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 SunnyGirlFL
Joined: 6/3/2010
Msg: 1
Why do we sabotage relationships....Page 1 of 4    (1, 2, 3, 4)
Well, here I go again. Meet a good guy, my usual fear of loss - abandonment takes over, I push him away...and, I sit there asking myself 'why - again?'

In all honesty, I know why I behave this way...it's certainly not the first time I've done this and I have read more about early childhood development and how our relationships with our early caregivers defines how we bond/not bond with others throughout our entire life. It's certainly not rocket science knowing the WHY...what IS frustrating is understanding WHY - knowing why I behave this way - I CONTINUE to do this!

Is there someone out there that has any tips on how to change the behavior of pushing people away when in fact that is the last place you want to push them? I'd be very appreciative if anyone has overcome this and what they did in order to do so.

thanks!
 LiliMarleen
Joined: 5/24/2009
Msg: 2
view profile
History
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 4:54:11 AM
OP, congratulations on recognizing your behavioral pattern. It IS very frustrating when we see our own self-destructive patterns and yet are unable to change them. However, awareness is always the first step, and the ability to change always lags behind, to a certain extent.

If you know that you're doing this because of patterns established in your childhood, and you really want to change, I would recommend that you find a good therapist.

Also, continue to evaluate what you're doing and what it might have been in this particular man's behavior that triggered your abandonment issues.

I have found for myself that while I know I have these issues, how they manifest has a lot to do with the man I'm dating, as well. For example, I've been dating somebody now since January, and he does not trigger these things in me.

Finally, remember that we're always exactly where we should be. Be gentle with yourself and trust that you're learning and getting better, and eventually you will.
 motown cowgirl
Joined: 6/30/2010
Msg: 3
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 4:56:39 AM
nah.... you really have NO idea WHY you keep doing it. because if that were true, if you kept doing the same thing and then complaining about the results that you know you'll get, that would either make you RETARDED or INSANE.

there are subconscious reasons for your behavior that you haven't yet faced openly. there are aspects either directly or indirectly related to your "usual fear of loss" that you are stuffing. at the conscious level, you have merely discovered at some point that sabotaging yourself NOW is always easier than facing the anticipated outcomes of your choices LATER.

whatever the reasons, YOU have to discover them... until you do, your subconscious will keep driving the bus and you'll never really know why you CONTINUE to sabotage yourself over and over again.

i've done similar things in the past myself. the situations were completely different, but the story was the same in terms of "acting out" in a pattern that became a cycle of behavior that described an overall theme to my relationships. my own "thing" was a self-esteem issue. my being willing to face that directly and honestly for the 1st time without blinking was the first step. it was a frightening step to take, so it seemed daunting at the time. but then all of a sudden, it became easy... like i had dropped a 500 pound load of ugly sad baggage that i had been secretly carrying for years. with that out of the way, the next step was learning how to develop some self esteem. it was all "uphill-easy" from there.

i'm not suggesting that you have a self esteem issue because i don't know. i'm just describing the process. there is an important reason for the story that you keep telling yourself. discover it.
 Spider_MacGyver
Joined: 6/11/2011
Msg: 4
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 4:59:01 AM
OP,
I know it's true that you can break a pattern once you know why you do it.

But there's 2 kinds of "why": the knowledge of general human behavior patterns which can thankfully be obtained from books -- and then whatever personal, specific way it relates to your individual life story.

Personally: I was raised in chaos. I started by trying to create chaos in relationships where none existed, then swung to the other extreme of being unable to tolerate disorderliness, all without being self-aware.

We have the instinct to recreate what is familiar, even when it is unpleasant, because we don't know any other way to be... and then push away our own creation, because it is unpleasant.

It's the learning of other ways to be that is the hard work.
But rewarding.
The first time you break an old, self-sabotaging habit and relate in a new way, you'll be hooked on the process.

 Janet_Always
Joined: 12/7/2010
Msg: 5
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 5:07:59 AM

I have read more about early childhood development and how our relationships with our early caregivers defines how we bond/not bond with others throughout our entire life.

So since you were a child you've NEVER bonded to anyone? You had a relationship for more than 7 years according to your profile. What was different that time?
 VacationGuy234
Joined: 8/1/2008
Msg: 6
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 5:21:49 AM
I totally agree with the whole bond/not bond thing, but you can't create relationships based on fantasy. And, when we are young fantasy is all we get. You can't magically make someone appear which you can have a bond. It doesn't work like that. The only thing you can do is understand that there is risk and you must come to terms with that fact.

