Dear Love Me Guru,

I really need your help. I just made a huge mistake and I don’t even know why I did it. Two nights ago I broke up with my boyfriend Devin. We’ve been dating for the past 8 months, and things were going great. Devin is kind, and a gentleman, and honest, and sweet. He treated me so well, I don’t think I’d ever been treated this way in past relationships before. I really felt safe with him.

But then this past month I started to freak out, little things started to bother me, and pretty soon I was looking for any excuse to break up with him. The most insignificant things he would say bothered me. The way he drank his water became annoying. I started to notice how much time he spent on his phone when we were together, and it bothered me.

I found my reason to break up with Devin. I broke up with him because he is always late, and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I was sick of it. It made me feel like he doesn’t care about me, and I felt that he wasn’t putting in the effort like in the beginning of the relationship. I know it’s a silly reason to break up with someone, but that’s what I did!

It isn’t the first time this has happened. I’ve done the same thing in my past five relationships over the last three years. Things go great, the relationship is really good, we get to this point where I feel safe, and then I start to freak out, and bail. Why?! Why do I keep doing this?! Devin was by far the best boyfriend I had, and I’m afraid I just ruined something very special.

What should I do?

 — Runaway Dater

Dear Runaway Dater,

Sounds to me like you’re living the song Runaway by Kanye West.

“And I always find, yeah I always find somethin’ wrong…
I’m so gifted at findin’ what I don’t like the most”

Over the past three years you’ve managed to break up five different relationships. Every single time, the relationship was going well, but then BOOM! You hit the self destruct button and blow up the relationship. Clearly this is a pattern of self sabotage.

In your case, you’re self sabotaging by nit picking at your partner over things that didn’t bother you at first. Nit picking is a way of finding fault where there is none in order to criticize unnecessarily. With Devin, it was because he was “always” late.

Was he really always late? Every single time? If this is true, then why did it take you eight months to realize it and decide that you didn’t like it?

“And I just blame everything on you
At least you know that’s what I’m good at”

If Devin’s tardiness bothered you as much as you say it did, then you would have dumped him a lot sooner. You would have broken up with him at the first signs of trouble. Instead, you chose to do it when things were going well in the relationship. What’s worse, you chose to do it by blaming him.

When individuals self sabotage, they always look to shift the blame to someone or something else. They do it because tto avoid responsibility for their actions and their part in the failure. If the fault lies outside of their power, they can play the victim.

I honor you for having enough self awareness to recognize that you have a pattern of self sabotage. Awareness of a pattern is key to interrupting it. But it’s only the first step. You must take ownership of your pattern. If you haven’t yet, I suggest you do so. This will help you interrupt the pattern, and it will help you heal from the damage you caused through the pattern.

“I could never take the intimacy”

Now here’s the reason why you’ve been running this pattern of self sabotage. You’ve done it when you felt safe in the relationship. Feeling safe in a relationship is crucial because it is a point where there is enough intimacy that you are vulnerable and exposed. The intimacy is so great, you realize there is no hiding. No hiding your fears. No hiding your faults. No hiding your mistakes. No hiding your insecurities. No hiding your skeletons. Everything will eventually come to light through love and intimacy.

The prospect of being found out is so terrifying to you, you would rather sabotage the relationship instead of having your flaws exposed. You probably already feel “not good enough,” and if someone gets too close and finds out your “baggage,” they might judge and reject you. And you don’t want that. So what do you do? You turn it around on them. You become hyper critical (and hypocritical), and bail at the first feeble excuse you can find.

“And I know it did damage”

You’re aware that your self sabotage caused real damage to the men you dated. You realize that you probably ruined something very special with Devin. I hope you will realize how much damage your self sabotage has done to your self. Self sabotage is a form of self rejection.

It’s ironic because in seeking to avoid rejection from the men you dated, you end up rejecting yourself. Self rejection is one of the most damaging things to a person’s well being. How can you be happy when you don’t even want to be you? How can you feel peace, when you reject who you are? How can you love another when you don’t even love yourself?

You’ve been rejecting yourself for the past three years. That’s a lot of damage.

“And I don’t know where I’ma manage”

So how do you heal from the damage of self rejection? Begin by practicing this three principles:

1. “Love your enemy”

Right now you are your own enemy. Love your enemy. Loving an enemy means listening to understand the enemy. Listen. Listen to learn why the enemy rejects you. Listen to learn what the enemy really wants from you. As you do so, the enmity you feel will transform from self rejection to self acceptance.

2. “Give” 

It is impossible to reject yourself when you are giving to others because your focus is on them rather than yourself. What you give is a part of you, so it is a positive reflection of who you truly are. So give to others. Give compliments. Give laughs. Give smiles. Give encouragement. Give compassion. Give service. Give a listening ear. Give a shoulder to cry on. Give love. Give! Give! Give!

3. “Unflinching Honesty” 

Unflinching honesty means no more hiding. You face and accept “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” about yourself. You face and accept your flaws. You face and accept your strengths. You face and accept what you can and can’t change. If anything is less than truth, you discard it. If it is truth, you choose to embrace it no matter how uncomfortable. Truth will set you free from self rejection.

As you practice these three principles, you will begin to heal, you will begin to accept yourself, and you will end the pattern of self sabotage.


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Dear Love Me Guru is written for the Love Me Run blog. The writer, Limhi Montoya, is the most authentic coach in the world.

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