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Top 125 Self-Sabotage Quotes

Self-Sabotage Quotes

This post contains some of the best self-sabotage quotes.

What Is Self-Sabotage?

Self-sabotage is the act of standing in your own way and hurting yourself.

It could take the form of preventing yourself from moving forward from the past or achieving what you want in life (e.g. getting a promotion, finding a romantic relationship, losing weight, etc.).

Ways we self-sabotage may include:

  • Acting passive-aggressive
  • Attacking others or getting angry to hide shame
  • Avoiding conflict
  • Being a perfectionist
  • Being impulsive
  • Being overly controlling
  • Being sarcastic
  • Blaming
  • Bullying others
  • Feeling as if you have no needs
  • Giving too much or too little
  • Overspending
  • Overworking
  • People-pleasing and changing yourself for someone else’s approval
  • Playing the victim
  • Pushing people away
  • Seeking attention
  • Self-harming to soothe yourself
  • Self-loathing
  • Using alcohol, drugs, food, or other substances to cope
  • Withdrawing

Self-Sabotage Quotes

1. “What is self-sabotage? The answer probably depends on whom you ask. If we look at Webster’s definition of sabotage, it is “an act or process tending to hamper or hurt.” Now think about that behavior being something you do to yourself, and you have a good idea of what I am talking about here. Urban Dictionary defines self-sabotaging as “one who keeps screwing things up for themselves. Usually not on purpose.”” – Dr. Candice Seti

2. “I like to think of self-sabotage as simply standing in your own way. In other words, you are blocking yourself from moving forward from the past or achieving whatever it is you want to do in life—finding a romantic relationship, getting a promotion, losing weight, traveling, or doing anything else that you find worth pursuing.” – Dr. Candice Seti

3. “Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” —Alyce Cornyn-Selby

4. “Self-abandonment, the emotional root of self-sabotage.” – Susan Anderson

5. “This is sabotage committed by us, against ourselves, and it can subvert just about everything good in our lives.” – Gary John Bishop

6. “Once you see self-sabotage for what it really is, you can’t un-see it. It’s at home. It’s at work. It prevents people from finding true satisfaction in their lives.” – Dr. Candice Seti

Related: Inner Teenager Healing: 14 Proven Exercises to Heal Your Inner Teenager

7. “Sabotage isn’t apparently committed by an “enemy agent”—or is it? Maybe the enemy agent is you yourself.” – Gary John Bishop

8. “Self-sabotage goes hand in hand with most of the goals people have in their lives, from their careers to their relationships and everything in between.” – Dr. Candice Seti

9. “Self-sabotage occurs when your drive to reduce threat is higher than your drive to attain rewards, and it’s all tied into the approach-avoidance conflict.” – Dr. Judy Ho

10. “In addressing self-sabotage, many experts focus primarily on symptom relief. But teaching people how to save money or lose weight doesn’t address the powerful component of our personalities that acts out in spite of our best intentions.” – Susan Anderson

11. “We really do sabotage ourselves with the dark soundtrack we have looping over and over in our minds. Whenever I hear this negative self – talk from clients, I say, “ You must turn off the horrific noise going on in your head. ”” – Sean Stephenson

12. “Think about the times when you argue over nothing, hold onto grudges too long, hide or lie about your emotions, judge yourself or others too harshly, or just don’t call your mom or dad or friends as much as you should. Surely that’s not self-sabotage?” – Gary John Bishop

13. “We can agree that it sounds like a silly thing to do, but we all do it!” – Dr. Candice Seti

Related: Top 21 Healing Journal Prompts To Support Your Healing Journey

14. “Some of us self-sabotage more frequently than others, and some of us sabotage ourselves in a way that is more debilitating, but we all do it.” – Dr. Candice Seti

15. “We become disconnected from the people we care about. And we feel justified. Oh boy, are we justified. There’s nothing quite so damaging as the human desire to be right. How can that NOT be an act of self-sabotage?” – Gary John Bishop

Boundaries With Yourself Look Like - Self-Sabotage Quotes

16. “With regard to our health, self-sabotage can manifest itself in the ways we eat all the wrong stuff at all the wrong times, how we put off our exercise plans or use the excuse of getting caught up in the mundane details of our daily lives to explain our lack of action. We might give ourselves excuses to have “just one” cigarette or glass of wine or slice of cheesecake (which, of course, turns into more), skip doctor’s visits and checkups, or just not pay enough attention to our body and what it’s telling us.” – Gary John Bishop

17. “Telling yourself the truth is rarely easy, but it’s a surefire way to free yourself from your own subconscious self-sabotage trap. What makes self-reflection challenging is that you’re both the con artist and the one being conned.” – Gary John Bishop

18. “Self-sabotage isn’t always the big, extreme things we do to screw up our lives.” – Gary John Bishop

19. “Self-sabotage can also lead to very destructive behaviors. It shatters marriages, fractures families, turns people to hard drugs, alcohol, gambling and sex addictions, infidelity, and all kinds of toxic behaviors that trash an otherwise decent life.” – Gary John Bishop

Related: How To Break Generational Trauma? 5 Steps To Release Trauma & End Self-Sabotage

20. “Self-sabotage compounds itself and gets stronger and stronger if we don’t stop it in its tracks and push it away.” – Dr. Candice Seti

21. “Within the worlds of self-sabotage, we hold ourselves back in many different ways and create many different outcomes for ourselves.” – Dr. Candice Seti

22. “Over time, self-sabotage zaps our motivation and drive. When we fail time and again to achieve our goals, but can’t identify why, we become frustrated, defeated, and stop trying. If you believe you won’t get what you want, why bother making an effort?” – Dr. Judy Ho

23. “Resistance by definition is self-sabotage.” —Steven Pressfield

24. “Self-sabotage doesn’t always look like avoiding the things that will get you where you want to go. Some self-saboteurs, instead of thinking their way out of things, putting something off, or looking at their future in a negative light, can actively go out of their way to remove positive things from their life.” – Dr. Candice Seti

25. “Control Freaks tend to overpower those around them, and they don’t like to put themselves at risk. This type of self-sabotage is very similar to that of The Avoider in that it reinforces anxieties and holds you back from positive things.” – Dr. Candice Seti

26. “Self-sabotage often takes the opposite approach, piling on heaps of negative actions or thoughts that cheat you out of reaching your goals. Ultimately, this approach lowers your view of yourself in a way similar to that of the avoidant types of self-sabotage—you reinforce the idea that you aren’t worthy of getting what you want, which stops you from trying.” – Dr. Candice Seti

27. “Self-sabotage can make every single part of your life fall below what you’re capable of, meaning you’ll often find yourself feeling unsatisfied. In some cases, you can get stuck in cycles that actively destroy your life. Your overall happiness will suffer if you don’t acknowledge your self-sabotage and end it before it gets out of control.” – Dr. Candice Seti

28. “Many addictions start as selfsabotage before developing into an even bigger problem. The Procrastinator can use addictive behaviors to push off whatever needs to be done; the Control Freak might use food to make them feel better and give them a sense of control over their own lives.” – Dr. Candice Seti

29. “Self-sabotage is rooted in our thinking. If you look back through all the different types of self-sabotage, they are all about the ways we think, the ways we integrate information, and the ways we process sensory information.” – Dr. Candice Seti

30. “Because self-sabotage is rooted in our thinking and causes us to stand in our own way, it almost always involves distortions of the truth—a concept called cognitive distortions.” – Dr. Candice Seti

Related: How To Step Out Of Denial? Top 10 Steps To Overcome Denial When The Truth Is Heartbreaking

Self Sabotage Worksheets

31. “A critical key to achieving success lies in your ability to activate your potential to create the results you seek… start by being aware of your self-sabotaging patterns.” – Lauren Miackler

32. “A long-standing history of ghosting partners and discarding relationships out of self-preservation… often backfires in a cycle of more self-sabotage.” – Annie Tanasugarn

33. “A well-defined backup plan is sabotage waiting to happen. Why push through the dip, why take the risk, why blow it all when there’s the comfortable alternative instead? The people who break through usually have nothing to lose, and they almost never have a backup plan.” – Seth Godin

34. “All of our actions can signify self-love or self-sabotage.” – Sharon Salzberg

35. “Art is a war – between ourselves and the forces of self-sabotage that would stop us from doing our work. The artist is a warrior.” — Steven Pressfield

Related: How To Break The Cycle Of Performance Anxiety?

