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I've come to the conclusion that I am unhappy because of my own choices. I have sabotaged everything in my life that is good and happy and things that should be blessings I have twisted into curses because of self-loathing and negative self-talk. I sabotaged my marriage because I felt that I was "too happy". It felt foreign. I felt fake. It felt like it wasn't really real. He couldn't REALLY love me for me because, well, that's not possible! I feel ugly, gross, like I have too much baggage, too many problems for anyone to ever love me. So I divorced.

Now I'm alone again but have a new relationship developing. I keep finding things wrong with me, with him, reasons why he couldnt possibly want to be with me. Im paranoid about him being after me for the wrong reasons. He sees it and has told me, "I'm not going to let you sabotage this one. Whether you love me or hate me or whatever, Im here for the long haul." He even GUESSED I was manic depressive. I never told him. Thats how well he knows me and accepts me. But once again, it feels fake, strange, foreign. I'm leery of everyone around me, distrusting.

Im tired of sabotaging my happiness. Ive done it with friendships, relationships, family. I cant figure out how to stop. But its feeding my depression and egging it on and I hate it. I could find happiness if I would just let myself have it!

Has anyone else seen a pattern of this in themselves or have any ideas for me on how to stop it?

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I've seen this pattern in myself many times but I'm afraid I've got no solid idea on how to stop it.

It's become so ingrained, I do it automatically....

Have you got a therapist you could talk to about this, explore it some more?

SW

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I'm afraid I have no practical advice except to maybe try looking through the other person's eyes. After all, they see something good in you whether you can see it or not.

Of course, I'm on a very slippery slope right now. I have a great partner, basically all I've wanted in a person. It takes everything I have not to sabotage the relationship or break it off completely. All I can say is I know what it's like. Before my partner I was in another great relationship that I abruptly ended because things were getting too good.

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Thanks for the support and advice. I was married and actually divorced because I kept finding little things wrong with him, picking fights, trying to find ways to get him to leave me. I even cheated on him. He stayed. Eventually I was the one who filed for divorce and managed to convince everyone I knew what I was doing and that the decision I was making was a sane one. He left and now I regret it, miss him sometimes, and wish things were different. He is happy in his new life with a new wife and child on the way. He was young and just didn't know how to deal with all of my problems and got to the point where he couldn't take it anymore so he finally agreed to leave.

I don't want to repeat that with any other relationship in my life. I've learned my lesson - we all need people. And I keep pushing them away instead of reaching out to them for help. It's sad.

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  • 2 months later...

One day I told my then therapist, "I feel bad."

He looked at me through his narrrowed eyes as he tried to grok me (this was what he was famour for) and said with deep feeling:

"I know"

Me: "No, I mean I really feel BAD."

More grokking, Deeeeep empathy (NOT). :" I KNOW!"

This went back and forth a whole lot, and finally, I said "I MEAN I FEEL LIKE A BAD PERSON. MORALLY BAD."

SO much for insight.

Since then (no thanks to him) I've even figured out where it comes from (childhood - DUH!) - and more. But, yes, it does lead me to be self-destructive and it's been a LONG time."

I felt llike a good person for two+ years and was high functioning - brilliantly in fact, but then my house of cards collapsed It turned out I felt like I was good after pregnancy (unplanned and childbirth). I saw and felt I was a good mother capable of genuine love and altruism.

Then my little boy turned out to be neurologically damaged in a partaicularly devastating way, and it crushed me. It wasn't just that he was NOT happy, nor was that it that I saw my life being taken out of my hands - maybe forever - to care for himi (though both contributed!).

It was more that I no longer felt like a good person.

And so it has remained (vastly simplified). Intellectually, I believe I'm good and even almost saintly sometimes (this kid, now young man is REALLY, really hard and I've still given up my life to try to help him, knowing he'd be lost if I too rejected him - however much he "hates" me. )

But emotionally, I feel like a shit. I am very defensive, and spend a great deal of energy trying to validate myself and convince others of all the great, very hard things I've done. Inside, though, it's no good. I'm still out to get myself -- and I have good aim!

