Now you’ve learned how and why people self-sabotage, here are ten practical ways to kick self-sabotaging in relationships to the curb and gain deeper intimacy.
1. Admit it
Take responsibility, and develop an attitude in your relationship where improvement is normal and okay. There is nothing wrong with you; in love, the best thing we can hope for in love is two imperfect people coming together and continually trying our best.
As Kate Stewart says in her book “Loving the white liar”. The perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other”
It’s okay to admit you have been self-sabotaging, but it’s not okay to let it destroy your life. You deserve so much more!
2. Observe yourself
Know your triggers, learn about your attachment style and what your behavioral patterns are, especially when things become uncomfortable.
Marriage and family therapist Shadeen Francis suggests journaling about the experiences in your relationship. Ask yourself: What did I feel? What was I afraid of? What do I want/need? What would be helpful?
Meditation helps rewire the brain’s patterns. It can help you to replace destructive thoughts with healthy ones that serve your relationship.
Many people find guided meditations like this one by Jason Stephenson really helpful. Doing a regular meditation practice can also help you communicate in a calmer way.
4. Talk about it
Speak to a trusted friend that won’t judge you negatively. Even better, hire a professionally trained coach or therapist who is experienced in relationships.
The more you open up, the more possible it is to get support because people have insight into what you’re experiencing and from there can offer solutions.
5. Let go
Don’t hold grudges. Your energy is better spent.
Use movement to calm and destress your nervous system.
Shake your body, dance, and more.
Try EFT with Dr Kim D’Eramo.
6. Discover love languages
Love languages are the way both you and your partner give and receive love. When we understand this, we can create safety in relationships. When we feel safe, we are less likely to engage in destructive behavior.
7. Mirror Work
Take a good look in the mirror, and speak positive words.
Building your self-esteem is an important part of developing your self-care and self-compassion. It is from this place of self-love you can feel safer in your relationships and reduce sabotaging behavior.
Here’s a video to help you get started with mirror work.
8. Work out your non-negotiables
In the words of Meatloaf, “I will do anything for love, but I just won’t do that”. We all have things that we simply won’t do or can’t stand. Take time to learn what is really important to you.
Occasionally choose something to do or somewhere to go alone to explore the more hidden parts of yourself. Understanding your and your partner’s non-negotiables is critical for deeper intimacy. It provides an understanding of what will create relationship satisfaction.
9. Connection before correction
Connection creates openness. Lecturing/nagging can lead to a stress response.
One of my favorite examples of “connection before correction” is, “I love you, and the answer is no.” If blaming or criticism is a regular theme for you, try to find ways to connect as a priority.
Remember, this is about shared responsibility and moving away from sabotage and towards intimacy.
10. Ditch expectations
“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”—Henry Winkler.
Make agreements with your partner, don’t expect them to act how you want or read your mind. Make agreement talks a regular habit. Perhaps set up a regular date night to discuss agreements on how you will add even more joy into your relationship, and how you will commit to developing yourselves.
11. Turn to self-reflection & therapy
Relationships are not always easy, so be patient. Feel proud of yourself for reading this article and taking a step towards developing greater intimacy in your relationship.
Self-sabotage is fixable with self-reflection, therapy, and tools, but it’s important to remember you don’t have to do everything alone. In fact, in most cases, professional support is hugely beneficial as it can offer an objective view.