In the last blog post, I talked about awareness and understanding of self-sabotaging behaviors in romantic relationships. In this blog post, I will focus on some things that you can do to begin to heal and repair this pattern of self-sabotage. The first step, as I mentioned in the last blog post, is to identify why you might be engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors. Understanding the why can help you recognize that this coping strategy is no longer needed or helpful in the present and therefore, it might make it easier to let it go. Here are a few more practices to consider on your healing journey to create satisfying, nourishing and long-lasting relationships:
Part of practicing self-compassion is recognizing that you are not alone in your relationship struggles. Many people have struggled with self-sabotaging behaviors and have felt confused, angry, or even disgusted with their behaviors and the impact they had on their partners. You are not alone, weird, or bad for struggling with self-sabotage in romantic relationships. Another part of self-compassion is to treat yourself the way that you would treat your closest friends and family members. We are often much more critical and harsh toward ourselves than we are toward others. It might be helpful to practice self-compassion by imagining what you might say to a friend who is struggling in the same way.
Own Your Stuff
One of the most difficult tasks in a relationship is to own our contributions to the relationship dynamic. It is easy to point fingers at our spouse or partner. It is tempting to place all the blame on them. Or, equally destructive, we can take on all the blame and absolve our spouse or partners of their responsibilities. It is much harder to take an objective position and see the relationship dynamic as a co-created problem to be solved by both partners. We can practice self-compassion while taking full responsibility for what we have done. Healing and repairing our self-sabotaging behaviors is an opportunity to learn something important about ourselves and our partners. We can ask our partners to work through this stuck place with us in order to create deeper intimacy in the relationship.
Confront Your Fears
We might struggle with self-sabotage in romantic relationships because we are afraid. Afraid of not being good enough, of not deserving of being treated with respect and love, of committing to someone long term, of being hurt again, of having someone really know us, of being authentic, of being vulnerable, of disappointing someone, or being abandoned, etc. Confronting our fears mean that we acknowledge what is scary and we make an intentional decision to move forward with our fears. We can take a risk with our heart knowing that nothing in a relationship is certain and that pain is a part of the self-discovery and growth process. We can take that leap of faith to really let our partners in and let ourselves love them fully, and in that process, love ourselves more fully as well. Instead of acting from a place of fear, we can practice acting from a place of love. Ask yourself, “What would I do differently if I loved my partner as an imperfect human being, independent of what they can do to satisfy me?” In addition, ask yourself, “What would I do differently if I loved myself as an imperfect human being who is deserving and worthy?”
Couples Counseling in Seattle, WA
Are you tired of sabotaging relationships by engaging in behaviors you know may drive the other person away? Do you feel ready to embark on this journey to let go of your old narrative but worry that you need a little extra support? Maybe you want the accountability of working with a therapist, or you’ve gotten stuck in the past when you’ve tried to change your behavior in relationships. Getting some extra help from a couples or marriage counselor or an individual therapist may give you the extra boost you need to break this old cycle.
Here at Thrive for the People, we have several exceptional licensed counselors and psychologists who specialize in working with relationship concerns. We can help you get to the core of what is preventing you from having a successful relationship. We help individuals and couples in the Seattle area with a wide range of mental health concerns at our Ballard counseling office and online. We offer couples & marriage counseling if you and your partner want to come to therapy together. Otherwise, we can also work with you on improving your relationship through individual counseling. Whichever area of your mental health you would like to improve, we look forward to hearing from you. You can schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation or contact us for more information.