The Logic of Self-Sabotage


What is the logic in self-sabotage . . . why would anyone want to block their own intent?

It happens – and usually for a very good reason.  But not for the reasons we think . . . because ” intent” can be both conscious and subconscious.

When I was a teenager, for example, I wanted to date girls.  You might say my conscious intent was to ask Suzie (not her real name) to a school dance.  When it was time to actually call her, however, I froze.  I just couldn’t do it!

If I actually overcome my sheer terror enough to dial Suzie’s number, I usually hung up immediately upon hearing her voice.  Or I sputtered, hemmed and hawed into the phone, or sighed heavily as I hung up again.

This went on for days.  Needless to say, Suzie was probably freaked and went to the dance with Football Jake, the biggest bodyguard she could find to protect her from this stalker!

Meanwhile I spent another boring night with my friend Dave, bemoaning the fact that neither one of us had any luck with girls.

Obvious self-sabotage: I wanted to date Suzie.  I then proceeded to do everything in my power NEVER to date Suzie!  What went wrong? And why??

The first thing to ponder is . . . is this self-sabotage really so bad?

From the point of few of a teenager, these mis-steps are ego-shattering at a critical time. As an adult looking back, however, this episode and others like it appear painfully funny.  Since almost every adult can identify with adolescent angst, they also know the lessons reveal themselves when the time and experience allows.

The adult me knows both views:  the memories of my teenage angst AND my adult view, with more knowledge and and experience.  I now know, for example:

  1. I was not emotionally prepared for a relationship (fear of rejection, low self-esteem, fear of the unknown, fear of sex, fear stemming from my grandmother’s warnings about sex and religion)
  2. I was not physically prepared for a relationship (raging hormones)
  3. I was not mentally prepare for a relationship (no knowledge of women or girls, did not understand the “rules”)

Whether or not I ever even had a chance with Suzie, I’ll never know. The fact is, however, I didn’t.  There was just too much “stuff” in my life that had other plans . . . my subconscious self was aiming me in a different direction.

If I actually did proceed to ask her out and didn’t sabotage the results,  I would surely have sabotaged the whole thing later anyway – when more damage would result.

Even as adults we have this inner “wind brake” – in the form of self-sabotage – that keeps us from creating bigger problems for ourselves down the road.   Based on our existing fears, resentments, and hidden decisions about ourselves and the world around us, we are often divided into at least two “selves” that have different motivations and even different values.

One problem is that – unlike being a teenager – we have reached adulthood and can’t really “grow out of it.”  The other problem is that until now there has been no alternate or effective way to address this gap effectively. So we continue to suffer the indignities of life speaking to us . . . and we being unable to listen!

In actuality, self-sabotage is the lack of congruence between the inner and outer selves. Once a connection is made – and motivation is aligned – then miracles can happen! Until then, inner emotional turmoil can even result in cancer and other diseases.

When it comes to health care issues especially, self-sabotage is apparent on both an individual as well as a societal level.  Visit www.erichamel.com/custom26.html for the story about how cancer is tied to emotional trauma . . . and also how breakthroughs in understanding this simple truth can also be thwarted.

Is there is a way to set the “inner wind brake” to a level that accepts more success with less sabotage?  I believe there is.  However, I also believe we must incorporate two things:

  1. Gain intimate knowledge of our inner “selves” that stop us, and
  2. Learn to access and communicate with them.

Because we are such complicated creatures, we may not be able – as a human being or society – to overcome self-sabotage completely.  I firmly believe, however, that greater self knowledge is our salvation.

Next: The Three Selves


  1. Ken Jensen says:

    Great article Michael!

    This illustrates well, my entire fight with bipolar disorder and why I was able to eventually overcome it. I became aware of the “two selves” battling inside my mind and heart.

    When I awoke to this fact and set to discovering what the fight was about, I got better. There was more to it than that but this was a key part.

    Now, I find there are other dualities warring with one another about less dramatic issues. But it’s still important to discover the fights, dsicover the reasons, and find the true answer my inner spirit wants me to achieve, when my outer self is getting in the way.

    This proces of discovery and evolution of awareness has become an adventure in itself for me!

    Be well,


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