SOLOCAST | Self-Sabotage: Why We Do It + How to Stop the Cycle

Wellness + Wisdom Episode 507

Wellness + Wisdom Podcast Host and Wellness Force Media CEO, Josh Trent, shares how to identify and get rid of self-sabotage.

In this solocast, you will learn:

  • How self-sabotage unconsciously hinders our success.
  • Why wounded ego is the reason why we self-sabotage.
  • The disconnect between what we want and how we show up in our life.
  • How we act out unconsciously what we see from our parents until we heal.
  • The way intimate relationships can drive low insecure attachment style, self-worth, fear of getting heartbroken, and fear of commitment.
  • Cognitive dissonance: Holding two conflicting ideas at the same time, one being conscious and the other one unconscious.
  • How self-sabotage leads to chronic struggles.
  • Procrastination and perfectionism: Trauma response and defense mechanism.
  • How breathing and being still stops self-sabotage, and why we need the courage to turn toward the root of the repeated cycle.
  • What is our self-sabotage wanting to teach us?

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Listen To Episode 507 As Josh Trent Uncovers The Root Cause Of Unconscious Self-Sabotage

[00:00] Self-Sabotage As The Result Of Our Lives

In this Solocast, we're going deep into the concept of self-sabotage, which is perfect timing. Whether you're hearing this live on the day it's published or years from now, it still has the same weight and the capacity to uplevel and change your life.

That is my promise that by the end of this solocast, I'm going to give you an actionable guide, as well as some science and spirituality behind self-sabotage, why we do it, and how we stop the cycle.

How do we unhinge from the very thing that we know is causing us pain but we just aren't aware of what the root of that thing actually is?

Well, it may seem shocking some people undermined their own good intentions and long-term success goals because self-sabotage occurs in the shadows when people hinder their own success, and take destructive steps without actually knowing it.

Maybe some deeper part of them knows it because their harmful behavior shows up as the results of their lives with negative impacts in nearly every part of their existence, including money, relationships, career health… You name it. Self-sabotage shows up in so many deleterious ways.

[01:15] Unconscious Destructive Behaviour

So first, let's go over why people self-sabotage. People, unconsciously block their progress for so many different types of reasons.

They may consciously or unconsciously commit these acts of self-sabotage and the causes range from childhood issues, epigenetics, emotional epigenetics, prior relationships, and heartbreak essentially all the ways that the ego that is wounded tries to stay safe.

Other reasons for this destructive behavior stems from low self-esteem, or a sense of not being good enough and coping with cognitive dissonance, which I'll go into in a moment.

So if we know what we want and we know what we don't want, then why is there a disconnect between our embodiment of how we show up in the world, and the results of our life?

In other words, if we know what we don't want and what we do want then why do we continue to receive what we don't?

Well, I will share with you that people who self-sabotage may be aware of their actions, for example, somebody who is overweight and on a diet might consciously sabotage their efforts by eating a whole chocolate cake or staying up till 4 AM, and then eating a whole pizza.

Or they might act from an unconscious place where they miss a work deadline which on the surface it seems like they were running late, but the truth is they are afraid of failure, so the human being self-sabotage is by unconsciously missing the due date and bypasses their goal to advance in the company.

Difficult childhood growing up in a dysfunctional family can contribute towards a proclivity towards self-sabotage. We act out unconsciously what we see from our parents so without a secure attachment style you might have an ambivalent or vacillation or avoidant attachment style.

It's because our earliest engagement and lessons from our parents and caregivers drastically impacted how we connect to ourselves and others.

Take an inventory right now, take a deep breath. There's something that you wanted from the solocast and this is the core of how you get it.

Question: Did your parents tell you growing up that you'll never amount to much or that you're not good enough or did you have people in your life when you were growing up especially ages 3 through 7, but even 7 through 18, those are the very formative years where neuroplasticity and neurogenesis are in full speed from a brain perspective.

In childhood, we are delicate like a rose and require water, sunlight, and nourishment, and if we don't get that emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally, then unconsciously, we will act out the exact situations in childhood from an unconscious space until they get healed.

[04:32] Relationships And Self Sabotage

Here's your first action step: take an emotional inventory.

I've talked about this in-depth on the Hypervigilance Solocast, which you can access at, and also the Emotional Epigenetics Solocast a these are two huge scaffoldings that will help you understand this podcast and give you more context on what I am teaching today.

Another core root of self-sabotage has been difficult relationships. For example, if your ex-partner consistently put you down, you still might feel bruised or broken in this way.

Based on a recent scientific study on self-sabotage from Cambridge University, psychologists who specialized in intimate relationships in Australia identified the main issues for the recurrence of self-sabotage in romantic relationships.

The reasons included insecure attachment style, low self-worth, the fear of having their heart broken, fear of commitment, unhealthy, toxic beliefs about relationships, they learn from their parents and society, and coping problems when it relates to matters of the heart.

And, lastly, at the root is cognitive dissonance or the mental discomfort that a human being may have when they hold two conflicting ideas at the same time.

