By Brittany Tasesa

Navigating Self-Sabotage.

I didn’t really click that I could self-sabotage without realising it.

I didn’t really think about it at all, other than something I was trying actively not to do. I guess the whole point is that if you truly know when your self-sabotaging you wouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

Something about entering a settled phase is like a sudden trigger to the universe to test your fortitude and make sure you are actually learning – not just making superficial sweeping statements about growth. I am not sure when I picked the ‘regular pop quizzes’ in life subscription, but I would like to opt out of this particular membership and choose the ‘flourish and ease’ package.

I have been thinking about what has triggered this particular period. I have been tired, it has been busy over the last few months and my emotional capacity has been stretched. i am in a generally anxious space (probably as a result of those things too) and I am also navigating some recent life transitions (which feels like it’s a constant state at this point).

My boyfriend recently moved away from his home city to live with me. Albeit, he technically moved over a month ago, but work and some personal happenstances have meant we have not really had more than a few days together since then. When the move was first planned and in motion, I had a few periods of freaking out, wondering what the fuck I was getting myself into and having flashbacks to past experiences. So I suppose, because I had overcome those and he had already moved, I naively thought it would be smooth sailing from this point onwards. In reality, during this last week of properly livign together, I have reverted back to old thought processes (like mind-reading, personalisation, and catastrophisation) which are not at all conducive to my living my best life.

It has looked like worrying constantly that I have done something wrong, that he is mad at me or that I am not doing enough.

It has looked like misinterpreting his behaviour, making assumptions about his feelings and thinking worst-case scenarios.

It has looked like frequently asking whether he is mad at me, checking in constantly, and apologising often (and for nothing in particualr).

The reality is, I have no real or tangible basis for any of these thoughts, feelings or behaviours. He has reiterated several times in response to my questions that he is okay and it wasn’t until my feelings became more overwhelming and we had a conversation, that I realised how frequently I had been asking the above questions. Which only lends to this weird viscious cycle where he is fine, but my constant questioning starts to annoy him, so then he starts to feel annoyed which affirms my perception of him being mad at me, but really I was the instigator of my own demise and I have caused something that was never there in the first place (AHHHHHHH WTF) – also that is the specific self-sabotaging aspect to it, in case I didn’t make that clear.

There is also this the added layer where I get flashbacks to previous situations and remember how I didn’t trust or listen to my feelings then so I start to question whether I am right and whether I am just repeating the same patterns of behaviour again. The not being able to trust my own feelings sometimes, something I have become acquainted with unpacking over the lsat few years, is probably one of the hardest and scariest parts. It is just this implosion of crazy that makes me want to cry and/or completely dissociate from reality – which I have been trying very hard not to do lately.

The evidence that supports my own feelings being confused includes the catching myself multiple times, after identification of the fact, about to ask whether he was okay or whether he was mad at me, and also that I have started having a similar response in some of my close relationships too (leaving interactions thinking of everything I might have done wrong despite no communication of the sort).

So the common denominator in all these situations appears to be me. It’s giving main character, for the plot energy, and this was certainly not what I expected.

It sounds very obvious and clear when it’s all outlined linearly like that, but let me tell you, at the time, not so much. Hindsight is a bitch sometimes.

As I thought on it further, the underlying theme behind this warped perception seemed to be this thought of not being enough – that I was not enough. I had to acknowledge that, in part, this perception was contributed to by past experiences where I was made to feel not enough, made to feel unworthy and made to feel like I had to constantly do and be better. That I would be left or treated poorly otherwise and without any explanation at all.

I don’t have all the answers right now as I embark on this particular healing process.

But what I do know is that a part of working through this has been to remind myself of the foundations of my relationships – not just my intimate partnership, but the friendships I have nurtured too. To remind myself that these people know me, they know my flaws, they value me still and they have stayed this long. It would be a disservice to them not to trust their judgement. It would also be a disservice to them to not trust their ability to communicate their own needs and concerns should they arise – given they are also grown adults too. Therefore, right now, I have to assume the best when there is no evidence for the worst.

What I do know, is that I need to sit with these feelings, to acknowledge them, to know they are valid, but to also let them pass. To breath them in, and then let them out.

I know I need to remind myself that I am fucking amazing and deserving and worthy so of course I would have a boyfriend willing to move in with me and wanting to stick around and of course I would have friends that enjoy my company and want to see me again.

I also know I need to fast-track finding a therapist to help me identify and work through all of the above, something I have been putting off knowing I am going to have to trial and error several people before finding the right fit.

So I don’t have all the answers right now. My brain is still a bit confused and my feelings have the wires crossed a bit.

It really is a whole damn process.

It will take time.

But I have already overcome so much.

I know I can overcome this too.

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