Anxiety Can Make You Self-Sabotage

September 29, 2022 Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

I've heard a lot about self-sabotaging or being self-destructive when it comes to anxiety, but somewhere along the way, I've convinced myself that I don't do that. I've convinced myself that I don't do things that prevent me from taking advantage of an opportunity or being in line with my goals. Has this been a form of self-sabotage in and of itself? I honestly believe so. Because when I take the time to think about it, I can think of many times in my life when I've purposely taken actions -- or not taken actions -- that weren't consistent with things I have wanted for myself, and anxiety was behind it.

Why Anxiety Causes You to Self-Sabotage

When you struggle with chronic anxiety, so many decisions are driven by fear rather than rational thinking. As I've become increasingly familiar with my anxiety triggers and actions that follow, I've also become increasingly familiar with my behaviors that self-sabotage.

These behaviors include avoiding anything that makes me uncomfortable, such as people or situations, as well as making excuses for not stepping outside of my comfort zone. While I do think any time I've self-sabotaged, it has been unintentional; I also think that I've likely ended up missing out on opportunities because of these actions. Actions such as procrastinating when I know there are things I need to deal with, constantly convincing myself that I am not good enough at something and so just not doing it, or finding a reason not to make any changes -- all of these actions have been things that have helped me sabotage opportunities I've had for different areas of my life.

How to Deal with Anxiety and Self-Sabotage

Dealing with anxiety means, though, that you justify your actions to yourself, but at the same time, you become overwhelmed by a mountain of self-doubt and self-criticism. It's this constant battle within yourself that you can't seem to win.

Thankfully, though, it's not about winning. It's about figuring out ways to quiet those inner voices that make it hard to get through the day. It's also about conjuring up the courage to do something that you know, logically, is worth it for you, but your instincts are screaming at you not to do it.

Here are some thoughts on anxiety and self-sabotage.

  1. Individuals who are highly anxious also may be highly sensitive and intuitive. Instead of using this as an excuse to avoid uncomfortable situations, I think it's important to use this as a superpower. Leverage this self-awareness as a way to find strengths in a situation and make those strengths work for you.
  2. Anxiety also likes to remind us it is there by way of a voice in our heads. If you've been dealing with anxiety for quite some time like I have, this voice may have been something you've gotten used to listening to for a long time because it's helped you protect yourself from emotional pain. But, sometimes, it is important to recognize that the voice is not always rational. And so it is okay to tune that voice out when you know, realistically, that it is not helpful for you.
  3. Set small goals for stepping outside of your comfort zone. This has been extremely helpful for me. Whether it is reaching out to someone you wouldn't normally reach out to, or even fully confronting a situation that would normally induce fear, rather than staying within the parameters of your comfort zone, try stepping outside of it when you know, logically, that it will be good for you. You may find that this is just what you need to build up the bravery to do something more.

Do you self-sabotage because of your anxiety? Are there strategies you use to step outside of your comfort zone? If so, share them in the comments below.

APA Reference
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2022, September 29). Anxiety Can Make You Self-Sabotage, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

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