Reassessing Self-Sabotage | Terry Baranski


From CPTSD Foundation: “The term self-sabotage enjoys wide usage in psychological, spiritual, and self-help circles. It is often used to explain a variety of behaviors such as addiction, compulsion, perfectionism, procrastination, and bad financial management. In this article I’ll contend that there are several problems with the notion of self-sabotage:

  1. It does not accurately describe what it’s attempting to describe.
  2. It carries with it an aura of blame and shame.
  3. It provides no explanation for why a person is behaving in a particular way and is therefore essentially useless as a concept . . .

Getting at Why

With any kind of repetitive, maladaptive behavior, it’s critical to get to the root cause – rather than offering a surface-level description – if treatment is to succeed. The behaviors that often fall into the realm of self-sabotage are, in my view, virtually always the result of unconscious emotional processes. As such, a bottom-up therapeutic modality that works with the unconscious – such as Internal Family Systems (IFS) – offers a far more comprehensive approach to healing relative to cognitive (top-down) techniques.”

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