Avoiding Self-Sabotage in Relationships: Nine Tips!

“Why do I keep sabotaging my relationships?” It’s a question that often perplexes, yet holds profound insight. Yet me tell you about Denise, who came to me with this challenge. She would get into relationships and self-sabotage in relationships. She found herself inadvertently dismantling any potential for lasting connection. Despite her earnest efforts to nurture love, a myriad of obstacles stood in her way. If you worry that you self-sabotage in relationships, get in touch to find out how I can help you create better and stronger connections.


Self-Sabotage in Relationships


Self-sabotage in relationships help


Denise explained that, “I become consumed by insecurity, relentlessly seeking signs of impending failure,” she confessed. “It’s as if I’m convinced of its inevitable demise, so I unwittingly orchestrate its downfall. It’s a peculiar cycle, I know.” With a weary exhale, Denise, now 42, yearned to break free from this destructive pattern. Self-sabotage, in its various guises, pervades the fabric of human experience, thwarting intimacy and connection.

Granted, blaming relationship woes solely to self-sabotage oversimplifies the intricate dance of partnership. Yet, recognizing and sorting out this is so important. Let’s talk about nine tips that can help you not self-sabotage in relationships. These might not be easy to do, but well worth the effort in considering.


  1. Avoid Engaging in Mind Games


Manipulative tactics can corrode the very foundation of a relationship. These can sabotage its potential for growth and intimacy. Authenticity, not strategic manoeuvres, fosters genuine connection. Consider these common examples of mind games:


Testing Boundaries

While it’s natural to assess compatibility and establish boundaries in a budding relationship, doing so through manipulative means undermines trust and mutual respect. Subjecting a partner to deliberate mistreatment or pushing boundaries recklessly is a recipe for relational turmoil.


Provoking Jealousy

Attempting to incite jealousy or playing hard to get may seem like innocuous strategies to gauge a partner’s interest. However, these ploys breed insecurity and erode the foundation of trust essential for a healthy relationship.

By resisting such manipulative tactics, you pave the way for authentic connection and mutual growth within your relationship.



Gaslighting, a manipulative tactic in which you undermine your partner’s perceptions and reality, is profoundly toxic to relationships. By playing mind games and then discrediting their partner’s reactions, the gas lighter fosters confusion and self-doubt, echoing the insidious dynamics portrayed in the film Gaslight. While gaslighting stands out as a particularly serious form of manipulation, it’s essential to recognize and avoid other behaviours that sabotage the potential for a healthy, thriving relationship.


  1. Self-Sabotage in Relationships: Avoid Provoking Jealousy


Attempting to incite jealousy in your partner, whether through flirtation with others or other means, is a destructive strategy that erodes trust and mutual respect. By positioning yourself as untrustworthy or manipulative, you jeopardize the foundation of your relationship. The repercussions of such actions may extend far beyond, even breeding resentment and distrust that linger for years.

To cultivate a fulfilling, long-term relationship, it’s imperative to consider the enduring impact of your actions. Even seemingly innocuous behaviours, such as pretending to flirt with others, can sow seeds of mistrust that fester over time.

Interestingly, these behaviours often stem from an underlying need to relax and foster genuine connection in romantic endeavours. If you cut out manipulative tactics, you lay the groundwork for a relationship grounded in trust, respect, and mutual understanding.


  1. Avoid Overdoing things


I’m not saying don’t make an effort! Rather you can find that when you exert excessive effort, whether through playing hard to get or engaging in love bombing, you can sabotage relationships from the outset. While playing hard to get implies withholding effort, love bombing inundates a partner with an overwhelming barrage of attention, affection, and approval. Both of these extremes disrupt the delicate balance necessary for healthy relationship dynamics.

Love bombing, akin to the tactics employed by cults, may initially captivate a partner with its lavish displays of over affection. However, it poses inherent risks:

  1. Unrealistic Expectations: By setting an unsustainable precedent of intense attention and devotion, you inadvertently raise the bar impossibly high. Any deviation from this standard may be perceived as a sign of waning interest, precipitating feelings of disillusionment and disappointment.
  2. Perceived Desperation: Excessive displays of affection can come across as desperate or insincere, undermining the authenticity of your intentions and diminishing attraction.

Ultimately, a fulfilling relationship should complement and not consume your life. Striking a balance between devotion and independence fosters a sense of mutual respect and autonomy. While love bombing serves as a conspicuous example of overzealous behaviour, other manifestations of trying too hard may emerge as the relationship progresses.


  1. Avoid Excessive Monitoring and Interrogation


Resist the urge to treat your partner like a therapy client or a subject under interrogation. Constantly probing for thoughts, dissecting every action and endlessly exploring minor issues can transform the relationship into a stifling environment devoid of spontaneity and joy.

Constantly asking out of insecurity, “What are you thinking?” or scrutinizing a lack of smiles can inadvertently create an atmosphere of unease. While open communication is essential, not every minor concern warrants exhaustive discussion. Couples who maintain a balance between meaningful dialogue and light-heartedness tend to experience greater satisfaction in their relationships.

