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          Protecting Yourself From Sabotage

          July 13, 2005

          Have you made positive life changes and then been surprised by how others react? Do friends and family act as though your growth threatens them? Are they not supporting you in ways you expected them to?

          Don’t be surprised if those closest to you try to sabotage your efforts. Sometimes people will unconsciously try to keep you “on script” with your fictional self in order to protect you or protect themselves from change.

          Dr. Phil suggests that you weigh carefully what others have to say because there may be something of value offered, but also keep in mind their possible motives.

          There are four basic patterns of behavior that others typically use to destroy your quest for authenticity — whether they know it or not. It’s important to be aware of these patterns and not allow “carriers of toxicity” to set you back.

          The four destructive behaviors are:

          1. Overprotection
          The underlying message here is one of fear. “I don’t want you to get hurt.” “Trying something new could result in failure.” This pattern is dangerous because it’s often masked as love and concern and is therefore difficult to fight.

          2. Power Manipulation
          In this form of sabotage, people attempt to take away your personal power in order to maintain their old relationship with you. They figure that if they treat you like a child, you will yield to their suggestions like a child. “What idiot told you it would be good to go back to school?” “Do you honestly think you’ll keep the weight off?”

          3. Leveling
          People who feel inadequate will sometimes try to “level” those who have what they want. Your success could pose a threat and cause them to sabotage you in any way they can in order to bring you down to their level.

          4. Safety in the Status Quo
          People are comfortable with circumstances that they know, even if the circumstances are bad. A change for the better is still a change — a complete threat to familiarity and the security of the status quo. Don’t be surprised if others perceive your reconnection with your authentic self as something threatening that they need to destroy.

          Continue uncovering your authentic self with the complete exercises found in Self Matters.

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