ERP 150: What To Do When Stuck In Self Sabotage

By Posted in - How To Improve Your Relationship & Podcast August 10th, 2018 0 Comments self sabotaging relationship patterns

Topic: Self sabotaging relationship patterns

In a recent session, a client asked: “Am I sabotaging my relationship?”

After being divorced and single, she has been in the process of dating. With the guy she is currently dating, she is unsure. She wants marriage and long-term partnership, and she doesn’t know if he does. She wants to have an emotionally mature connection, where they are each committed to trying to resolve conflict constructively. She doesn’t know if he is interested or capable.

In exploring her question, based on her situation (They had a long-weekend get-a-way together. They had some conflict.), we discussed:

  • Being out of alignment. If she is dating someone who is not interested in a more committed relationship and she wants a long-term partnership, she may feel a sense of unease and discontentment regardless of how he shows up.
  • Not feeling resolved. Even is he is being super sweet and trying to move forward from a conflict, she may have a difficult time feeling relaxed because she is not clear and resolved about their disagreement.
  • Feeling threatened. If she has fear about rejection and abandonment (based on previous hurt and trauma), and she is dating someone who is more casual in their commitment, it is likely that she will find some of his behavior threatening (i.e. not consistent engagement).
  • Feeling safe and worthy to experience love. Many times when we are experiencing more love and connection than we have ever known before, we may reach a point where we don’t know how to receive and be present. Hence, we unconsciously self-sabotage.

Please listen to the podcast episode or read the transcript to hear stories, explanations, and examples.

The Upper Limit Problem

In “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks, he talks about how we all limit our experience through various ways of self-sabotage.

Most of us grow up experiencing a certain level of success, abundance, and love. We might call this our comfort zone. As we grow, develop, and we may strive to accomplish more and achieve new levels of love, abundance, and success. However, when we do this, we are often confronted with a threshold of what we are capable of receiving. Gay calls this our Upper Limit.

This is all happening below our field of awareness. Gay Hendricks describes that we have one or more hidden barriers, which are essentially our fears of why it is not okay to expand into new levels of love, abundance, and success.

When these unconscious fears get activated, we constrict. We cut off the flow of energy and expansion.

When I explain this process to clients, I like to use a cup analogy. The cup represents our comfort zone. The water or liquid that is being poured into the cup represents abundance, love or success. We can easily contain the abundance that fits within our comfort zone. However, when the liquid (or abundance) starts to fill up the cup and seems to be hitting the threshold of what the cup can contain, we start reacting and unconsciously stop the flow of liquid because we do not know how to contain more.

Ways we self-sabotage (self sabotaging relationship patterns)

Here are some common ways that people cut off the flow of abundance, success, and love (from The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks):

  • Worrying
  • Blame and criticism
  • Getting sick
  • Having an accident
  • Picking a fight
  • Hiding significant feelings
  • Not keeping agreements
  • Not speaking significant truth to the relevant people
  • Deflecting

These are all ways that we unconsciously restrict or limit themselves. I am sure you have heard many stories where someone has accomplished great success and then the next moment they do something to sabotage themselves (i.e. politicians, professional athletes, actors, musicians). Or maybe you can reflect on a memory of your own, where you experienced a great success and then you did something to bring yourself back down.

Gay Hendricks helps us understand why we do this. Most of the time our fear comes from an early experience in life, where we internalized a message that it is not okay to shine or expand.

Here are the 4 common Hidden Barriers (from The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks):

  • Feeling fundamentally flawed
  • Disloyal and abandonment
  • Believing that more success brings a bigger burden
  • The crime of outshining

The goal is to become more aware and mindful about when you experience your upper limit and how to work with it more consciously. Going back to the cup analogy, you will want to expand the size of your cup.

4 Keys to Working with the Upper Limit Problem (from The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks)

  • Breathe. Observe.
  • Adopt an attitude of wonder and play

What was I thinking right before I started worrying?” What was I thinking about right before this happened?

  • Explore: What is the underlying fear or concern (hidden barrier)?
  • Expand capacity: I consciously expand my capacity for more abundance, success, love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.



Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode: ERP 150: WHAT TO DO WHEN STUCK IN SELF SABOTAGE [TRANSCRIPT]

If you have a topic you would like me to discuss, please reach out to me. Here is my contact information.

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Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication.

Stop the criticism loop, learn new ways to communicate
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Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching