The Ignoble Art Of Self Sabotage And The Fear Of Failure.

Last Update: March 22, 2018

Dear Wa family, recently I've experienced a serious bout of self sabotage; you know avoiding doing what is required to achieve success.

Being my own shrink I've analysed what could be the cause of such unhealthy behavior. Procrastination is still the worst of it, but I'm even avoiding things I know are crucial to success.

I love writing compelling content and know that, in my niche, (Gaited Horses) I'm quite capable of it. Yet I leave it unperfected. Doing the social site chores too is fun.

Again I get to do what I love, ie write about my passion and connect with others who're equally as passionate about them. Yet I keep it to a bare minimum!

It's my belief that everything we do in life, we do to satisfy an urgent need. Sometimes one such need collides with another, and incompatible, need. In such cases the deepest, most urgent one takes precedence.

I've concluded that, currently my most urgent need is to deal with my fear of failure. (yes Kyle I know we haven't failed until we quit, but my deepest level of consciousness has yet to accept that notion)

You'd think such a fear is best dealt with by doing everything possible to ensure success. That's rational, high quality thinking. Kudos to you, but in this case it doesn't quite apply.

You see, excuses for failure offer a more immediate satisfaction of need. In addition, the fear of failure is tied to an equally strong dread of success, would you believe!

The kind of success I pursue, in my own circular way, is truly daunting to me. It is frightening because it involves dealing with problems I can't even imagine yet. It's another universe away from my comfort zone, and offers any number of possible embarrassment.

You see my most profound fear is to do with humiliation and embarrassment. If I'm watching a movie on TV, and one of the characters is about to be embarrassed, I immediately switch to another channel. Can't bear to watch it.

So am I a coward? Certainly not. Physical fear is not a problem to me at all. I've fearlessly faced death on countless occasions. I'm not bragging here. That's probably a serious deficit in my survival equipment. It's just a fact.

Can anyone relate to this array of problems or am I just alien weird and should get back in my closet?

Thanks for reading my friends and please leave your thoughts below.

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GailLowe Premium
Fear is one of our most basic emotions and in itself, is a very useful emotion as it can keep you safe and allow you to assess a situation so that you can stay alive. These strong emotions are critical and valuable as we are growing up and we often have events and experiences which set our 'fear criteria' for certain situations - eg. spiders, wasps, heights etc. These usually stem from from highly-emotionally=charged events that happened in our past and the problem comes when we are still reliving those fears in situations that we face today.
We often find that solutions and reactions that served us in our youth, are now more debilitating in later years.
There are ways to overcome fears and phobias using techniques such as NLP. Fear of failure and its sister, the fear of success are very common in most of the population. We don't like to fail so we give up trying, and we don't like to succeed in case it doesn't last!
When you think about it logically, it doesn't make sense, but then emotions are emotions and are not altogether logical.
You are definitely not weird or a coward.
That said, you could try to reframe your anxieties and situations so that you are not triggering your old responses. For example, you may find that when you become embarrassed, you are remembering a particular moment in your past, and bringing this into your present. If you could avoid this, you would instantly feel better. There's too much to go through in a comment here but you could PM me if you want to.
All the best Goran.
From my perspective - you're doing just fine! :) Gail
GoranBockman Premium
Thanks Gail. Always so kind. I know where these fears stem from but as you say fears are irrational.

They come from the random punishments my stepfather would meet out whether I had been good or bad. This made me very insecure as there was no way to avoid beatings... Oh well deal with it.
DebbieRose Premium
Are you sure it isn't fear of success! What does success look like to you and is that a lifestyke you want. Often people see success as having to work too hard and too much responsibility. Just another way of looking at things.
GoranBockman Premium
It's fear of failure and success both Debbie. Fear of making an ass of myself and being embarrassed.

Just airing these fears from time to time make the monster creep back under the bed for a while. I'll just have to live with it. Thanks for caring Debbie.
MarkBa Premium
You are definitely not alone Goran. I have battled with resistance, procrastination and fear of failure for most of my life. I find it requires a great deal of personal space for me to be aware and conscious so I can self manage myself minute to minute. Hang in there friend, it may mean you can't work at the same pace as others but that's because you are your own unique person and must march to your own drum without comparison. You are doing it. Keep going!

GoranBockman Premium
Yes Mark, self management and self analysis are key. I find after I've named the dark clouds in my soul I'm freed up for some time and work more efficiently.
ABurns2 Premium
You are not alone, the fear of failure has followed me for years, but I keep going and keep learning and moving forward. And you are doing great
GoranBockman Premium
Good to know I'm not alone Angie! Hope we'll both overcome our fears.
SWagner2 Premium
I don't like being humiliated or embarrassed, either. Also, I grew up with some fairly mean older siblings who liked to tease me until I cried, saying mean things, taunting me, and even physically beating me up.

Anytime I'm around people who think teasing is a fun thing to do, even gentle teasing, I leave the scene. I just don't like it and it brings back some awful memories.
GoranBockman Premium
Nah there's nothing to like about teasing, but that apparently is what we younger siblings must put up with. Sigh