Humans are pleasure-seeking, and pain-avoidant creatures, who like to have consistency between their beliefs and actions.

As an example, if you marry someone you love, but you come from a dysfunctional family where your dad left and your mother went from one abusive stepfather or boyfriend to another… You unconsciously, don't believe in a stable, loving marriage yet continue to plan the wedding and send invitations.

Here's another example related to work when it comes to cognitive dissonance.

You are about to land a huge client and earn the most money you've ever earned but rather than do what it takes to close the deal you hold yourself back because you don't feel worthy.

You might even get drunk the night before or miss the meeting with the potential client completely, and rather than of had to take action to literally shoot yourself in the foot, because on a deep level, you don't feel worthy.

Self-sabotage leads to chronic struggles with sex, pornography, drugs, food, alcohol, gambling, shopping, workaholism, and even self-injury. This destructive behavior has topical roots to exactly what we will talk about next.

[08:31] Procrastination + Perfectionism

Now that we've gone over the science of self-sabotage, let's talk about procrastination and perfectionism, which are really equally deleterious and equally challenging to hold.

It has been said that perfectionism is really just a trauma response. A great resource for this is if you head over to, where I can quote Dr. Wendy Myers: “For many people, perfectionism is a response to trauma. It's not that you just want to do everything perfectly. It's a defense mechanism we create, which can lead to a negative mindset and a constant inner critic.”

Holding oneself to an impossible standard causes delays in setbacks. Well, it seems like such a positive thing to aim for things to go as planned without any problems, perfectionism is really a belief that if you're seen as imperfect, then you won't be loved. And that's at the bottom of it for me and for all of us.

Then there's procrastination, procrastination is a way you show others you're never ready and put off taking your time and being mindful until the last second so you can get that huge rush of energy because really you don't trust yourself to do it without a state of stress.

I can see from my own journey with procrastination. It really came from me not feeling that I could handle at all without the stress hormones that drove me to push me beyond my beliefs, and it wasn't until I got down to the core beliefs that if I didn't make as much money as my father than I wouldn't be loved or if I didn't look a certain way physically, then I wouldn't be excepted or sexually attractive all of these things… They lead to procrastination because it is the unconscious projection of the self into the conscious action.

[10:38] How To Stop The Self-Sabotage Cycle

Now let's break down the spirituality. Whether you believe in past life regression or epigenetic emotional transfer, where five generations of mice have been proven in scientific studies to exhibit trauma-based behavior, you have to realize that in this lifetime there is so much more than you see.

So your next action step when it comes to a spiritual inventory of why you self-sabotage, and how to stop the cycle is to simply breathe and be still. You heard that right, breathe and be still.

You're with me right now for a reason otherwise you would not be hearing my voice and so I'd like you to take three deep breaths with me. Now, after these three deep breaths, put your hand on your body where you feel the most pressure or tension, or discomfort.

Maybe it's your hips, your glutes, your stomach, your throat, your forehead, your shoulders… Wherever you feel the most tension, go there right now and do three more deep breaths.

Notice, the voice that I speaking to you is the same voice that is inside of you because you and I all come from the same place, the same creator of the same omnipresent, loving energy that has created all things and always has been.

Let go of any dogmatism, religious training, spiritual or amygdala hijacking from the media, and just be with me right now take three more deep breaths.

Notice, the only way you can stop a cycle from repeating is to have the courage to turn towards where the cycle comes from in the first place. And when it comes to spiritual inventory, the first place you must begin is at the altar of humility and forgiveness.

Yes, people can treat self-sabotage by examining the root causes and stopping procrastination and looking at the bigger picture, and potentially even letting go of perfectionism as a coping mechanism for trauma.

But the deeper more spiritual questions, you can ask right now in the stillness with your hand on your heart and the breath in your lungs is this.

What is my self-sabotage wanting to teach me? (You may sit with this for moments or hours.)

Is this feeling familiar?

Have I felt this feeling before and can I go to the very first time I ever felt this feeling, right now?

Can I trust myself to go to the very first time I ever felt this feeling right now?

This memory, this event that you have been carrying for so long is asking for forgiveness and possibly asking for rest. In order to rest, you must lay something down, you must let go.

What is it that you must let go of, and how can you ask the creator to give you the courage to let it go?

And now we are at the end of our time together but we will return next week for another series of emotional intelligence to support you on your path

And as we say goodbye notice you are loved you are supported, and with the right questions in the right stillness you can hear the voice of God, the creator, and you will always be on the right path.

Links From Today's Show 

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About Josh Trent

Josh Trent lives in Austin, Texas with his love Carrie Michelle, son Novah, daughter Nayah + a cat named Cleo. He is the host of the Wellness + Wisdom Podcast and the creator of the BREATHE: Breath + Wellness Program. Josh has spent the past 20+ years as a trainer, researcher + facilitator discovering the physical and emotional intelligence for humans to thrive in our modern world. Helping humans LIBERATE their mental, emotional, physical, spiritual + financial self through podcasts, programs + global community that believe in optimizing our potential to live life well.

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