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Is Self Sabotage a Coping Mechanism?

The question which we have been raising at Fiery Females since its inception is


· What inhibits you from getting whatever you want?

· What is it that keeps you from doing whatever you want to do?

In one of my videos, I said it is about lethargy or being in a comfort zone. It is about your social circle saying you are fine where you are.


I take back my words with an unabashed apology.

Interacting with several women, and doing a lot of introspection brings me to different conclusions.

Before we jump at fresh conclusions, let us start with asking a different question.

What makes us do whatever we are doing?

I’m listing out a few possible answers here. You can add more points in your response.


· It is a familiar mode of existence.

· I’ve earned the love and approval of my near and dear ones.

· I prioritize the needs of my family above mine.

· My sacrifice is or will be appreciated by the family.

· I’m happy doing all I can for my loved ones.

Keep adding your points ….

What exactly are you doing here?

· Not disturbing the apple cart.

· Not laying a claim that your needs and wants are important too

· Investing in an uncertain future which depends on how others respond or repay.

· Redefining happiness to suit the larger interest as you see it.

· Redefining freedom and equality even if financial independence is excluded from the package.


My interaction with several women and a deeper introspection leads me to a different perspective.

You yearn for the independent life I led before (before getting married, quitting a job or something else), but …

Getting back to work involves upskilling and reskilling. A business needs capital. It is an investment where returns are uncertain.

You’d like to focus on my creative pursuits, but am unable to justify it to my family.

You would like to work for a social cause, but face sarcasm about ignoring the family for outsiders.

You are not allowed access to your own savings or a partner’s wealth to invest in new initiatives. The excuses given are keeping money aside for financial security in the future.

Others do not trust that you can run a business successfully. You do not fear failure but fear the ridicule or “I told you so” responses from your circle.

The same family will invest in a good-for-nothing son or daughter’s whims and fancies, but not on an initiative you want to put your heart and soul into.

You are asked to prove your worth in a new field, where most of the entrants are new, and there are no guarantees for success.


But I do nothing upon myself, and yet I am my own executioner.
John Donne

This needs hard questions to be asked, and a deep introspection.

You may be playing the role of a

1. Victim

You enjoy sympathy from others … ‘the poor girl’ is liked more than a fighter

2. Saboteur

What is the self-sabotage syndrome? You are sabotaging your own success with preconceived notions or mental blocks.

3. People- pleaser

You try to keep every one happy, but are not happy yourself. You allow others to ride rough-shod over you to keep peace.

4. Procrastinator

You tell yourself you will make it some day in the future, but don’t take that crucial first step.

Procrastination is hands down, our favourite form of self-sabotage.
Alyce Cornyn-Selby

5. You are not enough syndrome

At some level, you start believing the negative things that people tell you. You fail to see the envy, gaslighting, inadequacy or control-freak nature of the blamers and put-downers.


· Read all available material on the subject.

· Join groups with like-minded people and discuss the issues. Sometimes, it is easier talking to a neutral person than your known circle.

· Join a group coaching program, or engage a personal coach. It is a life-changing move.

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