Self-Saboteur, Co-Saboteur

 You may have people close to you, such as family or spouse, who exerts a powerful influence upon your life. They want a good relationship with you as much as you want one with them. Their opinions, however, may be sabotaging or not be in your best interest.

Patricia, for example, is an independent career woman. She loves to work and can live alone away from her husband. Despite her busyness though, she balances it with enough time and care for the needs of her husband and only daughter.

Yet, Patricia shared during a session that she couldn’t understand her husband’s treatment of her. Even out of nowhere, tactless remarks, jokes, criticisms, or silences will come from him. Times when she finds herself reacting to his behavior with depression, self-blame, or anger.

In my work with Patricia, she becomes more aware how her man’s disapproval or negativity can cause her to sabotage her self. When she gets too near to her success in her work, she tries to play it down since that’s the time she notices her husband becoming aloof or critical.

Knowing how to detect signs of a “co-saboteur” in your life is essential to your self growth and mental health. In that way, when the warning signals come, you can be prepared for what hits you! You can know how to understand and deal with them.

In the case of Patricia, it’s possible that her man may be unconsciously sabotaging his wife’s progress because of feelings of insecurity. He could mean well for he just wants more of Patricia’s attention, and broadening of her life and passionate interests to include him.

Often, a “co-saboteur” is not aware that he is sabotaging or being destructive towards one he cares about. He is not doing it on purpose. He simply needs help to see how he is impulsively responding to deeply buried feelings about himself.

Patricia meanwhile should never “self-sabotage” and diminish accomplishments in order to keep her husband from being jealous, critical, or withdrawn. Instead of avoiding/circling around it, she can choose to directly process it with her husband.

She could respond to her husband with something like, “I feel hurt when you’re not telling me how great I am with my achievements. I’d like you tell me that instead of acting on your irritation or anger. I love you, and nothing will change between us because I’m expanding.”

With that, the precious parts of the marriage will thus be salvaged especially when her husband responds positively. And Patricia will have eliminated him as a “co-saboteur!”

Remember the nature of the Saboteur and the work needed. As author Mat Hudson put it, “How has your Saboteur become so powerful? It’s because your unconscious mind is like a wall that’s been built up brick by brick, minute by minute, month by month, year after year, for decades.”