The Link Between Self-Sabotage and Toxic Relationships

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

Original content by Ashley Berges

When we find ourselves in toxic relationships there is one missing element. The missing element is the building block for everything powerful in our lives. It is the thing that changes our lives forever. Once we grasp it, have it, and hold it, we will not accept toxicity in our lives anymore. 

Self-acceptance is the element that is missing when we are in toxic relationships. Self-acceptance is the awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s the capacity to see our overall worth no matter what and to be realistic about our abilities. It is the capacity to experience the fulfillment of being oneself in spite of perceived flaws, regardless of previous actions and decisions, and regardless of past behaviors. Self-acceptance is being able to accept ourselves no matter what. We do not lie to ourselves or sweep things under the rug. We can see, examine, and understand our past and then accept ourselves for what we have gone through. 

We are often given misguided advice. People will tell us to quiet our inner critic. We are also told to come up with daily affirmations. This should help us feel better. Neither of these two suggestions works. These are wrong and misguided.

The first reason this advice is misguided is that we are not supposed to hush our inner thoughts. We are supposed to get them out inventory them and understand where they are coming from. This will allow us to begin to let them go. Hushing them makes them louder. We need to hear what our thoughts are saying for us to understand what is happening in our minds. 

The second thing, affirmations, is that affirmations are great but we can’t put affirmations on top of other stuff. We must be able to get through the negative thoughts we are having to be able to understand the implication of the thoughts and understand how to begin to let them go. 

The first thing we need to do to achieve self-acceptance is to create an inventory. Have an inventory of our thoughts about ourselves. Remember it is fine to think about other people in our lives but it is also a diversion. A diversion tactic to take us away from understanding our thoughts about how we feel about ourselves. Every thought we have is either about accepting or not accepting ourselves, or finding fault in what we do. 

By being aware and taking inventory we become aware of each thought and feeling that we have about ourselves. Our thoughts predicate our feelings. These thoughts remind us of what we have or have not created. Often causing us to feel down about ourselves.

The second thing about inventorying our thoughts is that we can recognize that our thoughts control us. They control how we act and what we do. When we have negative thoughts, we think negative things about ourselves. As a result, we treat ourselves poorly. We do things to bring ourselves down. 

One thing we do when we have negative thoughts is self-sabotaging behaviors. When we treat ourselves poorly, we are sabotaging ourselves. For example, overeating, binge drinking, doing drugs, sex addiction, not sleeping, toxic relationships and the list goes on. These choices of self-sabotage keep us in a constant inability to focus on our true thoughts. We end up judging ourselves and the other people involved. It is also a diversion tactic. 

The best way to begin to understand how we feel about ourselves is to catch the self-sabotaging behavior before we even do our inventory. If you can catch these self-sabotaging behaviors, we will be able to understand that we are self-sabotaging ourselves. 

A technique to doing this is to catch yourself in the sabotaging behavior as you are doing it. Once you can see your actions and choices you will begin to realize this is self-sabotaging behavior. These behaviors are based on the personal thoughts you have about yourself. 

When you get close to catching these self-sabotaging behaviors, try to analyze why you are doing them. What are some of the thoughts that took place right before you did the behavior? With this in mind, you will be able to see that self-sabotage is real and what you can do to focus on it and prevent it from happening. 

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