I SO sympathize. Fare thee well.

;)

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Oh man, I can so relate.

I self-sabotage to ridiculous proportions. It's like I just can't bear to watch myself succeed at anything. I've just failed my second uni course in as many years (and not for lack of capability, it's self-sabotage) and I can't seem to maintain friendships past the 3 month mark (I'll inevitably start pushing them away). It's so frustrating.

I don't have any tactics, it's still a major area of struggle for me, too.

So you're not alone there, buddy.

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I did this for many years. I would go so far, in college, as to take entire science classes, study for the final, and then not go and fail the class (I would stop for coffee along the way and just refuse to leave the cafe!). That's a pretty clear example, but the bigger things, not allowing yourself happiness in a relationship, a job, a friendship, whatever, are very defensive behaviors. We use them to keep down the anxiety we feel when we have something good, feel good, feel we ARE good. Why would those things cause us anxiety? Well, everyone has to answer that question personally, but for me (and, um, pretty much everyone else, lol), I felt anxiety because of unconscious pathological beliefs I had set up in childhood to survive my childhood. Meaning, bad things happened to me at the hands of my parents, and as a child, because I depended upon my parents for LIFE and survival, I couldn't allow that they were bad. I came to believe that I was bad, and they were fine, because believing the truth, that I was good and they were out of control was too scary for a child who needed to depend upon her caretakers to survive. So the pathological belief became, I am bad and deserve only bad things. I grew up, and didn't need that pathological belief anymore, but there it was, ready to sabotage my marriages, my bachelors, my masters, you get the picture.

My therapist said it's a way of still protecting the parents, of saying, no THEY weren't bad/crazy/out of control/abusive, they were good. *I* was the one who deserved only bad things.

This defense mechanism made me nuts in therapy (lol). I intellectually understood that it was a way of protecting my parents against my success because if I could be happy and have good things and be successful, then they must have been the bad/crazy/out of control ones. And my scared inner child could still not handle that emotionally, even though I understood what was happening intellectually. We thought we were still at risk, unsafe, needing them.

Thus, three years of therapy three times a week! I worked through what they did and didn't do, what they SHOULD have done, all with an adult's understanding of what they really were responsible for. And once I was able to truly see how badly they failed me, how they took from me my childhood, all of it, then I was finally able to start letting go of this defense. THEY were bad. THEY did not deserve good things. *I* was a child, and *I* deserved good things then and deserve good things now. That is THEIR shit, not mine!

It sounds easy when written down, but it wasn't. There was a LOT of remembering and grieving before the healing could come and I could finally stop protecting them by sabotaging myself.

Does that make any sense at all?

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I can relate on so many levels. The self-sabotaging spills over into all areas of my life from relationships to study and work. What's really weird is that I would rather look at my life in a negative way yet if it's someone else I'll be really positive about theirs.

I've been working on this with my therapist as one of my core beliefs is 'I'm wrong/defective'. The exercises he's given me to do are a daily achievement diary and a negative thought diary which has such questions which challenge the thought and providing evidence against them.

Feeling happy can feel weird/strange/freaky cause we get so use to being in a rut and weirdly prefer it. It takes hard work , effort and relearning - so I'm finding - to be happy.

Apart from therapy here are a few things I've found that help

- meditating - being mindful meditations on a daily base

- walking or any physical exercise again preferably daily

- achievement diary - fill it in daily

Also my therapist recommended this book which I found very helpful 'Reinventing your Life by Jeffrey E.Young and Janet S.Klosko' It talks about 'schemas' that is negative thought patterns and how they effect your life and how to change them.

If you can't get a therapist there are loads of books such DBT etc which people here can recommend which would really help you with overcoming the negative behaviours.

Anyway you are definitely not alone!

Hawk

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Well, Antigone at least gives me hope! ;)

I'm coming up on 2 years and am now at 3X/week. And I feel only the faintest of glimpses of how to try to deal with these issues.

Many years ago I wrote a poem that started:

"I am.

I can't be loved or touched.

An existence moving slowly

Towards death's end."

It, unfortunately, still resonates in my mind as true!

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