Home » Ask the Therapist » My Self-Sabotage Is Problematic

My Self-Sabotage Is Problematic

Asked by on with 1 answer:

From a teen in Qatar: I’ve been struggling with self-sabotage. I can’t seem to take control of it, which resulted in my self-sabotaging many aspects of my life, including one important friendship.

We were very close a couple of years ago and then we drifted apart, and I believe it was because of me. I couldn’t open up and let my guard down, and I was toxic now that I think of it. I hurt my friend a couple of times and since then it’s stuck in my head and I can’t forgive myself for it.

My low self-esteem and my inability to just be myself (I also had feelings for her, which made me more nervous around her than chilled and comfortable) eventually pushed her away from me. In 2015 I wrote her a letter explaining how I regret it all, and I think we were off to a good place but I was unsure of it. My problem is that I was stuck with my thoughts. It took me too long to realize I was ruining it all. Later in 2015, I ended the friendship thinking I had a good reason to. My reason was that I couldn’t be her friend if I wasn’t true to her and myself.

This year, I talked to her again thinking I could fix things, but it didn’t make much of a difference. She’s indifferent towards me and I know I deserve that. I also know that life changes and sometimes drifting apart is inevitable. It makes me feel like a selfish person because I’m just here stuck in my self-sabotaging habits wanting to clear things up.

You know when your perception of someone is stained and ruined by all the actions of that person? That’s what I did to hers. If I could mend things between us and if I know I washed all, or at least most of, the stains away, I would be able to be myself and open up.

How do I begin to tell her that my self-sabotage led us up to this point? How can I be raw, honest and to the point without sounding selfish and unappealing? How can I mend things and have her feel better about me in general (even though I know she’s indifferent towards me)?

What if I’m better off not explaining it at all, cause I’ll only end up humiliating myself?

Thank you

My Self-Sabotage Is Problematic

Answered by on -


 I don’t think your problem is self-sabotage. I think the problem is that you are unwilling to let things go with this former friend. She has let you know that she isn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with her. At this point, it doesn’t matter why. You are both in your teens. Part of the job of being an adolescent is to figure out who we most easily connect with and who we don’t. You tried to repair things and it didn’t work. She isn’t interested in trying again. Let it go.

If you were seeing me for therapy, I’d want to explore with you how you would spend your time and your energy if you did let this go. What would you be thinking about instead? That might tell us why you are staying so busy over-thinking this one relationship. There may be a more important but more difficult issue that you are pushing aside by obsessing about what you did and didn’t do in this one friendship. Please think about it. If you are unable to move on, please do consider seeing a counselor for some help.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

My Self-Sabotage Is Problematic

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Self-Sabotage Is Problematic. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 1 Aug 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.