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Why do I keep doing this to myself? If you have asked yourself this question, you have probably found yourself in a moment of self-sabotage. Most likely, this is not the first time you have found yourself in self-sabotage. Repetition is one of the characteristics of self-sabotage. It tends to happen over and over again until you finally find a way to break the ruthless, relentless cycle.

Vice writes, “Self-sabotage occurs when your conscious mind (the logical one that makes shopping lists and reminds you to brush your teeth) is at odds with your subconscious mind (the emotional one that stress-eats Snickers bars and drunk dials your ex).” The article explains that the conflict between the conscious minds needs and the subconscious minds wants “…manifests itself in self-sabotaging behavior.” Self-sabotage is “…your subconscious way of preventing pain and handling fear.”

Yet, most often, self-sabotage creates more pain than we “wanted” to handle and our worst fears come to a self-fulfilling truth. We self-sabotage because somewhere beneath the surface, we don’t think we are deserving of what is good in life. Buried deep within our minds are long held and well developed ‘truths’ which convince us we deserve to struggle, suffer, and experience pain. These thoughts are riddled with shame. When we self-sabotage, we bring that shame to life and perpetuate the cycle. Thankfully, the cycle can be broken.

You have to identify the root causes of your self-sabotaging behaviors, which most often means you have to identify the beliefs you hold about yourself and investigate where those beliefs come from. Cognitive behavioral therapy is useful for identifying problematic behaviors and working to solve them. Changing your beliefs doesn’t happen overnight. Creating routines like positive affirmations and positive habit building will help you change your beliefs overtime, which will contribute to less self-sabotage. Seeking treatment through therapy or a treatment program can give you the time you need to work through these problematic behaviors. With time in treatment, you can develop the tools for living you need to be successful and prosperous, without hurting yourself or sabotaging yourself in the process.