I would do this: The next time you are contemplating a relationship push the envelope a little further, but keep in mind you are not pushing it all the way, just a little further. And, if you want to stay then stay.

Make out a list of all the reasons for not moving forward and rationalize whether they are a big enough deal to break it off.
 SunnyGirlFL
Joined: 6/3/2010
Msg: 7
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 5:25:12 AM
That is a great question, Janet. Every long-term relationship I have had in my life...an 8 year, a 2 year and a 4 year...all were with men that I had developed great friendships with first, without any pretense of a relationship. When, in each of those instances, we began dating...all over 1 year after I had been friends with them, I guess my fears of abandonment weren't as prevelant.

I can say, though, that even with the history, I had to - on every level - constantly work on myself and not allow my fears to take over 'reality.'

My pushing men away when I meet them is always inherently with a man that is new to my life...someone I have no history with whatsoever. I push them away and it is something I want to stop doing. I wrote in my profile that I want to go slow and this is exactly why...I know my patterns and honestly, I find it pathetic. But, time after time, when I meet that guy i really connect with and we spend a lot of time together...I completely freak out and find a way to push them away. Totally self-sebotage
 _TALL_IQ2_
Joined: 2/10/2010
Msg: 8
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 6:26:17 AM

with a man that is new to my life...someone I have no history with whatsoever. I push them away and it is something I want to stop doing. I wrote in my profile that I want to go slow and this is exactly why...time after time, when I meet that guy i really connect with and we spend a lot of time together...I completely freak out and find a way to push them away


So STOP CALLING HIM EVERY DAY !
A guy wants to have SOME time to figure out his own thoughts and plans, without getting those multiple calls every day from the woman he just went on two fun dates with!
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 9
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 6:34:40 AM

Is there someone out there that has any tips on how to change the behavior of pushing people away when in fact that is the last place you want to push them?

You could always try not pushing someone away when you feel the urge and force yourself to be a little uncomfortable to see if it passes or that it gets better with each new relationship you get into. Or - you could try therapy.

You aren't defined by what happens to you early in life. That's a victim mentality. You have to want to get over things and take the approach that the rest of your life is up to you, if you want to get over the past.
 *Just Jim*
Joined: 7/6/2007
Msg: 10
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 6:39:57 AM

But, time after time, when I meet that guy i really connect with and we spend a lot of time together...I completely freak out and find a way to push them away. Totally self-sabotage



Its good that you know this, & it's good to want to figure out what keeps, "this emotional wall" from lets you get around it. And moving into the next level of a loving relationship.

To trust is important,yet to love we must surrender, to take that chance even thou the out come is still not clear enough. Such is life butterfly.

I think we all had those moments in life. That Iwe put that wall up. And what did I learn from that?
As I found out,I only cheated myself, as the life on the other side is so much better.
Regardless of all the risks,etc,etc.

And I think you know this too.

Hope you find that key....
 Janet_Always
Joined: 12/7/2010
Msg: 11
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 6:40:33 AM

Every long-term relationship I have had in my life...an 8 year, a 2 year and a 4 year...all were with men that I had developed great friendships with first, without any pretense of a relationship.

So if you can bond with a man as a friend, what is different with a relationship vs. friendship?

Sex? Expectations? Having to compromise? Losing your independence?

I don't think this is an abandonment issue at all. You're keeping men at a distance because you don't want something -- something that happens during a relationship you don't like. What would that be?
 rearguard*2
Joined: 2/8/2008
Msg: 12
view profile
History
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 6:51:37 AM
In general, people without specific constraints (like health problems, mental disorders, poverty, drug addiction) tend to organize their lives so that they feel comfortable and happy with the situations they find themselves in. They actually continuously create their lives.

So, my first conclusion is that you behave as you behave because you are happy being by yourself.

If you really want to be part of a couple, the simplest and fastest route is to put yourself in the care of another person, that being the man (or woman?) that you think you want a relationship with. Its really a conscious act, and a skill you can develop with practice. Have faith in the person of your desires and trust they will reciprocate, which, in general, they will.

Its not actually hard to be in love. The vast majority of human beings achieve it with no training at all. The mechanism is well known, but it does require an act of will on your part.
 TDH49
Joined: 8/13/2010
Msg: 13
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 6:55:18 AM
It's certainly not rocket science knowing the WHY...what IS frustrating is understanding WHY - knowing why I behave this way - I CONTINUE to do this!
The walls we build up around ourselves are usually not just to keep other's out. Sometimes it's to see who cares about us enough to knock them down.




