The Science of Self Sabotage

Whitney Virginia Blocker
6 min readOct 10, 2017

Why we ruin the things we want.

Self-sabotaging. You can call it accidentally on purpose shooting yourself in the foot.

The fuel to this fire is fear. Trying to get that promotion you’re afraid you won’t get? Show up five minutes late to work after worrying all night about it. Wanting to lose weight but afraid of more diet failures and never reaching your goals? Eat a pizza the night before. Thinking about getting into a relationship but afraid you’ll just end up hurt again? Find something little to pick a fight over and blow it out of proportion.

Self-sabotaging distances us from the things we actually are wanting most. And we do it unconsciously. It’s your minds response to extreme fear and worry. There are many areas we use self-sabotaging as a defense mechanism to avoid pain and uncertainty, but I’m going to focus on why we do it in relationships here.

I’m not gonna do it. I’m don’t wanna do it. I have to do it.

It’s easier to just end things early than risk abandonment later. Maybe the risk is just more than your heart can handle at the time? Maybe there’s some old wounds you need to heal before your heart could be courageous enough to love again, with a freedom of outcome.


It leaves you alone.

In your righteous anger.

It eliminates the possibility for pain while confining yourself to your own personal prison.

Fear separates. Love binds. Love is the antidote to fear, but even love comes with at a lofty price. It’s a risk when you open your heart to someone and there are no guarantees. This unknown can sometimes be too much for people and that’s usually when self-sabotaging begins to rear its ugly head.

Pride and fear run the show of self-sabotaging in relationships. It’s an impulsive, behind the scenes sort of thing. Your sub-conscious is busily at work. You’re afraid for someone to know you. See you for who you really are. So you come up with flaws, with reasons YOU should leave first. You harp on them until they are eating away at you little by little, until they become all you think about. You focus on the things you…

Whitney Virginia Blocker

freelance writer l English lit major l blogger l poet I student of life Email: