very, very expensive if unaddressed.  You may make poor life choices and many end up divorced because of this.  You may be prone to addictive behaviours. Self-sabotage needs to stop.

The fastest route through this is an intensive counselling program of some sort.  I did the Choices program run from Texas, Calgary and Vancouver.  It is a five-day program.  There is likely something like this in your area.  This type of thing is actually worth it for most people imo, not only those who have self-identified issues.

Even if it costs a couple of thousand dollars and five days of your time it is a very good investment it if it works to prevent further self-sabotage and increases your happiness.

arebelspy

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2013, 09:48:27 AM »
Lots of great advice above.

I like totoro's "emotional emergency" phrasing.

Obviously you need to get your mindspace good, but as far as some practical improvements in the meantime, it may help you to list out ways you've been sabotaging yourself so you can directly confront, and avoid those and other similar actions by recognizing and naming and then avoiding/stopping them.

You'll still need to work on the bigger picture, but that will give you a start to make progress on the issue, rather than trying to tackle the whole thing at once, then getting discouraged if/when you continue to face the sabotage or other failures along the way.

Best of luck!
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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2013, 09:52:23 AM »
A couple of points to add:

For therapy, look for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It works to specifically teach you to understand how your mind reacts to what's going on around you, take the parts that aren't working (self-sabotage) and provide tools to help you retrain your brain.

A good practice to supplement would be to begin practicing mindfulness meditation. This practice can help you observe how your brain is working, what tracks it runs on, and what is arising into your consciousness - and also, over time, to learn to separate the thoughts that arise from your "self". A good, non-religious, non-denominatioal book to start with this practice is "Mindfulness in Plain English"

Please, however, don't assume meditation is an adequate substitute for good therapy. I really recommend them together.


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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2013, 07:19:34 PM »
A strategy that I have been learning about is that we can only make changes in ourselves and when we set up an expectation of someone else, they are doomed to fail.

Your dad is who is he is. You are who you are.

A powerful tool is to see why your dad is your dad. Why he is living his life in a certain way. The only thing you can do to remain powerful to yourself is to thank him.

Yes, thank him.

Thank him for setting an example for you. For truly allowing you to learn the lessons you are meant to learn from this life, with him as your teacher.

Only you know the history between you, but pick out the parts that irritate and hurt you the most and work with those, thank him for them and use them to move yourself forward out of the rut.

Good luck.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2013, 07:55:09 PM »
Never let your enemies get the drop on you.  The need to vary your route cannot be underestimated. Remember that your enemies probably know the lay of the land better than you; get creative.  Driving across the desert outside the blast radius of the pre-emplaced roadside bombs will frustrate the insurgents, and you may be able to catch them in a TIC outside their comfort zone.  Oh how the tables have turned!

Purple

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2013, 09:17:18 PM »
I think this is an interesting topic Kabocha.

To me self-sabotage occurs when our actions and values aren't in alignment. If you are acting in a way which breaches values which you hold to be important then you are hurting yourself.

My opinion is that for whatever reasons (father or whatever) your actions and values aren't in alignment - the question is where are they out of sync and what can you do to live more wholly. This is the essence of authentic living.

For someone to understand their actual values is not a straightforward task (I reckon people tend to assume that they share 100% the values of a tribe they identify with and struggle to identify their own version of the world) - nor is facing up to how they actually behave versus how they imagine they hypothetically behave. You have already started to face up to your internal dissonance by posting here.
 
Finding your own pathway on the road to alignment is the tricky part. I personally have had many sources of inspiration, insight and analysis over decades to continue my own path. MMM has been a massive source of inspiration over the past 2 years (and JD Roth before that). I still have a long way to go and have areas of dissonance I wrestle with. I don't know what would work for you but the search is rewarding of itself.



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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2013, 05:25:30 PM »
I was recently given some great advice for a difficult family situation:  Say what you are going to do in a calm clear voice and then do not justify, rationalize, explain, or defend it. (JARED) Do not tell anyone you do not like their comments-- that is criticizing them and will escalate the situation.  Just maintain a pleasant expression and keep your cool.   I was absolutely amazed at how well this worked.  within a couple of hours at a family reunion for a funeral the whole dynamic of my family changed.  when I did not rise to my sister's needling--or go along with her bullying, she decreased both.  At the same time, focus on your own financial choices and not on others'.

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2013, 08:15:18 PM »
I wonder if perhaps OP is spending money she doesn't want to spend in order to achieve acceptance by her father.

It is very hard -- at least for me -- to accept the fact that I will never get my father's full approval, partly because that's just who he is and partly because I've decided not to kowtow to his viewpoint in order to get even conditional approval.

I have no idea how to get to that place of acceptance, but I think that's what I must do and perhaps what OP must do.

Trying to get this right

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Re: How to deal with self sabotage
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2013, 03:11:34 AM »
Thank you all for your wise words and commentary.  I truly appreciate it!

I have thought about my situation over the last few days and I believe that the best thing to do at this moment is to reach out for professional help.  I am blessed with pretty solid health insurance through my employer and will be looking for a therapist that I can work through these deeply rooted issues with.  I will start calling and making appointments this week.  It is an emotional emergency and it cannot fester any longer.  As far as my living situation, I cannot look too far in advance as I don't know how grandma's health will be doing.  I moved in to be away from my immediate family, but also to watch over and keep grandma company.  She is 88 and still spunky but she has begun to use a walker and has been shrinking in height.  Moving away means that someone else will need to move in or start spending the night.  I'm the oldest grandchild (26) and the only one available to live with her.  In addition, her home is 5 miles from work and in the town area.  It works out well for the both of us. 

Beyond the immediate future, a serious reason for me reaching out for help has been a desire to be married.  I'm currently in a serious relationship that is headed toward marriage and I would not want to drag family or spending issues into our relationship.  My boyfriend is very understanding but I want to be responsible as my spending habits will be affecting our bank accounts when we move that direction.  These habits need to be changed and I don't want to bring them into my next chapter.

I believe secondcor521 hit the issue dead on, something I haven't myself been able to do- I still seek dad's approval.  This manifests in how I hold myself back, just as he is doing.  I spend to make myself feel happy, or be someone I'm not (in clothing purchases), in order to  be someone he may like or enjoy the company of.  I suppose my best bet is to move on and accept that though he may love me, we may not ever be the picturesque father / daughter buddy buddy type. 

Travelbug, having a heart of gratitude is an amazing nugget of wisdom.  I will work on softening my heart towards dad and thanking him for all experiences, enjoyable and hurtful.  Thank you for the reminder!

Thank you for the advise of not justifying my actions and just stating what I will be doing.  I think what I say actually does hold weight but I am concerned about what other think.  Especially family.  I need to work on that. 

And I also agree that my values and actions are completely misaligned and that moving is a great opportunity to have a fresh beginning.  I have already discussed the possibility of moving with my boyfriend and he is totally up for it.  He grew up abroad and is much more adventurous then I am.  So, moving is definitely a great option and quite the possibility.  It would be a huge adjustment for me as I grew up and currently live on an island but I agree that it would be a great healing opportunity. 

THANK YOU to all who have taken the time to pour out advise.  You have been very kind and I greatly appreciate it.  Feel free to continue to comment- I will be checking back often. 

With gratitude,
Kabocha