Is there someone out there that has any tips on how to change the behavior of pushing people away when in fact that is the last place you want to push them? I'd be very appreciative if anyone has overcome this and what they did in order to do so.
Communication would help. If I pushed someone away I know I didn't want to. I would talk to that person after the fact and explain that I tend to sabotage relationship in this way and that I'm working on getting a handle on the situation. That if they see me pushing them away in the future I'm asking them to just show a little patience and to bear with me while I work through it.

I think if you are open and honest with these men they very well will be patient with you. At least they will have a logical reason for your behaviour.

You may not be able at this point to stop yourself from sabotaging the relationship. But you can still salvage the situation in the aftermath by communicating with the victim of the sabotage. Who knows maybe he will think you are worth sticking around for while you battle your demons.
 LiliMarleen
Joined: 5/24/2009
Msg: 14
view profile
History
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 7:14:04 AM
^^^^^^^^

I agree with TDH that communication can be very helpful in this regard. A mature person will know that we all have issues. I have found with the man I am dating how, that our ability to talk about our issues as they come up is bringing us closer and increasing the intimacy and good feelings between us.

Of course we are both taking responsibility for our own stuff and are not blaming the other person.

You have not mentioned what it is, exactly, that you are doing to push men away, or more specifically, what you did with the man you mentioned in your opening post, so it is a little difficult to say how you could have handled it better.
 Jerilyn
Joined: 6/10/2011
Msg: 15
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 9:12:14 AM
This is something I am familiar with, having done it myself many times. It is very frustrating and frightening as well, knowing what you are doing and yet watching yourself self destruct as though you have no power or control over your own actions.

To make it worse, like attracts like... meaning that men with the same issues will often find you. Its a vicious cycle...

Much as I`d like to believe therapy can help... I`m not convinced its the answer. Some people overcome these things, others don`t. It depends on the depth of the damage.
 Janet_Always
Joined: 12/7/2010
Msg: 16
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 9:17:04 AM

Some people overcome these things, others don`t. It depends on the depth of the damage.

Actually it depends on how badly someone wants to change and if they are willing to take the risks involved in doing so.

The ones that never overcome something choose that option because they are getting something out of their current situation that they are not willing to give up.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 17
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 9:27:48 AM
Just because you have sort of discovered the formula of your problem, will not give you the answers to them. Why? What if that inner voice was right with a given guy, that it needed to be pushed away. Also, you may wait so long to feel safe with these people that when you jump into the relationship it is no longer has the sense of passion that you would have if you had trusted some initial instinct.

I would recommend that you seek what is called family of origin therapy. If anything it may help you pinpoint where some of these feelings come from. Were your parents divorced? Was you dad absent all the time?

That is the start. Then look at what point you begin to sabotage the relationship. Is it after sexual intimacy? Is it when the commitment moves from temporary to long term. Is it at that elusive moment when you go from "Liking" someone, to "Loving" someone.
What would you say are the key events around when this sabotaging takes place?
 marcus_biggs
Joined: 4/2/2011
Msg: 18
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 10:04:06 AM
this may help-

http://www.focusedattention.com/eZine/FAI-eZine0905_Unconscious_Intentions_Running_Your_Life.htm
 WomanInProgress
Joined: 10/16/2005
Msg: 19
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 10:12:29 AM
I have this issue, pretty intensely - with most people, but especially men. Your best defense, somewhere early on in dating a person if you're really into them, is to explain yourself.

While it's nice to know what you're doing, and have a goal to relearn your behavior, laying it on the table to give them some clue what you may do and what they can take from it is the difference between them walking because they plain think you're not interested and staying because they like you and they get what's going on.

I started doing this with friends, potential dates...it makes a world of difference.

