While you want to think the most important people in your life always have your best interest at heart and are your biggest supporters, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Insecurities can lead to unhealthy relationship dynamics where those closest to you, whether that be a parent, sister, brother, partner or friend, try to sabotage your happiness or personal growth.
They might try to hinder your progress toward reaching your goals, discourage you from working hard to get a result, or even feel inferior and disgruntled about doing anything that might give you any perceived benefit that could help you achieve more and become happier.
Rightfully, you want your ‘support network’ to stand by your side, cheer you on and congratulate you when you’re doing your best. But hey, even at the very least, if your support network was non-destructive or threatened that would be something to be grateful for. So what do you do when those who are supposed to have your best interests at heart, are doing the opposite by constantly trying to dull your shine? You don’t deserve that.
Here are some tell-tale signs that they don’t have your best interests at heart.
1. Sabotaging Your Happiness
At first, you might not realise that someone close is trying to sabotage your happiness or success in life. But it might creep up on you, growing into something that you simply can’t ignore. You might realise that they don’t encourage you to follow your dreams (no matter how big or small) or if they do it has to be within the limits they have identified in their own minds. They might try to make you feel selfish or stupid for being ambitious, working hard, or reaching your goals. They might even laugh at you or behind your back, in an attempt to feel superior.
When others are sabotaging your happiness, growth or success, it always comes down to control. This control can come in a direct and obvious way or it can be in the form of subliminal control. We have to remember that control is not always accompanied by fear or force. It can also be present in subliminal ways.
Sabotaging you comes in various forms:
- Diminishing your happiness
- Dismissing your achievements
- Being emotionally neutral when you accomplish something
- Not providing emotional support or encouragement
- Talking about you in a negative way
- Resenting you without any clear reason
- Being reluctant to do anything that might inadvertently help you.
- Seeking out an argument.
Again, it might not always be direct or obvious behaviour, so you need to be on the lookout for it, and trust your gut if you feel like something’s up.
2. Jealousy & Insecurities
There are numerous reasons why someone close wants to sabotage you, consciously or unconsciously. Most of the times it comes down to insecurity, fear of abandonment, or jealousy. Fear of abandonment and jealousy stem from insecurity, so really, it’s likely that any sabotaging is stemming from their own lack of self-consciousness. They might also be terrified of you outgrowing them, getting beyond them, and living a life they don’t really know or understand.
3. They Feel Threatened
Sadly, it’s not uncommon for both men and women to feel threatened by a person’s happiness, growth or success. In my case, being a woman, I can’t help but notice that this seems to be crazy and extreme, which can then bring severe sabotage. My personal experience has been that there are some men who do not like to see women succeed or move up, especially when it comes to traditionally male orientated activities like making money in a business. Then there can be highly supportive men who are drawn to you for your spirit and courage, rather than being threatened by you.
Women are also envious of other women (and less so, men) who show promise, potential and achieve big things in their life, because it makes them feel inferior and envious. Be on the lookout for signs of sabotage if you’re a woman during a prosperous time or if you’re showing enormous growth or potential.
4. Lack of Trust
Another reason for sabotage can be a lack of trust. Happiness and any type of achievement or success might come with extra attention from others and this might scare or induce envy in some individuals, creating mistrust. Again, though, this really boils down to insecurity. If a person is secure in themselves and happy with their own life, they likely wouldn’t feel that you are as much of a threat.
One more thing to note: people who sabotage might not acknowledge or want to believe they’re sabotaging you or harming you, but that doesn’t make it okay. Sometimes, the person might be ignoring the harm of their behaviour in favour of making themselves feel better within that relationship dynamic, but it’s important to be careful and observant, since this can also be used as an excuse.
So, What Do You Do if People Close to You are Sabotaging You?
Once you’ve seen the signs that others are sabotaging you, you can take action. Recognising the sabotage is just the first step. Avoiding making excuses for other people’s negative behaviour is the second step.
When you love someone, whether it be a parent, brother, sister or spouse, it’s definitely easy to make excuses for them. However, if you want to continue to grow and succeed, you cannot make excuses for the way they’re treating you if they’re constantly trying to bring you down. It’s the difference between winning and losing.
Communication is key when you’re ready. You won’t get anywhere by staying silent or being passive aggressive. Be honest and talk to the person or people concerned, about what you see, think, and feel and be open and clear communicating the need for the sabotaging behaviours to stop. Be specific and ask for the support you need. If your they are unable to understand your needs, try communicating it in different ways. If they refuse to change or disrespect your requests for those behaviours to stop, then you ask yourself whether they’re worth bothering with.
Know when to Walk Away
Your support network is supposed to support you and help you reach your goals. If they continue to engage in manipulative, controlling, sabotaging behaviors even after you have a serious discussion with them about it, it might be time to decide whether you want to stay in these relationships. Why have enemies when your supposed allies are turning on you?
There’s no point in getting a therapist involved because they’re not going to fix it if other people don’t want to change their behaviour. Why pay thousands of dollars to realise that the choice has been with you and you alone, all along? The decision you must make is whether you forgo your achievements and desire to grow, succeed and be happy so that you retain these unsupportive relationships, or whether you push on to pursue your life goals without them. If they’re not going to change, you have to decide which option to take. No therapist is ever going to fix this situation for you. It’s a decision only you can make when others refuse to change.
If you can’t get the relative, friend or spouse to be on the same wavelength as you — after clear confrontation and communication, it’s time to say goodbye. It’s not worth persevering with people who don’t want you to be your best self – no matter if they’re a parent, friend, brother, sister or partner. If people in these positions of power are behaving like this to you, they're abusing their power.
It’s your job to find a supportive network of people who are secure in themselves and who care about you enough to be non-destructive and supportive in your life, because that’s what is best for you and what you deserve.