36. “Be mindful of finding holes in joyful moments/experiences. Your self-sabotage ways are stealing your joy. You deserve to experience the wholeness of good moments and finally give yourself a break from your negative self-talk.” – Ash Alves

37. “Being self-critical is good; being self-hating is destructive. There’s a very fine line there somewhere, and I walk it carefully.” – Daniel Radcliffe

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

39. “By sabotaging the relationship, we are unconsciously building a wall around ourselves to ‘protect’ us from fears of being left behind.” – Annie Tanasugarn

40. “Chicken exits are self-sabotage. They give you a false explanation for why you don’t have something you want.” — Ali Vincent

41. “Complaining becomes a habit. Focusing on the negative also becomes a habit. It’s one of the most detrimental habits you can possibly have. It can negatively impact you socially, affecting your personal happiness, but it can also subconsciously sabotage your money and success.” – T. Harv Eker

42. “Cry wolf often enough and you eventually get eaten by the wolf, even if the wolf is you.” — Kris Kidd

43. “Darling, the world’s not really against you. The only thing that’s against you is yourself.” – Unknown

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44. “Don’t let anger control you. Don’t let hate enslave you. Don’t let negativity overcome you. Don’t let bitterness conquer you.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

45. “Doubt is most often the source of our powerlessness. To doubt is to be faithless, to be without hope or belief. When we doubt, our self-talk sounds like this: ‘I don’t think I can. I don’t think I will.’… To doubt is to have faith in the worst possible outcome. It is to believe in the perverseness of the universe, that even if I do well, something I don’t know about will get in the way, sabotage me, or get me in the end.” – Blaine Lee Pardoe

46. “Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure.” — Gay Hendricks

47. “Fear can sabotage your everything. It can be such a loud overwhelming voice in your head. Quiet this voice now and live.” – Christine E. Szymanski

48. “Focus on rewarding and praising yourself instead of degrading and punishing yourself. You’ll get far better results!” – Akiroq Brost

49. “Forgiveness is mental floss! Build the capacity to forgive slowly – start with little unkind acts, otherwise you’ll sabotage yourself. When we forgive, we forgive the actor, not the action.” – Stephen Levine

Related: Best 9 Tips On How To Receive More In Life And Relationships?

50. “Having a low opinion of yourself is not ‘modesty’. It’s self-destruction. Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not ‘egotism’. It’s a necessary precondition to happiness and success.” – Bobbe Sommer

51. “He was always looking for new and interesting ways to destroy himself.”— Kalen Dion

52. “Human beings invent just as many ways to sabotage their lives as to improve them.” – Mark Goulston

53. “I am really fascinated by self-sabotage. I think that there’s not a person I know who doesn’t fall victim to it. It’s essential to the human condition, and relatable.” – Kit Williamson

54. “I decry the injustice of my wounds, only to look down and see that I am holding a smoking gun in one hand and a fistful of ammunition in the other.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough

55. “I have a limited tolerance for feeling good. When I hit my Upper Limit, I manufacture thoughts that make me feel bad. The problem is bigger than just my internal feelings, though: I seem to have a limited tolerance for my life going well in general. When I hit my Upper Limit, I do something that stops my positive forward trajectory. I get into a conflict with my ex-wife, get into a money bind, or do something else that brings me back down within the bounds of my limited tolerance.” – Gay Hendricks

56. “I know that I’m holding myself back. I know that something needs to change and that I need to be the one to change it. And I know—I know—that if you’re patient with me, what I find on the other end of it, once the towers have burned down, will be you.” — Nina LaCour

57. “I manufactured the stream of painful images because I was feeling good! Some part of me was afraid of enjoying positive energy for any extended period of time.” – Gay Hendricks

58. “I sabotage myself for fear of what my bigness could do.” – Alanis Morissette

59. “I think that sometimes love gets in the way of itself – you know, love interrupts itself. We want things so much that we sabotage them.” — Jack White

Related: Am I Indecisive Quiz (& How To Overcome Indecisiveness & FOBO In 8 Powerful Steps)

60. “I’m doing everything I can to sabotage my career. It’s a little thing called ‘fear of success’.” – Jon Stewart

61. “I’ve never trusted collaborations because most people in this world are not closers. They don’t finish what they start; they don’t live what they dream; they sabotage their own progress because they’re afraid they won’t find what they seek.” – Neil Strauss

62. “If you don’t believe in yourself, somewhere or another, you sabotage yourself.” — Jason Day

63. “If you raise your standards but don’t really believe you can meet them, you’ve already sabotaged yourself. You won’t even try; you’ll be lacking the sense of certainty that allows you to tap the deepest capacity that’s within you…Our beliefs are like unquestioned commands, telling us how things are, what’s possible and impossible and what we can and can not do. They shape every action, every thought, and every feeling that we experience. As a result, changing our belief systems is central to making any real and lasting change in our lives.” – Tony Robbins