Monitoring your partner’s every move may stem from emotional insecurity. Its repercussions can be detrimental to the relationship. Healthy relationships thrive on freedom, spontaneity, and shared enjoyment, not constant analysis and scrutiny.


Self-Sabotage in Relationships Hypnotherapy


  1. Self-Sabotage in Relationships: Avoid Clinginess


Research underscores the self-fulfilling nature of expecting rejection. The fear of being rejected often precipitates the very outcome we dread. Constantly seeking reassurance or monitoring your partner’s every move is a form of control that breeds emotional distance and distrust.

Intimacy thrives on a sense of togetherness and shared reality. Clinginess corrodes this foundation. When your insecurity suffocates your partner, inhibiting their freedom and autonomy, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy of rejection.

Granting your partner space is essential. Address any underlying jealousy issues and refrain from manipulative game-playing. Embracing the inherent uncertainty of life is a pivotal developmental milestone, fostering resilience and trust within relationships. In essence, relinquishing the need for total security fosters a healthier dynamic characterized by mutual respect, autonomy, and genuine connection.


  1. Refrain from Trying to Change Them


There’s a familiar jest that when a man marries a woman, he hopes she won’t change, whereas a woman meeting a man hopes he will. While growth and evolution are natural aspects of any relationship, actively seeking to mold your partner to fit your ideals can breed resentment and diminish their sense of worth.

In a healthy relationship, individuals support each other’s personal development, embracing the natural progression of growth over time. When you impose rigid expectations and attempt to alter fundamental aspects of your partner’s identity, this can foster feelings of inadequacy and resentment. Constant criticism and attempts to control your partner’s appearance, social circle, or behaviour constitute a form of tyranny, eroding the foundation of trust and mutual respect. By conveying an implicit message that your partner is inherently flawed, you risk driving a wedge between you and fostering a sense of alienation.

Criticism, is a big self-sabotage in relationships, It can truly inflict deep wounds and undermine the fabric of the relationship. Rather than striving to mold your partner into a replica of yourself, celebrate their individuality and support their journey toward self-realization.


  1. Avoid Defensiveness


Creating an environment where your partner feels constantly on edge or afraid to express themselves freely is detrimental to the health of your relationship. When someone reacts defensively, even to innocuous remarks, it breeds misunderstanding and erodes the sense of intimacy. Just as chronic criticism corrodes the bond between partners, habitual defensiveness can have equally damaging effects.

Taking proactive steps to relax, challenge assumptions and respond thoughtfully rather than reactively can help alleviate defensiveness within the relationship. Rather than instinctively lashing out, fostering open communication and a willingness to listen fosters trust and deepens connection.

In essence, defensiveness acts are common ways people self-sabotage in relationships. Defensiveness can block opportunities for genuine understanding and intimacy. By cultivating a culture of acceptance and empathy, you create a space where both partners feel valued and understood.


  1. Guard Against Complacency


In the ebb and flow of everyday life, it’s easy to lose sight of the extraordinary person beside you. Familiarity can breed indifference, leading to a sense of being taken for granted. To preserve the heart of your relationship, cultivate gratitude and avoid allowing routine to overshadow appreciation.

Expressing genuine appreciation for your partner and the relationship fortifies its foundation, preventing decay from setting in. Too often, promising relationships wither due to a lack of acknowledgment and gratitude. While complacency poses a tangible threat, it’s imperative to address emotional factors that may permeate the relationship.


  1. Don’t Let Low Self-Esteem Impact Your Relationship


Low self-esteem can inadvertently sabotage a relationship, leading to feelings of contempt or unworthiness. If left unchecked, these sentiments can destabilize the foundation of the relationship.

Individuals grappling with low self-esteem may view their partner’s affection with suspicion, questioning their motives and feel unworthy of love. Alternatively, they may cling desperately to the relationship, fearing that they’ll never find love elsewhere. This is a dynamic that undermines mutual respect and equality.

Remember, each moment shared with your partner is a precious gift in the tapestry of existence. Cultivating self-esteem not only enriches your own life but also strengthens the bond you share with your partner, fostering a relationship grounded in mutual respect and appreciation. In essence, nurturing self-esteem and expressing gratitude serve as pillars supporting a fulfilling and enduring relationship.


Self-sabotage in relationships? There is hope


Acknowledging and addressing the ways we inadvertently self-sabotage in relationships is a crucial step toward fostering healthier dynamics. Whether you recognize these behaviours in your partner or yourself, there is reason for optimism.

If you would like to talk about the ways you self-sabotage in relationships, get in touch today. Sessions in London and online can help you break out of those unhelpful patterns. By cultivating self-awareness and a willingness to grow, you can transform destructive patterns into behaviours that promote growth and intimacy.



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Jason Demant Clinical Hypnotherapist
London hypnotherapist. Seeing Clients in King's Cross and online.