Next, go through your family history and get to the bottom of why you do what you do, and try and resolve it as much as you can (if you want to change it, that is). I'd even suggest some group or one on one therapy with someone you're comfortable talking to.
 karma1160
Joined: 6/10/2008
Msg: 20
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 10:24:27 AM
Speaking from someone who has been down this road, met the man of my dreams, married him and lost him and is still here with a total belief that it can happen again.
Life is a collection of moments of pure joy and sadness, it is always worth the risk even if you loose. Life was not meant to last forever, if it were we would not value it as much.
There are no sure things, the only sure thing is that if you try to eliminate all the variables that may cause you pain, you will never find a person worthy enough to walk your path.
Humans are falible by design, life is an excercise to achieve greatness and pass it on.
Your legend lives in all that you touch, don't leave life without giving of your self, you are here for a reason.
 SunnyGirlFL
Joined: 6/3/2010
Msg: 21
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 10:28:06 AM
Tall-IQ2 - that isn't the issue. I don't call everyday...or even every 5 days. I definitely let the communication come from the man. I'm old fashioned that way... Sounds like you've had some issues with women who do call you everyday...do you want to talk about that?
 _TALL_IQ2_
Joined: 2/10/2010
Msg: 22
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 10:31:01 AM

women who do call you everyday...do you want to talk about that?


Ok hon, PM me your number..
 Dreamer_in_SC
Joined: 6/13/2011
Msg: 23
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 10:46:45 AM
I am surprised nobody has yet mentioned that sometimes people sabotage relationships so that they can be the one in control of weather or not it ends or not.

Maybe a better way to say it is... Have you been dumped in the past and hated that feeling? Was that an emotional pain that made you want to never feel it again?

If either of those hold true then it could simply be a defensive tactic to avoid feeling that way again. Anytime you feel like you are slipping into a similar situation as when you felt that pain before you sabotage BEFORE it reaches that point.

It is like having a car accident that you got hurt in and now every time you drive past that spot it causes you to feel the pain and emotions that you felt that day of the accident... As a coping mechanism anytime you get near that spot in the road you instead make a turn and take a side road to avoid driving past that same spot

The trouble is in order to get where you want to go (meaning a healthy relationship) you can not keep avoiding the trip trying to drive around the pain.

Just a thought.
 SunnyGirlFL
Joined: 6/3/2010
Msg: 24
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 10:48:38 AM
Okay...you all have REALLY opened my eyes to some things that should have been inherently very obvious to me. You're all right in a lot of ways. I am comfortable being by myself, but am incredibly unfulfilled. I am definitely carrying deep feelings of abandonment from childhood...and without all the hoopla, have very distinct and powerful memories of those moments when I completely felt as though I was desperately alone and too young to know what to do...I was terrified by that and for me to sit here nearly 40 years later and admit that is not only daunting but my heart rate just went up! I guess I should be willing to talk about this to a man. There are reasons we don't. For me, at least, to bear this would just throw it out there just how defective I am and that would probably be the deal breaker for many men. However, if I look at the outcome anyway...well, it's the same isn't it? For the men I have dated that were friends first...I have had the ability to let them 'see' me - frailties, faults, quirks and defects...while we were friends - and they still stuck around. I guess having that safety net first is what enabled me to jump. I think sometimes I just fear that someone WILL discover these deep scars and they will look at me differently and that scares me.

I want to be vulnerable...amazingly so...and maybe that is why I am trying so hard to discover ways to overcome this fateful pattern.

You asked what I did...the usual. I tell a man that I am really into - he's really into me...and I say - I need to take a step back. I'm not ready for this...I want to leave myself open to date other men. When that is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what I really want. So...what do I do...I completely turn it off. For me...as the words spill from my lips, my brain tries to scream..."Nooooooo, she doesn't mean a word of this!!!!" Yet, I say it - it is done. It was at the moment when I realized that seeing only this guy was all I really wanted that I freaked out.

So, there you have what I did this time around...it's nearly the same thing every time...maybe different words...different reasons. At first this guy said he was cool with us taking a step back...then he said he wasn't cool with it. I then, to make matters worse, as a child would do...asked him to not call me in the future. What? I mean, those words flew off my tongue and I was practically hitting delete at the same time. Really? I mean, Really...I don't blame the guy for thinking I am a total flake...a complete B-I-O-T-C-H. And, I really am not. I have it in me to love deeply...very deeply...because I have. And, it kills me to think that I not only hurt someone else, but that I truly ruined the possibility of something wonderful...it was too soon to really know, but there was potential.

I will take your great advice...and, not just take it slowly but really put my fear out there and let someone know my pattern and ask for their help in overcoming it. The right man will stick around I suppose....

thanks for all your great help...I truly, TRULY, appreciate it!
 PasionLatina0529
Joined: 1/25/2009
Msg: 25
Why do we sabotage relationships....
Posted: 6/20/2011 11:24:56 AM
Yes, seek counseling. None of us are equipped for that one.
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