Hello friends! With the new chill in the air and November just beginning, this time of year signifies many things, and leaves much for life contemplation. You know how much I love that. However, many times even I notice a bit of a depression that comes along with the fall. Leaves and plants are starting to wither after their final beautiful burst of rich colors. Knowing that winter and cold are rapidly approaching brings a bit of despair, no? But have no fear... I’ve got you! Don’t let that base thought get to you. It’s time to spike some apple cider and enjoy a Drink with Jess.
Funny that I decided on apple cider… maybe it’s the image of the tree of knowledge floating around in my head today. But what does this have to do with dating and relationships, you may ask? Well, today I want to get to the root of all evil: “self-sabotage.”
In order to understand the actions that we utilize, it’s important to know where they come from. So, first and foremost, I will make this short and sweet. We all know that we have formed thoughts about ourselves from the people and experiences in our lives, especially early on from parents or guardians. Think about it. These are the people who created us and are supposed to love and protect us. However, many people haven’t had such great experiences growing up, which in turn, have developed negative inner thoughts about themselves. These people want to be loved; however, their actions of sabotage come from not taking time to go within and face the pain. If we really think about it, we believe love is scary, but it’s not. The scary part about it is that being in an intimate relationship with anyone means there is no more mask.
Pulling away can happen for several reasons, but the most common I have seen are having either a lack of trust or want to bury down past pains. For example, if someone felt abandoned by a parent, they may tend to pull away when things get good. If you couldn’t trust the person who was supposed to have your back, how can you trust anyone? As far as keeping the pains that we bury at bay, we pull away or even avoid relationships all together because we know that we will eventually have to unveil and face all of our pain in order to be in a completely intimate and healthy relationship.
Another sabotaging action is choosing the wrong people. Often, these are people that don’t treat us well. This is when people enter who cheat or are downright manipulative or abusive. Here’s the interesting part. We may have felt rejected, taught that we weren’t good enough, or that we were unlovable from a young age. We also may have learned that people are no good through bad experiences. This being said, choosing the wrong person provides us with 2 things: a reaffirmation that we are not lovable, or deserving, etc., and “proof” that there are no good people out there, thus providing the saboteur with a reason to avoid dating and relationships in general.
The last of these actions is one that I’ve personally demonstrated in the past. I tended to do something that would cause my partner to have a negative reaction towards me to the point that they would leave, even if that’s not what I wanted. This one is a bit different because it is a form of protecting yourself from getting hurt by them by having them hurt you. It sounds counteractive, right? But here is the thing with this one. You may have been made to feel guilty in the past. Sometimes, it comes from being criticized as a kid, not feeling that you can do anything right. But, you won’t feel guilty for hurting someone or leaving someone if they are the one leaving you. You don’t have to take accountability for hurting someone or destroying your relationship, and this allows you to not face themselves or their thoughts. Unfortunately when you realize what you did, you then feel guilty and it reaffirms that you can’t succeed in anything.
Although there are many different fundamental negative thoughts, defense mechanisms and other behaviors self sabotage can be woven into an intricate madhouse. If everyone musters up the courage to look honestly at themselves and their relationships, dig up the pain and see it as a way to stop “self-sabotage,” love won’t seem so scary anymore. For more on this, you can check out this week's "I Know What You Want" segment for LesBe Real Radio. Now show yourself some self-love, with an apple (and maybe some more cider), and make sure to join me next time for a Drink with Jess.
Jess is a dating coach, best selling author, and radio personality in Philadelphia. She provides the LGBTQ community with no-nonsense, straight forward advice to understanding your mind in order to navigate the complex dating scene and go after and get the people you desire.