Have you ever been really attached to an outcome, only to have someone else ruin it for you completely? Or, have you ever lashed out at someone else in anger, ruining their experience and enjoyment of something because you were upset? These are both examples of emotional sabotage, and this cruel practice can have long-lasting effects on yourself and others.
People can sometimes be very cruel to one another. When we feel threatened as humans, our natural instincts are to protect ourselves, which can sometimes mean hurting others. When we fear the loss of power, appropriate, credibility, love, or influence, it can turn even the nicest among us into someone who is mean and vindictive.
This type of emotional lashing out is your brain’s way of dealing with the perceived threat, as anger is often the first emotion many feel in these types of situations. What is your natural reaction when you feel threatened? Some people get loud, others grow silent. Some try to poison others against the offender, and still others simply leave, abandoning everyone in their path.
It can be pretty easy to allow these strong emotions to take over and give in to the desire to lash out and hurt others. But, the truth is, this lashing out will not really make you feel any better, it definitely does not make the other person feel any better, there’s a good chance you will lose one or more people in your life due to this behavior, AND you are more likely to just feel worse about yourself when the dust finally settles.
So, how do you break the cycle of emotional sabotage and stop lashing out at others when you feel hurt or the loss of something important to you? Here are some helpful suggestions.
Be Honest With Yourself
When something happens to start you down a negative spiral of lashing out at others, stop and ask yourself why you are feeling the way you do. Why is this experience having such a strong impact on you? Tell yourself the truth about why you are reacting this way, what role you played in the situation that led up to this crisis moment, and where the hurt is really coming from.
Did this other person force you to confront a personal fear? Is this situation teaching you something about yourself you have not wanted to admit until now? Look at these as learning opportunities, not reasons to hurt others, and you will come out a stronger, happier, healthier person on the other side.
Believe In Yourself, and It Won’t Matter What Others Think
Chances are, when someone does something that deeply hurts you, it is because it is manifesting something you believe about yourself. It is forcing you to confront something you do not like about yourself or wish to change. But, when you are able to believe in yourself and have faith in your own convictions and beliefs, it won’t matter what others say or do. You can live confidently in your own actions without having to worry what others say or do.
Be In Charge of Your Own Life
Allowing others to sabotage you emotionally means you are letting them control your life. When you decide you will not be a victim of others’ games, taunts, or spitefulness, you become the author of your story and are no longer a victim in any scenario. Speaking up for yourself is always appropriate, but lashing out to make others feel emotionally wounded, like you, is not. Live your own truth and be yourself always, knowing that what others think and do can have no impact on you unless you allow it.
Know Your Purpose
Regardless of the cruel and destructive things others may try to do to you, when you are clear about your purpose in life, your own dreams and ambitions, you can stay focused on what matters to you and ignore the foolishness of others.
Purpose gives you hope in the face of great diversity, and this purpose is what has allowed millions of people for thousands of years to withstand the cruelties of the world and keep moving forward. Stay focused on what is important to you, and you will not relinquish control to others who wish to do you harm.
Surround Yourself With People You Trust
When your circle includes healthy, loving people, you too will learn to be healthy and loving. When you are connected to others who have a strong sense of emotional accountability, you can learn to develop this personal trait, as well. When you are able to trust others, you let down your guard and stop expecting the world to hurt you and destroy your hope.
By breaking the cycle of emotional sabotage, both for yourself and for the others in your life, you can lead a healthier, happier, more emotionally stable life that puts you in control of your own destiny.
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