New Member
I have been reading a book called "The Artist's Way at Work". It is an excellent book. It got me thinking about self sabotage, and how that works and why we do it.
This may not be a subject anyone wishes to discuss here, but I am curious as to how the others of us have dealt with it ~ or, are dealing with it.

Here is an example.

When I had returned to school, I found myself one day telling myself that I was too tired to continue, that I should be home taking care of my husband ( :tongue: ) and family instead of back in school, and that I should just keep walking and go home.

It turned out to be my mother's voice.

That episode was so blatant, and so clearly defined, that I was able to spot it for what it was.

Most self-sabotage is so subtle that we do not see it.

So, I am wondering whether anyone else has dealt with the problem of self-sabotage.

And what you do about it.



New Member
Barbara ~ It's funny that you realized it was your mother's voice. Truth be told, I bet lot's of self sabotage can be traced back to our mother's voice.
I don't know if it is so much of just things she said to us, or just the way she instilled what a mom should be.

My mom was always at home, I have always had to make a living. So, I spent many years in conflict that I was not being a good mom because I was not at home.

I catch myself sometimes if I am riding my horses thinking that I should be at home cooking dinner. A ~good~ wife and mother wouldn't be devoting so much time to training horses.

It is the same with spending money on myself, yet I can't put my finger on where that one comes from.

All in all most of my self sabotage comes from the voice of my mom or the image in my head of my growing up and how my mom sacrificed for me

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
A larger part of my self sabotaging behavior is rooted in guilt. I guess I could say that it comes from my mother in a way, possibly my mother in law - as far as being home taking care of my H goes anyway. But a majority of my guilt comes from right inside myself. It's based in things I've read or seen on tv, movies, the perspectives of the self proclaimed 'specialists' out there!

Each year for the past 2 years I've taken 4-5 day break away from H. I go visit my sister on her remote property far from town and people. It's wonderful to not use a clock, phone, or calendar, I can't even tell you. For those 4-5 days I am able to laugh, cry (a lot), yell, drink too much wine, or none at all. It's all for and about me, which is so refreshing considering the rest of the time, it's all about everyone else, whether it be H, my daughters or work, the dogs, the house, etc. Well, before and after my little vacation, H says little digs that erode away at the good feeling I have about treating myself to this time. His little taunts eat away at me and cause me to feel somewhat guilty about 'abandoning' him, the dogs, daughter, etc. So much so, that to avoid a possible meltdown between he and difficult child, I took difficult child with me last year. I still had fun, but it wasn't the same.I had to censor some conversations, I had to be a mom, etc. Recently, I was talking with my sister and she asked me if I was coming to visit again in July. I said I didn't know. When I hung up I thought, "Why don't I know?" then I heard H's voice in my head.

This coming Saturday, there is a very interesting seminar taking place in Boston that I want to attend. I mentioned it to H and he was trying to sound supportive, but I also picked up on his, "you're going to leave me alone with daughter to do EVERYTHING by myself" tone. I bought the ticket and am going.

I struggle, sometimes daily, with self sabotaging behaviors (whether it be me, difficult child, easy child, or H) and I'm trying really hard not to get mixed in with them. I encourage H to do things by and for himself, but his behavior is very strongly rooted in beliefs that as a married father he's not allowed to do anything by and for himself. He has told me on several occasions, "If we can't go as a family, we don't go". That's when I go alone, with the kids, or without him.


New Member
That takes alot of strength, JoG.

Acknowledging that we are sabotaging our own best efforts takes alot of strength too, I think. It always surprises me when I spot it, and I always wonder which are the self-imposed limits I allow without being able to spot them.

I hope you are able to go on your retreat without your child this year. It is important for us to learn who we are when we are not someone's wife or someone's mother. Maybe you could present it to husband as a special time for he and your child?

Nomad, you must have read the first book these authors wrote! This one is called The Artist's Way at Work, and is about encouraging that magical part of us that is creative and child-like in the face of corporate success ~ or, failure.

Learning to cherish and accept our creativity is likened to learning to ride a dragon without being destroyed by it.

I can't recommend it enough, for any of us.

I am going to read the first one, which is for artists, too.

(Just for the record, you guys? Corporate success ~ or failure ~ had nothing to do with why I read this book! :laugh:)

Hearthope, there are so many negatives connected with what I remember my mother teaching me. Surely, there must be as many positives ~ but I am not consciously aware of those either, I suppose. The interesting piece about self-sabotage as it was presented in this book is that, when we look at the problem areas in our lives ~ the things we believe we have no control over ~ we will find that these challenges exist because they serve our sabotaging selves in some way.

So, I am taking a look at things from that angle?

And I think it might be true.