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Why is that we self-sabotage when it comes to love? Dr. Vesna Grubacevic founder and Performance Transformation Expert® reveals five common reasons why people sabotage their relationships.

The common reasons why people sabotage when it comes to love include:

  1. Out of proportion emotions:
    Any time you experience emotions which are out of proportion to the situation you are in or you find yourself thinking “Why did I overreact?” it is a sign that those emotions are unresolved.  For example, road rage is a sign of unresolved anger, or snapping at your partner when they make the smallest requests, could suggest out of proportion frustration.When we overreact with anger, fear, rejection, hurt, betrayal, abandonment, jealousy, later we wonder why we reacted so much to what our partner said or did.  In hindsight, it does not make sense and sometimes we regret it, feel guilt or remorse for our words and/or actions.  However, by that stage, the damage has been done to the relationship and words and actions cannot be undone.  This can lead to resentment, festering of ill feelings between partners, disagreements and blame.
  2. Limiting beliefs
    Beliefs (such as fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, “I am not good enough,” “I can’t have what I want”) become self-fulfilling through our behaviour.
    Some examples are:

    1. Someone who has been hurt and betrayed by a partner in the past may fear being hurt again. Everything that their current partner does, says, does not say or do is filtered through the fear of being hurt from the past.  This may result in asking the partner too many questions, questioning their words and actions, looking for problems where there are none, pushing the partner away before they are hurt by them.  The end result, they get hurt again.
    2. Someone who fears being alone will push partners away and not want to get too close, as a result they will be alone. Others will stay in a toxic or dysfunctional relationship because of a fear of being alone and will feel alone while in that relationship.
    3. Someone who stays in an unhappy relationship because they believe they don’t deserve to be happy or to have what they really want.
    4. Someone with a fear of rejection, may find yourself doing or saying things to their partner or date which has them respond with a “no”, and so they are rejected anyway.
  3. Internal conflicts:
    If you are in two minds about your relationship with a partner and whether to stay or leave. For example, you might send mixed messages to your partner. One day you may be really close with your partner then the next day may push them away.  These mixes messages place doubts in your partner’s mind and over time can lead to disagreements, arguments or break up
  4. Being a worrier
    When you stress, worry, or get anxious about your relationship, it can lead to overthinking, lack of sleep and disagreements.  The more your dwell on what could go wrong, the more you and your partner can make that happen through your behaviour and disagreements.
  5. Disempowering relationship dynamics
    How you interact with your partner and deal with their behaviour, and they with you, creates a dynamic.  While often these are positive, they can also be negative and disempowering.  If you are not having the love, appreciation and respect you desire in your relationship, you are most likely in a disempowering relationship dynamic. All of the above develop over our lifetime experiences of relationships, including our family upbringing, societal/peer pressure and expectations and role modelling.

What does the research say about why we self-sabotage when it comes to love?

According my research and working with thousands of clients, we can sabotage ourselves in over 35 different ways.  These are published in my book, Stop Sabotaging Your Confidence,

Other research demonstrating how we could sabotage our relationship includes:

  • A 2012 study by UCLA found that couples who were most satisfied with their marriage four years later were those without any doubts about getting married prior to their wedding. In contrast, the ones with doubts were two and a half times more likely to divorce four years later. This has also been my experience with clients. Their doubts become self-fulfilling.
  • Scientific research has proven that the mind is unable to differentiate between what is vividly imagined and what is real. Separate research teams, at both Harvard University and Washington University, found that the same brain regions were activated (plus a few others) when subjects imagined the future and when they recalled the past. Again, our thoughts, beliefs and self talk in our relationship, whether positive or negative, create a self-fulfilling prophesy.
  • According to research at the University of British Columbia, people who worry about workplace rejection or sabotage can bring it upon themselves; their worries can become self-fulfilling. The study showed that people who are paranoid about negative gossip or being snubbed by their peers sought out information about such behaviour. In the process, they were more likely to have angered and to have been rejected by their colleagues, confirming their fears. The same applies to a relationship with a partner.
  • Other studies found that people who focused on making good things happen were less likely to suffer from anxiety than those who focused on preventing bad things from happening. This is why it is important to program your thoughts for what you do want, so that you can create a positive self-fulfilling prophecy in your relationship.

Are you sabotaging your relationships, perhaps without even realising it? Click here to find out the top 13 signs that you’re getting in your own way when it comes to love.