64. “If your parents told you growing up that you’ll never amount to much, maybe you handicap yourself so that you do fall short.” – Barbara Field

65. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

66. “It takes but a handful of words to ambush my soul with hope. Yet, the vexing question in it all is why do I so often ambush the words?” — Craig D. Lounsbrough

67. “It’s not the lack of ability or opportunity that holds you back; it is only a lack of confidence in yourself.” – Richard Monckton Milnes

Related: How Confident Am I Quiz (+Best 13 Tips on How to Carry Yourself with Confidence)

68. “Just for today, I will not sabotage anything. Not my relationships, not my self-esteem, not my plans, not my goals, not my hopes, not my dreams.” – Unknown

69. “Just imagine how much you would get done if you stopped sabotaging your own work.” – Seth Godin

70. “Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self-sabotaging behavior.” – Mark Victor Hansen

71. “Leaders who are kind of insecure or egocentric, they basically sabotage themselves.” — John C. Maxwell

72. “Life is so much easier when you stop getting in your way.” – Kristin Barrow

73. “Like most other creatives, I struggle with self-sabotage, self-doubt, and feeling like an imposter more often than not. I struggle with expressing myself because it does sometimes feel easier or safer not to.” — Jeff Jarvis

74. “Love will never be easy, but without self-sabotage, it is a lot more reachable.” – Raquel Peel

75. “Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball

76. “Managing your emotions doesn’t mean you don’t express yourself; it means you stop short of hurting others and sabotaging yourself.” – Unknown

Related: Top 10 Ways To Stop Wallowing In Self Pity

77. “More than anything else, I wanted not to be alone — yet all my actions guaranteed I’d be lonely. Like wearing a vest of explosives when you’re coming in for a hug, insatiable need is a form of sabotage.”— Gina Barreca

78. “More times than I can remember I look around and I ask why the hole I’m in looks so strangely familiar. Probably because it looks a whole lot like all the other ones I dug before I got around to digging this one.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough

79. “Much of your self-esteem doesn’t come from what happens to you on a given day or what somebody says, but what you know about yourself on the inside.” — Dr. Judy Ho

80. “Negative thinking is contagious. Do your best not to dwell on negativity, it will consume you and prevent you from becoming your best self.” – Germany Kent

81. “New Year’s resolutions often fail because toxic emotions and experiences from our past can sabotage us or keep us stuck with the same old thoughts, patterns and regrets.” — Debbie Ford

82. “No matter how well-meaning your intention, doing too much is not always an act of love but of sabotage.” – Judith Orloff

83. “No more excuses. No more self-sabotage. No more self-pity. No more comparing yourself to others. Time to step up. Take action right now and start living your life with purpose.” — Anthon St. Maarten

84. “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

85. “Nothing will sabotage our happiness and success more thoroughly than the fear that we are not enough.”— Bill Crawford

Related: Top +100 Journal Prompts For Mental Health [+Free PDF Printable!]

86. “Once you have identified with some form of negativity, you do not want to let it go, and on a deeply unconscious level, you do not want positive change. It would threaten your identity as a depressed, angry, or hard-done by person. You will then ignore, deny or sabotage the positive in your life. This is a common phenomenon. It is also insane.” – Eckhart Tolle

87. “Once you uncover the history of this pattern and trace its roots, you will see that your reaction in the present moment is really a reaction from the past, a shadow character’s attempt to protect you from reexperiencing an old emotional wound, which instead sabotages you in the present.” – Connie Zweig

88. “One of the first steps in addressing self-sabotaging behaviors is identifying them.” – Jennifer Chain

89. “Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.” – Epictetus

90. “Our biggest enemy is our own self-doubt. We really can achieve extraordinary things in our lives. But we sabotage our greatness because of our fear.” – Robin Sharma

91. “Our inner beliefs trigger failure before it happens. They sabotage lasting change by canceling its possibility. We employ these beliefs as articles of faith to justify our inaction and then wish away the result. I call them belief triggers.” – Marshall Goldsmith

92. “People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.” — Eric Hoffer

93. “People with low self-esteem are more likely to sabotage themselves when something good happens to them because they don’t feel deserving.” – Unknown

Related: How To Stop Being Emotionally Unavailable? Top 7 Strategies

94. “Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage.” — Alyce Cornyn-Selby

95. “Resistance by definition is self-sabotage.” — Steven Pressfield

96.“Self-destruction and self-sabotage are often just the start of the self-resurrection process.” — Oli Anderson

