8 Reasons You Might Be Self-Sabotaging Romantic or Work Relationships

Self sabotaging can be really tough, because sometimes you don’t even realize you’re doing it. But the first step to overcoming self sabotaging and going forward again is figuring out why you’re doing it. We will set apart a few reasons people might bes elf sabotaging, and you might find one that matches your situation. If you like, we will also publish an article with more advise on how to overcome self sabotaging.

A rough division would be self sabotaging that takes place in romantic relationships, and self sabotaging that takes place in work relationships. We will also discuss them in two categories. We first discuss self sabotaging in romantic relationships, and then in work relationships.

Self sabotating behavior often happens in cases where you might want to protect yourself, but the difficult thing is that it’s not always clear what you are protecting yourself from. It’s almost an instinct, somewhere you sense a threat, and you respond to it by doing, or not doing certain things. It often stems from insecurities, not just physical but also emotional.

Romantic self sabotaging

  1. Low self worth.

A common cause of self sabotaging relationships is a very low sense of self-worth. You believe you are not worthy of a relationship. You might believe you aren’t loveable. It would even be that you’re convinced that people just don’t see you in that way.

  1. Fear of losing friends.

Through all the support you’ve given and received to and from each other, you might subconsciously feel like you owe it to your friends (or family) to be available when they need you. You might avoid relationships because you are afraid of abandoning your friends, or not being a good enough friend to them.

You might also like: What is Your Best Personality Trait QUIZ 

  1. Fear you won’t be able to balance your relationship with other things in your life.

Think about work, study, friends, family, and your own hobbies. There are a lot of things in life fighting for your time. Self sabotaging might also be a result of a fear you won’t be able to be a good s/o to your partner because you can’t divide your time properly. It could also be that you are afraid that a relationship might cause you to lack the time to put into other things. It could also be connected to losing freedom, or a piece of yourself. This can also happen because you might not have been in many relationships, and are used to fending for yourself in a certain way.

  1. Afraid to disappoint them.

This is connected to the low-self worth. You are afraid you don’t have the “skills” required to be a good partner. You’re afraid of making mistakes or saying or doing the wrong thing, and as a result you avoid relationships.

  1. Fear of abandonment.

Nothing in life is completely without risk. Opening yourself up and having a romantic relationship opens up a variety of different risks you run, emotionally speaking. These risks or fears can range from fear of abandonment to your partner not liking the way you look and anything in between. Whatever it is, it’s quite scary and might result in you consciously or subconsciously avoiding having a romantic relationship.

Work relationship self sabotaging

  1. Loss of freedom.

Having a function you are familiar with gives you a certain freedom. You know what to expect and once you’re familiar you have more freedom to plan and do it in a way that makes it more comfortable for you. Assuming that self sabotaging happens in cases where you are about to gain a higher position, that position might come with more complex tasks. Having more complexity might subconsciously frighten you because you would lose a bit of that freedom because you are not as familiar with the tasks.

  1. Not being able to learn the new things, or afraid they’ve overestimated you.

If you don’t believe as much in your own abilities, the offer of a higher position would trigger a number of anxieties. You might not believe you are ready for such a position, and as a result self sabotage. You might think “I’m not made to be in relationships.”

  1. Rejection if you don’t measure up with your new peers.

It’s always a bit scary to be the new person in a group, especially if these people were first a step above you, and are now supposed to be on your own level. You have to learn the ropes and you are afraid of feeling like an outsider if you don’t immediately pick up your new skills. This fear of not being as good as the others might draw you to do subtle things that prevent you from being promoted.

So these might be some reasons you or someone you know might have been self sabotaging! Do you know any others? How many do you recognize in your own behavior? We’re curious to see if Extroverts or Introverts are more likely to self sabotage, please reblog this on tumblr and add if you are extrovert or introvert, and how many out of these 8 you recognize. We’ll calculate the rest!

You might also like our other posts:

What is Your Best Personality Trait QUIZ 

10 Psychological Lessons from Harry Potter (link to article, video below)



Kearns, Gardiner and Marshall. “Innovation in PhD completion: the hardy shall succeed (and be happy!)” Higher Education and Research Development Journal via TANDofLine. 2008(1): 27. Web. Feb. 2018. 

Sansone, Elliott, and Wiederman. “A Survey of Medically SelfSabotaging Behaviors Among Perpetrators of Partner Violence.” PrimeCare Companion through PUBMED. 2015(3): 17. Web. Feb. 2018.

Fitch. “Improving not-for-profit EMS. Six selfsabotaging traps to avoid.” JEMS via PUBMED for MEDLINE. 2005(5): 30. Web. Feb. 2018. 

Psychology Today: The Enemy Within: self sabotaging

HP: Stop self sabotage

Psychology Today – Self-Sabotage

The Book of Life: On Self Sabotaging


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  1. I have gone through this article about self sabotaging. I somehow relate to many of these points mentioned, would like to read about the measures to control and overcome it. Thank you!


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