Do you ever sabotage yourself for seemingly no reason? For many introverts, self-sabotage can be a lifelong habit.
For introverts who grew up feeling unworthy and fatally flawed just because of their introversion self-sabotage can be especially challenging.
When you don’t feel like you’re deserving of the friendship, success, and happiness that you desire, your subconscious can find all sort of sneaky ways to keep you in a rut.
Add onto that the fact that introverts can often be deep thinkers who are prone to overthinking and guilt, and you have a recipe for self-sabotage.
As an introvert coach and author, I’ve spent the better part of the last decade exploring inner blocks and patterns like self-sabotage.
And yet, I’m still sometimes surprised by the stealth with which I’m able to get in my own way. After all, there are infinite ways that we introverts can sabotage ourselves, many of which we never notice.
In case you also have a habit of self-sabotage, here are some sneaky signs to watch out for.
6 Signs of Self-Sabotage
Though many of us see perfectionism as the humble brag of flaws (just think of how often people list it as a weakness in job interviews), it is a form of self-sabotage.
Perfectionism leads to self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy. How can you reach your full potential when you never feel good enough?
Perfectionism is also a way to keep happiness at bay. You say, “I’ll be happy when I better looking or more accomplished.” But self-improvement only truly feels good when it’s paired with self-acceptance.
You might wonder how you can strive to be better while also accepting yourself. It all comes down to mindset and self-talk.
If you can give yourself grace when you make mistakes, particularly when you’re still learning, you’re less likely to self-sabotage and give up.
If you’re a worst-case-scenario thinker, you may unknowingly be sabotaging your goals and relationships.
While a little bit of pessimism can prevent mistakes by allowing you to prepare for possible negative outcomes, it can also keep you stuck in a rut.
This is especially evident when it comes to dating. Constantly expecting the worst can make you want to give up on love altogether.
Don’t let pessimism stop you from pursuing your dreams. When you start talking yourself out of a good thing out of pessimism, ask yourself, what other possibilities exist?
Yes, it’s possible that things could go wrong like they have in the past, but what possible ways could they go right?
Procrastination is probably the most infamous form of self-sabotage. We all know how terrible it feels to put off an important project until the last minute.
The more time you spend distracting yourself with TV, social media, and pointless tasks, the more you spiral into a dark pit of self-loathing.
I’ve been there. I am a writer after all. While writing my second book The Year of The Introvert, my procrastination got so out of hand that I finally realized the discomfort of procrastination far outweighs the discomfort of actually writing.
For tips on how to overcome procrastination, check out my article The INFP Procrastination Problem.
Being disorganized is another highly common form of self-sabotage. And yet, it can be a habit that’s hard to kick.
As an INFP personality, being organized didn’t come naturally to me.
Throughout high school my locker overflowed with books and clutter. And yet, I was the one who was always unprepared for class. While other kids bummed cigarettes in the school parking lot, I bummed pens and paper in class.
As an adult, I’ve learned that being disorganized can lead to missed deadlines, being late, wasting money, and being unnecessarily stressed.
That’s why I try to maintain more order in my life with organizational tools and structure in my schedule. Just don’t look inside my kitchen cabinets.
5. Imposter syndrome
Have you ever felt like an imposter in your own life? Perhaps, at work, you feel like you’re not truly qualified and someone is bound to find out that you’re a fraud.
It’s possible to struggle with imposter syndrome at every level of success. I constantly here famous actors and authors saying that they still feel like they aren’t the real deal.
While imposter syndrome is very common, it’s still dangerous. It can sabotage your success because you never fully acknowledge your achievements.
A common example for introverts is avoiding self-promotion because of imposter syndrome.
Maybe you get passed up for promotions because you don’t take ownership of your work successes. Or you pass up opportunities because you think someone else is better for the job.
The truth is that reaching your next level of success requires a leap into uncertainty. At some point, the only way to make it to the other side is to believe that you’re already there.
6. Being chronically burned out
This one is especially relevant for introverts. How often have you felt so overwhelmed and burned out that your whole week goes to hell?
Unfortunately, burnout can being an ongoing challenge for introverts, particularly if you’re also highly sensitive like me.
While we may tell ourselves that we hate burnout and want to avoid it at all costs, many introverts may have a secret addiction to the burnout cycle.
It’s similar to how alchoholics often like the feeling of being hungover, because it means they can rest and give themselves a break.
Rather than waiting until you’re physically and mentally burned out, give yourself breaks throughout the week and learn to say ‘no’.
I hope you liked this article. I’d love to hear which of the 7 signs of self-sabotage you relate to most. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below! Also be sure to grab my free Introvert Connection Guide.
Well, what can i say… That’s me!
Michaela, all these resonate with me! And I have the added bonus of having anxiety disorders. The two that I struggle with the most are procrastination and imposter syndrome. I retired as a veterinarian in 2017 and always battled imposter syndrome–always feeling miles out of my depth. And I procrastinate on so many fronts that it is difficult to stay on track with anything. Call me back burner Bob! I know I am far from alone and appreciate our tribe. While we all can strive to work on holding ourselves back, we need to be kinder with ourselves when we fall into the traps we set for ourselves. Thank you, Michaela, for all you do for us!
You posted this a few minutes ago. And I just sat down and thought about writing down some of the ways I might mentally critique and tear myself down from time to time. And then after I have a list of at least 5 of them, try to imagine what it would be like to watch someone I thought was a good person, or someone who normally had higher self esteem start to sabotage themselves with some of the ways I mentally critique myself with my thoughts and behaviors from time to time. I just thought that it would look kind of silly to see someone you thought was pretty level headed ,just start beating themselves up verbally.