97. “Self-doubt does more to sabotage individual potential than all external limitations put together.” – Brian Tracy

98. “Self-sabotage is the smartest thing you can do if you’re sabotaging a self that is not really you.” — Armand DiMele

99. “Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” — Alyce Cornyn-Selby

100. “Sometimes we don’t move forward because the people who love us the most unconsciously sabotage our efforts.” – Chip Espinoza

101. “Sometimes we self-sabotage just when things seem to be going smoothly. Perhaps this is a way to express our fear about whether it is okay for us to have a better life. We are bound to feel anxious as we leave behind old notions of our unworthiness. The challenge is not to be fearless, but to develop strategies of acknowledging our fears and finding out how we can allay them.” – Maureen Brady

102. “Stop standing in your own way. Stop making excuses. Stop talking about why you can’t. Stop sabotaging yourself. Decide which direction you are going in and take action. One decision at a time, one moment at a time.” – Akiroq Brost

103. “The barrier to our future is often the very plans that we’ve created to get there.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough

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104. “The ego mind both professes its desire for love and does everything possible to repel it, or if it gets here anyway, to sabotage it. That is why dealing with issues like control, anger, and neediness is the most important work in preparing ourselves for love.” – Marianne Williamson

105. “The most dangerous way we sabotage ourselves is by waiting for the perfect moment to begin. Nothing works perfectly the first time, or the first fifty times. Everything has a learning curve. The beginning is just that – a beginning. Surrender your desire to do it flawlessly on the first try. It’s not possible. Learn to learn. Learn to fail. Learn to learn from failing.”— Vironika Tugaleva

106. “The only reason I can’t jump in and engage life is that I’ve told myself I can’t. Yet I can’t helping wondering would happen if I told myself I could?” — Craig D. Lounsbrough

107. “The quickest path to self-destruction is to push away the people you love.” – Cassia Leo

108. “The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.” – Maya Angelou

109. “The reason that I can’t find the enemy is that I have yet to look within myself.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough

110. “The tragedy of too many people is that they cannot allow happiness just to be there; they cannot leave it alone. Their sense of who they are and of what their destiny is cannot accommodate happiness. So they are driven to find ways to sabotage it.” — Nathaniel Branden

111. “There are people who are brilliant and don’t work hard, and there are people who are brilliant and sabotage themselves.” – Sarah Silverman

Related: How To Feel Your Feelings? Top 9 Difficult Emotions To Cope With In Healthy Ways

112. “Those who say life is knocking them down and giving them a tough time are usually the first to beat themselves up. Be on your own side.”— Rasheed Ogunlaru

113. “We each have our own ways of sabotaging and keeping ourselves down… Do we need to remain the victim so strongly that we pull the ceiling down upon our own heads? There is a comfort in the familiar.”— Maureen Brady

114. “We each have our own ways of sabotaging and keeping ourselves down… Do we need to remain the victim so strongly that we pull the ceiling down upon our own heads? There is a comfort in the familiar.” – Maureen Brady

115. “We make tactless remarks because we wish to hurt, break our legs because we do not wish to walk, marry the wrong man because we cannot let ourselves be happy, board the wrong train because we would prefer not to reach the destination.”— Fay Weldon

116. “We need to ascend beyond our own petty Resistance, our own negative self-judgment and self-sabotage, our own “I’m not worthy” mind-set.” — Steven Pressfield

117. “We sabotage great things in our lives because deep down we don’t feel worthy of great things.” – Taressa Riazzi

118. “What is required for many of us, paradoxical though it may sound, is the courage to tolerate happiness without self-sabotage.” — Nathaniel Branden

119. “When all becomes dark, did something horrible befall us or did we pull shades?”— Craig D. Lounsbrough

120. “When your heart knows it doesn’t belong there, it will continue to self-sabotage your future, until you make the choice you wanted, but found a million excuses not to pursue.” – Shannon L. Alder

121. “Why is it that we don’t worry about a compass until we’re lost in a wilderness of our own making?” — Craig D. Lounsbrough

122. “Self-destruction and self-sabotage are often just the start of the self-resurrection process.” — Oli Anderson

123. “Withholding love is a form of self-sabotage, as what we withhold from others, we are withholding from ourselves.”— Marianne Williamson

124. “You can’t imagine just how much believing in negative thoughts is affecting your life…until you stop.” – Charles F. Glassman

125. “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

Related: Dysregulated Nervous System: Top 9 Signs & How to Heal

By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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