Talking about it – Part 2
Last week I started to touch on the notion of Self Sabotage, the recurring patterns that stop you from living your best life. If you haven’t read it, pop back and check it out before reading on! It will make a lot more sense!
So think about your own life. Is there a recurring pattern that you keep falling into? That doesn’t help you, but is more powerful than your own health, wellness and happiness? Maybe you have a rouge self sabotage program floating around.
You see, in the past this program or sabotage somewhat protected you. It turned on your survival instinct and was rooted into your mind as what you had to do to survive that situation and any similar in the future. So time and time again when you are ‘triggered’ by a similar emotion or situation – your body goes automatically into that program again. Helpful or not, it’s just what happens.
Let’s say you were a young boy, age 7. Life at home was tough, your Dad abused alcohol as did his own Father and would yell each night at you and your siblings. One day you went to school and your teacher asked you why you were sad. So you told her about your father and his behaviour at home. The teacher visited your parents to have a talk- she was concerned for your safety. That evening your Father hit you, yelled and locked you outside – from that point on, your young mind decided that it was a survival need for you to never speak about your feelings to anyone, ever again. So, naturally as you age, you don’t speak of your feelings. When people ask you to share how you feel, you freeze up, and whilst this isn’t the most appropriate response now, the sabotage program is strong and it stops you from responding. Your relationships fail because of your inability to talk. And in some cases, it’s not that you don’t want to speak – it’s that you feel paralysed and you cannot.
And unfortunately, the world is full of people just like this. For whatever reason they don’t feel safe to express how they feel. In some cases the thought of reaching out is more painful than the thought of checking out. And checking out happens in many forms – addictions including drug and alcohol, scrolling, social media, food, exercise; relationship infidelity; avoidance of communication; workaholics; making money; co-dependent relationships; emotional projection; blame and lack of responsibility. And the irreversible form of checking out – suicide and death.
So, how does knowing this help us encourage people to seek help?
It gives us awareness and understanding.
For some, like me, I find speaking out easy, but for others – it is the most challenging thing around.
So this is what you can do to help others feel comfortable to seek help; because I can most probably guarantee they have some sort of sabotage program floating around in their mind that creates paralysing fear towards speaking out:
- Make the environment safe. When people do express any emotion – whether it good or bad, listen. Don’t judge and definitely don’t fix. They don’t want to feel even more broken than they are. They have never felt listened too. Please just listen. The more you listen, the more they will feel confident to keep sharing their emotions. Eventually this may lead to them asking for support.
- Build them up. People with strong sabotage programs, already have a long list of self-deprecating thoughts and actions. They don’t need us to add to it. Focus on their strengths – there are a lot of them. Ignore the negatives (unless it is dangerous to yourself or others, then please do what you need to do to distance yourself).
- Work on your own stuff. We all have ‘stuff’ to work on. Recognise your own self-sabotaging behaviours. If you can, understand the emotions that lead to that behaviour and where that behaviour may have come from in your past. If you find this challenging, it may be helpful to get support from a therapist. Aim to work on you, so you can lead a better life – and who knows you may inspire others to follow.
- It’s not your story, it’s theirs. Stay in the passenger seat, you cannot fix, you cannot drive. This is their journey.
- Worried? If you at all worried about their own personal safety, or the safety of others – please contact 000 for support. Do not hesitate on this. I have called countless ambulances throughout my personal and professional careers, and not once has the person turned around and been annoyed with me for doing so.
Managing sabotage programs is but one way we can help ourselves and others live the life we desire and deserve. So right now, instead of thinking who else might ‘need’ this – do some self reflection – what sabotage programs may you have? And most importantly, what are you going to do about them?